Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It’s almost over

Game Date: September 29, 2009
Kansas City @ New York
Yankees 4, Royals 3 / Box Score
WP: Bruney (5-0), LP: Farnsworth (1-5)
KC Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 64-94 / Record in September 14-13

Bad defense. A blown save. Another good performance by a starting pitcher down the drain. All in a day’s work for the 2009 Kansas City Royals.

Hochevar hit hard again

Game Date: September 28, 2009
Kansas City @ New York
Yankees 8, Royals 2 / Box Score
WP: Gaudin (2-0), LP: Hochevar (7-12)
KC Home Runs: Teahen (12)
Royals Record: 64-93 / Record in September 14-12

There is no way to sugarcoat what Luke Hochevar is going through right now. He’s getting shelled. He’s only won one game in the last two months. His ERA has climbed to 6.24. And he continues to struggle with his location. I think he has the stuff to be a solid big league pitcher, but he’s not going to be successful if he continues to locate so poorly. It’s too late now to give him a look in the bullpen, but I wouldn’t mind seeing the Royals give him a try there during the spring.

On a positive note, if there such a thing when you are nearly 30 games under .500, Mark Teahen was not only in the lineup—which was nice to see since he’s missed so much time lately with a sore back—but he also went deep. It’s the first home run he’s hit since August 29 against Seattle. Overall, he’s had a disappointing season. In over 500 at bats, he has hit just 12 HR with 48 RBI. But if you look at his numbers from previous seasons, they aren’t all that different from this season. His best season was 2006 when he hit 18 HR and drove in 69 runs while hitting .290. As he finishes up his fifth full season, it looks like we’ve got what we’ve got in him. Offensively, I expected more. But his decent glove work and versatility make him a guy you want to keep around. I do wonder however if he shouldn’t be considered a utility guy rather than an everyday player.

Unfortunately, the Royals will take on the evil Yankees again tomorrow night in New York. It’s hard to feel good about this match up.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Greinke wins again, continuing his magical season

Game Date: September 27, 2009
Minnesota @ Kansas City 
Royals 4, Twins 1 / Box Score
WP: Greinke (16-8), LP: Liriano (5-13), SV: Soria (29)
KC Home Runs: Betancourt (6)
Royals Record: 64-92 / Record in September 14-11

While I was following the game this afternoon on Game Day and tweeting with fellow Royals’ fans, one guy said that this was the third time he’s taken his son to see Zack Greinke pitch this season and he was already looking forward to what that would mean as his son got older. He’s on to something. We’ll be referring to Greinke’s magical season for a long time to come. He picked up his 16th win of the season this afternoon—the final home game of the season for the Royals.

With Royal Reflections about to join the Fan Huddle network in the next week, one of the things I’m thinking about doing is re-living all of Greinke’s starts—one by one. Wouldn’t that make for a fun off season? I’d pull info from various sources, including some of my own thoughts as I wrote them here, and we’d steadily march through his season all over again. Let me know if that might be something that would interest you.

As for this particular game, Yuniesky Betancourt hit a three run home run in the second inning and the umpires might as well have called the game at the point. Not really, but you had the feeling that Greinke was going to grab onto that lead and never let it go. I wasn’t surprised to see Hillman using Soria for another six-out save. I’m sure he really wanted to nail this one down for Zack. And now that he’s at 16 wins with an ERA hovering around 2.00, he has to win the Cy Young, doesn’t he?

Tonight, at 10:00 pm Central, I’ll be a guest on the SethSpeaks podcast. Seth Stohs is a Twins blogger and we’ll be doing a review of the Twins-Royals series. Tune in at the beginning of the hour if you get a chance (or listen to the archived version of the show at your convenience).

Butler hits 50th double in Royals loss

Game Date: September 26, 2009
Minnesota @ Kansas City
Twins 11 Royals 6 / Box Score
WP: Baker (14-9), LP: DiNardo (0-2)
KC Home Runs: Pena (6), Callaspo (11)
Royals Record: 63-92 / Record in September 13-11

It’s always interesting to see what will happen when two hot teams run into each other for a series. In this case, the Twins are simply taking it to the Royals. In the middle of the Twins five-run fourth inning was All-Star shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt making yet another error. Yes, I’m being facetious.

Putting that aside, Billy Butler gives us a good reason to get serious. He picked up his 50th double of the season. He’s closing in on Hal McRae’s club record (54), set in 1977. Coming into this season, I was growing skeptical of Butler. That probably wasn’t fair, but we’ve seen so many guys come through here who are supposed to be the next big thing that it causes one to be slower to accept the fact that we might actually have one of those guys.

I saw an interview with him earlier this season in which he said he wanted to be like Mike Sweeney. He wanted to make an impact in the community and he wants to carry himself as a teammate like Sweeney did. Those are big shoes to fill, but his recent answers to questions about his breakout season sound a lot like something Sweeney would say.

The Royals are planning to call Cooperstown to see if they want some artifact from Butler since only six previous players have had 50 doubles in a season before their 24th birthday (Hank Greenberg, Enos Slaughter, Stan Musial, Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, and Miguel Cabrera). Last night, when a reporter mentioned this to Butler he said:

“I just play baseball, I don’t worry about that kind of stuff. I let other people worry about it and just go out and play the game. I’d rather be remembered as a guy that plays hard, not a guy who had a lot of talent and didn’t respect it. That’s what I care about it.”

Can’t you just hear Sweeney saying that in a similar circumstance.

The truth is, there was only one Mike Sweeney, just like there’s only one Billy Butler, but if Butler is going to model himself after any other player, he’d be hard pressed to find a better guy than Sweeney.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Royals drop third straight game

Game Date: September 25, 2009
Minnesota @ Kansas City
Twins 9, Royals 4 / Box Score
WP: Pavano (13-11), LP: Tejeda (4-2)
KC Home Runs: Butler 2 (21)
Royals Record: 63-91 / Record in September 13-10

That wasn’t the Robinson Tejeda we’ve seen since he became a starter. Seven walks, five earned runs, and more balls in the dirt than should ever happen in one game. The defense behind him didn’t help much either. And with the exception of Zack Greinke and Billy Butler, this team looks like it’s coming back down to earth.

Ejections, warnings, and errors

Game Date: September 24, 2009
Boston @ Kansas City 
Red Sox 10, Royals 3 / Box Score
WP: Buchholz (7-3), LP: Lerew (0-1)
KC Home Runs: Butler (19)
Royals Record: 63-90 / Record in September 13-9

The Royals have had several bizarre games this season. Add this one to the his list:

Five Errors

Gordon, Betancourt, Callaspo, and Butler—I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a worse defensive infield. Three of them made four errors tonight. Betancourt made two of them and he probably should have been tagged with another. The five errors were the most the Royals have committed since 2002, when they committed five errors against Seattle.

Greinke Ejected

Zack Greinke questioned where home plate umpire Greg Gibson’s strike zone was and he got tossed. Greinke wasn’t even on the mound tonight. He made his comments from the bench. He probably shouldn’t have done it, but I like the fact that he did. It shows how engaged he is and how much he wants to see the Royals win.

Lerew Warned

Lerew threw a 76 mph breaking pitch inside to Mike Lowell and Gibson, in demonstrative fashion, warned Lerew and both benches. Gibson made himself part of the game and he shouldn’t have. Lerew wasn’t throwing at Lowell. If he was, somebody needs to explain to him that throwing a 76 mph at somebody isn’t all that intimidating.

Hillman Ejected

Gibson tossed Hillman out of the game after Hillman argued with him about the warning he gave Lerew. I’m surprised that Gibson just didn’t toss the entire team out, causing a forfeit. The guy seems to have pretty thin skin—which isn’t a good thing to have for an umpire.

Last night, I made a brief appearance on the SethSpeaks podcast (look for the show dated 9/24/2009). Seth Stohs is a Twins blogger and he did a preview of the upcoming Twins-Royals series. I joined the show about half way into it. And, if all goes as planned, I’ll be back on the show on Sunday evening to do a review of the series.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

No use crying over spilt beer

Game Date: September 23, 2009
Boston @ Kansas City 
Red Sox 9, Royals 2 / Box Score
WP: Beckett (16-6), LP: Hochevar (7-11)
KC Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 63-89 / Record in September 13-8

The most entertaining moment of this game might have been the fun Ryan and Frank had with the video replay of the young woman who accidentally spilled her beer on the camera man in right field. It sure wasn’t the six run Red Sox explosion in the fifth inning against Luke Hochevar.

We could get excited about Mitch Maier’s three hits or Yuniesky Betancourt’s three hits. But in reality, this came turned into a dud after Hochevar allowed another big inning. I know he just tossed a shutout, but I still think he’d might be better suited for long relief.

With all of the injuries in the rotation, the Royals are going to give Anthony Lerew a shot tomorrow night. He’s been pitching in NW Arkansas and over his last ten starts he’s 6-2 with a 2.42 ERA. He’s coming back from Tommy John surgery. He’s pitched for the Braves, but not successfully. In 21.2 innings of work with Atlanta, spanning three seasons, he has an 8.31 ERA and a 1.985 WHIP. Yikes. But if you look at his career Minor League numbers (53-44 with a 3.52 ERA in 176 games) you can see why the Royals signed him.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Greinke makes a statement by defeating Boston

Game Date: September 22, 2009
Boston @ Kansas City 
Royals 5, Red Sox 1 / Box Score
WP: Greinke (15-8), LP: Byrd (1-2), SV: Soria (28)
KC Home Runs: None 
Royals Record: 63-88 / Record in September 13-7

It’s beginning to feel a lot like April. The Royals are scoring runs and Zack Greinke is on another great run. And the wins are mounting. I love seeing the Royals win, regardless of what month it is, but this September burst doesn’t feel exactly like April.

In April, we had hope. Now, we have questions. In April, all was right with Dayton Moore and the fans. Now, we feel like estranged family members who are tolerating each other. In April, it looked like we were on the verge of seeing a new and improved Royals. Now, we are wondering why the Royals couldn’t play this way when it mattered.

Seeing Greinke pitch the way he did tonight and seeing him smile in the dugout after he was removed from the game—well, it eases the pain of a dreadful 2009 season. I love seeing fans at the ballpark with signs honoring Greinke and what he’s done this season. And I love the way they begin to anticipate his strikeouts, even early in the game, and how, with each strikeout, the anticipation grows.

His ERA is down to 2.08 and you really get the feeling that he could get it under 2.00 before the season is over.

Felix Hernandez has had a great season for Seattle. He’s 16-5 with a 2.45 ERA. But Greinke has been superior. His ERA is considerably better. He’s struck out more guys and he’s walked fewer. Several other guys are having great seasons too—Roy Halladay and C.C. Sabathia to name a couple—but again, their stats don’t measure up to Greinke’s.

And now that Greinke has silenced the bats of the Red Sox, he might have just solidified the Cy Young Award.

Royals come from behind to beat the Red Sox

Game Date: September 21, 2009
Boston @ Kansas City 
Royals 12, Red Sox 9 / Box Score
WP: Yabuta (2-1), LP: Bard (2-2), SV: Soria (27)
KC Home Runs: Jacobs (18)
Royals Record: 62-88 / Record in September 12-7

What do you say about this team in terms of analysis? They started well; they are ending well; and everything in between was awful. I don’t know what to make of that, but how can you not be enjoying this flurry of wins? Last night, the Royals had a six-run sixth inning to come from behind to beat the Red Sox. And everything seems upside down.

DiNardo got bombed. Yabuta got the win. Wright pitched two scoreless innings. Bloomquist stole two bases. Olivo stole one. Betancourt had two hits, brining his average up to .240. The Royals had 11 walks, which is closer to a typical week than one game. Heck, the Royals even flashed a little leather in this one.

Whatever caused this guys, keep it up.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Tejeda does it again

Game Date: September 20, 2009
Kansas City @ Chicago
Royals 2, White Sox 1 / Box Score
WP: Tejeda (4-1), LP: Garcia (2-3), SV: Soria (26)
KC Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 61-88 / Record in September 11-7

Robinson Tejeda was a starter before coming to Kansas City. He started 13 games for the Phillies in 2005, 14 games for the Rangers in 2006, and 19 games for the Rangers in 2007. He also spent portions of all of those seasons in the minor leagues and he was used primarily as a starter down there too. But the Rangers put him in the bullpen in Oklahoma City in 2008 while also mixing in a few starts and he posted a 2.18 ERA. He didn’t fare so well at the big league level for them out of the pen (9.00 ERA in 2008), but when he came over to the Royals in 2008, they used him almost exclusively in the pen (he did make one spot start) and he ended the season in Kansas City with a 3.20 ERA.

We expected more of the same from him this season and for the most part, he’s met our expectations. But none of us could have expected what he’s doing since he’s been pressed into the starting rotation. He’s been amazing. In his four starts this season, spanning 22.1 innings, he’s given up just two earned runs. During that stretch, his ERA is 0.81 and batters are hitting just .117 against him. He’s not going deep into games, but you can’t really expect him to since he’s been coming out of the pen all season.

If you break his career numbers down by role, you won’t see a big difference. As a starter, he’s 17-17 with a 4.41 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP in 51 games. As a reliever, he’s 3-3 with a 4.55 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP in 70 games. But you have to wonder if he hasn’t figured something out this season. A.J. Pierzynski notices something different:

“He’s good. The difference was when he was coming out of the bullpen he was throwing 97, 98 mph, now he is 91, 92 and he spots it a lot better and doesn’t fall behind too many guys. It’s pretty amazing seeing the transformation a guy can make from going from the bullpen to being a starter and having the success that he’s had. He’s done it four or five times now so it’s not a fluke.”

Tejeda picked up his fourth win of the season yesterday, pitching six innings and giving up just one earned run. Unfortunately, he’s been fighting against a blister on his pitching hand. Let’s hope it doesn’t keep him from making his final couple of starts.

Roman Colon pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless ball. And Joakim Soria got a five-out save to nail down the win.

The Royals didn’t manage much offense, but Willie Bloomquist scored in the first inning on a wild pitch and Mitch Maier drove in Josh Anderson with a single in the third and that was enough. Speaking of Anderson, did you see his nice catch in center field? He went over the wall and brought it back. You can watch the video of the play on the Royals’ website. Tejeda promised Anderson a dinner for making the play.

They Royals have won 10 of their last 13 and surprisingly they have caught the Indians, who have lost eight games in a row, in the AL Central even though they have scored nearly 100 runs less than the Indians this season.

The Royals begin a new series tonight against the Red Sox. Lenny DiNardo (0-1, 5.23) goes up against Tim Wakefield (11-4, 4.22). DiNardo is 1-0 against the Red Sox in his career with a 3.60 ERA in 15.0 IP. Wakefield is 11-6 against the Royals with a 3.79 ERA in 142.2 IP.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

That wasn’t good

Game Date: September 19, 2009
Kansas City @ Chicago
White Sox 13, Royals 3 / Box Score
WP: Peavy (1-0), LP: Hughes (0-1)
KC Home Runs: Butler (18) 
Royals Record: 60-88 / Record in September 10-7

Two injuries, one stomach disorder, and Yasuhiko Yabuta giving up a grand slam home run—not a recipe for a win. Let’s just hope David DeJesus and Dusty Hughes are okay. Hughes is the one I’m most concerned about since he left the game with “nerve irritation” in the left elbow of his throwing arm and he’s already undergone Tommy John surgery. Sounds like he said something about it as soon as he felt the pain.

This was not a banner day for former Omaha Royals’ pitchers. In addition to Hughes’ injury, Victor Marte and Carlos Rosa gave up six earned runs collectively. And Mitch Maier was 0-for-4. Oh, and don’t forget the Yabuta outing.

So, this one was a dud. Hopefully things will go the Royals’ way this afternoon.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Hochevar tosses a three-hit shutout

Game Date: September 18, 2009
Kansas City @ Chicago
Royals 11, White Sox 0 / Box Score
WP: Hochevar (7-10), LP: Buehrle (12-9)
KC Home Runs: Olivo 2 (23), Buck (8)
Royals Record: 60-87 / Record in September 10-6

I went out with some friends tonight to a quaint little coffee shop to watch a singer we know perform. Of course, I wasn’t completely disconnected. I had my Blackberry with me so I was checking the Royals score periodically and wondering what I was missing as Luke Hochevar put up one zero after another.

Maybe I should suggest that the Royals move him to the bullpen more often. He’s pitched so poorly lately that you almost had to cover your eyes when he took the mound. Maybe he finally got the tipping pitches thing figured out. Maybe the White Sox are just a sinking ship. Maybe it was a combination. Who know? I didn’t get to see Hochevar’s performance, but a three-hit shutout is impressive period.

What’s up with Miguel Olivo knocking the cover off the ball? He had two more home runs tonight and he drove in six runs. Olivo overshadowed Billy Butler’s night. He was 2-for-2 with three walks and three runs scored.

If was funny to read Buehrle’s statement about the Royals after the game: “I think someone needs to tell those guys at the beginning of the year that they’re out of it. It seems like every year that last month they play their best baseball against teams that are going for winning the division.”

It sounds like the Royals are planning to push Zack Greinke’s next start back a day due to line drive he took off his throwing arm. Let’s hope its just a day. Kyle Davies won’t start tomorrow because he has a sore oblique. Dusty Hughes will get the start in his place.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Is this season salvageable?

Game Date: September 17, 2009
Kansas City @ Detroit
Royals 9, Tigers 2 / Box Score
WP: Greinke (14-8), LP: Jackson (12-7)
KC Home Runs: Olivo (21), Anderson (1)
Royals Record: 59-87 / Record in September 9-6

A friend called me today. He’s originally from Michigan and therefore a huge Tigers fan, even though he lives in Missouri. He wanted me to call off the Royals, as if I have such power, because they are killing his Tigers. I told him I was having too much fun watching the Royals take it to the Tigers again.

Zack Greinke was on the mound at the time. Just a couple of innings later, he got drilled by a line drive off the bat of Miguel Cabrera. I think all of Kansas City and the surrounding area held our breath until we heard that X-rays were negative. Greinke has a nasty bruise that’ll probably take some time to go away.

Assuming Greinke doesn’t miss any starts, I’m liking his changes for the Cy Young more and more. For most of the season I’ve believed he deserves it, but I’ve had a feeling that his limited number of wins was going to play a factor, negatively speaking, in the writers’ votes. But at this point, every writer who has a vote knows that Greinke is the best pitcher in the AL this season. The question is, will they vote that way?

The Royals have 16 games remaining in the season. They’ve already won nine games this month and they are just two wins short of avoiding 100 losses. If they somehow played out of their minds against the White Sox, Red Sox, Twins, and Yankees and went 11-5 during that stretch, taking their win total to 70, would it be enough to salvage the season in your opinion?

It wouldn’t be in my opinion since these games are inconsequential for the Royals. I want to see them play like this when it matters. But I’d still love to see them finish strong. What’s your take?

The Royals sign Aaron Crow

The Royals signed Aaron Crow to a three-year deal today. The AP is reporting that the deal will guarantee Crow $3 million even if he doesn’t reach the majors. According to the Star, the Royals gave him a $1.5 million signing bonus. The contract begins next season.

Somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but a contract that is guaranteed sounds a lot like the Royals signed him to a Major League contract. In fact, that’s what the Star is calling it—a Major League contract. I know it’s only $3 million and the Royals have given twice that away to Yasuhiko Yabuta over the past couple of seasons, but I deplore the notion of giving a player a guaranteed spot on the roster who has never played an inning at the Major League level.

The guy should have to prove that he belongs at the big league level before he gets a roster spot. And time runs out quicker for the Royals by giving the guy a roster spot if he turns out to be the bomb. Even if this practice turns out to be the norm, I’m never going to think it’s a good idea from the team’s and fans’ perspective.

Tigers finally take one from the Royals

Game Date: September 16, 2009
Kansas City @ Detroit
Tigers 4, Royals 3 / Box Score
WP: Miner (7-5), LP: DiNardo (0-1), SV: Rodney (33)
KC Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 58-87 / Record in September 8-6

Lenny DiNardo threw strikes, but the Tigers still found a way to score four runs against him. Of course, Jamey Wright didn't help matters by allowing one of DiNardo's runners to score in the sixth inning. But at this stage of a disastrous season, I'm more interested in seeing what we've got for next year.

I'm not optimistic about next season. I think it'll be another one of those years that we have to endure in hopes that the following season will be better. Of course, things could change if Moore signed some free agents who make an immediate impact, but I'm not holding my breath.

Mitch Maier is starting to hit. He's hitting .298 in September with a .344 OBP. Of course, he isn't driving in any runs, but I'm not sure we need him to if he could just find a way to continue to do what he's doing. I wouldn't mind seeing him get the nod in center next year.

Will the Royals go shopping for a second baseman this offseason? Alberto Callaspo continues to hit better than any of us could have hoped for, but will his defense keep him out of the starting lineup next season? I'm not sure that his glove is redeemable, but if the Royals could figure out a way to help him improve his defense measurably, he could be around for a while.

Alex Gordon misplayed a couple of more balls yesterday. This season is a wash for him because of his hip injury and subsequent surgery, but you have to wonder how much longer the Royals will, or should, give him to get on track at the big league level. He's not hitting and he's not fielding. I've said this a dozen times, but I'd still like to see him play first base because it seems like his most natural position. Billy Butler could become the fulltime DH, Mark Teahen could move back to third, and Jacobs could fill in for Gordon or Butler and be a power bat off the bench.

Today, is Zack Greinke Day. The game isn't being shown on FS Kansas City, but I understand that it'll be carried live on the MLB Network.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Three home runs is more than enough

Game Date: September 15, 2009
Kansas City @ Detroit
Royals 11, Tigers 1 / Box Score
WP: Tejeda (3-1), LP: Washburn (9-9)
KC Home Runs: Olivo (20), DeJesus (13), Callaspo (10)
Royals Record: 58-86 / Record in September 8-5

A misplayed ball in the outfield; a four pitch walk; a passed ball; a three-run dinger; and 30 pitches by the starting pitcher—all in the first inning. Oddly enough, it wasn't another Royals' implosion, but rather the Royals taking advantage of another team's misfortunes.

After Miguel Olivo hit the Royals’ third three-run home run of the night, Frank White said you have to wonder what all of this winning in September means for the Royals. Whatever it means, I’m pretty sure that Royals fans will be much slower to read anything into it this season than we did last season.

My guess is, there isn’t any pressure on the guys. The season is over. The only thing they are playing for is to avoid losing 100 games and I suspect that staying under the 100 loss mark means more to Dayton Moore than it does anybody else. Since there isn’t any pressure, hitters are getting better swings and pitchers seem to be challenging more hitters.

Alex Gordon, on the other hand, is probably feeling some pressure. He butchered a couple of ground balls at third base and he’s not exactly tearing it up at the plate. You have to wonder what the future holds for him.

Robinson Tejeda has been a nice surprise since being forced into the rotation. He threw too many pitches tonight, but you can’t argue with his results. He’s thrown 16.1 innings over the last three games and he’s only given up one run. I thought his changeup and slider looked a little flat early in the game, but his fastball was good enough to overcome it—especially when he challenged hitters with it up out of the zone.

Tomorrow, we’ll get another look at Lenny DiNardo.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Fan Huddle launch

You may have noticed that Royal Reflections didn't make the move to FanHuddle.com last week as originally intended. There were some technical issues regarding the launch which will delay the move for a few weeks.

Davies wins fourth straight start

Game Date: September 13, 2009
Kansas City @ Cleveland
Royals 7, Indians 0 / Box Score
WP: Davies (8-9), LP: Carrasco (0-2)
KC Home Runs: Buck (7)
Royals Record: 57-86 / Record in September 7-5

Even Kyle Davies understands how fortunate he's been in his last two outings, including yesterday, in which he's given up a dozen total walks, but still gone on to win. After the game last night he said he'd been a little lucky. In this three outings this month, he's 3-0 with a 1.06 ERA, with 14 BB. He's limited the number of hits he's given up (10 over those three games) which sort of evens things out, I guess. And he's won his last four starts, going back into August. But it's hard to overlook the 7.59 ERA he posted in July and 6.49 ERA he posted in August—especially since he's still having so many command issues.

A couple of guys from Omaha followed Davies and kept the Indians from scoring. Roman Colon and Carlos Rosa pitching the final three innings, giving up just one hit between them.

You have to wonder if the home run that John Buck hit in the third inning will be the last one he hits in Royal blue. With limited playing time and a strong possibility of not being resigned by the Royals that could be it. He has just a .233 average/.296 OBP since joining the Royals in 2004 and understandably the Royals want more production from that spot.

David DeJesus had three hits yesterday and raised his average to .280. At this point, he probably has done more than simply salvaged his season after a dreadful start, but he's approaching a career year. By the time the season is over, barring injury, he's going to have more hits, home runs, and RBI than he's ever had before in a season. He's also close to his career average and on-base percentage.

Speaking of career years, Billy Butler had another hit yesterday and he's already had a career year. Although, maybe unfairly, he's having about the type of season that most of us expected from him. Imagine how abysmal the Royals' offense would have been this season without Butler in the lineup nearly every day.

This nice little burst of wins over the past week might be just enough to keep the Royals from losing 100 games. They are currently on pace to win 64.5 games which would mean they'd finish the season with 97.5 losses. Throw out the decimal points and they are still safe. Unfortunately that's what this season has come down to. The Royals are slowly creeping up on the Indians in the AL Central standings, but they are still 4.5 games behind them and it seems unlikely that they will catch them.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What about moving Hochevar to the pen?

Game Date: September 12, 2009
Kansas City @ Cleveland
Indians 13, Royals 6 / Box Score
WP: Huff (10-7), LP: Hochevar (6-10)
KC Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 56-86 / Record in September 6-5

Big innings, tipped pitches, less focus on his sinker—they all seem to be playing a part in Luke Hochevar’s dreadful season. He’s had his bright moments. Who can forget the 13 strikeouts against Texas in late July? But when you look at his overall numbers, there’s no way to make a 6-10 record with a 6.23 ERA in 21 starts look good. If I had to guess, I’d bet that most of us believe he has the potential to settle in as a number four or five guy and remain there for a while. I’ve thought that for some time too, but I’m starting to change my mind.

He’s made 47 Major League appearances (44 of which are starts). As a starter, he’s 12-22 with a 5.79 ERA and opponents are hitting .283 against him. As a reliever, he’s 0-0 with a 0.93 ERA and opponents are hitting just .222 against him. He’s only thrown 9.2 innings as a reliever spread out over three games and that’s not enough to draw any conclusions, but at this point, why not think about shaking things up by putting him in the pen for the last few weeks? And then convince him to throw his sinker more often. Maybe he’d avoid more big innings because guys wouldn’t get to see him more than once a game. Just a thought.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t the only pitcher who couldn’t get the Indians out in this one. Four relievers (Hughes, Marte, Chen, and Yabuta) gave up at least one run apiece. By the time it was over, the Indians piled up 13 runs and broke the Royals’ five game winning streak.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Royals overcome miscues to win fifth straight

Game Date: September 11, 2009 
Kansas City @ Cleveland 
Royals 2, Indians 1 / Box Score
WP: Wright (2-5), LP: Veras (4-3), SV: Soria (25)
KC Home Runs: Olivo (19)
Royals Record: 56-85 / Record in September 6-4

This was one of those games you expect the Royals to lose. From not giving Zack Greinke any runs support to the base running blunder by Miguel Olivo to the misplayed ball by David DeJesus to Jamey Wright and Kyle Farnsworth pitching four innings toward the end of the game—it all had the feel of a loss, but for some inexplicable reason, Cleveland kept trying to run on DeJesus when the situation really didn’t warrant it. DeJesus has shown that he can throw guys out at home and in both cases the ball was too shallow to score on. Eric Wedge defended the decisions after the game saying “It’s the right thing to do.” I’m glad he thinks so because it may have cost the Indians the game.

I have to admit though, I didn’t have much faith in Olivo during his at bat in the 12th inning. Right before he hit what turned out to be the game winning home run, he swung at a horrible breaking pitching in the dirt that must have been a foot outside. I don’t understand why anybody ever throws him anything but breaking stuff off the plate, but sometimes pitchers do and when he gets a pitch out over the plate, he can crush it. Thankfully, he did that tonight. And remarkably, the Royals have won five games in a row.

Too bad Greinke didn’t get the win. He was great again tonight, even lowering his ERA a few points to 2.19. I keep thinking that his lack of wins is going to keep him from winning the Cy Young, and it might, but he’s just dominating teams right now. You can count the number of bad starts he’s had on one hand. And really, as good as Sabathia has been, would any serious baseball person say that Greinke hasn’t been better?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What are we to make of all this winning?

Game Date: September 10, 2009
Detroit @ Kansas City
Royals 7, Tigers 4 / Box Score
WP: Colon (2-3), LP: Miner (6-5), SV: Rosa (1)
KC Home Runs: Callaspo (9), Gordon (4)
Royals Record: 55-85 / Record in September 5-4

The Royals pitching staff needed a boost from Omaha with Gil Meche and Brian Bannister on the shelf and with the bullpen being downright hard to watch at times. They got what they needed this afternoon from five pitchers from Omaha.

Lenny Dinardo was about what I expected he would be: good enough. He gave up two earned runs in five innings. He walked three guys, which isn’t like him, but he left the game was 3-2 lead and you can’t ask for much more than that from someone who the Royals have largely ignored this season while putting up good numbers in Omaha.

Yasuhiko Yabuta was about what I expected as well: not good enough. He gave up two earned runs in just a third of an inning and now has a 12.71 ERA. Yikes. Thankfully, the Royals are just about finished with his contract. They hold a $4 million option for next season or they can buy it out for $500,000. If Dayton Moore wants peace in Kansas City this winter, he’d be wise to buy it out. 

Roman Colon, Dusty Hughes, and Carlos Rosa shut the Tigers down over the final 3.2 innings.

Offensively, the Royals got plenty of production. Four guys had two hits: Bloomquist, Butler, Maier, and Betancourt. Callaspo and Gordon went deep. And the Royals just swept the first place team in the division. Who knows how or why. I say just enjoy it while it lasts.

Royals win third straight

Game Date: September 9, 2009
Detroit @ Kansas City
Royals 5, Tigers 1 / Box Score
WP: Tejeda (2-1), LP: Verlander (16-8), SV: Soria (24)
KC Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 54-85 / Record in September 4-4

What must be going through the Tigers’ minds right now? First, Yasuhiko Yabuta picks up a win against them. Then Robinson Tejeda beats Justin Verlander. Baseball is a crazy game sometimes. I don’t think they are in any danger of losing the lead in the AL Central, but it’s fun to watch the Royals play at this level against them.

Billy Butler continued his hot streak—going 3-for-5 with 2 RBI. All three hits were doubles. The top four hitters in the lineup (consisting of DeJesus, Maier, Butler, and Jacobs) knocked in all five runs.

Tomorrow, we get to see Lenny DiNardo make his Royals debut and I’m excited about seeing how he does. I watched him pitch many times in Omaha this season and I was always impressed by his presence on the mound. He always seemed like he knew exactly what he needed to do. He had an outstanding strikeout to walk ratio (3.34 to 1). He got ahead of guys often by throwing his cutter and then he’d get them out with his change up. He doesn’t throw hard, but he doesn’t seem to need to.

Tony Pena made an appearance in the Royals’ clubhouse before the game. He was just in town to throw a bullpen before heading to the Dominican Republic and then back to the Instructional League. In case you missed it, he had an outstanding relief outing for Omaha on Sunday. I did a brief email interview with Omaha Royals’ radio broadcaster Mark Nasser (he called the game Pena appeared in) about Pena’s appearance and I wrote an article about it for Examiner.com. Check it out if you get a chance, paying special attention to what Omaha catcher J. R. House said about Pena’s performance as a pitcher.

UPDATE 9/10 @ 3:35 PM: I was reading Dick Kaegel's article on the Royals website this afternoon, I ran across this quote from DiNardo about how he gets guys out: "My best pitch is probably a cut fastball, in to righties and away from lefties. Try to get them to fly open a little bit and then throw the changeup. Second time around in the order, use my curveball as kind of a first pitch to get me over. An 0-2 pitch in the dirt. That's basically the book on me, I suppose." Nice to know I had him pegged correctly—even if he did offer more insight. Maybe too much!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Royals win back-to-back games

Game Date: September 8, 2009
Detroit @ Kansas City
Royals 7, Tigers 5 / Box Score
WP: Yabuta (1-1), LP: Seay (5-3), SV: Soria (23)
KC Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 53-85 / Record in September 3-4

Nice to see the Royals win back-to-back games. It feels like it’s been forever since they’ve done so. Looking back over the schedule, it’s been more than a month. Wow.

Billy Butler had two more hits. Some guy named Mike Jacobs did too. And how about Yasuhiko Yabuta picking up his first win of the season? I know, it’s hard to get too excited, but you have to celebrate the small things in a season in which the big things threaten to crush you.

The Royals added Alex Gordon and Lenny DiNardo to the mix. DiNardo is scheduled to pitch on Thursday. That’ll give Zack Greinke an extra day off to recover from his last outing when he threw 125 pitches.

In case you missed it, Dayton Moore chatted with fans online today. Some of his answers surprised me, but there wasn’t anything earth shattering. The answer that stood out to me came in response to a fan who asked about the role that sabermetrics and high-level statistical analysis has with the Royals. Here was Moore’s response:

“It is an important part of every decision that we make. In acquiring talent, we blend traditional scouting and statistical analysis with every decision we make. When we acquire a player, we recognize that there are deficiencies in some areas, but often times we are picking from a pool of players where there are many of those deficiencies but we use statistical analysis by evaluating every talent pool that exists. I was trained that way through John Schuerholz and others.”

How can this possibly be true when Yuniesky Betancourt is on the roster? When the Royals traded for him he was hitting .250 with a .278 OBP in Seattle. He’s actually gotten worse since coming to KC. His average is down to .235 and his OBP is a pitiful .266 for the season. If this is an example of the way they are blending traditional scouting and statistical analysis (a good combination in my opinion), then I’d love to see their scouting reports and statistical analysis because they must have some sort of top secret information about Betancourt that none of the rest of us can see.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Butler goes deep twice in win

Game Date: September 7, 2009
Los Angeles @ Kansas City
Royals 6, Angels 3 / Box Score
WP: Davies (7-9), LP: Santana (7-8), SV: Soria (22)
KC Home Runs: Butler 2 (17)
Royals Record: 52-85 / Record in September 2-4

Back in the day, when you played Little League baseball, there was always one team in the league that took your team out to the woodshed—at least if your league was anything like the league I played in. You knew they were better and there wasn’t much you could do about it. But if you played the team ten times, there was always the hope that you might catch them on an off day while your best hitter was having a big day and you'd sneak out a win.

The Royals entered the game this afternoon 0-9 against the Angels this season. They are simply better than the Royals and there’s little we can do about it. But today Billy Butler hit two home runs. And Kyle Davies was good enough (with the exception of the six walks). The bullpen didn’t blow the lead. Trey Hillman was able to hand the ball to Joakim Soria in the ninth inning instead of the eighth. And finally, the Royals took a game from the Angels.

In the post game interview, Billy Butler looked a little sheepish when talking about the way the Royals have been playing. I was glad to see that because it’s shows how uncomfortable he is with losing. He went on to say, “We’re not giving up. I don’t know what the perception is, but I want to tell the fans that we’re not giving up. We’re trying to battle every day. We’re trying to (play well) in the last month and carry that into next season.”

I can’t speak for the fans in general regarding their perception. But if I had to guess, I’d say that it has less to do with the team giving up and more to do with being perplexed about the lack of talent on the current roster, given the amount of money David Glass has spent. According to ESPN, the Royals have the fifteenth highest payroll in baseball at $81.3 million, but they have the worst record in the AL, which means the following AL teams are doing more with less money: Texas, Toronto, Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Cleveland, Baltimore, and Oakland. I’m just sayin’.

Just found out the Bob Dutton is on Twitter, so I added him to the Royals Twitter Directory. Check it out if you haven’t seen it in a while; the directory continues to grow.

Thinking about the future

Game Date: September 6, 2009
Los Angeles @ Kansas City
Angels 7, Royals 2 / Box Score
WP: Saunders (12-7), LP: Hochevar (6-9)
KC Home Runs: Olivo (18)
Royals Record: 51-85 / Record in September 1-4

I guess we can forget about a repeat of last September. The Royals have lost four in a row. In three of those games they scored two runs or less. I hate to point this out, but the Royals are now on pace to go 61-101 and that’s giving them the benefit of the doubt by rounding up (they are actually on pace to win 60.75 games, but I’m not sure how you win .75 games—unless you count taking a lead into the late innings and your bullpen blows the game, but that’s still a loss, not a partial win).

Sam Mellinger reports that with Miguel Olivo’s 18th home run yesterday he is within two of the franchise record for catchers, currently shared by Mike Macfarlane and Darrell Porter. Not that I’m rooting against Olivo, but Macfarlane did it in 1993—George Brett’s last season, before the Royals were terrible. They Royals won 84 games that year. Porter did it in 1979 for a team that won 85 games. To see Olivo break tie or break their record while playing for the 2009 Royals just doesn’t seem right. But that’s the old man in me speaking.

Luke Hochevar was hit hard again for the second straight time. He’s leaving so many pitches up right now that it’s no wonder he’s getting knocked all over the yard. His ERA climbed to 6.10 after his drubbing yesterday. I could be wrong, but he really seems to be favoring his four seam fastball over his sinker right now. For a stretch, he was leaving his sinker up in the zone too, which is probably why he got away from it. Whatever the case, he needs to figure out how to get the ball down and closer to the corners.

How about the debut of Dusty Hughes? He went 4.1 innings, giving up no runs on one hit. And Victor Marte threw a scoreless inning as well. Sort of makes you wonder what Dayton Moore was waiting for when our bullpen was imploding months ago, doesn’t it? Marte probably needed the time in Omaha, but Hughes could have come up at any time. Lenny DiNardo could have too. I guess it doesn’t matter now.

Congrats to the NW Arkansas Naturals for securing a spot in the Texas League playoffs and the Wilmington Blue Rocks for securing a spot in the Carolina League playoffs. Let’s hope that some of the talent creeps up to Omaha next season and then to Kansas City in 2011.

Sunday, September 06, 2009


I’m excited to announce that in the coming week, Royal Reflections will join the FanHuddle.com network of blogs. Fan Huddle will provide news and opinions about every team in every major sport. As you might imagine, Royal Reflections will tackle a lot of the Royals coverage for the site.

So, what will change? The Royal Reflections look will change. And, ideally, Royal Reflections will have a few sponsors (more about that in a minute).

What won’t change? The url will remain the same. The Royal Reflections podcast will remain the same.

What are the benefits of joining the Fun Huddle network?

*It’ll increase exposure for Royal Reflections.

*It’ll allow me to focus on what I love—providing content without worrying about the technical aspects of the blog.

*I’ll have access to quality photography that I’ll be able to use in posts. I think that will add something to the blog.

*You will have access to more quality content regarding the Royals, the AL Central, and baseball in general.

*It’ll give me a chance to increase sponsorship for the blog. As a freelance writer who makes his living from what he writes, the more sponsors Royal Reflections has, the more time I can spend on providing quality content. If you own a business that might appeal to Royals fans and you’d like to discuss the possibility of becoming a Royal Reflections sponsor going forward, please drop me an email.

I appreciate every one of you—some of whom who have been with me since the early days of the blog way back in 2004—and I look forward to continuing our relationship in the future.

Bullpen help arrives from Omaha

Game Date: September 5, 2009
Los Angeles @ Kansas City
Angels 2, Royals 1 (11 inn.) / Box Score
WP: Jepsen (5-3), LP: Yabuta (0-1), SV: Fuentes (39)
KC Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 51-84 / Record in September 1-3

Zack Greinke was on his game again last night, but he got a no decision, keeping him at 13 wins. If you do the math, he probably has five starts left. He’s certainly pitching well enough to win them all, but if he wins three of the final five, would 16 wins be enough to give him a chance to win the Cy Young Award? His ERA (2.22) is the best in the Major Leagues. He’s the best pitcher in baseball. But will his low win total coupled with the fact that he plays for a bad team keep the baseball writers from giving him the award he’s earned?

I hope not. But if you look at history, you have to wonder.

As I said a couple of weeks ago, the last time a pitcher in the AL won the Cy Young with less than 18 wins was in the strike-shortened 1994 season. David Cone won it that season with a 16-5 record in 23 starts. His ERA that season was 2.94.

Maybe bringing up some bullpen help from Omaha will enhance Greinke’s chances. Three relievers from Omaha are now available: Dusty Hughes, Carlos Rosa, and Victor Marte.

Hughes put up solid numbers in Omaha (3-3, 3.50 ERA, in 34 appearances—11 of which were starts). He strikes out nearly twice as many guys as he walks. He’s not afraid to challenge guys with his fastball—at least from what I’ve seen of him in Omaha. He has good speed variation between his fastball, which I’ve seen top out at 92 mph, and his curve ball which bottoms out around 65 mph. My only concern is that he seems to leave a lot of breaking pitches up in the zone. He got away with that in Omaha but he probably won’t at the Major League level. Let’s hope he has that ironed out.

Rosa throws hard—I’ve seen him top out at 96 mph this season in Omaha. He strikes out about 2.5 times as many guys as he walks. He got off to an awful start in Omaha this season though. His numbers in May really killed his overall stats. He gave up 17 earned runs in 10 appearances in May, good for a 10.43 ERA for the month. He put up solid numbers in June and even better numbers in July. August wasn’t a great month for him. He ended the year in Omaha with a 4.56 ERA. At times, he can look awful. Other times, his fastball can make him look extremely tough. It’s a Jekyll and Hyde sort of thing.

Marte looks like the real deal to me. He was 2-1 in NW Arkansas this season with a 2.45 ERA in 13 appearances. He got the call to Omaha and in 26 appearances, he posted an even better, 2.13 ERA. He can be a little wild at times, but at the same time, he seems to be around the plate quite a bit. He walked 20 guys in 42.1 innings in Omaha. At 28, he could turn out to be a real find for the Royals. He pitched in Japan from 2006-2008 and he didn’t fare very well; in 29 appearances over those three seasons he had a 6.37 ERA. I don’t know if his excellent numbers in the Minor Leagues this season will translate to the Major Leagues, but I’m anxious to find out.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Tejeda steps up, bullpen gives up another one

Game Date: September 4, 2009
Los Angeles @ Kansas City
Angels 2, Royals 1 / Box Score
WP: Weaver (14-5), LP: Wright (1-5), SV: Fuentes (38)
KC Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 51-83 / Record in September 1-2

Hats off to Robinson Tejeda for stepping up and pitching so well in a spot start yesterday. Five and a third shutout innings (he only gave up one hit) from Tejeda was more than anybody could have hoped for after Gil Meche wasn’t able to start due to a tired shoulder. Unfortunately Jamey Wright undone Tejeda’s performance by walking two guys in the eight inning, both of whom came around to score the tying and winning run later in the inning. That’s the story of the Royals bullpen this season.

In addition to Meche’s shoulder issues, Brian Bannister is also having shoulder problems. Kyle Farnsworth had a back problem yesterday. And John Bale injured his right hamstring. Not surprisingly, Joakim Soria has a sore shoulder—but it’s nothing to worry about according to Trey Hillman. Somebody better tell the Omaha Royals bullpen that their season probably won’t end tomorrow afternoon at Round Rock.

Yesterday, we got the sad news that Buddy Blattner died. I never had a chance to listen to him call Royals games on the radio, but I’ve heard Denny Matthews tell stories about him over the years, including how much he helped Matthews early in his broadcasting career. So, even if you are like me, without any recollection Blattner’s days behind the microphone in Kansas City, we owe him big time.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Injuries and changes

Game Date: September 2, 2009
Kansas City @ Oakland
A’s 10, Royals 4 / Box Score
WP: Cahill (8-12), LP: Bannister (7-12)
KC Home Runs: Jacobs (17)
Royals Record: 51-82 / Record in September 1-1

The nightmare season is almost over. One month to go. But it could be a long one.

Brian Bannister says he hasn’t been right since his start in Tampa on August 2. He left the game this afternoon in the second inning with soreness in his back and shoulder and from the way he’s talking, he might benefit from some time on the DL. I’d much rather see him do that then keep trying to fight through this and end up with a serious injury.

Jose Guillen, who just returned from an injury, left the game in the sixth inning with soreness in his right hamstring. All the more reason to give Mitch Maier more playing time. What’s it going to hurt?

Yasuhiko Yabuta gave up five earned runs in one inning. Doesn’t really matter in the big scheme of things. Presumably, there’s no chance the Royals will resign him next season.

In fact, several changes look to be in store for next season. According to an article by Bob Dutton, there’s a good chance that neither John Buck nor Miguel Olivo will be with Kansas City and the jury is still out regarding Brayan Pena. So, Dayton Moore will have to go catcher shopping this off season. There isn’t much in Omaha. Coco Crisp probably won’t be back—or if he is, it’ll be for less money. And hopefully most of the bullpen will be released.

The Royals are off tomorrow. That’s probably not a bad thing.

Soria with another two-inning save

Game Date: September 1, 2009
Kansas City @ Oakland
Royals 4, A’s 3 / Box Score
WP: Davies (6-9), LP: Marshall (0-2), SV: Soria (21)
KC Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 51-81 / Record in September 1-0

Kyle Davies looks to be back on track again. He says the adjustments he made to his delivery five or six starts ago have made the difference. And what a difference it’s been. He has a 2.82 ERA in his last five starts and three of his last four have been quality starts.

John Gibbons, the Royals interim manager while Trey Hillman is away from the team dealing with a death in the family, is managing like Ozzie Guillen or Tony La Russa. He used four relief pitchers in just the seventh inning. But then again, three of those guys (Colon, Bale, Farnsworth) have an ERA over 5.00 and three of them (Colon, Wright, Farnsworth) walked a total of four guys in the inning. So you can’t blame him.

One thing is for sure, he got the memo about doing whatever it takes to avoid another 100-loss season. He brought in Joakim Soria for yet another two-inning save. In half of Soria’s appearances dating back to Aug 2, he has been used for two innings. He’s getting the job done, but his ERA is taking a real hit. It was 7.45 in August, causing his overall ERA to nearly double from 1.52 at the end of July to 2.98 at the end of August.

It looked like the Royals might blow a golden opportunity in the sixth inning when the score was tied 1-1. They loaded the bases with no outs, but Mike Jacobs hit into a fielder’s choice to first and David DeJesus was out at home. Alberto Callaspo saved the day when he singled in Mitch Maier and Billy Butler. Mark Teahen followed him with a single that drove in Jacobs, giving the Royals a 4-1 lead. They needed every one of those runs because Gibbons was about to call on the bullpen. He pressed a lot of buttons and the Royals came out with the W.

I can’t believe the season has come down to this, but the Royals need to go 12-18 over the final 30 games to avoid 100 losses.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Royals blow another game, extend Moore’s contract

Game Date: August 31, 2009
Kansas City @ Oakland
Oakland 8, Royals 5 / Box Score
WP: Breslow (6-7), LP: Hochevar (6-8)
KC Home Runs: DeJesus (12)
Royals Record: 50-81 / Record in August 10-21

It seems fitting that the Royals would commit two errors (one of which John Bale threw a ball somewhere in the vicinity of the wrong base) that cost them the game on the same day the Glass family extended Dayton Moore’s contract through 2014. And how can we overlook the irony that Luke Hochevar, the first player Moore acquired in the draft after arriving in Kansas City, was on the mound yesterday in a losing effort?

This might surprise you, given what I’ve written about Dayton Moore recently, but I don’t think his contract extension is a huge blunder. I don’t understand why it was extended for four years, but I’m usually willing to give the benefit of the doubt, so I really wanted to hear what Dan Glass would say regarding the extension. He spoke about the important of continuity and he said that he believes the Royals are heading in the right direction—going so far as to say that “Dayton is an important part of the process.” I can’t believe he used the term “process,” but he did.

The truth is, this organization has been unstable since the day Ewing Kauffman died. Issuing Moore a long term contract doesn’t necessarily mean stability, but changing GMs every few years who bring their own philosophies to the mix is pretty much the definition of instability. If we changed GMs now, we’d still have to wait another four or five years for his guys to be in place.

My problems with Dayton Moore this season stem from him having a supposed clear “process” in place that would put the Royals in contention in 2011 and beyond, but not until. This process only became clear after the 2009 season fell apart. If he would have started talking about this process when he first took over, most fans wouldn’t have liked waiting four or five years, but we would have understood the reality of the situation. Instead, he goaded us into believing that the Royals might just sneak away with the AL Central title this season.

But let’s be real honest with ourselves. We chose to believe the Royals could play .500 ball this season in spite of knowing we had some rather glaring weaknesses. That’s on us. Moore made things worse by talking down to us and by being inconsistent in telling us about the type of player he wanted to sign and then going out and signing the exact opposite type of player. These signings caused many of us to question Moore’s process. And so the snowball went. 

Moore now tells us to look at the low levels of the Minor Leagues. Wilmington and NW Arkansas contain many of the players he acquired and both teams are leading their respective divisions this season. Just last night, Michael Montgomery struck out 12 men and gave up just one hit in 6.2 IP for Wilmington. Moore tells us to consider the fact that he didn’t unload Joakim Soria and Zack Greinke. He says that Greinke was convinced enough that the organization was on the right track to stay in Kansas City through the 2012 season. It’s hard to argue with Moore in any of those cases.

We can argue with him regarding the players he has signed at the big league level (Ponson, HoRam, Freel, Betancourt, Farnsworth, Bale, etc.) and we can wonder why he doesn’t seem to consider defense an important aspect of a player’s game when he is looking for players to fill in the holes at the big league level. But the truth is, we won’t really know what we’ve got with Dayton Moore until he has all of his players in place and that probably won’t happen for a couple of more seasons.

I don’t see why Glass had to extend his contract this early. He could have done so a year from now if he was still convinced that Moore was the right man for the job. But, what’s done is done. The honeymoon period is over; we’ve had our first fight with Dayton Moore; now we’ll find out what this marriage is really made of.

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