Dayton Moore is laughing at us.
Blasted for doing nothing at the trade deadline. Lampooned for discovering that Eric Hosmer had a broken bone just hours after the deadline. Chided for carrying a three man bench. Winners of two of three against one of the best teams in the league. Go figure, man, go figure.
While I would not say the Royals played great baseball this past weekend, they played good enough to not waste two outstanding pitching performances. That is really the recipe for this team: get good pitching and cobble together just enough quality at-bats (they are few and far between with this lineup) to get the game to the back end of the bullpen. Can they do that enough to overtake Toronto for the second wild-card spot? I’m skeptical, but we’ll have to give them credit for taking two of three on the road from a team that is really, really good.
Some random thoughts:
- For the thirteenth time this year, James Shields pitched seven innings or more and also for the thirteenth time this season he allowed two runs or less in a start. Yes, we all miss Wil Myers and we all know how good Jake Odorizzi has been of late, but perhaps we can maybe not make fun of Shields’ nickname every time he gives up a two-run homer? You can lay all the blame for The Trade on The Process Master and do it all day long, but let’s give James Shields credit for being exactly what the Royals thought they were getting.
- I can barely tolerate a seven man bullpen, much less EIGHT. Yet, the Royals – fed by Ned Yost’s absolute hysteria about overusing relievers – carried eight pitchers in the pen through the weekend and might continue to do so for the coming week. After all, you the world would probably stop spinning if you lost Scott Downs, Francisely Bueno or Bruce Chen to a waiver claim.
- Of course, the flipside to the above is who should the Royals actually call up? There are roster implications to be sure, but perhaps the overriding factor is the ‘who’. Justin Maxwell has been up and down and out and in and up and down with one constant: he never hits like you think he should. Francisco Pena? Intriguing. Matt Fields? A feel good story. Whit Merrifield? Versatile. Johnny Giavotella? Okay, just stop it. Let’s face it, can’t you just feel a Ryan Howard acquisition coming?
- With regard to the above, the Royals have called many of the names in mentioned ‘org guys’. I know what that means, but what does it mean? Aren’t the ‘org guys’ who you turn to for a few spot starts when you’re regulars are hurt? Almost unquestionably none of the org guys are long-term solutions, but they might give you a good week or two (remember ‘org guy’ Aaron Guiel?) or maybe even a BABIP-fairy fueled great half-season (remember ‘org guy’ Mike Aviles?). A team that is batting Eric Kratz, Mike Moustakas and AARP member Raul Ibanez in the six hole can probably take a flyer on someone against a lefty starter.
The Royals relax in Arizona today before starting a three game set against a not very good Diamondbacks team. They return home for seven against the Giants and A’s before finishing off the month with 12 of their next 16 against Minnesota, Colorado and Texas. You can do the math on that: hold your own over the next ten games and then do damage against a soft schedule.
I think it is okay to be excited about the playoff race and simultaneously disgusted by 80% of what this organization does (or doesn’t) do. That’s pretty much what following the Royals is all about.