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Royals Rumblings - News for April 20, 2023

Blaze it and forget the 4-15 start

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MLB: Texas Rangers at Kansas City Royals Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

I imagine we’re all feeling pretty beaten down about baseball right now. It’s been three weeks since Opening Day and the team has already dashed any speck of optimism anybody had coming into the season. The offense is dreadful, the bullpen is a disaster outside of a domestic abuser, and the rotation is already regressing after a brief good start. As I write this, I just got a new phone, but my SIM card is stuck in my old phone. Things are just not going great in general. At least with my phone, I can take it to the shop to get the card out. It’s not so simple with the Royals. It’s hard to believe the team has been this bad so far, but the results on the field speak for themselves. I think we all knew the team wouldn’t contend in 2023, but now it seems clear this team won’t contend in 2024 either. It feels like we’ve spent the last few years continually pushing the timeline back. Given the state of the upper minors, it’s damn near impossible to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The easiest thing to do is something my colleague Matthew LaMar has advocated for: detach. Emotionally divest from the team. Come back when (or if) they ever become good again. Being a bandwagon fan is the way to go. I have no objection to this. You don’t need to suffer through awful baseball to enjoy good baseball later. If you feel the need to ride or die with the team, there’s nothing wrong with that either. Just don’t feel compelled to out of some sense of “true fandom” or whatever.

I don’t typically write stuff like this but I couldn’t find much I really wanted to share for today’s rumblings, and the team’s start has me feeling some type of way. Or maybe I’m just pissed off about my SIM card. Anyway, enjoy Arby’s and if you’re in Missouri, may as well celebrate the holiday now that Amendment 3 passed.

Playing so poorly in front of the home crowd is weighing on the players:

Kansas City has now lost five straight, eight of its last nine and eight consecutive losses at Kauffman Stadium. This season is the second-worst 18-game start in franchise history, better than only the 1992 club that went 2-16.

“Motivation, for sure,” shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. said of the boos. “We’re trying to put on a show for them. Whenever they do that, it motivates us to get better. That’s what we’re going to keep doing.

“I know at times, it can get hard. You can hear it with all the outside noise. But you just got to keep a positive mindset. We’re not trying to go out there each and every day trying to lose every game.

“People don’t see the work we’re putting in before the game. That’s what we can continually do.”

Anne Rogers’s article following yesterday’s game was not any sunnier:

In four of the six games on this homestand, the Royals turned to the bullpen in a close game only for it to turn into a blowout. The latest was Wednesday’s series finale, when Kansas City scored two in the sixth to make it a two-run game, and Taylor Clarke allowed four runs (three earned) in the top of the seventh to put the game out of hand.

In the ninth, the Royals turned to their struggling closer, Scott Barlow, for a low-leverage situation. He allowed a three-run homer to Jonah Heim.

“It’s not like we ever feel like, ‘Oh, here we go,’” Quatraro said. “The guys are in the game. It got away from us late. But the emotions at the end, it’s raw, you’re frustrated, you don’t want it to happen like that.”

Join Craig Brown on a descent into madness at Into the Fountains. Join David Lesky on watching it end before it begins at Inside the Crown.

Salt Lake City has a surprisingly solid case for an expansion franchise, though with some unusual downsides.

Also from Jay Jaffe, Clayton Kershaw has joined the 200-win club. We might never see a pitcher join the 300-win club again (Justin Verlander is the active leader at 244), so it’s probably time to set our sights lower.

This week’s notable injuries include Pittsburgh first baseman Ji-Man Choi, Oakland outfielder Ramon Laureano, Dodgers shortstop Miguel Rojas, Milwaukee outfielder Garrett Mitchell, and San Francisco lefty Alex Wood.

Jeff Passan on the rise of Arizona outfielder Corbin Carroll ($). A Diamondbacks scout was quoted as saying “He could end up being the greatest player of all time and it wouldn’t surprise me.” This reminds me of when Luis Robert drew Mike Trout comps. Robert will turn 26 in August and has produced 7.3 career fWAR.

A’s prospect and former D3 pitcher Mason Miller threw gas in his big league debut. He gave up two runs in 4.1 innings but still might already be the best pitcher on Oakland’s staff.

Max Scherzer was ejected during a sticky-stuff check.

Five new teams enter the rankings in this week’s college baseball Top 25.

A record crowd turned up at Dudy Noble Field last Saturday to watch Mississippi State beat their in-state rivals Ole Miss. Setting an attendance record despite both teams having rough seasons goes to show how much they care about college baseball in SEC country.

I haven’t been watching the show, but Ben Lindbergh says that the new season of The Mandalorian was underwhelming.

Some goon in Topeka went to Walmart and trashed a bunch of Anheuser-Busch products, and apparently also exposed himself.

What effect does cannabis use have on weightlifting gains and recovery?

Your song of the day is This Plane by Wiz Khalifa.