#BreakingBalboni

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The 2017 Kansas City Royals season has had quite a lot of ups and downs, though there has been one constant: third baseman Mike Moustakas’ chase of Steve Balboni’s franchise’s single-season HR record. The elusive 36 HR mark is the lowest total by any franchise’s single-season home run king, and the Royals are the only franchise that has never seen one of their own eclipse 40 DONGS. In fact, no Major League Baseball player calling Kansas City home has ever made 40 trips to DONGTOWN. Bob Cerv of the Kansas City Athletics (1955-1967) hit 38 in 1958. His total stands as the best in Kansas City, but, let’s get to Balboni’s number first. His record has stood for over thirty years. Records are meant to be broken and this one needed to go down. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that fans don’t like Balboni. Many of us, that remember him, like him just fine. Baseball is a LONG season – a grind, a marathon and not a sprint. Kansas City Royals fans like to get behind a variety of things happening [Read more...]

Duffy makes his return, but should it be in the bullpen?

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The Royals, one night after blowing a chance to end the Indians historic winning streak, snapped it at 22 games with a 4-3 win Friday Night. They lost again yesterday. The Twins, meanwhile, lost both nights, and the Royals (73-75), trail the Twins for the No. 2 Wild Card by four games with 13 games left. Today, with a chance to split the series against the lava-hot Indians, Ned Yost has his most talented starting pitcher Danny Duffy returning from the DL (his second stint) for the first time since August 26. With his return, Yost will employ a 6-man rotation. Ian Kennedy, who missed his last start (shoulder fatigue) will re-enter. Duffy (8-8), who haw started 21 games, posting a 3.78 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 131 innings, will be on a pitch count of 60-65 pitches to not “aggravate” the injury. Much like 2013, needing a minor miracle to make the playoffs, I have to pose the question…why even put Duffy in the rotation. Or…why even pitch him at all? Duffy, who pitched a second bullpen [Read more...]

With 6-player trade, Dayton Moore signals the Royals are “going for it” (as they should)

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The Royals won their sixth straight last night, 5-3 in 12 innings, thanks to Salvador Perez (20) and Mike Moustakas (29) back-to-back DONGS – marking the first time in Royals history they’ve had three straight games hitting back-to-back HR. They’ve peaked at four games above .500 (51-47) for the second time year (44-40). In between, the Royals lost seven of eight and were the ongoing “buy or sell” debate – what the Royals SHOULD do, and what they WILL do – raged on; “look at their record!” “But, look at the standings!” But that question was answered by Dayton Moore yesterday, as minutes before the first pitch of the 9-game road trip, news broke that the Royals acquired pitchers Ryan Buchter, Trevor Cahill and Brandon Maurer from the Padres in exchange for pitchers Matt Strahm, Travis Wood (!!!) and minor-league bat Esteury Ruiz. The Royals also sent $7.2 million to the Padres just to get rid of him. It’s not a flashy deal, but it is meaningful. First, as we recently wrote, the Royals [Read more...]

Alex Gordon Continues to Hurt the Royals

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In early 2016, the Kansas City Royals extended the contract of Alex Gordon for another 4 years and an additional $72 million. At the time, there was hesitation, but mostly it was met with postive reaction. The problem with free agent contracts, however, is that you are more often than not paying for what a player has already done, HOPING they can continue to do the same. In the case of Alex Gordon, it has been a disaster. So far, Alex is 210 games and 825 plate appearances into his new deal. During that stretch, he has managed a paltry .210/.302/.347 (MY EYES MY EYES!!) slash line. If his .649 OPS weren't already bad enough, the hits just keep on coming as he is actually seeming to regress more. This season, Gordon is sitting with a .580 OPS and is hitting .194/.286/.294. To put that in laymen terms, Chris Getz hit .248/.305/.295 during his 4 year stint with the Royals. That's right……Alex Gordon has signed a monster contract, and turned into the offensive equivalent of an aging Chris [Read more...]

As Royals look to upgrade rotation, which arms should they target?

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The Royals had the second-best rotation ERA through the month of April (3.38). They’re record stood at 7-16. Seven games later, they were 10-20. At this time, the popular thought was the offense would get going and the pitching would decline. That has rang true. The offense has been a Top 10 offense since, the pitching? On the decline. First, Nate Karns hit the DL after leaving a start with “forearm soreness” at Target Stadium in Minnesota on May 19. It was on the heels of a three-start stretch where Karns was a strikeout machine, fanning 29 in 17.1 IP Then, Danny Duffy hit the DL shortly after, stretching awkwardly at first base on a toss from Eric Hosmer on May 28, in what ended up being a 10-1 loss. He was expected to miss 6-8 weeks, but returned in just 35 days, because gnar. His first start back was super (5.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 4 K, 2 BB in a 7-3 win at Seattle), and he was done in by the long ball on Sunday in a 5-2 loss to Clayton Kershaw (second-best strikeout total (9), but was [Read more...]

Grading the Royals first half

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So far in 2017, as the offense goes, so do the Royals. The Royals had the second-best rotation ERA through the month of April (3.38), but it didn’t matter, thanks to miserable offense (ranking last in runs (2.7), and hitting (.210/.270/.336) and OPS .605), scoring 63 runs in their first 23 games tied for a franchise record (worst). They ended the month on a 9-game losing streak, dropping them to 7-16. Seven games later, they were at their low mark of the season, 10-20, and were still scoring a league-worst 2.73 runs per game. The .333 win percentage paced to a 54-108 season. Fifty-one games later, the Royals are now at 41-40 – an 82-80 pace. Not good enough o reach the playoffs, but from where they were, it is impressive. The 31-20 mark since the 10-20 record paces out over the course of a season as 100 wins. The Royals have maintained it for two months now. If they sustained it the rest of the way, the .620 win percentage over the final 81 games would equal a 50-31 mark. That’s [Read more...]

The Royals are getting the band back together?

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If Jake and Elwood Blues taught us anything, it is that no matter what, a group of guys can always come back together and acheive great things. The Royals most likely will not be saving any Catholic Orphanages down the stretch in their bid for the playoffs, but they can still conjure up one last great run just like in the old days. The Royals are putting the band back together f Jake and Elwood Blues taught us anything, it is that no matter what, a group of guys can always come back together and acheive great things.  The Royals most likely will not be saving any Catholic Orphanages down the stretch in their bid for the playoffs, but they can still conjure up one last great run just like in the old days. The Royals are putting the band back together. Lorenzo Cain showed up to spring training without even having someone to play catch with. Now he has a slash line of .282/.360/.459 and has suddenly found a new home run swing, blasting 6 in his last 11 games and [Read more...]

Inside the Numbers: the Royals All-Star candidates…are they deserving?

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Today, Eric Hosmer moved into a first-place lead in the American League All-Star balloting, 50,000 votes ahead of second place Yonder Alonso and joining teammate Salvador Perez as those positioned to be voted into the 2017 All-Star Game. While it is certainly safe to say that All-Star and deserving is always a subjective thing, without looking into any stats, I think a case can be made for five position players. Let’s take a look if that is a credible claim. C Salvador Perez Perez is the only “qualified” catcher in the American League (to be qualified, a player must average 3.1 plate appearances a game). That said, one can still be qualified and suck. That is not the case for Perez, who is having the best offensive season in his career. His ranks: 1st in HR (14), Runs (29); tied, RBI (38) 3rd in SLUG (.521) 4th in WAR (1.4), OPS (.839) 5th in AVG (.286) 13th in OBP (.317) Defensively: 4th (3.8) Perez will get voted in as the catcher, again. And, his numbers back [Read more...]

Inside the numbers: The surging Royals offense = surging Royals

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As the offense goes, so do the Royals. The Royals had the second-best rotation ERA through the month of April, but it didn’t matter, thanks to miserable offense (ranking last in runs (2.7), and hitting (.210/.270/.336) and OPS .605), scoring 63 runs in their first 23 games tied for a franchise record (worst). They ended the month on a 9-game losing streak, dropping them to 7-16. Seven games later, they were at their low mark of the season, 10-20. The offense since, has improved. Not a coincidence that they’re 20-14 in the 34 games that followed, despite the starting pitching taking a step back (but the bullpen has improved), bringing them to four games below .500 for the first time since 7-11 – four games into the 9-game losing streak. In those 34 games, they’ve scored 170 runs, or 5 per game – nearly double what they were producing through the first 30 games (2.7). The Royals are in the midst of their best offensive stretch of the season. Yesterday, they missed scoring at least eight [Read more...]

For one night, Eric Skoglund made Royals baseball fun again

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As Eric Skoglund walked off of the mound, every faithful Royals fan in attendance and those following along on radio and TV knew they had just witnessed something special. Eric Hosmer said the crowd ovation and tip of the cap to the crowd gave him "goosebumps." Manager Ned Yost told Skoglund to listen to walk slow and take it all in, that the crowd would let him know how he did. Skoglund's dad cried in the crowd. Its truly not often in baseball that a fan has these sorts of moments, but this was undeniably one of them. That game will certainly be remembered. The 24-year old left-hander went up against one of the best pitchers of this era in Justin Verlander, and delivered one for the ages with 6.1 innings of scoreless work en route to a 1-0 Royals victory, made possible by a timely hit from Eric Hosmer - who has a MLB-best 67 go-ahead RBI over the last three seasons. These types of games have the flavor Royals fans remember feeling during the 2014 and 2015 seasons which were filled [Read more...]