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Royals Rumblings - News for April 3, 2023

The Royals stumble out of the gate.

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Minnesota Twins v Kansas City Royals Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images

Bobby Witt Jr. is still looking for his first hit of the season, but he’s not frustrated.

“I’m not getting frustrated, but I’m missing pitches I should be hitting,” Witt said. “I’m getting pitches over the plate that I should be handling. I think it’ll come, so I just have to keep pushing, keep moving forward, because I’ve done a lot of work this offseason to not miss those pitches. I need to get back to that.”

Veteran Matt Duffy is trying to maintain perspective after an 0-3 start.

Duffy said he has a simple message for the young hitters: It’s a long season.

“I mean, if you’re in it all the way, you’re playing to Halloween,” Duffy said. “So it can be difficult to do that, to take a breath, take a step back. I think especially with a young squad like we have, what you look for are adjustments being made, and small improvements for each guy and as a group.

“That’s a good (Minnesota) team over there. It’s a good litmus litmus test of where we’re at as a team and what we need to improve on, so I think that’s what you try to do is just focus on, ‘How do I get better today? How do we get better today and what do we need to improve on?’ We’re gonna see them again. And that’ll be another test of how far we’ve come.”

Brad Keller says he hit a wall on Sunday.

Starter Brad Keller allowed two runs in 4 2/3 innings. He gave up five hits, walked four and struck out six. He was unhappy with himself that he didn’t make it through the fifth inning.

“I felt like I didn’t have my best command day by any means,” Keller said. “I felt like I kind of ran out of gas there in the last inning. So some pretty good breaking balls in there.

“All in all, I was really happy with both sliders and curveballs today, so just upset I went 4 2/3 today. But I’ll just try to get better next time.”

Vahe Gregorian writes about the slow start for the Royals offense.

The cumulative effect has made for the longest season-opening scoring drought in Royals history (previously: 11-plus innings) and rendered them the only scoreless team in baseball.

Intellectually, yes, of course it’s still only two miserable games now instead of one … with 160 to go.

So, hey, we’ll cling to our premise that these are snapshots instead of the entire album until proven otherwise in the long haul.

But if back-to-back such duds doesn’t quite establish a trend, it’s certainly also distressing data. And it’s eclipsed the vibes and energy and very much taken the air out of the start of the season.

The Royals want pitchers to throw it down the middle, writes Hannah Keyser and Zach Crizer at Yahoo! Sports.

Quatraro and Hoover have since set about instilling in Kansas City some of the approach they honed with the Rays, specifically advising their pitchers to challenge hitters in the zone, even if they’re worried they might get lit up.

“I’m sure some people might think that,” Quatraro said, “but then you can back it up and show him the numbers of what guys do on the first pitch and then, consequently, what they do if you’re behind [in the count] or if you’re ahead. It’s not difficult to find those numbers.”

And if that doesn’t work, there’s the monetary compensation.

“It’s all been in discussion. Nothing’s been put in place yet,” Hoover said of the potential payout, which could be in the $50-$100 range. “But if you give up any home run on the first pitch, then there will be some incentive. Because if you throw 100 first-pitch strikes, you’re probably going to give up five hits, and of those five hits, one could possibly be a home run. So if you’re able to throw 100 first-pitch strikes, and it’s only going to be beneficial to the hitter 5% of the time, then only a small fraction of that is going to be a home run.”

Craig Brown at Into the Fountains reacts to the first two games.

Kevin O’Brien at Royals Reporter expresses his concerns after the first series.

Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty gives up no hits, but seven walks in his five innings of work.

The Padres sign infielder Jake Cronenworth to a seven-year, $80 million extension.

Brewers infielder Luis Urías is out 6-8 weeks with a hamstring strain.

Don Zimmer becomes the first member of the Rays Hall of Fame.

No extension for Juan Soto may mean the Padres make a run at Shohei Ohtani.

Which catchers are the best pitch blockers?

Commissioner Rob Manfred believes analytics is an arms race to nowhere.

Here are some of the career milestones to watch for this season.

Former Mets infielder Daniel Murphy signs with the independent Long Island Ducks.

Japan manager Hideki Kuriyama criticizes WBC organizers for changing the bracket mid-tournament.

The complete story of ‘The House that Ruth Built’ 100 years after opening.

LSU defeats Iowa in the NCAA women’s basketball championship for their first title.

The NBA and the player’s union reach agreement on a new deal that would implement an in-season tournament.

Are analog computers making a comeback?

Did a secret billionaire just die?

With the release of the movie Tetris, what other video game making stories would be compelling for a film?

Your song of the day is Guided by Voices with Drag Days.