Regarding Hunter Dozier’s hitting:
A note on Royals 3B Hunter Dozier: His hard-hit rate right now (42.9 percent) is the highest of his career. And his BABIP (.150) is the lowest of his career. Can't overreact to this start. A lot of unluckiness.— Alec Lewis (@alec_lewis) April 27, 2021
Also from Alec Lewis, a dive into the “roller-coaster ride” that was Nicky Lopez’s brief demotion this spring. Hit up the full article to see all the videos embedded therein.
Each day now, before Lopez heads to the on-deck circle to hit in the No. 9 spot, bench coach Pedro Grifol turns to him inside the dugout and says: “Find a way to get on base. Find a way to touch home plate.”
The sentences are simple, the meaning profound. Within Grifol’s words is the explanation for how Lopez tallied a .278/.344/.352 slash line through his first 21 games and 65 plate appearances. They refer to a hard lesson Lopez learned in the winter of 2019.
That’s when Lopez, in his quest to take a step forward, ate more chicken. He wanted to pack on muscle so that he could maintain weight throughout an entire big-league season and, more important, so that his bat could provide more pop in the Royals’ lineup.
He had debuted in May of that year, batting .240/.276/.325 in 402 plate appearances. Two other numbers, though, prompted concerns: His 85.1 mph average exit velocity ranked in the bottom 4 percent of MLB and his 19.1 percent hard-hit rate ranked in the bottom 2 percent. Lopez wanted to hit the ball harder in 2020.
Hence, the chicken. But while Lopez succeeding in adding weight, the bulked-up body led to different and unnecessary movements.
Some roster moves from yesterday (you likely noticed one of them if you watched the game, since McBroom appeared as a pinch hitter):
To bolster their bench ahead of their first series in a National League park, where there’s no DH, the Royals recalled infielder Ryan McBroom from the alternate training site on Tuesday. With no DH, the Royals will rely more on their bench when their starters — Jakob Junis on Tuesday and Mike Minor on Wednesday — exit.
In a corresponding move, the Royals optioned right-hander Jake Newberry to the alternate training site. The reliever had allowed five runs in 3 1/3 innings, with three walks and four strikeouts in three games since his callup on April 12.
Kansas City also announced that it has agreed to terms with right-hander Mike Shawaryn on a Minor League contract. Shawaryn will report to the alternate training site before likely heading to Triple-A Omaha in preparation for the Minor League season, which begins on May 4.
A postgame interview with Salvador Pérez caught Jake Mintz of Fox Sports up in some good feelings about the never-quit Royals:
When COVID-19 hit and the minor-league season was canceled, the Royals were the first team to pay their minor-leaguers. No questions asked. Not an eye blinked. When the draft was shortened to five rounds last year, the Royals signed a heaping of undrafted free agents.
These are all small, individual things that build into an actual cohesive team identity, an identity that Pérez has helped foster over his 15-year tenure in Kansas City. Talking to people around the club, you can tell there is a familial aspect to things that doesn’t exist in many other organizations.
As fans, we want authenticity from the teams we love and the players we cherish. We want them to care about the whole damn thing as much as we do. When that all lines up, it’s meaningful. It’s a reminder of why we do sports in the first place. So kudos to the Kauffman faithful and kudos to Salvy and his Kansas City Royals for making me get emotionally invested in a postgame interview.
Some Royals single-game tickets will go on sale today at 10:00 a.m.
In other AL Central news, the White Sox had to send Luis Robert to the Injured List when he turned up with some flu-like symptoms.
Marlins shortstop Jazz Chisholm, Jr. left last night’s game with a hamstring strain.
Yadier Molina is heading to the IL with a foot injury.
Among the new rules in the Pioneer League is home run derbies instead of extra innings.
Does throwing a pitch more alter its effectiveness?
California orders Nestlé to stop bottling the state’s dwindling water supply.
Beyond Meat issued a new version of its meatless burger patty.
In related news, food site Epicurious announced that a year ago, they stopped posting beef-based recipes for environmental sustainability reasons.
An old review was uploaded to Rotten Tomatoes, which lowered Citizen Kane’s rating from 100% fresh to merely 99%.
This is simply a great, if long, news headline: “Prancer, the 13-pound gremlin Chihuahua who hates men and children, and was described as a ‘vessel for a traumatized Victorian child,’ has been adopted by a 36-year-old single lesbian in Connecticut.
SOTD: Taylor Swift’s masterpiece, “cowboy like me.” I liked it just fine upon the first couple listens, and over the months it’s gotten its hooks in me. It is rich.