The Royals start a 3 game series with the Tigers tonight who are, checks notes, 8-2 in their last 10 games, including a 3 game sweep of the local nine.
“It feels good because we’re playing winning baseball,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said after Wednesday’s game. “I think we’re playing a cleaner brand of baseball. The at-bats have been very good. Our game-planning has been very good. Our pitching has settled in a little bit. The starters are logging some innings. We’ve found our mojo. It’s been a nice little run.”
Here’s your daily Alec Lewis from The Athletic (sub required):
ICYMI — How Royals starter Kris Bubic regained the form that has made him the pitcher he’s always been:— Alec Lewis (@alec_lewis) May 20, 2021
(Subscribe for $1/month through the link!)https://t.co/XwbB22fxOr
And a bonus tweet:
How absurd is this? Royals pitchers from 2018 MLB Draft:— Alec Lewis (@alec_lewis) May 20, 2021
Brady Singer (MLB): 3.96 ERA
Kris Bubic (MLB): 0.96 ERA
Jackson Kowar (Triple A): 1.15 ERA
Jonathan Bowlan (Double A): 1.65 ERA
Jon Heasley (Double A): 1.93 ERA
Josh Dye (Double A): 1.13 ERA
Zach Haake (High A): 1.69 ERA
Got an email yesterday that tickets for all remaining games are on sale now. Personally, I’m not sure I will be comfortable going to a game this year, at least until my son can get vaccinated, but it’s kindof a moot point since I wasn’t going to make it up to Kansas City this season anyway. However, if I were, the Salute to the Negro Leagues is this weekend. I’m not a bobblehead person, but two weeks from today, I’d strongly consider the “Soler Power” Bobblehead that lights up. It’s also Buck Night, which, unless I’m mistaken, means John Buck will be handing out hot dogs to people in the Crown Seats. Actually, a number of the bobbleheads this year are pretty sweet: Whit Merrifield hit counter, Hunter in a Bull-Dozier, and the Alex Gordon gold glove one where he’s next to a pile of them and he has the platinum one as a glove hat.
Oh, hey, speaking of two weeks from today: I’m out the next two Fridays so be kind to Max.
On MLB.com, they have a set of Topps promotional articles, one for each team. It’s posted a bit like a live blog where they just keep adding new baseball cards to the top and bumping the article. This time, they added the 1969 Topps Mike Hedlund to go along with previous selections like the iconic 1990 Score Bo Jackson and 2011 Topps Update Mike Moustakas rookie card.
Because there’s no MLB section today and I just mentioned Moose, I’ll just drop this right here. Moustakas, who is in his second year with the Reds, just went on the IL with a heel injury. Eric Hosmer was just reinstated from the COVID IL on Wednesday.
Pete Grathoff writes about Michael A. Taylor’s great catch from Wednesday’s game.
Taylor traveled 99 feet to make the grab. Statcast said the expected batting average on the play was .640 and it would have been a home run in 19 Major League Baseball stadiums.
Want a listicle? MLB.com puts together their best hitting prospect for each team:
Royals: Bobby Witt Jr., SS (No. 1/MLB No. 7)One could make the case that Witt’s hit tool is actually his least sharp of the bunch, but that only says more about the rest of his profile than his ability to hit. The 2019 second overall pick makes a lot of hard contact to all fields that can result in eye-popping exit velocities, thanks to elite bat speed. His aggression can lead to some swing-and-miss issues, but Witt has shown an ability to adjust to advanced competition since his days at last year’s alternate training site. The bat is special and why the Royals felt comfortable pushing the 20-year-old to Double-A this quickly.
Quite a bit around the Royals blogosphere so it gets its own section today. Heck, let’s take stock of Royals blogs right now.
Now that the minors are back, Royals Farm Report is rounding back into form. They do a couple of daily articles with notes on the night before and a look at the day ahead. There’s lots of draft preview stuff. And, of every once in a while an article like this one by Marcus Meade about the dearth of CFs in the org:
Uh, we may have a problem. Recently, I was looking through this excellent draft rankings comparison from Alex Duvall and day dreaming about who I want the Royals to draft when it occurred to me that the Royals’ system might be light on outfielders … specifically center fielders.
I thought I must be forgetting someone so I scoured lists of Royals prospects and the rosters of the teams’ affiliates, and I wasn’t. The Royals are thin in center field. Their stock of minor league center fielders is more a wing and prayer than anything.
This was a bit shocking to me because the Royals prioritize defense up the middle as much as any team. They currently have enough shortstop and catching prospects to build a large human pyramid out of them. And in the past, the team always had a few center fielders who if squinting hard enough looked like they could become major league regulars. No longer.
David Lesky and Craig Brown each do great work with new ventures at substack and each wrote about the games with the Brewers.
So if you were scoring at home, the first three runs were scored on mammoth home runs and then the next three were scored on a safety squeeze, a squirt of a single and a wild pitch. We can discuss which is more sustainable later, but that’s some offensive diversity.
Craig Brown at Into the Fountains.
Except it was obvious from the jump that something wasn’t right with Staumont. He opened with a 95 mph fastball. Two pitches later, it was 93 mph. For a guy who can tickle triple-digits, that’s a severe drop in velocity. “It’s as simple as it can be. And it’s as complex as you want to make it,” Staumont said after the game. “As a closer, your job is to just kind of work with what you’ve got.” He never found the heat. It was the slowest average fastball he’s thrown all season. By quite a bit.
Kevin O’Brien does great, long articles over at Royals Reporter. However, lately he’s taken Thursdays off so I have nothing to link to.
Prospect wonk Clint Scoles also does great work. Most of his stuff is behind a Patreon paywall, so it’s not fair to link to snippets of it.
U.L.’s Toothpick had a really fun series last year where Darin Watson went day-by-day through the 1980 season. He hasn’t written much this season but it fun to read last year, especially in the absence of baseball the first half of the season.
Fansided generates a lot of content, though it’s been a little light of late.
- Leigh Oleszczak hasn’t written anything for a couple of weeks at KC Kingdom
- Mike Gillespie has been doing the bulk of work over at Kings of Kauffman
Enter a new player. Apparently, Sports Illustrated is starting up a new local blogging venture for the Royals:
I’m Tucker Franklin, the editor-in-chief and lead beat reporter here at Inside the Royals. You may know me as the deputy editor at Arrowhead Report, Sports Illustrated’s Chiefs site, or the host of the Roughing the Kicker Chiefs podcast. Don’t worry, I’ll still be doing those duties but to help me, I’ve got a great team. The site is launching with contributions from Mark Van Sickle, Tobias Todd, Sterling Holmes, Sam Hays, Danielle Sachse and Christopher Tenpenny. They are all phenomenal writers and analysts and I can’t wait for you all to see their work.
Here’s their initial burst of content:
To kick things off, Mark has two pieces out, one taking a nostalgic look at the connection between the Royals and summertime in Kansas City, and the other at left-handed pitcher Danny Duffy and his injury history. Tobias wrote about how it’s a lot more fun to cheer for Carlos Santana now. Danielle looks at Lorenzo Cain’s return to Kauffman Stadium and how he’s remembered by Royals fans and Sterling Holmes has his quarter-season grades for the Royals’ position players.
I had been listening to the unique TWEWY (The World Ends With You) soundtrack this week and figured we’d just revisit one of those tracks. I’ve milked that soundtrack a lot with Calling (Nov 2016), Hybrid (Dec 2017), Long Dream (Oct 2018), Someday (July 2019), and Twister (Feb 2020).
However, I went to look up something on its wikipedia page when I saw... there’s a sequel coming out in 2 months. Here’s the Nintendo Switch trailer (it’s also coming to PS4):
I’m approaching this with great trepidation as it feels a little like a synthetic version of TWEWY. But it’s hard to not be as it’s been nearly 15 years since the original. However, it’s also hard to tell much from a 3 minute trailer. So much time has passed and it was brilliantly self-contained, even before there was some denouement provided in Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance and an extra chapter added to a re-release edition. In short, it’s going to be very hard to top the heart and uniqueness of the original.
I know it’s silly to not post spoilers of a game from 2007 that most people won’t play but here’s what I wrote back in the original post:
The game begins with your character waking up in Shibuya (think Tokyo’s Times Square) with a counter on his hand, an ominous voice saying to finish a goal or be erased, and a realization that he’s dead. This highly stylized enterprise feels like an interpretation of American urban culture through Japanese eyes.
The most impressive part of the game is that seems like a pretty lofty premise to begin with but there’s even more going on when you get into the meat of the gameplay and plot. This sounds like a good time to replay it one more time to remember all the twists and turns
There’s a mashup of some of the new music posted on the Japanese website for the game, including what sounds like a(nother) remix of Twister: