Royals Authority

Deconstructing The Process

Browsing Posts published by Nick Scott

I didn’t watch much of the game last night. I briefly turned it on and saw a ball go past Billy Butler and the man on first score while Butler stopped and had some popcorn with fans and watched. My wife asked me if I’d prefer to watch a movie. It was then I realized that I hate National League ball, I hate Jonathan Sanchez and there was a 100% chance Ned Yost was going to make an asinine decision which would infuriate me.  I saved my anger and watched a pretty good movie. Nick 1 – Royals 0.

What I missed seemed to be a mildly boring game until a 10 run outburst in the last two half-innings. What is most amazing about this team is how coordinated the pitchers and hitters seem to be. I’m not sure who exactly to give the credit to. Does Seitzer tell the batters to try and hit weak grounders just until the pitchers begin to collapse?  And just at the moment where the pitchers have given up enough runs to lose the game, then storm back and score just enough to come up short. At least that’s the way it all plays out in my head.

The real reason I decided that watching this game wasn’t on my priority list was that Jonathan Sanchez was pitching. He just flat refuses to throw strikes. Walk after walk and hit after hit. A Royals game featuring Jonathan Sanchez seems to have them on defense 90% of the time and batting 10%. Now some of that credit goes to the amazing impatience of the Royals batters, but still. It’s an unbearable game.

Beyond Sanchez, there was another reason I didn’t feel last night’s game was a must-watch. I still don’t know what this team is. They’ve been muddling through for a couple months now and aren’t exactly in it and aren’t exactly out of it. It seems like one step forward and two steps back. Just when they are a nice little run away from getting involved, they lose in spectacular fashion.

In fact they remind me of Beau Hossler who just played a heck of a weekend at the U.S. Open. They’re young, awkward and nobody believes they have a shot. We’re all just waiting for the inevitable win so we can pat them on the back and get on with our lives. Last night’s game was a boring par 4 where you three put for bogey and everyone watches saying “I figured that would happen”.

 

- Nick Scott

 

 

 

Prior to the season, I wrote of the Super Bullpen. A group of awesome bullpen arms and some suggestions on how to utilize such a group to help a less than impressive starting rotation. So far, the Royals have deployed their Super Bullpen in an extremely effective way. The entire pitching staff sports a 4.15 ERA*, which includes a 5.12 starting rotation ERA.

*ERA is an imperfect stat, but for clarity and simplicity, we’re using it today.

It’s not exactly a dominant staff, but in the Royals division it’s certainly competitive. The following chart shows each team in the AL Central’s staff ERA (ERA), Starters ERA (sERA) and Relief ERA (rERA).

Team ERA sERA rERA
White Sox 4.04 4.18 3.73
Royals 4.15 5.12 2.88
Tigers 4.29 4.37 4.15
Indians 4.38 4.56 4.05
Twins 5.05 5.99 3.61

The Royals have the 2nd best ERA in the division. That’s the definition of competitive. Even though there was wailing and gnashing of teeth over the rotation and how it could never be good enough to win games, that has thus far been proven a fallacy. The problem, unfortunately has been with the other side of the equation: the offense.

For awhile, it seemed like the Royals could hit the ball but just failed to score runs due to idiocy on the base-paths and black holes in the lineup. However that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore, but rather the fact that the Royals offense is woeful. The following chart shows each team in the AL Central in a couple of categories.

Team wOBA ISO OBP
White Sox .325 .161 .324
Tigers .324 .152 .326
Indians .314 .129 .329
Twins .312 .135 .324
Royals .309 .137 .314

 

Last. That’s where the Royals show up in offense within their own division. This, not pitching is the reason they are not competitive right now. Here is the list of Royals who have played in 20 or more games and have a wOBA lower than the team average of .309. These are the gigantic sucks on the offense.

Name G PA wOBA
Jeff Francoeur 56 233 .306
Eric Hosmer 56 236 .295
Mitch Maier 24 67 .290
Jarrod Dyson 37 153 .282
Brayan Pena 32 105 .273
Humberto Quintero 33 119 .262
Johnny Giavotella 21 73 .234

There are a smattering of young players on here who I’ll give a pass because they need to spend time developing. However Jeff Francoeur is the most significant issue. His job is to provide offense and he is at this point in the season completely inept at his job. On top of that his defense has been borderline atrocious other than having a solid arm. I don’t know if I can go so far as to say that it’s time for Wil Myers, but it’s certainly time to ditch Jeff Francoeur. He is hurting the team on a daily basis and yet continues to run out there nearly every day.

Until the Royals can come up with some runs, the At This Point Competitive Pitching Staff will continue to sit on the losing side of the ledger along with the rest of the team. The Royals have endured some bad injury luck which have forced Maier, Dyson, Pena, Quintero and Giavotella into more active roles, however it’s not the only reason.

If there is any hope in salvaging this season, it lies in the bats. Can they come to life as the weather heats up? Can the At This Point Competitive Pitching Staff continue to be so? Time will tell, tonight is the first game of the rest of our lives.

-Nick Scott

The Royals did two very important things yesterday, they selected Kyle Zimmer as their 1st pick in the draft and they exposed Ned Yost as almost certainly unworthy to manage this, or any Major League team.

Let’s start with the newest of Royals: Kyle Zimmer. First I think it would be cool to call him Kyle “The Don” Zimmer. It works for a couple of reasons.  First, it’s the mascot of the University of San Francisoco where he played. Second, it sounds like Don Zimmer the pre-historic but culturally relevant baseball player, manager and bench-coach. When it comes to analysis this is really all I’ve got. I’ve never seen him pitch and can’t pretend I have a scouting report. Instead, I’ll present you with a couple of videos for you to peruse:

 

The Royals say that he was the top pitcher on their board. I can’t exactly believe them because they would say that and should say that about anyone they get at this position. The bottom line is that the draft is a risk, pitchers are a bigger risk, but they are essential to winning games. We’ll watch his development and hope he becomes a front line starter.

While the front-office was working the draft room, the soldiers and their leader Ned Yost took the field in contest against the Twins of Minnesota.  The Twins took an early lead and going to the bottom of the 4th were up by a score of 4-1. It was at this point that the Twins and Royals had a Judge Reinhold – Fred Savage moment where their bodies seemed to switch.

The Royals hit a couple of singles, the Twins looked like they had never fielded a ball before and then the young stud Mike Moustakas blasts a two-run double. Still no outs. Then Francoeur and Hosmer reach on astonishing errors by the Twins the last of which allows Mike Moustakas to score.

Tie game.

No outs.

Opposing pitcher on the ropes.

Warm, run-scoring wind blowing.

Third most effective hitter this season at bat, followed by two of the worst.

Ned Yost thinks to himself and calls out for a

BUNT!

Escobar gives up a free out, the next two batters strike out and the Royals lose.

I need to preface this by saying that I’ve rarely been critical of Ned Yost. I don’t always agree with him, but overall I’ve been pretty pleased by what he does. But that decision was one of the worst decisions I’ve seen a Royal manager make. It was astounding in it’s ineptitude. There is absolutely no good reason to help the Twins in that situation. None.

Time and time again it’s shown that the one precious commodity in a game are outs. They are to be preserved and hoarded. Regardless of what the past-worshiping, numbers-hating, critical thinking deprived folks tell you, that was a horrendous decision by Ned Yost. If on some magical planet I were the General Manager, I’d tell Ned Yost that if he does that again he’s fired. If he objects he’s gone that day.

This mistake isn’t just about screwing his team over for one single game. It’s about an inability to understand some basic truths about baseball and a refusal to understand core concepts of strategy. The way teams did things in 1903 is not correct and the fact that they did it in the 1950′s is not proof to the contrary.

A manager of a winning baseball team needs to be able to motivate his players and deal with multimillionaire 20 somethings with giant egos. But he also needs to be aware of the latest research and understanding of the business he is in. This is true of all managers, not just of the baseball variety. Sure, maybe it was cool to call a female colleague “toots” in the 1950′s, but that is not acceptable now and it’s something that can get you fired. In baseball it’s something celebrated and I’m at a loss as to why.

It’s time for Ned Yost to make some changes, to get up-t0-date and to help this team win games. He needs to get out of the way and allow baseball players to make baseball plays. The game does not need his interference, this isn’t the brain-washed National League where some fans believe that watching a manager make decisions is interesting. We’re here to see baseball, let it happen.

- Nick Scott

As the heat begins to descend upon the Paris of the Plains, so does baseball begin to trickle from the lips. Conversations around grills and between sips of Boulevard beer drift towards the Boys in Blue.

“How about that Moustakas?”

“Hosmer will come around. I’m not worried”

“We really need some starting pitching”

“Luke Hochevar is just terrible”

Some variation of that last comment is typically thrown around while heads nod in agreement. Depending on my willingness to disagree with the person, which is directly proportional to the amount of alcohol imbibed, I’ll retort. Because while on occasion, Luke Hochevar has an epically disastrous outing, he is not in fact That Bad.

Just last week, I crowned Felipe Paulino the Ace of the staff. However, if you look at his numbers they aren’t a far cry from those of Luke Hochevar. Paulino strikes out 9.9 batters every 9 innings while Hochevar whiffs 7.4. Paulino clearly has his number here, but he also is superior to every other American League starter not named Max Scherzer.* Hochevar’s rate is just below Jared Weaver’s and just above Josh Beckett’s. It’s a very respectable strikeout rate.

* Former member of the recently crowned Big 12 baseball Champions, natch.

The yin to the strikeout’s yang is of course the dreaded base on balls. Paulino gives out 3.5 free bases every 9 innings compared to just 3.1 for Hochevar. These rates are not as highly ranked as their respective strikeout rates, but they aren’t completely dreadful. Hochevar this time nestles between Hiroki Kuroda and Max Scherzer. It seems walks are always an issue with the Royals, and while there is improvement needed, it’s not a huge issue with Luke Hochevar.

So he has pretty good numbers of two of the Three True Outcomes, and his runs given up are poor, so it must be what’s left: home runs. Once again, lets start with staff ace Paulino. He allows 0.9 home runs per 9 innings, while Hochevar surrenders 0.7. Once again he tops Paulino in an important statistical category. In fact Hochevar ranks 9th in the American League in home runs given up per 9 innings. The list of pitchers in the top 10 is like a who’s who of starting pitching: Lowe, Millwood, Sale, Verlander, Hammel, Wilson, Weaver, Price, Hochevar and Hernandez. I know, right?

In three important categories, Hochevar is very similar to Felipe Paulino and other quality starting pitchers. However, under his name on gigantic outdoor LCD screens everywhere, is plastered his ERA of 6.19 which is good for 2nd worst in the American League. It’s this number which gets people angry at Luke and suggest he be kicked out of the rotation in favor of…well I honestly don’t know who.

The thing about Luke Hochever, and this won’t be a surprise to anyone, is that he gives up a bunch of runs in a single inning. He has taken the disaster inning to a new artistic height. Everyone in the ballpark knows it’s going to happen, yet we’re glued to the game to find out how. I’ve been calling him “Big Inning Luke” for a couple of years now. It’s just his thing. Some people point to it being mental, whatever that means. But it doesn’t seem like it’s something that’s going to go away any time soon.

The question though, is how much does it really matter? If Hochevar goes out and implodes every few games and surrenders 9 runs, but then pitch as a well-above average starting pitcher the rest of the time, is that acceptable? It kind of seems like it is to me. Runs don’t carry over to the next game, so if Hochevar gives up 29 runs in the 4th inning of a game on Tuesday, it has no impact on the game that Sunday. It certainly mars his ERA and his adoration by fans, but so?

Anyone spending their Tuesday looking at this blog already knows that what Hochevar seems to have a very special knack for is surrendering lots of runs. Championships aren’t given out to the team with the most strikeouts or fewest walks. It’s the runs that matter. They can be deceiving however when used to rate a pitcher. Once the ball leaves his hand, the game is out of his control. Poor defense, bad luck, a small ballpark, these are situations the pitcher cannot control. What a pitcher can control are his strikeouts, walks and home runs. Those are called the Three True Outcomes. In those, Luke Hochevar is a good pitcher.

The question as to whether he can survive giving up as many runs as he does, well only time will tell. The bottom line is that he isn’t just another Kyle Davies. A pitcher who had stuff, but no results. Hochevar has some good results, but they’re disguised by some abhorrent results. He still unfairly carries the baggage as a Number One Overall Draft Pick, however he got paid a lot of money for the burden.

Each Hochevar start at the very least is going to provide entertainment and drama. Everytime a couple of batters get on base with soft singles, every one watching begins to think “Is this the Big Inning?” It’s like watching an episode of the Walking Dead, the scary moment is always just around the corner and even when it doesn’t come you get that thrill of expectation. So while Hochever might not be the best pitcher on the team, he’s surely the most entertaining.

 

- Nick Scott

Last night’s baseball contest was one of the more enjoyable I’ve watched this season. As I begrudgingly left my TV and couch for the more productive radio and riding lawn mower, I was enthralled and enthused by the rain-soaked game in New York. The victory brought the fellows in the Royal a half-game closer to first, but somehow a whole lot closer to respectability.

There was an element last night of being clubbed over the head by the Greatness Of The Yankees. Steve Physioc could barely contain himself and seemed as if he was just itching for someone to say something bad about Derek Jeter so he could rip their heart out of their chest and make the victim watch.

But however hard those paid to watch the game tried to tell me that I should bow down in the presence of what was clearly a superior grouping of men, it fell flat. It seemed as if the Royals got the same message. The Yankees aren’t a team to be feared, but rather a team that is over-paid and relying on their uniforms to do the work for them.

On the other side of the field, the less-storied and certainly less full of recent Greatness just did what they do. They played solid defense, they hit the ball and they had a lights out bullpen. The one unique item of note was a starting pitcher who pitched deep into the game and did so while dominating. Felipe Paulino was the star of the show last night.

Those same Yankee admiring announcers leveled what is clearly the faintest of praise upon Paulino when suggesting that he had earned the role as Bruce Chen’s subordinate. Which begs the question of which planet said announcers have been inhabiting the past two years. This Paulino character is unquestionably the best pitcher on this baseball club and as they say in the parlance of the game –The Ace.

In his four starts this season, Paulino has given up earned runs in only one. Had he not started the season with an injury and continued on his current pace, he would be a top 5 pitcher in nearly every major statistical category. His name would be nestled in with the Verlanders and Greinkes of the world. But alas he resides within the large likeable shadow of Bruce Chen.

I’m sure there are some of you out there defending the surprisingly tall PanamAsian who is quick with the joke. It’s quite natural, and in fact he has been a great pitcher. However he has not been the equal of the more mysterious and not surprisingly tall Dominicano. While Paulino has no tag-line created by a generation dominating comedian, he does have the ability to strike out a batsman. Which in the game of baseball pulls a bit more weight.

Combining the past two seasons, Paulino leads his Royal brethren in fWAR, ERA, FIP,xFIP and K/9. These acronyms are the mark of an ace, certainly one on his own team and nearing one for the entire league. Yet alas, he is still a second class citizen to many. It was mere weeks ago that one paid blowhard suggested that Paulino would bring nothing to this team and that he was not even an average pitcher. It’s sadly an opinion shared by many.

It’s time to give Paulino what he has earned and crown him Ace. It’s time that we stopped taking our cues from the Jeter worshipers and the paid blowhards. Take a look at the results, they’re undeniable. Felepe. Paulino. Royal. Ace.

-Nick Scott

Ok, let’s get the bad news out of the way first.  Danny Duffy has a tear in his UCL, is out for the season and will need Tommy John surgery. Someday, I swear the Royals will have a string of extraordinary luck. It just has to even out.  The weirdest comment about the whole thing comes from an article by Dick Kaegel:

“[Royals Trainer Nick] Kenney said that Duffy has had a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament since 2010, but, like many pitchers, was able to adapt and continue pitching until Sunday.”

Should this be concerning? Is it common for pitchers to have some sort of tear in their UCL? Is it common to have them skip just one start after having a twinge in the elbow? It’s impossible to know but the important discussion should be around whether this could have been prevented or at least mitigated.

On the bright side, the Royals have and will be able to play good baseball and win games without Danny Duffy. He was one of the bright spots and he was clearly the most entertaining pitcher to watch. However, he only plays in less than a fifth of the games and in those he was pitching about half the innings. A single player can only have so much impact on the game, but he was a pretty significant player. On top of all that he was one of my favorite players on the team. I hope we see him compete on the highest level again.

Enough with the negative. There is a lot going on to be happy about right now. I present you with the following list of teams further out from first place than the Kansas City Royals:

Boston Red Sox

Minnesota Twins

Seattle Seahawks  Mariners

Los Angeles Angels

Philadelphia Phillies

Chicago Cubs

Houston Astros

Milwaukee Brewers

San Francisco Giants

Arizona Diamondbacks

Colorado Rockies

San Diego Padres

That’s 12 teams if you’re counting. Sure the Royals have one of the worst records in baseball but that is irrelevant. The only teams the Royals are competing against are the teams in their own division. The goal is to get to the playoffs and right now they are closer to that goal than a whole host of other teams.

The team is finally settling in on what we predicted them to be prior to the season. A decent offensive team with a solid bullpen, defense and a sub par starting rotation. Here are the A.L. ranks for a few categories:

Offense wOBA: 7th

Starter ERA: 12th

Relief ERA: 5th

Oh and just for fun, the Royals have a -2.8 UBR which is a base running stat. The only team worse are the Angels, which are another “aggressive” base running team. Again last night the Royals showed how inept they can be on the bases. It’s costing them runs regularly.

So the Royals have settled into where they should be. They’ve won or tied 7 straight series and are providing entertaining baseball on a regular basis. The 12 game losing streak is well behind them and it’s time to hop back on the bandwagon. They’re starting to show that they just might be able to get themselves into contention and stay there for the better part of the summer.

I’ve been kind of a Ned Yost apologist around here. I don’t think he’s the best manager or the manager I’d hire, but his moves are pretty typical of MLB managers. I’ve also long held that his in-game decision are about 20% or less of his actual job so it’s nearly impossible for me to actually judge his performance. I did however really like his move last night of putting Eric Hosmer in the 2 hole.

In an ideal world, players will take their optimum approach at every plate appearance regardless of where they are placed in the lineup. However in reality the perceptions of what a player needs to do changes based on where he is in the lineup. Ned Yost knows that and tried to take advantage to help Hosmer. The typical thoughts of a player in the 2 hole is that he needs to make contact and move runners. In other words, don’t try to hard. Make contact, get a single and let the 3,4,5 guys do the work. That is essentially just the advice that Eric Hosmer needs to bust out of his slump and putting him second can subtly suggest that.

The summation of all this rambling is that things finally seem to be going right (even when something really bad happens, natch) and last night was a gigantic win. If you’ve stepped away because of The Streak, well come on back. Things just might be getting good again.

- Nick Scott

 

After a terrible losing streak, the Royals have settled into what they are likely to be this season: a team that shows flashes of greatness surrounded by some mediocrity, wrapped up in some odd ineptitude. Insert witty remark about a marketing slogan here. On the bright side, or possibly delusional side, the fans are doing their part and showing up to games in some really solid numbers.

There are certainly some unique circumstances to which some bump in attendance can be attributed to. A pair of series vs the Red Sox and Yankees, some really nice weather and a plethora of weekend series certainly help. However it’s not the entirety of the situation. Let’s look at some numbers. Below is a graph showing the game by game home attendance for the first 15 games in 2011 vs 201

As you can see, in every game but two the attendance in 2012 is higher than in 2011. To be fair, in 2012 there have so far been 9 Friday, Saturday or Sunday games versus on ly 7 in 2011. But that doesn’t make up the entire difference. Nor does the Yankees and Red Sox as some of the biggest increases come from games 7, 8 and 9 where the Royals played the Blue Jays in 2012. The fans are clearly buying into the afore-not-mentioned slogan and coming out in increasing numbers.

Maybe baseball in general is up and the Royals are just part of a trend. Let’s find out. Here is the current season attendance for all MLB teams:

 

Tm Attendance Attend/G ▾
PHI 498,461 45,315
TEX 557,360 42,874
SFG 623,187 41,546
NYY 537,850 41,373
STL 494,550 41,213
LAD 518,816 39,909
BOS 526,209 37,586
CHC 634,215 37,307
MIL 463,096 35,623
DET 613,253 34,070
LAA 570,776 33,575
MIN 399,110 33,259
COL 574,595 31,922
MIA 337,494 30,681
ATL 361,736 27,826
NYM 431,056 26,941
ARI 365,571 26,112
WSN 412,651 25,791
CIN 350,030 25,002
TOR 364,069 24,271
SDP 486,596 23,171
PIT 276,698 23,058
HOU 363,346 22,709
BAL 290,251 22,327
KCR 329,000 21,933
SEA 275,191 21,169
OAK 270,848 20,834
TBR 328,005 20,500
CHW 278,763 19,912
CLE 234,651 14,666
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/8/2012.

The Royals aren’t near the top, but they are above five other teams, most notably two division rivals in bigger markets with better records. Now lets compare 2011 to 2012:

Rk Tm 2011_Games 2011_Attend 2011_AttendpGm 2012_Games 2012_Attend 2012_AttendpGm Difference DiffPerGame ▾
1 MIA 11 213,659 19,424 11 337,494 30,681 123,835 11,258
2 DET 18 472,188 26,233 18 613,253 34,070 141,065 7,837
3 TEX 13 466,138 35,857 13 557,360 42,874 91,222 7,017
4 WSN 16 309,103 19,319 16 412,651 25,791 103,548 6,472
5 PIT 12 204,990 17,083 12 276,698 23,058 71,708 5,976
6 KCR 15 248,542 16,569 15 329,000 21,933 80,458 5,364
7 STL 12 444,566 37,047 12 494,550 41,213 49,984 4,165
8 TBR 16 276,893 17,306 16 328,005 20,500 51,112 3,195
9 ARI 14 324,985 23,213 14 365,571 26,112 40,586 2,899
10 CHC 17 592,281 34,840 17 634,215 37,307 41,934 2,467
11 LAD 13 489,104 37,623 13 518,816 39,909 29,712 2,286
12 CIN 14 319,705 22,836 14 350,030 25,002 30,325 2,166
13 SEA 13 249,104 19,162 13 275,191 21,169 26,087 2,007
14 TOR 15 336,099 22,407 15 364,069 24,271 27,970 1,865
15 BAL 13 267,207 20,554 13 290,251 22,327 23,044 1,773
16 MIL 13 440,179 33,860 13 463,096 35,623 22,917 1,763
17 OAK 13 262,311 20,178 13 270,848 20,834 8,537 657
18 CLE 16 227,683 14,230 16 234,651 14,666 6,968 436
19 ATL 13 356,182 27,399 13 361,736 27,826 5,554 427
20 BOS 14 524,490 37,464 14 526,209 37,586 1,719 123
21 NYM 16 431,073 26,942 16 431,056 26,941 -17 -1
22 NYY 13 539,832 41,526 13 537,850 41,373 -1,982 -152
23 PHI 11 500,319 45,484 11 498,461 45,315 -1,858 -169
24 SFG 15 626,782 41,785 15 623,187 41,546 -3,595 -240
25 COL 18 600,813 33,379 18 574,595 31,922 -26,218 -1,457
26 HOU 16 404,116 25,257 16 363,346 22,709 -40,770 -2,548
27 CHW 14 315,959 22,569 14 278,763 19,912 -37,196 -2,657
28 SDP 21 556,528 26,501 21 486,596 23,171 -69,932 -3,330
29 LAA 17 653,879 38,463 17 570,776 33,575 -83,103 -4,888
30 MIN 12 461,693 38,474 12 399,110 33,259 -62,583 -5,215
total 434 12,116,403 27,918 434 12,767,434 29,418 651,031 1,500
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/8/2012.

The Royals are 6th in the MLB in per game attendance increase since over 2011. They’ve already attracted over 80,000 more fans to the ballpark. I’m going to take a stab and say that the Royals generate about $20 per person on average. That bump brings in an extra $1.6m in revenue. And all of this through a 12 game losing streak.

It’s too early to know if this season will really have an attendance increase. However, if somehow the Royals can continue to draw an additional 5,364 fans per game then in my estimation that’s a $8.7m bump in revenues. In other terms they’d only need to find another $4.8m to cover Jeff Francoeur’s contract.

My primary responsibility as a commentator is to put things into context. I try and keep things on an even keel. If people get too high or low on one thing or another, I’m there to point out why they need to take a step back. I like finding some interesting things in the numbers to bring a new fact to light. I really enjoy and take pride when I can have someone say that they hadn’t thought of it that way. But what am I supposed to do with this, this, this….hell I can’t even come up with an adjective….this streak?

Last week I said it was too early to make conclusions. It’s still too early, but things have become worse and it’s not as early. Here at RA, we’ve run the gamut. We’ve nitpicked games to focus on the micro level and we’ve said there are a lot more games and focused on the macro level. We’ve focused on the positive, the comical, the farcical and the minors. I don’t know what’s left. I’d consider this close to rock bottom, but I’ve written THAT article at least twice already.

This baseball team has problems. We all knew that. It had holes in the rotation, the lineup and on defense. We expected the bullpen to be great, but they lost one of the most effective relievers in baseball and everyone knows the bullpen Gods are fickle. But this? 3-13? No wins at home? Former Royals starting at shortstop for the Red Sox and throwing perfect games? It’s too much.

We’ve endured this for a long time. Too long. We deserve better. Baseball is supposed to be enjoyable and right now it just seems exhausting. I feel like we’re watching an endless loop of an episode of Addiction. It’s a train-wreck of self-destructive habits which don’t seem like they will ever stop. Then there is a promised change, a hint of hope and then an epilogue saying that the hopeless soul has gone back to providing sexual favors at the truck stop for some meth.

It’s not fair to us as fans because we do our part. We provide free tax money to the team, we pay absurd amounts to park our cars, eat a hot dog and get a little drunk. That’s the entire burden placed on us and in my opinion we do it damn well.

The rest of it, the building of the team, the hitting and catching of the ball. That’s on others, people we don’t have control of. Their actions and decisions effect our psyches 162+ nights a year. Their obsessions with giving up outs on the bases, fast players who can’t hit or overweight shortstops who at one time were thought to have plus–plus hands, they have an effect on us. They shouldn’t, but they do.

There is no getting around the fact that a whole series of incompetent decisions have lead us to where we are. The only thing that we can do is acknowledge it, voice our frustrations and get on with our lives. It seems bad now, but honestly, letting a dozen millionaires in uniforms ruin our night or week is absurdity. We’ve proved that we love baseball regardless of the quality of play provided for us. We enjoy the ballpark, the great plays, the bad plays and everything in between. There are still some reasons to watch this team, they’ll still provide some really amazing moments this year.

Just like the family members of the woeful addicts, we hope for a change. We will yell and scream till we’re blue in the face about why, why WHY they aren’t like they were in the old days. We remember when you were someone great. We know you can do it again. You just need to straighten out your life and stop doing these awful things to yourself.

Baseball will go on. In fact there is another game tonight. It’s another day for the Royals to prove that they can put their old ways behind them. It’s a fresh start for all of us, because it will be a 3 hour distraction from everything else. We’ll sit in our homes spending another lonely night in front of the tv, or we’ll stand around a radio after our softball game is done, or we’ll sit with our sons and daughters teaching them the game the way it was taught to us. Win or lose, we’ll still be Royals fans. We’ll still love baseball. And we’ll still pay for overpriced parking and get a little drunk at a few games each year. All doing our part beyond just hope that we’ll see that team we remember. The one who not so long ago could accomplish anything, if only they’d stop this addiction to losing.

 

- Nick Scott


The Royals are already 10 whole games into the season and it’s certainly safe to make some completely accurate assumptions about the team. Since there are only 152 more games in this season, it’s safe to say that there just isn’t enough time to make drastic changes in what has already transpired. What have we leaned from this season?

  • The Royals are a last place team. That’s a given. The team is 4 entire games out of first place with only 152 left to make up the difference. It’s just not enough. It’s true that they’re tied with the Minnesota Twins at the moment, but the Twins won last night and the Royals didn’t. That trend absolutely will continue. It’s over.

 

  • Humberto Quintaro is an offensive juggernaut. He’s hitting .368 and at WORST will have the 2nd highest single season batting average in Royals history. Although he sucks compared to…

 

  • Yuniesky Betancourt! Holy crap! The guy is hitting .389 and on pace to hit 27 bombs if he were to play in every game, which he absolutely should, I can’t see a reason not to. Another acquisition that the Royals should be proud of. Sure he has no walks, but when you hit .389 you can live without them.

 

  • Danny Duffy might win the Cy Young. He doesn’t get the benefit of pitching against the Royals like Weaver and Verlander, but his 2.13 ERA is very strong. His biggest competition is likely going to come from:

 

  • Bruce Chen, the man who will likely repeat Verlanders’s feat of MVP and Cy Young if only the Royals weren’t going to be in last place. A 1.64 ERA is amazing. That signing is a stroke of genius by the Royals, unlike…

 

  • Alex Gordon. The guy is terrible. He’s only hitting .128!?!? And he struck out to end the game last night? There’s a 100% guarantee that this contract is an abject failure and he will not ever come out of this slump. Even if he did, there’s a mere 152 games this season and 486 in the three following years. The impact of 10 games is too strong and he is what he is.

 

  • Finally, the bullpen. It was touted as being the strength of the team and has had  a bit of trouble. However we can unquestionably rank them based on this very valid sample size thusly:

1. Everett Teaford

2. Mitch Maier

3. Jose Mijares

4. Jonathan Broxton

5. Kelvin Herrera

6. Aaron Crow

7. Tim Collins

8. Greg Holland

9. Louis Coleman

 

It’s really a shame how this season has worked out. I had high hopes to see a young team take another step towards contention. I thought that .500 was a realistic goal based on their current talent level. Unfortunately, they’ll never have a chance to get the 4 games back they need to get there. Baseball is just like football, after 10 games you pretty much have all the information you need. I guess we’ll have to wait until 2013 for the Royals to snap out of their franchise slump. R.I.P. 2012 season.
- Nick Scott


There was very little (anything?) to like about the game last night. The Royals should have entered into Oakland coming off of a series win against the heavily favored Anaheim Angels with some swagger and confidence. Instead they limped in with easily the worst lineup they could put on the field. For posterity, lets put it down here and then the amount of times each guy got on base last night:

Bourgeois LF – 1
Cain CF – 0
Hosmer 1B – 2
Butler DH – 0
Francoeur RF – 1
Betancourt 3B – 1
Pena C – 0
Escobar SS – 1
NeuGetz 2B – 0

The entire starting lineup got on base 6 times. Let me get out the slide-rule…..carry the one….adjust pocket protector….yep that’s not very good. So the team was terrible at getting on base, it happens from night to night and with these particular players (Yuni, Getz, Bourgeois, Escobar, I’m looking at you) it will happen more often than not. That’s why when the guys actually get on base they need to make the best of those opportunities.

Unfortunately the Royals didn’t do that either. Hosmer was caught stealing 3rd base (not a typo), Francoeur was caught trying to steal second AND he was picked off at first. I’ll ignore Bourgeois getting caught at third, it was an amazing throw and worth the effort. So the starting lineup gets on base 6 times and they give up half of those baserunners by making boneheaded decisions on the basepaths.

The real shame of it all is that the Royals only needed 2 runs to win the game. It’s impossible to say that if the Royals had started their best offensive team that they would have put those runs across, but there is certainly a higher probability. Had the Royals let Gordon play left, Moustakas at third or if they had kept Kevin Kouzmanoff rather than Getz, they could have put up more of a fight. Instead Ned Yost wants to keep his bench involved in the game and he is scared to death of letting Moustakas hit a lefty. The Royals sacrificed their chance to win in order to make sure Chris Getz, Yuniesky Betancourt and Jason Bourgeois don’t get a little rusty. Priorities, guys, priorities.

So let’s turn to what happened on the mound for the Royals. In the ultimate results category, Mendoza had a heck of a game. The Royals only allowed 1 run in the 5.2 innings he was pitching. However, it wasn’t a pretty 1 run and it portends bad things. Mendoza allowed 5 hits and 4 walks while striking out only 2. That’s a WHIP of 1.59, which is not good. A pitcher can not survive long giving up that many baserunners. Eventually the regression to the mean specter will come calling.

I know, it’s one game in April. The Royals only lost by 1 run and it was on the road. There’s a whole lot more games to come and it’s a lot to expect the best 9 to play 162. There was just a whole combination of things last night that had me thinking about how many things can go wrong and how much has to go right for the Royals to contend.

They just can’t give away a game to a team like the A’s in this fashion. They can’t put the happiness of Getz over the welfare of the team. They absolutely can NOT run into outs and walk from the batters box to the dugout at this rate. Fortunately today is a new day and the Royals get another shot at the A’s. Maybe, just maybe the team and management were given their copies of Moneyball (sent from a nice doctor in the Chicagoland area) and realized how important outs are and that they should cherish them at all costs.

In the quest for the postseason every game is important. That includes tonight’s game.

- Nick Scott


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