Another night, another way to win. One day after Alex Gordon clobbered an epic walk off home run, the Royals bats slumbered for seven innings before the great awakening in the eighth.
Twins starter Phil Hughes had the Royals hacking. I mean, he’s a good pitcher, having a good year after signing with the Twins. But, damn if the Royals didn’t help him out. Here are the number of pitches he threw by inning prior to the big eighth:
1st inning – 11 pitches
2nd inning – 11 pitches
3rd inning – 9 pitches
4th inning – 16 pitches
5th inning – 7 pitches
6th inning – 8 pitches
7th inning – 8 pitches
Then, in the eighth, the Royals came alive. Six singles (including a beautiful bunt from Jarrod Dyson), one walk (from Alex Gordon) and a triple (from Salvador Perez!) and the Royals chase Hughes and hang a six spot on the board. Just another night at The K. Just another night in the Baseball Capital of the AL Central.
Should we worry about a flawed process? Should we care the Royals offense goes long stretches where the bats go completely hacktastic? It’s a question I struggle with. Then I just end up shaking my head and signing up for another night.
Sometimes, things just go right. Sometimes, you get the breaks. Two years ago, the Baltimore Orioles made the playoffs for the first time in nearly 15 years when they started winning one-run games at an amazing clip. They were 29-9 in one-run games. And they were 16-2 in extra inning games. Just crazy what they were able to do in close games. Unsustainable, sure, but I don’t think their fans were in a hurry to return their wild card spot.
The Royals scored 4.1 runs per game before the All-Star Break when they were two games over .500. They are scoring 4.2 per game after the All-Star Break and their record is 26-12. I don’t know what to tell you other than strange things are happening.
Back to my original question about the flawed process. Which is kind of foolish because I don’t know the answer. If the Royals make the postseason, then Dayton Moore’s Process will be validated. Sure it took eight-plus years but in this case playoffs equals validation. But here’s a secret: Dayton Moore was never going to change his style anyway. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but he’s kind of stubborn dude. It’s not like he was ever going to wake up and decide he was employing the wrong hitters or that his player development system is flawed. Never going to happen. So in that case, any on field success really changes nothing. Moore is who he is.
Second, there’s a portion of the fan base that wants Moore gone. The fear is this team has somehow overcome it’s shortcomings that Moore fails to see and he’s going to get rewarded with a contract extension and the Royals will slowly slide back into irrelevance. This is akin to worrying about the fourth year of Omar Infante’s contract. Man, I don’t even know what’s going to happen in one week, so I don’t know that I can get all worked up about a hypothetical contract extension. Yeah, it will probably happen. And yeah, I’m not sure Moore can figure out how to recapture success that on the surface boggles the mind. I’d like to see what would happen if the Royals could find a true visionary GM. But I also know David Glass is loyal to his people and if things keep going the way they are, a contract extension is all but inevitable.
If the Royals somehow pull this off, don’t we have to give Moore some credit? Even though I still don’t like him as a General Manager, I’ll absolutely tip my cap to him if the Royals are playing in October. Not to acknowledge his role in this or to say the Royals won despite Moore seems a little vindictive. You can’t dispute things are going his way, too. Look at the close to the deadline deal of Danny Valencia for Erik Kratz and Liam Hendriks. All Kratz does is come off the bench and hit two bombs to give the Royals a win. Then Hendriks throws seven incredible innings in his Royals debut, allowing just four base runners and one run in an emergency start in place of Yordano Ventura.
One seemingly minor trade. Two wins. The Royals lead the division by 2.5 games.
No matter how many questions you may ask, sometimes there’s just no explanation.