Anne Rogers’ latest newsletter had this note about Scott Barlow’s 2-inning save, along with Brewer Hicklen’s mindset shift and other Royals notes:
It’s been five days, but I’m still thinking about ever-reliable reliever Scott Barlow’s two-inning, 41-pitch save on Thursday night. Not only because it was such a clutch performance, but also because of how he did it.
Only four pitches of Barlow’s 41 were fastballs. He leaned heavily on his slider and curveball, a trend the 29-year-old reliever has carried throughout his career — but also one that has reached new heights to begin 2022.
Of the five relief pitchers who had two pitches with a 40% whiff rate (minimum 100 swings) last season, Barlow was the only one whose two were breaking balls (slider and curveball). The rest of the list, for comparison: Josh Hader (slider, sinker), J.P. Feyereisen (slider, changeup), Codi Heuer (changeup, slider), Raisel Iglesias (slider, changeup).
The San Francisco Giants watched Jakob Junis pitch and figured out how to get the most out of his talent. And now he’s a “godsend” for them. Must be nice.
The Giants’ front office identified Junis’ slider, and their pitching coaches found a way to better complement it.
“That’s kind of the reason they signed me,” Junis said. “I had that one really good pitch and they thought they could make my other pitches a lot better than they were. … In the past when I was throwing the slider at such a clip, I wasn’t throwing the changeup hardly at all.”
Reevaluating his pitch mix was the topic of Junis’ very first meeting when he arrived in Scottsdale this spring.
Ditch the four-seamer for a two-seamer, pitching coach Andrew Bailey and assistant J.P. Martinez told him. Start throwing more changeups. And slider, slider, slider.
Vinnie Pasquantino was the International League player of the week:
Vinnie Pasquantino is the International League Player of the Week!— Omaha Storm Chasers (@OMAStormChasers) May 31, 2022
His week in Louisville:
11-for-23 (.478), 2 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 11 RBIs
Pasquantino leads the team in: Runs, Hits, Doubles, Triples, Home Runs, RBIs, AVG, OBP, SLG, and OPS#ChasingRoyalty pic.twitter.com/J9k1d68SZw
Former Royals beat writer Jeffrey Flanagan is not in favor of burning it all down:
First, let me hear your complaints, honestly, and just so you know, over 30 years of ball-writing, I don’t really warm up to the fire-everyone-sell-the-damn-team-you-cheap-bastard argument. Not productive but a great way to get blocked. https://t.co/kCqEAEphHl— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) May 31, 2022
...but David Lesky sure is:
...a very strong suggestion to John Sherman:
Get your house in order.
I take no great pleasure in calling for anyone’s job (outside of a certain coach who has proven he isn’t good enough), but it’s time. It’s time to move on from Dayton Moore. It’s time to move on from JJ Picollo. It’s time to move on from Mike Matheny. It’s long past time to move on from Cal Eldred. There are many others in the organization who are worthy of remaining with the team, but this organization simply cannot be saddled with the limitations of those who have brought them to this point.
As we sit here on the final day of May, the Royals, in the fifth year of their rebuild and in a year they were confident they could compete (they were, no matter what they’ll tell you today), have the worst record in baseball. They’re tied with the Reds, a team so unencumbered with winning that they simply released a pitcher who had a 3.37 ERA and 3.97 FIP in 163 innings rather than paying him $10 million. This is an embarrassment. Maybe the darkest truly is before the dawn, but the 16th anniversary of Moore’s hire is approaching and things feel as bad as ever before. Whatever is happening now cannot continue. There is talent on this roster and in this organization, which makes it slightly tricky to say those who brought the talent in should be replaced. But they haven’t shown that they will be able to handle the talent when the time is right, so the moves need to be made in order to take their work to the next level. I’m tired of being talked down to. I’m tired of losing. I’m tired of this.
Craig Brown listed three pivotal moments from Monday’s loss and responds to the front office quote about not wanting to call up the prospects because of pressure, or whatever. #Domes
J.A. Happ announced his retirement.
Most baseball fans know what it means when a team “pitches around” a good hitter, but now FanGraphs’s Ben Clemens has made an attempt to measure it.
Wander Franco is headed to the injured list with a quad strain.
The best fast food apps for getting free stuff. I can personally vouch for Dunkin’; I get free drinks pretty regularly even though I go at most once every week or two.
Motorcycle parts retailer BikeBandit turns out to be...actually a bandit, having allegedly made off with $646,000 of customer money.
SOTD: Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers - Marie