Thursday, July 7, 2011

Two in a row!

And lest you think that title is thinly veiled sarcasm, I will remind you that it's not just two wins in a row, it's two wins in a row over the Chicago White Sox.

That sort of changes everything, you know?

I've got the growing sense that the Royals will need Bruce Chen in 2012, and possibly even 2013. While 34 year-old journeyman pitchers without great stuff are everywhere (I almost hit a couple on the way to work every morning), ones that know how to pitch aren't so common. You wouldn't want a staff full of Bruce Chens, but having one, especially on a starting-pitching starved team like the Royals, isn't bad at all.

I wouldn't want to offer him a two-year deal, but I'm thinking if he's able to more or less perform like this the rest of the season, he'll get some nibbles in the offseason -- a couple of which might be in more attractive locales. Normally I wouldn't mind letting him go, but Danny Duffy's up-and-down beginning (mostly down) in addition to the setbacks for Mike Montgomery and John Lamb sort of dictate the Royals wanting to hang onto someone reliable.

As a side note, with another good start, I imagine Dayton Moore will get some calls on him prior to the trade deadline. I can't really imagine the Royals getting enough in return for Chen considering their lack of depth in the rotation, but I think he'll draw some interest considering he's so cheap.

It's going to be an interesting few weeks, as the Royals have several players that will draw at least a small-to-moderate amount of interest in the trade market. Here's to hoping that whatever moves Moore makes, he has an eye towards helping the team in 2012 or 2013.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The legend just grows, doesn't it?

From's game recap of the Royals 5-4 loss last night to the Chicago White Sox:

With Dunn up and facing a 1-0 count, Pierzynski noticed Crow's front shoulder move after he saw it, Pierzynski alerted the umpires and that prompted the players in the White Sox's dugout to jump up and plate Ed Rapuano then called a balk, giving Chicago the win.

"He just came up a little bit," Pierzynski said. "It wasn't much, but I've seen it called a lot of times. I just saw his front shoulder (move), and then he realized and stepped off and didn't think anyone saw it. No one reacted. It took a second for everyone to finally realize what he had done. It was a good way to win. Good comeback. I'm happy for Adam. It's got to feel great for him, and Mark pitched well. It's a big win."

Alright, so first things first -- it would have to be A.J. Pierzynski, the most annoying player in baseball to point this out, wouldn't it?

(well, perhaps not, but he's my most hated by far)

Secondly, why is a player pointing this out to an umpire to prompt a call? The umpire sees it, or he doesn't. If the motion is finished, by the time the White Sox players start jumping up and down, pointing it out, the moment has passed -- any balk that may have occurred has escaped the notice of the umpiring crew and it should not be called.

Well, unless you're the Royals, and you have some more losing to do -- and also have to have what's likely to be your lone All-Star representative promptly blow the first game he pitches after his selection was announced. Ick.

So...let's move onto positive-ish things, shall we?
  • Eric Hosmer has raised his OPS by 47 points in the last 9 games (.710, his lowest point of 2011, to .757). His homer in the 9th to tie last night's game was on the first pitch.
  • Brayan Pena is finally making a pretty solid case that he should get the lion's share of the playing time at catcher. I like Matt a backup catcher. If you want to get into stats, Pena's got Treanor beat in most of them, offensive and defensive.
  • Both Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur are heating up (Frenchy's 4-strikeout game notwithstanding). I don't know if the Royals should trade both of them (although I lean towards "yes" on that), but they'd better trade at least one. Their value won't get appreciably higher than it is now.

The break can't come soon enough for KC -- and when it does, Dayton Moore better be working those phones. He's got definite commodities in the trade market, and with so many teams still at least pseudo-in their respective division races, he should also have suitors.

Monday, July 4, 2011


As the Royals were able to finally claw out a mercy win against an NL West opponent yesterday and ended a 5-game losing streak, I thought it'd be an enlightening thing to look at how the Royals have streaked this season.

Winning -- three (3) streaks of 4 wins or more:
  • April 1st - 5th, 4 wins, outscored opponent(s) 26-20
  • April 13th - 16th, 4 wins, outscored opponent(s) 28-11
  • April 29th - May 3rd, 4 wins, outscored opponent(s) 31-13
Those streaks weren't against anyone playing good baseball at the time, but beating up on teams playing poorly is what you're supposed to do if your team is any good. In April (and just a bit of May), the Royals were pretty good overall. But after that, the well dried up as far as lengthy win streaks.

Losing -- six (6) streaks of 4 losses or more:
  • April 22 - 28th, 6 losses, outscored by opponent(s) 46-22
  • May 13th - 18th, 5 losses, outscored by opponent(s) 37-9
  • May 21st - 26th, 5 losses, outscored by opponent(s) 32-18
  • June 2nd - 5th, 4 losses, outscored by opponent(s) 26-6
  • June 18th - 24th, 6 losses, outscored by opponent(s) 31-19
  • June 27th - July 2nd, 5 losses, outscored by opponent(s) 30-12
The lesson? I think what highlights the losing streaks is the combination of poor pitching and poor hitting at the same time -- none of those streaks were just a product of bad luck, they were a product of horrible baseball all around. The lowest scoring average of opponents in any of those streaks was 6.5 runs/game, while the highest scoring average for the Royals was 3.67 runs/game.

Here's a breakdown of the Royals scoring through the first three months:
  • April - 5 runs/game
  • May/June - 3.9 runs/game
Of course, they broke out quite a bit in these last two games, but the fact is the Royals don't have a "good" offense at all (Jeff Francoeur's statement after Sunday's game notwithstanding) -- 3.9 runs/game would just be a bit higher than the 3.6 runs/game that the much maligned San Francisco Giants offense scores. And I think I'm going to take the results of two months over one month for a proper indication of offensive competency.

Friday, July 1, 2011

I somehow feel responsible for this

So, my other favorite team, the San Francisco Giants, are in 1st place in the NL West.

The Royals play every NL West team this season except the Giants (and the LA Dodgers, but they don't count, because they suck and they're broke).

The Royals are, so far, 0-6 vs. the NL West.

I mean...come on, already.

So now they finish up their interleague schedule for 2011 against the Colorado Rockies playing in their home-run happy, offense-inflating park.

Yes, I see this ending well. I mean, what could go wrong?