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Royals Rumblings - News for April 5, 2023

Anne Rogers noted that Kris Bubic used his new slider last night:

Bubic did his best to match Kikuchi, but the Blue Jays did put the pressure on the Royals’ starter. Bubic threw 88 pitches in five innings, and the Royals needed all five of those based on how short the bullpen was Tuesday in the midst of a 12-game stretch on the schedule.

“I would have liked to keep the pitch count down a little early,” Bubic said. “Got ahead in counts and then in the middle of at-bats, threw some pitches outside the zone. Had to come back in with two strikes and made some mistakes over the middle of the plate that they hit. But overall, I thought the stuff was good.”

What stood out, and what Bubic can build on, was his pitch usage. Bubic threw his fastball 40 percent of the time, distributing his secondary pitches much more effectively. He dropped in 23 curveballs and 21 changeups, and that new slider that was the talk of Spring Training again this year? Bubic threw nine of them, registering five swings and three whiffs on the pitch.

It is time to watch that play that Bob made, again and maybe again another time:

Noah Woodward (The Advance Scout on Substack) wrote an incredibly detailed breakdown of Zack Greinke’s opening day approach that I hope you go read all of.

If you were wondering how Zack Greinke, the pitcher with the lowest strikeout rate (12.5%) of any pitcher to throw 100 innings last year, would succeed in the face of hitter-friendly rules changes, this start is that blueprint. He developed two new pitches in the offseason; he knew the hitters he was facing; he went with what was working.

When things sped up on Greinke, he did something I haven’t seen other pitchers do this year - he just stepped off the mound. His final pitch mix looks like something that we might see copied across the league several years from now, with the way breaking ball use is trending: 20 fastballs in 80 pitches, and three different types of breaking balls. Greinke’s always one step ahead, but he’s not in a hurry.

At their respective Substacks, Craig Brown and David Lesky each dug into win #1 for the Royals.

There are no Royals on this list from Dan Szymborski predicting who might be a bust this year, but there is a White Sox pitcher!

MLB will test another pre-tacked ball in the Southern League.

Travis Kelce is hosting a music festival in conjunction with the NFL draft.

Esquire profiled Kieran Culkin, who plays Roman Roy on ‘Succession.’

A long read from ProPublica about the downsides of super-long trains.

A fun collection of stories at Ask A Manager, of passive-aggressive notes at work.

Pretty sure we’ve got some parents of teens here, so here are seven ways to save on prom costs. Questions: did you go to prom(s) in high school? About how much do you think you spent on the occasion, and when was it?

Scifi author John Scalzi is hiring a researcher, if anyone knows anyone who qualifies.

SOTD: Harry Styles - Treat People With Kindness