The Ned Yost Bump is officially over. Part of it is the team’s natural regression. They aren’t a .500 team. They just aren’t. It was nice of them to win 17 of Yost’s first 32 games in charge or whatever, but that wasn’t going to last. They’ve now rolled off five straight losses to teams from the National League East. I thought the Royals kicked NL ass. Guess not anymore.
– I was mildly impressed by Anthony Lerew on Tuesday. He gave up a couple of solo home runs (which apparently is how the Royals plan to handle the Nats in this series) but worked out of his only real rough patch in the fourth by allowing only one run. I wouldn’t want him making 30 odd starts for this team, but he did a nice job in a spot start.
He threw 71% of his fastballs for strikes which was setting up a few swing and misses on his change. He mixed in a handful of sliders, but otherwise he relied on his fastball/change combo. His fastest pitch on the night was his second to last offering – a 93 mph fastball to Alberto Gonzalez that was fouled off. Mix a rain delay in, and it was a good start for Lerew.
The Royals have been lucky. They’ve received some quality starts from Bruce Chen and Lerew while Luke Hochevar and Gil Meche have been on the DL. OK… I’ll point out the obvious: Chen and Lerew have outpitched the guys they replaced.
That’s what you would call a bonus.
– Kendall Watch: In 77 plate appearances since assuming the number two spot in the lineup on June 3, Jason Kendall is hitting .176/.237/.191. The 12 RBI are nice, but he’s made three outs on the bases during this time and scored only three runs.
If Ned Yost wants me to turn against him, his diabolical plan is working.
There is just no reason for him to a) play Kendall every freaking day and b) hit him second. Enough.
– Jose Guillen picked up a pair of hits on Tuesday and has now hit in 17 consecutive games. If you follow the Royals PR people and the beat writers on Twitter, they’re always quick to point out these hitting streaks. For some reason, that’s annoying me these days.
Look, I appreciate that Guillen has raised his batting average almost 30 points this month. It’s great that he’s getting on base at a .385 clip during this streak. However THE STREAK glosses over a very important fact:
Guillen’s power has once again disappeared. Vanished.
Yes, he’s swinging a hot bat. A hot singles bat. This month he’s collected just five extra base hits – two doubles, a triple and a pair of home runs. His last extra base hit was back on June 11. His last home run was June 6.
So while it’s great that Guillen is stringing together a bunch of hits, we need to keep this in perspective. Something is sapping his power. I’m thinking he won’t start on Wednesday (day game, Strasburg pitching… all that) but playing in the field for five consecutive days is going to take a toll as well. Is it a coincidence that his power took a vacation when Guillen started playing in the field? I don’t know about that, but in this case, the numbers don’t lie.
I still think the impending Guillen Winter is going to be particularly harsh. I figure once his streak ends, he’ll go completely into the tank. If there are any trade offers out there after the Royals have “showcased” him in right, they have to pull the trigger. Take whatever you can get and move on.
– Wednesday is Strasburg day. I’m looking forward to this game. I’ve watched a couple of Strasburg’s starts and the hype is justified. It will be interesting to see how the Royals fare. Let’s keep expectations low.