Thursday was the Royals final off day in 2010. It’s really difficult to believe this season is almost complete.
For the final two plus weeks of the year, I’d really love to see Ned Yost play guys like Kila Ka’aihue and Alex Gordon everyday. Wilson Betemit, too. Of course Billy Butler. Why not just lock those four into the third through six spots in the order and see what happens? So far, the Royals have used 92 batting orders in 144 games. That’s actually pretty stable. They’ve used two different lineups on 10 occasions. Unfortunately, both those lineups had Scott Podsednik at the top of the order. Since the August purge, there hasn’t been a ton of lineup stability.
I’d like to see some over the final handful of games. Just for fun.
It’s never too early to think about next year. Especially since we’re Royals fans.
— Have you noticed Yuniesky Betancourt has the exact same OPS+ as the recently departed Wee Willie Bloomquist? Where have all my favorite Royal PR tweeters?
— Two of the top three Royals in WAR have had fewer than 375 plate appearances. And three of the top five aren’t even on the active roster. That’s kind of depressing.
— As long as we’re talking about Royals no longer on the active roster, let’s check in with some of our departed favorites:
Kerosene Kyle has a 5.40 ERA, but that’s deceptive. He’s still throwing gas, striking out 19 in 15 innings. However, the Braves quickly learned you don’t trust the guy in high leverage situations. He hasn’t pitched in a pressure situation since allowing a pair of inherited runners to score on August 25.
Ankiel has been predictably awful, hitting .207/.311/.304 in 106 plate appearances. His 36 strikeouts for the Braves is pretty much on pace for what he did with the Royals. The Braves are battling for their postseason life, so they’ve wisely pulled back on his playing time the last couple of weeks.
The Braves had a 3.5 game lead over the Phillies in the NL East when they made the trade. They’re now three games behind the Phillies, although they have a half game lead over the Giants in the Wild Card. We will fondly remember this pair when Little Timmy Collins is throwing gas at the K.
Speaking of the Giants, Guillen has posted a line of .280/.318/.366 since joining San Francisco. He has just five extra base hits in 88 plate appearances and three walks against 21 strikeouts. New zip code, same old approach. Except the Giants have to play him in the field where his defense has been exactly as bad as you would imagine.
My old favorite contact hitter is batting .273/.314/.341 since being the first domino to fall. He’s making more contact (94% of all swings meet the bat) but his power is down since joining the Angels.
We knew it couldn’t possibly last. We knew it. It didn’t. Pods hit just .262/.313/.336 for the Dodgers with just five steals in eight attempts. He somehow grounded into five double plays in 20 opportunities. He’s out for the rest of the season with plantar fasciitis.
The Dodgers were in third place six games out when Podsednik arrived. They’re now 10.5 games back and in fourth.
— MLB released their 2011 master schedule this week. The Royals open at home on March 31 (a Thursday) against the Angels. That’s a good Opening Day opponent. To wrap the season, 23 of their final 30 games will be against AL Central opponents. That’s not really a big deal for 2011. Someday… It will matter.
For the interleague, the Royals will travel to St. Louis, Colorado and San Diego. I thought the idea behind interleague play was to give teams some variety of opponents. I understand the “natural” rivalry with the Cardinals, but this is the second year in a row we’re facing off against the Rockies.
The Yankees and Red Sox make their only trip to Kansas City in the same week in the middle of August. Good, get that out of the way in one homestand. In all seriousness though, I’m happy to see the way the schedule worked out on this one. We know the Yankees and Red Sox with their midwestern based bandwagon fans fill the K when they come to town. It seems like the last several seasons, the Royals have had opening day against either one of those teams basically combining two big attendance days in one. And since the number of seats are limited… You don’t have to be an economist to figure this one out.
Because of their interleague trip to San Diego, the Royals will be making three West Coast swings instead of two like they had this year. Keep those frequent flyer accounts updated.
Of course the huge news is the Cubs are coming. Again, this is good for attendance figures and the bottom line, but bad for my psyche. Why? Because I don’t like the Cubs, that’s why. And I don’t like the people who will invade the K that have never been to Chicago, yet claim to be Cub fans. We get that enough when the Yankees and Red Sox come to town.
Oh well… If I want it to be different, the Royals will need to start winning again.