Royals Authority

Long Live The Process

Dayton Moore has unleashed The Process.

Eric Hosmer gets the call from Omaha and Kila Ka’aihue is optioned back to Triple-A. To make room on the roster, the Royals move Jason Kendall to the 60-day DL.

Gut reaction: This is great for the Royals. Hosmer is raking and this is deserved. Sucks for Kila, though. The team just never gave him a fair shake. I know that’s a somewhat controversial stance, but one month of a season isn’t enough time. And the Royals wasted two seasons where they could have (and should have) been looking at him. Too late now.

More later…

Headlines bedevil me at times, but given that last night’s 3-2 loss to the Orioles seemed to hinge on a ball getting stuck under the padding of the outfield wall, the title seems appropriate. 

As detailed in many places, Baltimore’s Adam Jones made a heads-up play and the correct play in signalling for a ground rule double on what would have been a Mike Aviles triple.  He doesn’t have to try to get the ball, nor does it matter that he could have easily gotten the ball.    Rules are rules and smart baseball is smart baseball (and also fair, by the way).    The Royals have a ton of late and close wins this year, think of last night as a little retribution for the baseball gods.

Kyle Davies had a very ‘Daviesish’ sort of outing:  6.1 innings, 3 runs, 3 strikeouts, 3 walks, 2 hit batters and allowing SEVEN Orioles to reach base after he had recorded two outs in an inning.  I don’t know, Kyle was competent and kept his team in the game into the seventh inning, but man he is hard to love, isn’t he?    

Do you send Davies out to start the seventh inning?   I ask that as a genuine question as, in real time, I debated with myself whether I do or not.  One factor in Ned Yost’s thinking had to be that he had used virtually the entire bullpen the night before and, rightly or wrongly, Yost has been loathe to use his young reliever on back to back days.   Well, unless you are Tim Collins and then you WILL PITCH EVERY GAME.

Speaking of Tim Collins, the lefty has 13 strikeouts versus 4 walks when facing right-handed batters.   Against lefthanders, however, Collins has 8 strikeouts versus 13 walks.   Regardless, Yost brought Collins in specifically to face a left-handed hitter for the second consecutive night.  

With two more hits last night, one would think that Mike Aviles has to be close to reestablishing himself as part of the Royals’ everyday lineup.   After a dismal start, Mike is up to a line of .262/.289/.548/.837 with 5 home runs and 6 steals.     No, he is not a prototypical lead-off hitter (just 3 walks and 17 strikeouts) and no, he is not the defensive equal of Chris Getz.    The question, however, is not Aviles v. Getz, it is or at least should be, Getz v. Ka’aihue.

The Royals need pop in the lineup to try to offset their very marginal starting rotation.   Aviles brings a six somewhat competent bat into the lineup at the expense of some defense (not a lot in my opinion) and some speed (again, not all that much).   Not to mention that he is one guy in this whole equation that actually has a track record of hitting major league pitching.

So, the situation really comes down to who do the Royals think will eventually hit?   Getz or Ka’aihue?  Does Chris Getz bring enough with the glove at second to justify putting his career Royals line of .235/.308/.279 in the batting order?   Do you have enough belief in Ka’aihue’s impressive minor league resume to keep writing down his name in hopes that this .195/.295/.317 start is just a rough patch soon to be erased by a pile of walks and home runs?

Frankly, the Royals do not even have to decide.   They can alternate or swap those two players in out of the lineup at will.  A batting order with both Getz and Ka’aihue in it, however, simply is one with two many weak spots.   One or the other, not both.

So I’m thinking of just giving up and joining the French Quarter section in right field and becoming a member of the Jeff Francoeur Fan Club.

Why not? The guy continues to rake. A game-tying home run in the bottom of the sixth and the winning sacrifice fly in the tenth… Good enough for me.

It’s not going to last… Not with a walk rate of 5.7% and a 15.6% HR/FB rate. We can talk all we want to about an alleged change in approach, but I don’t think he’s doing anything differently. Just getting some big hits.

Doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the show.

And maybe I’m a sucker, but after watching a couple of inept fielders patrol right field for the last several seasons, it’s nice to see a guy who can actually play some defense. He made a nice play going back on a ball last night and collected another assist.

Really, you can’t have a much better game than the one Francoeur had last night.

I’m on board. For now.

Meanwhile, I’m really starting to question what goes on in a Ned Yost dugout. I’ve criticized him for his bullpen management and for what I consider to be over management at times with excessive pinch runners and some other odd in-game decisions.

Last night was simply inexplicable for other reasons.

How in the world do you let Alcides Escobar and Chris Getz bat with the winning run in scoring position? Fortunately, Escobar hit the ball on the nose and produced a sharp grounder to short that Robert Andino couldn’t handle. (Really too bad the official scorer didn’t throw Escobar a bone and give him a hit. I was driving around last night and heard Denny at one point say, “Escobar is 0-2 tonight.” Denny has probably said that sentence about 25 times this season.)

So at this point in the game, you have the winning run on third with one out. To let Getz walk to the plate in this situation is managerial malpractice. In a situation where you need at least a fly ball to score a run, you’re letting a guy with a 30% fly ball rate try to bring him in. Nevermind the fact that the odds of Getz collecting a base hit are long. And as we saw, even a ground ball wasn’t enough to get the run home for the win. Crazy.

Sometimes, I like to give the manager the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he wants to play the percentages with the lefty Getz hitting against the right-handed Jason Berken. Only one problem with that line of thought… Both Kila Ka’aihue and Mitch Maier are on the bench. And as we know, both are left-handed batters.

Again, this inactivity from Yost defies logic. He must have taken a nap in the ninth.

Of course, it could be argued that Brayan Pena – who was on second for Escobar and third for Getz should have been lifted for a pinch runner. Namely Maier. How big of an uproar would there have been had Getz muscled a fly ball to shallow right, only to have had Pena gunned down at the plate. We all know if there was going to be a pinch runner Yost has to have Jarrod Dyson. Despite the ankle sprain, the Royals insist he’s available. I have to differ with this assessment. If he was healthy, he would have been on second practically before Pena touched the bag on his double.

— At the end of the night, the Royals had four hitters with an OPS north of .900. Alex Gordon (.913), Billy Butler (.917), Jeff Francoeur (.956) and Wilson Betemit (.902) form a comfortable middle of the order. Part of why everyone is so giddy about this start is because we’ve finally got a middle of the lineup that can actually, you know… produce.

Of course, it might not always be this way. Still, it’s real easy to enjoy.

— The question has been making the rounds… When do we start to worry about Escobar’s bat. Still love the defense, but after last night, his OPS dipped to .498. Not good.

— For those who are worried about Soria, the good news is, he missed a couple of bats last night. Including a swinging strikeout on Nick Markakis. For those of you who lean to the pessimist side of the equation, it’s not that big of an accomplishment to get Markakis out on strikes. At least this season. That guy is in a horrible, horrible place, hitting just .207/.276/.288 in his first 28 games.

Soria also looked to have better command of his curveball. Although he wasn’t able to get the strike call.

I hope you all enjoyed your Royals off-day yesterday. They’re  much nicer when the team is in sole possession of 2nd place in the American League Central. On days without games my thoughts wander across a multitude of things across the baseball landscape. Since I’m a baseball junkie and a subscriber to, I spend my off-days watching a variety of non-Royals baseball.  I like to look in on what the other AL Central teams are doing and root for them to lose. However even on Royals game-days I tend to end my evenings listening to the soothing sounds of Vin Scully, the announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The term “living legend” seems to get tossed around quite a bit, but rarely is it as appropriate as when discussing Vin Scully. He’s been calling Dodgers games since 1950. Let that sink in for a moment. For a bit of perspective, he was calling the game for the Dodgers when Bobby Thomson hit “the shot heard around the world”. It would be an epic display of hubris if I were to believe that I could sum up the greatness of hearing Vin Scully in a post on this website. It’s something one must hear and experience in it’s raw form to truly enjoy.

My thoughts yesterday also drifted towards the 2012 All Star game which will be held in Kansas City. It’s going to be the biggest sporting event that our fine city will host since the 1988 Final Four. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a spotlight of that magnitude on the city of fountains and it will be remembered for decades.

Fox will be broadcasting the 2012 All-Star game which means they will probably trot out their pairing of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver to do the announcing duties. That duo has called every All-Star game since 2001 and before that they called the game in 1999, 1997, 1991 and 1990. If you’re counting at home, that’s 15 times including 2011. They are a duo which has become synonymous with big baseball events, but only out of sheer repetition.

The All-Star game should be voiced by All-Star caliber announcers. Too many fans never got to hear Ernie Harwell or Harry Kalas call a game before they passed away. Few fans outside of Kansas City have ever heard Denny Matthews ply his trade. Giving them the spotlight for one night where fans around the country tune in would be a fitting tribute.

So I want to launch a campaign today here on this blog. I want Vin Scully to call the 2012 All-Star game. Every fan in baseball should get the privilege of hearing Vin Scully’s voice accompanying a baseball game without having to shell out the money it takes to subscribe to or MLB Extra Innings. The summer classic deserves a voice worthy of the event.

I know that it’s likely an impossible task and the possibility of it actually coming to fruition is nearly non-existent, but hey it’s worth a shot, right? That one guy got Betty White to host Saturday Night Live. Maybe we can even get really crazy and have Denny Matthews and Vin Scully in the booth together. An epic pairing of  Hall-of-Fame announcers presiding over a field with future Hall-of-Fame players.

Even though I may be tilting at windmills, I’ve created a facebook page that you can “like” and I’ve started using the Twitter hashtag #vinfor2012. If you’re so inclined, maybe our voices can be heard in enough numbers to give Vin Scully the recognition he deserves and let the millions of baseball fans across the world get one night of the greatest voice in baseball describing a game that we all will be watching.

Nick Scott hosts the Broken Bat Single Podcast and writes a blog for the Lawrence Journal World. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook or email him at brokenbatsingle at gmail dot com.

Wow, just a few things went on this weekend.   We had the NFL Draft, a guy named bin Laden was erased from the face of the earth and the Royals swept the Twins.  Now, if we have to debate which of the three is the most important story, then I will pick up my toys and go home.   

You might have noticed over the years, that this is not a world affairs blog nor do we talk about the NFL.   As such, we can discuss a very big sweep over Minnesota and just generally think happy thoughts throughout this off-day.

I think a lot of us thought Kansas City was about to go into ‘the big slide’ that we have so often seen in the past.   After leaping out of the gates by winning ten of their first fourteen games, the Royals had floundered all the way to a game under .500.    They had been swept in back to back road series, looking very 2006-ish in getting drubbed in Cleveland.

The here-we-go-again feeling certainly had overtaken me.   One could almost feel a stretch of games coming that would see the Royals drop twenty out of twenty-five and sink once more out of the collective national baseball consciousness.     Instead, however, we saw this team right itself and sweep the Twins:  obliterating them in the final two games of the series. 

At this point in time, the Minnesota Twins are an injured, hapless bunch, but there is something to be said for beating teams that are not playing well.    There is also something to be said for playing baseball in your home park.

In 2010, the average home record of American League teams was 45-35 (yes, I know that doesn’t add up to 81) and the average road record was just 36-44.   Only four teams had losing records at home, while five teams managed to post a winning record on the road.   In 2009, the averages are similar: 46-35 at home and 35-45 on the road.  Like in 2010, four teams posted losing home records, but only two were overall winners on the road.

There is nothing earth shattering in those numbers and, without looking, I have to imagine that we could go back a great number of years and generally see similar results.   Quite frankly, Dorothy, there is no place like home.  For the Royals, that seems particularly true through the early part of the 2011 schedule.

On their way to posting a 12-5 home record, the Royals have average 5.6 runs per game and posted a robust team slash line of .278/.355/.446.   The pitching staff has held opponents to a .256 batting average on their way to posting a 3.64 earned run average and allowed less than one home run per game (14 in 17 contests).

On the road, Kansas City is just 3-8 and averaging only 4.5 runs per game.   The offense has hit just .268/.318/.410 and the pitching staff has posted a 5.95 ERA and allowed the opposing teams to hit .307.  The pitchers have also given up 21 home runs in just 11 games, despite posting a better strikeout to walk ration (1.97 on the road as opposed to just 1.51 at home).

Obviously, just 17% of the way through the schedule, the imbalance of who the Royals have played at home versus the teams they have faced on the road versus who was hot and who was hurt all skew the results.   Still, those are pretty dramatic differences on both sides of the ball.   Given the youth of this team and type of starting pitching they employ, none of us are probably overly surprised by the split, but I found it interesting.

It also gives me some  hope that despite a tough 31 game stretch that began with the Twins’ series, with 19 of those games at home, the Royals might be able to stick around that .500 mark through the end of May.   Should they manage that feat, then the discussion gets extremely interesting on many fronts.   Defending the home field over the next six games against Baltimore and Oakland will be critical.

Now a couple of bullet points to finish up:

  • As has been discussed in many locations, the inclusion of Jarrod Dyson on the 25 man roster is a somewhat curious decision.    While he has made an impact in the role this year, there just are not a lot of pinch-runner/defensive replacement guys being carried by anyone these days, but I was envisioning the scenario wherein doing so makes sense and also does not cripple a manager’s ability to make in-game moves.  It would seem to me, that having good enough pitching to go with an 11 man staff instead of 12 is the key.  In the Royals’ case, that would allow them to carry an extra infielder.   On days when the lineup includes Getz, Aviles and Betemit (one of the latter two DHing), you would still be able to pinch hit for Escobar or Getz.   I am not really against having Dyson on the current roster, just thinking how a ‘Dyson-like’ role fits on a logical 25 man set-up.
  • Speaking of defense, I have a hard time justifying a weak bat at any position other than catcher and shortstop.   Simply put, it does not seem to me that any other position effect the defense enough to carry a sub .700 OPS.   I bring that up, because Mike Aviles is hitting and Chris Getz is not.    The Royals have no real options but to play Alcides Escobar (whose defense is great, but he really needs to post an OPS well above his current .516), and the two catchers and they remain loyal to Kila Ka’aihue and probably should for another three or four weeks.   They have an option at second to add another offensive weapon and should use it on an everyday basis, even if it does mean weaker defense.
  • Finally, I am pretty ambivalent when it comes to Mitch Maier, but it was nice to see him have a big day on Sunday after replacing Jarrod Dyson.   Mitch now has a grand total of 11 plate appearances in 2011.  It is tough duty to be the last guy on the bench and easy place to lose focus.  To his credit Maier has been a true professional and kept himself ready to play even though he knows the odds are that he seldom will.  That is a subtle addition to clubhouse chemistry that should not be overlooked.

Is four of the next six a realistic goal?  I would like to think so, although Royals pitchers will not be able to walk 17 batters in a series and get away with it very often.

Who knew that it would take a four game losing streak for Nervous Ned to go into full meltdown mode?

Maybe meltdown is a little harsh, but you have to question what’s going through the manager’s mind when he moves Alex Gordon from left field to first base for two games in a row. One game… OK. Whatever. Two games… You start to wonder what’s going on. Is this a move to jumpstart a lethargic lineup, or is this some sort of larger plan?

Short-term, basically what Yost is doing is replacing Kila in the lineup with Dyson. Even though Kila is struggling (looking at strikes down the middle of the plate and then swinging at off speed pitches in the right-handed batters box qualifies as struggling) he’s still a better bet for the Royals than Dyson. Nothing against the guy, but I’ll take Kila’s power potential over Dyson’s speed.

Really, I don’t have an issue playing Gordon at first. But the Royals have Billy Butler, who is jonesing for some defensive playing time. Not that Butler is ever going to win a Gold Glove, but throw the guy a bone… He’s put in the work, why not let him get some time in the field if you want to give Kila a break. It’s not like Butler is a long-term solution with Eric Hosmer waiting in the wings. That makes this move even more bizarre. If the Royals didn’t have stud first base prospect a couple of months away, maybe this makes a little bit of sense. Otherwise, no.

Here’s why you don’t jack with Gordon and his glove. First, he’s proven himself to be above average defensively. Yes, he gets some bum jumps every now and then, but he’s athletic enough to recover and make plays. I can’t remember a time when I felt he did something wrong out there. This is not the Mark Teahen situation where the guy consistently took poor routes. Gordon is legit. Second, his arm is a weapon. When you have a guy with a gun like that, why the heck would you waste it at first? His arm is so strong and accurate, I’d have zero problem if he played right field. But first? Just wasteful.

For the record, I don’t think this defensive shift is why Gordon is 0-fer his last two games. He’s been rolling with the bat, so a move with the glove shouldn’t have any kind of impact. But Nervous Ned put himself and Gordon in this position to second guess because of the hitting streak and Gordon’s hot start. It’s coincidence that Gordon didn’t get a hit in the last two games. But Yost is going to take some heat for this.

This move proves that SABR Trey didn’t corner the market on managerial crazy. Managers will do nutty things sometimes to jump start a lethargic lineup, but moving Gordon defensively weakens the lineup. This really shouldn’t go any further. It needs to stop now, please.

My dislike for Kyle Davies as a starter has been well documented. Last night, Kyle proved that regression was an evil bitch as he coughed up four home runs. Given his propensity to put runners on base, he’s fortunate all four were solo shots. I saw on the post game where Yost said he made good pitches. Bull. Three of the four were right in the happy zone. Belt high and center of the plate.

Still utterly confused by the Tim Collins usage. Another game, another appearance. This time, Yost used him for 2.2 innings in a game where the Royals were trailing 8-0. So does this mean Collins is the mop-up guy now? He appeared in four of the six games on the road trip.

The Royals didn’t hold the lead once during their road trip. This is a trend that is going to happen from time to time given the (lack of) starting pitching. Entering the season, we figured this would happen. The hot start masked some inefficiencies and fooled a lot of people. With a winless roadtrip, the bandwagon is down to three wheels and the axle is threatening to come off altogether.

I can’t get too down about this rough patch. Yost may be panicking, but this was expected. This seems like a good time to remind ourselves that this season is about transition. There will be more rough games ahead. Keep your eyes on the big picture. The only thing that should be troubling at this point is a manager who seems to be freaking out.

Episode #052 – In which I take a look back at the Cleveland Indians series, discuss lineups, the inability of the pen to get out lefties and preview the series with the Minnesota Twins. Aaron Stilley drops by to talk about Jeff Francoeur’s approach and Alcides Escobar’s bat.


Follow Nick on Twitter @brokenbatsingle or on Facebook

Follow Aaron on Twitter @kc_baseball and check out his articles on Francoeur and Escobar

Music used in this podcast

Phish – Wilson

Arcade Fire – Wake Up

RJD2 – Smoke & Mirrors

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I struggled with a topic today:  one of those ‘many ideas, none of them very good’ sort of things.   The thought of tempering the despair that is swirling around a .500 team that has dropped eight of its last ten games came to mind, but I pretty much did that earlier this week.   The idea to take a jab at the mainstream media for its inability to distinguish between random comments and actual bloggers was appealing as was a jab at some of our own who have quickly determined that, once again, there is likely no hope.   Of course, maybe they are just being contrarian or (gasp!) maybe they are just plain smarter than I and actually right.    That couldn’t be, could it?  Even if they are smarter, I bet the paneling in my mom’s basement is nicer than theirs!

None of the above topics get us anywhere.   The discussion around Alcides Escobar’s bat and glove has gone to such levels that I simply cannot offer one more sentence (other than this one) on that subject.  Ned Yost did insert both Mike Aviles and Wilson Betemit into the lineup last night, as I had hoped, benching Chris Getz and Kila Ka’aihue.   The Royals need offense, right now, and those two guys have a chance to bring them some.

Aviles, who became the fans’ whipping boy for having a bad six game stretch to open the season, gets to prove himself all over again (for the third time) and Betemit has hit so well since Kansas City called him up last summer that he has earned the right to prove whether he can keep doing it.  How long Yost stays with those two guys remains to be seen.   The public comments seem to indicate that last night’s lineup change was not a one and done sort of deal.

I would not have moved Alex Gordon out of left to play first base, opting instead to play Butler at first and DH Melky Cabrera.   Billy is not a good first baseman, he’s not even an average first baseman, but he has played there much more than Gordon and really, really wants to play in the field more.   To date, Gordon has played an excellent left field – albeit making some diving plays because of poor reads, but making them nonetheless – and it seems as if the Royals took a good fielder and put him at an unfamiliar position to keep, at best, a similar fielder in Melky Cabrera in his spot.

All that said, for a few games, I am not going to sweat the move.   Long term, Kansas City needs to stick Gordon in left and leave him be.   Short term, if they want to play Jarrod Dyson (who swung at eight of the first ten pitches he saw last night, by the way) and let Kila Ka’aihue sit, no big harm there, either.    Any reader to this site knows I was a huge proponent for Kila to get a legitimate shot in the majors, but even I could use a four or five game break from watching the big guy take pitches down the middle of the plate and flail at those diving away from him outside the zone.

When can discuss lineups all you want, but the truth is that Ned Yost does not have a lot of options.   Alcides Escobar will play shortstop every day this season and likely every day next season, no matter what he hits.   Neither Matt Treanor nor Brayan Pena has hit much at catcher and my call to upgrade the offense was based on getting Mike Aviles, currently hitting .234, into the lineup.   You do the math.

As discussed earlier this week, getting a couple of wins in Cleveland would have gone a long way towards launching the Royals on a positive start to what is going to be a rugged month of games.   That has not happened, obviously, and right now 2011 is beginning to feel a lot like 2010.   If juggling the lineup, even in a somewhat odd fashion, stops the bleeding however temporarily, then it’s worth a shot.

There is a pretty good chance the shake up will have little effect.   The possibility that Jarrod Dyson makes us all think that Alcides Escobar and Matt Treanor are not so bad at the plate is very real.   An infield that includes Betemit, Aviles and Gordon might be a defensive house of horrors and, frankly, unless the starting pitching reverts to early season form none of it will matter.

I give credit to Yost for trying something different.

After the Indian home run barrage on Tuesday, Royal pitcher now have served up 29 home runs… Most in the American League. Bruce Chen and last night’s starter, Luke Hochevar are responsible for more than half that total.

It took a few weeks, but as the team drifts closer to the .500 mark, it seems safe to say that this pitching staff is what we thought it would be as far as performance. However, while the bullpen has been a strength, it seems as though it is teetering as well.

It’s time to examine Ned Yost’s pattern of bullpen usage.

— Through the first 23 games of the season, Tim Collins has appeared in 13 games. That’s simply a workload that is unsustainable. At his current usage level, the diminutive left-hander will appear in 92 games. 92! That would have tied for the major league lead last season.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Collins, but there’s absolutely no reason to use (and abuse) a 21 year old rookie like that.

So I’m a little confused why he entered the game last night.

I understand that the Cleveland portion of the lineup featured two left-handed hitters in Hannahan and Brantly. But in a 7-3 game, would Yost play the match-ups? (Probably best not to answer that.)

Plus, Collins is far from being a lefty specialist. With his delivery and stuff, he’s been much more effective against right-handed bats than those who bat from the left.

— Then, there’s Joakim Soria. Has anyone seen the Royals closer? Of course, there haven’t been any save situations in the last week. So the last time Soria appeared was way back on April 19th when he needed 23 pitches to lock down the save. This is something that could actually work in the Royals favor, as Yost leaned extremely heavily on Soria over the season’s opening two weeks. In the Royals first nine games, Soria threw seven times.

I don’t know what Yost is saving him for at this point. He needs work. The way the starting pitching has been going, there aren’t going to be many save opportunities around the corner.

— Has Aaron Crow done something to fall out of favor? I ask because he’s thrown a grand total of 20 pitches since April 18. Kind of weird after Yost leaned on him so heavily at the start of the season.

— Perhaps he’s been replaced in the pecking order by Louis Coleman. He’s looked great since his recall from Omaha on April 21 – that home run from Tuesday aside. Yost has called on Coleman to throw in three of the five games he’s been with the team.

— Nate Adcock finally got into a game last week… A mere 16 days since his last appearance.

I understand that Adcock is the Rule 5 guy and as such, must remain on the 25 man roster for the entire season. What I don’t understand is why you would burn a roster spot on a guy you don’t trust. He’s made three appearances on the season. Why wouldn’t Yost use a guy like this in a game like Tuesday? The Royals are down 7-3 in the eighth inning on the road… Seems almost tailor made. A perfect opportunity for the rookie to get some work. At the very least, you save a truly valuable guy like Collins.

This is going to sound like second-guessing (never done that before…) but I wasn’t happy to see Collins enter the game last night. It just seems like he’s Yost’s go-to guy, no matter the situation. Every manager is going to have favorites, especially in the bullpen where players run excruciatingly hot and cold. A good manager will resist the temptation of bias and will effectively balance a bullpen. Looking at the long view and all that.

It’s only April, but it really looks like Yost is failing this portion of his job description.

For a variety of reasons, we don’t typically do series previews here at Royals Authority. One reason is that there haven’t been a whole lot of important series in the past few years that are worth previewing. The upcoming series with the Cleveland Indians could be quite the turning point in the season, so I think it’s valuable to take a peek at what’s to come.

The series with the Indians is a battle for first place in the American League Central. The last time the two teams met, the series ended in a 2-2 tie. This one is a three gamer, so there will inevitably be a winner and a loser. Both teams are also currently on  three game losing streaks so, something has to give.

Who’s hot?

The Indians’ Travis Hafner is hitting .348/.395/.580 on the season so far. He’s gone hitless in only 3 of the 19 games he’s played in this season.

The Royals’ Alex Gordon is currently in the midst of a career long 18 game hitting streak. His off-the-cuff remarks in the off-season about “dominating” seem to be coming true for the moment.


Game 1

Time: 6:05

TV: Fox Sports Kansas City

Probable Pitchers:

Luke Hochevar

2011 27 KCR AL 2 2 .500 5.12 5 5 31.2 27 21 18 6 7 0 20 79 1.074 7.7 1.7 2.0 5.7 2.86
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 4/26/2011.

Justin Masterson

2011 26 CLE AL 4 0 1.000 1.71 4 4 26.1 21 5 5 0 9 0 15 218 1.139 7.2 0.0 3.1 5.1 1.67
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 4/26/2011.

Game 2

Time: 6:05

TV: Fox Sports Kansas City

Probable Pitchers

Jeff Francis

2011 30 KCR AL 0 2 .000 4.06 5 5 31.0 36 15 14 4 4 0 16 99 1.290 10.5 1.2 1.2 4.6 4.00
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 4/26/2011.

Josh Tomlin

2011 26 CLE AL 3 0 1.000 2.33 4 4 27.0 17 7 7 3 7 0 15 160 0.889 5.7 1.0 2.3 5.0 2.14
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 4/26/2011.


Game 3

Time: 6:05

TV: Fox Sports Kansas City

Probable Pitchers

Kyle Davies

2011 27 KCR AL 1 2 .333 6.23 5 5 26.0 34 19 18 1 9 0 19 65 1.654 11.8 0.3 3.1 6.6 2.11
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 4/26/2011.

Fausto Carmona

2011 27 CLE AL 1 3 .250 5.76 5 5 29.2 29 20 19 4 11 1 21 65 1.348 8.8 1.2 3.3 6.4 1.91

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 4/26/2011.

What are your thoughts on the upcoming series?

Nick Scott hosts the Broken Bat Single Podcast and writes a blog for the Lawrence Journal World. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook or email him at brokenbatsingle at gmail dot com.
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