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Jul
23
2007

Don't Look Now......

By Jack Cobra  |  Comments (16) | Hype It Up!  |   Filed Under: Baseball

(Let's be honest with each other, it's been a long time since the Royals have been good. They have been playing better lately, so one of our best commenters, Hot Tub, wrote up this post to brag. Plus....it makes our job easier since it's one less post for us to do. Enjoy)

Billy Butler Hey there boys and girls!  Don't look now, but the Kansas City Royals are doing some damage. They have won 4 of their last 5 series against American League foes. Included in those series wins are series' this past week against two of the top AL teams in the Boston Red Sox and the Detroit Tigers. The Royals collected 25 hits against the Red Sox and 40 hits against the Tigers. 40 hits in THREE games!!! Game 2 should have been another W after a 9th inning rally, but the bullpen could not hold on in extra innings. The Royals are 9-7 in July after going 15-12 in June for their first winning record for a month since 2003. KC had finished June with a 3 game sweep at Anaheim, the team with the best home record in baseball. What's even more impressive is that the Royals have been in every game since May 28th, when they were blown out by Baltimore amidst their longest losing streak of the season.

The Royals have really been hot since the recall of Billy Butler back to the majors on June 20th. Since that date, Butler is 31/83 for a .373 average with 22 RBI and the Royals are 14-10 in that stretch. The DH/OF prospect is proving that he belongs on the big squad and should be in KC to stay.

While the bats have been hot, the pitching has been much improved as well. All-Star Gil Meche and first-year Royal Brian Bannister have been going deep into games while keeping the runs down, and the bullpen has been increasingly more effective. The bullpen has been responsible for 3 of the 10 losses since June 20th, but has picked up 4 of the wins in late innings. David Riske and Joakim Soria are anchoring the pen with 2.47 and 2.34 ERAs respectively. Meche has won his last 4 decisions and the Royals have won 6 of the last 7 games he has started. It appears as if Dayton Moore's $55 million signing could be paying off more than most experts anticipated.

Rookie Alex Gordon has improved his performance significantly since early June, but has been overshadowed by the recent efforts of Butler. These two young players will be a solid core to continue to build around as the Royals look to continue to improve. Mark Teahen and David Dejesus continue their solid play, and John "Rube" Buck is vying to pass Victor Martinez for most HR by a catcher.

With Reggie Sanders fresh off the DL, look for KC to get him some more time in the field in order to prove his health so he can be shopped around before the July 31st trade deadline. First basemen Ryan Shealy and Mike Sweeney continue their stints on the DL, but have certainly not been missed lately. It would be of no surprise to me to see Sweeney shopped around as well, if his health permits, despite having limited "trade-to" teams in his contract.

Dayton Moore showed no remorse in trading away some live arms late last season (Mike MacDougal, Ambiorix Burgos, and Andrew Sisco), so it is likely that he will continue to do what is necessary to build his new arsenal of young pitching talent. Rumors are already floating around about a potential move sending Zack Greinke to the Cubs to bolster their bullpen.

With the Chicago White Sox loss to Boston today, the Royals are now tied for 4th place in the AL Central with all intentions of staying there. Can they maintain their current surge? Or will it be quickly back to permanent cellar status? We shall see soon enough.


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16 Comments
Jack Cobra said

I just made a phone call and that Grienke rumor is bogus. The Cubs are content with the young arms they have in the bullpen and feel that Petrick is already better than Grienke.

Hot Tub said

That is good news for me. I'd rather Moore not give up on him just yet. He is still very very young and has been doing well out of the bullpen. I just know we need some more starting pitching behind Meche and Bannister. De La Rosa has been inconsistent, but very good when he is on. Odalis Perez has been awful except for the one exceptional year (I think it was in LA, post-ATL days). And there hasn't been any lockdown #5 starter all year. 2 1/2 starters won't cut it, no matter how well the bullpen is throwing.

Yeah, the Royals have brighter days ahead. The young hitters on the team - Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, Mark Teahan, DeJesus - are all top prospects who will probably be the heart of a potent lineup. The big problem for KC, if they want to pull a Detroit Tiger-like resurrection from last place, is starting pitching. They have little quality SPs, even in the minors. Maybe one of these deadline trades will net them a decent SP prospect or two.

Brian said

I saw De La Rosa pitch in his debut for the Yanks (pre-Tommy John) he was perfect through six I believe. Glad he's fought back.

Are the Royals dangling Dotel? I bet they could get something back for him, and I liked Soria as closer earlier in the year.

Glad I'll get to see some of these young Royals over the next 4.

Boney said

I'm not just saying this because I'm a Tigers' fan, but year after year of Tiger futility lead me to believe they were making a run to at least the wild card, only to have them fade into bolivian where they belong.

it's a strong stretch of games, but then again, the Red Sox have been struggling and the Tigers aren't that much better than .500 at home. Besides, they beat Todd Jones... who doesn't do that?

Boney said

and besides... why do the Royals all of the sudden deserve to win after years of never ponying up the cash to sign anyone?

It's not all about money, but at least Detroit's owner finally came off of some money. The Royals can't even sign their draft picks without some type of "woe is me, he should sign for his slot value and not what the others sign for" crap. That's why Detroit made their resurgence, they've drafted guys at the top of the draft that teams like KC have been too afraid of drafting for fear of not being able to sign them.

Hot Tub said

The Royals would have been much better off with Andrew Miller than Hochevar. That decision continues to kick me in the nuts.

Boney said

Hot,

don't get me wrong, the Padres did the same thing the year Detroit drafted Verlander but come on man... they almost didn't take Gordon because of fear for his signability.

when the team finally realizes that they need to pay guys other than Mike Sweeney some real money after years of being in the top 10 in the MLB Draft, then they'll be alright by me. For years i've hated watching the Yankees and Red Sux overpay free agents because I don't really think it's good for the game... but not being able to sign guys you draft even though you have exclusive rights to them is flat out ridiculous.

Yes, these guys may ask for a lot of money in some cases, but if they're a top 10 or top 5 pick don't they deserve it?

Jack Cobra said

Here is the thing about the Royals....they don't have the pitching to 'make the jump'. If you look at all the other teams in the AL Central who have made 'the jump', pitching has been a major reason why.

The only team in the AL Central who has had success in the past five years without having a ton of young pitching come up is the Indians. They have been built through their offense with Sizemore, Hafner, Martinez, etc.

I don't think the Royals have any hitters now that can be as good as the Indians hitters.

So, until they are able to develop their own pitching or somehow pick up some through trade, it's just not going to happen.

To rely on a bullpen to get you wins is kind of like fools good. It may look good for awhile, but once it is put under a microscope it's true worth is revealed. They need a lot more than they have. They'll end up the season in last in the AL Central with another high draft pick coming up.

Hot Tub said

Boney,

I'm not arguing at all. I wish they'd sign them too. Dayton Moore has showed a little more initiative and gotten the owner to dish out some more money for payroll, and they dispensed some of that to Gil Meche this offseason. I am very much aware that if they had been willing to spend money, we could still have an outfield of Johnny Damon, Carlos Beltran, and Jermaine Dye with Raul Ibanez as a 1B/DH/OF floater. I love Mike Sweeney, as he is the reason I became a Royals fan. But with his yearly injuries and best case scenario of about 100 games player per season, he'd be better off getting his wish of going to Anaheim or Atlanta and playing 1B for a contender that he is willing to be traded to. We're not going to get major goods for him, but he and Sanders could certainly yield some potential arms, while freeing up more money to spend this offseason. I'd also like to see Dotel's $5 million contract shipped out, as I've felt since winter ball that Soria is the real deal (which he proved earlier in the year when given the closer role). I think the years of signing guys like Juan Gonzalez and Benito Santiago just to make fans happy that the front office is "trying to win" are done, and Moore is on the right track of building from the ground up. The Royals have signed all of their picks in the top 20 rounds except for 3, including first round pick Mike Moustakas. While this was a great pick, I hope that they can get through Scott Boras and get him signed as opposed to him going to USC. Other unsigned picks are 9th rounder RHP Zach Kenyon from Davenport, IA and 18th rounder RHP Stephen Dodson from UGA.

Hot Tub said

Also...Buster Olney has gotten into the mix of Royals talk in his latest blog. Sorry Buster...I beat you to it!! :)


http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=2945868&name=olney_buster&CMP=ILC-INHEAD

rickhouse said

As a Sox fan, this is just the worst season ever, and being tied with the Royals in late July is just the icing on the cake. The problem is the Royals are good and young, Butler and Gordo are bashers, the Central is going to tough for a long time.

Extra P. said

They finally did what I think they have to do if they want to have any chance - bring up young guys early, since we all know they will bolt for greener pastures as soon as they can.

It's sad that I have to get excited about possibly being only the fourth worst team in the AL Central.

Extra P. said

I mean, of course, the #4 team, and only the SECOND worst.

Boney said

I'm not talking about drafting guys and not being able to sign him (I realize this is what I originally typed, but it came out wrong.). I'm talking about not drafting guys because they think they won't be able to sign them.


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