Anne Rogers details some adjustments Kris Bubic has made throughout the season:
Still, Bubic was pleased with his second consecutive quality start, despite both of them turning into losses for the 25-year-old. The small sample size of success has been a result of better command, and there’s been at least one reason for that.
After Bubic’s start at Tampa Bay, when he allowed four runs in 3 2/3 innings, he was throwing his bullpen session in-between starts when pitching coach Cal Eldred brought up the idea of pitching exclusively out of the stretch in order to minimize movement in Bubic’s delivery. Bubic had been thinking about doing it as well, so he made the adjustment and liked the results.
He initiated the new approach against the Padres, and the results weren’t good, with six runs in four innings. But Bubic saw better success against the White Sox last week and Guardians on Tuesday.
Rustin Dodd, who evidently is taking over for Alec Lewis at The Athletic, answers some questions about the Royals in an AL Central Roundtable ($):
What key questions does your team need to address in the short, medium and long term?
Dodd: 1. The Royals have to figure out their pitching development infrastructure — at all levels of the organization. 2. They have to sort out some roster question marks. For instance, young catcher MJ Melendez has shown big pop and plenty of promise with his bat, but where does he fit in with Salvador Perez? Another one: Can Nick Pratto make enough contact to be a regular at first, and if so, how does he co-exist with Vinnie Pasquantino? And where exactly should Bobby Witt Jr. play on defense? 3. The last time there was this much pessimism from fans around the front office of Dayton Moore, the Royals were two years away from making the World Series in 2014 and three years away from winning the World Series. In other words, things can shift quickly. But as owner John Sherman eyes building a downtown ballpark in Kansas City, the team needs to offer some evidence — this offseason and in 2023 — that the plan is still moving in the right direction.
Also at The Athletic, Jim Bowden flies in the face of statistics and ranks Bobby Witt Jr. ahead of Adley Rutschman among AL rookies ($):
2. Bobby Witt Jr., SS/3B, Royals
WAR: 0.7 OPS+: 105
Witt became the fifth rookie in MLB history to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in his first season. He follows in the footsteps of the late Mitchell Page, who did it in 1977, Ellis Burks (1987), Marty Cordova (1995) and Rodríguez, who hit the 20/20 milestone a couple of weeks before Witt. Like Rodríguez, Witt has the potential to join not only the 30/30 club in future seasons, but also the 40/40 club if he reaches his ceiling. He has slashed .246/.288/.439 with 23 doubles, six triples, 20 homers, 70 RBIs and 26 steals. Witt is the fastest player in the AL, according to Statcast, and he’s made significant defensive improvements at third base. I still think his best position is shortstop; regardless, he’s willing to play all over the diamond and profiles as an above-average defender wherever he plays.
Over at Inside the Crown, David Lesky breaks down Tuesday’s loss, noting how the Royals have struggled pitching to the bottom third of opponent’s lineups:
I honestly don’t know what to make of this. It’s easy to assume this is just because Royals pitchers aren’t very good and are going to be below average against everyone. And they sort of are, but they have allowed a lower OPS to fifth and sixth hitters than to nine hitters. Which is just crazy. In these situations, sometimes you ascribe a theory to match your preconceived notions, and that’s exactly what I’m doing here. I simply don’t feel like Royals pitching is prepared for an entire lineup. They let down when facing hitters they “should” get out and they end up getting hurt.
Their numbers against the top two (.266/.356/.419) are worse than league average (.254/.325/.411) but not as drastically as that bottom third difference. And their numbers against three through six (.277/.346/.444) are worse than league average (.246/.317/.410) but not as drastically as that bottom third difference. No, this is a bad pitching staff, but there’s something about the bottom of the order that shouldn’t be as big of an issue as it is and fixing that would go a long way toward inching back to respectability as a staff.
Here’s an article written by somebody that perhaps doesn’t watch a lot of baseball, entitled “One player on every MLB team who deserves more love.” There’s a lot of false information in this article, but the entry for the Royals is particularly comical.
Christian Yelich hit an absolute nuke on Tuesday:
Shohei Ohtani has a case for both Cy Young and MVP honors this season.
Jeff Passan and David Schoenfield present this season’s breakout stars. ($)
The NFL season officially kicks off tonight in Inglewood. If you plan on tuning in, here are four things to watch for in the game.
With the College Football Playoff set to expand, here are some ideas to make it a truly great event.
The U.S. and International teams are set for this year’s Presidents Cup. Compared to the Ryder Cup, the Americans have dominated this event for the better part of two decades and are heavy favorites to win again this year at Quail Hollow.
In this week’s (awful) rental opportunity, we have what appears to be a stairwell that was converted into an apartment.
Don’t like talking to people at drive-thrus? Well good news, Panera is testing out an AI ordering system.
Archaeologists in Borneo uncovered evidence that the first human limb amputation was performed over 30000 years ago.
Your song of the day is Alibi - Far Out Remix by Krewella