The Royals are like Bat-Wielding Llamas

Disclaimer: I’m still new at this whole blogging thing, so I apologize if it ever seems like I’m rambling on without ever actually saying anything. With that said, let’s talk about llamas. 

Last night, I said the Royals offense was like a pack of bat-wielding llamas. Now of course, I said this out of frustration and wasn’t really sure what it meant, if anything at all. After closer examination, I realized that llamas actually do describe the Royals offense quite well. 

Quoting the National Geographic website: 

Llamas are willing pack animals but only to a point. An overloaded llama will simply refuse to move. These animals often lie down on the ground and they may spit, hiss, or even kick at their owners until their burden is lessened.

That’s a pretty good description of the Royals offense, right? 

I’m not sure if the offense is “overloaded” by any means, but they certainly aren’t motivated to move at this point, as was evident in last night’s game. Granted, they were facing a very good Cory Kluber, but it was the second time they faced him this season. 

Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t MLB hitters supposed to learn and adapt? I understand Kluber is having a fantastic season, and has great “stuff” as they say, but man, this offense was completely shut down last night. It’s a shame, because Danny Duffy was on fire, to make the situation worse. 

Last night, the offense did exactly what the llamas do. They laid down on the ground, and did nothing to fight for a win. Their only run happened because of a botched throw, and who knows if they would have actually scored had that botched throw not happened. 

Currently, the Royals do have a large burden on them. The pressure is on to win and stay in the playoff chase. What are they doing in response? Acting like llamas, laying on the ground, hissing, spitting, kicking and pouting away every opportunity they have to win games, waiting for that burden to magically be lessened. 

For those of you holding out hope that the Royals will be able to make the playoffs by way of wildcard, I wouldn’t hold out hope too much longer. Unless they turn things around and start producing runs, they won’t be winning many more games. 

This team is the epitome of mediocre, currently sitting just above .500. They’ve scored just about as many runs as they’ve allowed, and aren’t impressive at all. They may get lucky enough to win the same amount of games they did last year, but it won’t be enough to win even the second wildcard spot. 

Of course, I’m one of those fans that are still holding out hope, but it’s quickly fading. I’m just hoping they stop being llamas by the end of the Cleveland series. Maybe then things will change for this team. 

Until then, I’ll still look at them as just a bunch of pack animals. 

Logic Says the Royals Should Sell

As the trade deadline approaches, Royals fan everywhere have their panties in a bunch. Why? Because the Royals are one game below .500, 7 games behind Detroit, and 3.5 games behind Seattle. Surely they won’t catch Detroit, so the Wild Card is their only playoff hope at this point.

With a chance to make the playoffs this year and end a drought that far too many generations have lived to see, selling away the team’s top pitcher f0r a quality, productive hitter seems ludicrous, right? Maybe not so much.

As David Lesky (@DBLesky) of Pine Tar Press helped me realize today, the right move for the Royals would be to sell. The chances of winning the second wild card spot are slim, and it’s going to take a much better performance from the team than what they’ve shown so far.

The Royals arguably only have one player to sell (that would make sense), and it’s James Shields. I think we can all agree he was a temporary, short term solution for this team when they traded for him. He will enter free agency at the end of the season, and we all know the Royals don’t plan on trying to get him to stick around. Shields was brought into to help the team reach the playoffs in 2013 and/or 2014, and that was his sole purpose.

The Royals had a ‘win now’ mentality, and they hoped Shields could help them do that. The Royals managed to have their first winning season in 9 years last year, but it wasn’t enough. They are on pace to win about the same number of games this year, and it still won’t be enough.

If Shields won’t be returning next season anyway, it makes sense to lose him in a trade rather than free agency. Of course, the incompetent front office doesn’t realize that.

Trading Shields now means acquiring pieces to an offense for possibly the next three years. Ventura and Duffy look like they could headline a solid rotation, and Kyle Zimmer seems to be making great progress in the minors. Expect to see him next year.

The Royals are going to need a replacement for Billy Butler, because he won’t be coming back next year either (for the record, I was and always will be a Butler fan). Aoki hasn’t provided much on the offensive side, Esky loves to swing at balls in the dirt, and the offense as a whole looks like a little league team.

The right move for the Royals is to sell, but they won’t. They won’t because fans are tired of selling. Fans are tired of rebuilding. Fans want a winning team, but only get mediocrity. The front office knows they should sell, but won’t. They’re still in their ‘win now’ mentality, but aren’t winning.

Logic says that the Royals should sell. The Royals say, what’s logic? Let’s just #BeRoyal

The majestic beauty of home runs

The chances were looking pretty slim for the Royals. Down 2-4 to the Rays last night in the top of the ninth, it looked like it was going to be another disappointing series loss at the wrong time in the season. It looked like the Royals were going to be coming back to Kauffman with their heads held low, about to face the toughest team in the division. Then Salvador Perez stepped up to the plate.

We all know the value of home runs in the MLB, but we never truly appreciate them, I think, until they have a major impact on a game. For instance, the grand slam in the fourth inning that put the Rays up 4-2 with one swing. It seemed as though that sucked the life out of all the Royals players and fans.

I can’t imagine what Salvy was thinking when he came to the plate in the ninth. Two runners on, one out, and a chance to start clawing back into the game. I can honestly say the pressure would be too much for me to handle. Probably most of you, too.

Instead of cracking under pressure (like he did in his previous at-bat when he popped up to 2B with bases loaded) Salvy took the pressure, and smashed it to RF. I was sitting in my car listening to the game, and cheered so loud I actually shook the car. That’s how excited I was.

It’s safe to say this Royals team isn’t the most exciting team, and home runs are hard to come by. This one couldn’t have come at a better time.

Salvy didn’t just win a game last night. He invoked a fire in the Royals players and fans at just the right time. The Royals are going to need all the energy and passion they can get against the Tigers, and hopefully finish the first half of the season on a high note. 4.5 GB the Tigers for first, the Royals are sitting pretty in second place.

Salvy remind us why we all love home runs. He reminded us how they can make or break a game. He reminded us how they get our blood flowing and fists pumping. He reminded us how much better they are than singles and stolen bases.

Salvy’s home run last night was more than a home run. It was a majestic, beautiful gift from the baseball gods that might just be enough for the Royals to punch the Tigers square in the nose on our home turf.

Thank you, Salvy.

Cleveland Indians Series Preview (7/4-7/6)

It’s freedom Friday, and the Royals begin the first of the final three series before the All-Star break. They have a chance to separate themselves from the bottom half of the division, and gain some ground on the Tigers in the next week.

The last time the teams met, the Royals swept a quick two game series at Kauffman Stadium. They outscored the tribe by a combined score of 13-6. That was at Kauffman though. The Indians are 23-15 at home this season, a division best.

The Royals are coming off of a series win against the Twins, and are 5-5 in their last 10 games. They’ve been able to maintain within close distance of the Tigers, but it doesn’t take long for one team to get hot and another to get cold.

Let’s check out each game of the series:


Game 1: Ventura v Tomlin

It’s the 3,4,5 pitching rotation for the Royals this series, and Ventura is hoping to get the series started on the right foot. Ventura has shown mixed results so far this season, boasting a 5-7 record with a 3.26 ERA. The ERA isn’t bad, but it isn’t that good either. For a guy who is supposed to become a #1 starter for the team, we should be expecting much more out of him. Ventura is getting 3.5 runs of support per game, and the Royals are .400 when he pitches.

Tomlin has a slighter higher ERA at 3.78, with a 5-5 record. Now unfortunately, I don’t know the most efficient way to find those stats that tell you how well a team fares against a certain pitcher. However, thanks to Baseball Reference, I do know that Tomlin gets an average of 4.3 runs of support per game, and the Indians are .500 when he pitches. Based on those stats, he’s got a pretty good chance of winning.

Comparing pitcher to pitcher, Ventura gets less run support, but the Royals are also a more inconsistent team. Each have similar pitching stats this season, so this game should come down to how well the offense performs.

Game prediction: Royals 3, Indians 1


 

Game 2: Guthrie v House

Guthrie has proved to be one of the best pick-ups this team has acquired. If I’m correct, he came to the Royals by way of trade. Currently sitting at 5-6 with a 3.69 ERA, Guthrie is performing just about where he should be. Getting 3.8 runs of support per game and a .588 win percentage when he pitches, Guthrie is a solid starter in the bottom of the rotation. I liked him last year, and I like him this year. Apparently, so does the Royals offense.

House, 0-2 with a 4.28 ERA, has little stats to base my analysis off of. He’s played in seven games for the Indians this year, with the two losses. The Indians overall are 3-4 in the games that he’s pitched, but the three wins were a ND for House. Which means he gives up runs early. If we know anything about the Royals, it’s that score runs generally early in the game.

Game prediction: Royals 5, Indians 0 (Yes that’s right, a shutout)


Game 3: Duffy v Kluber

Probably the best matchup of the series. Duffy has performed just extraordinarily this season, with a 5-7 record and 2.60 ERA. He has easily become my favorite pitcher on this rotation, and call me crazy, but I think he has a higher ceiling than Ventura. He’ s been working on his control and efficiency, and he’s seeing good results. However, he is only getting 3.4 runs of support per game, and the team is just .455 when he pitches. Let’s hope they score some runs in this series.

Kluber has been solid for the Indians so far this season, sitting at 7-6 with a 2.99 ERA. The ERA is higher than Duffy’s so Duffy might have an advantage there, but Kluber is getting 4.9 runs of support per game, and that’s what really matters. This looks like it will be the most pitcher friendly duel of the series, and again will come down to which offense scores more runs.

Game prediction: Royals 2, Indians 1


Maybe I’m being too optimistic, but I really think the Royals have a good chance to sweep this series, especially coming off a day of rest and heading into the all star break. They know what they need to do, and if they try hard enough, they can get it done. I just hope they actually come through for me.

Have a safe and happy holiday everyone!

 

 

 

Vacation, Raul Ibanez, and the ASG

When you go on two consecutive vacations, return for a week, then leave for another two days, I have to admit that it’s hard to keep up with your work. Yes, I consider this blog work, because well, someday it will be.

In my hiatus from writing, I also took a brief hiatus from the Royals, as you can imagine. My trip to South Dakota was a success, and my trip to Branson was fun-filled with all of my friends. In all of that though, I simply forgot about the Royals.

Sure, it happens sometimes and we all need a little break, but now that I’m back, I almost regret it. The Royals are my team, and it sucks to know how poor they are doing right now. Maybe I should just go on another vacation.


 

When I saw that the Royals acquired Raul Ibanez, I almost lost it. The dude is 42, and an outfielder. The Royals already have about 20 outfielders, and what could Ibanez possibly offer at his age?

Of course, Dayton Moore said the age wasn’t a problem, and that he planned to use Ibanez in a multitude of ways. He made his first appearance Tuesday night against the twins, and fared pretty darn well. He’s even hit a home run. I’d say he’s been quite the acquisition.

What will be interesting to see, however, is how long he can produce, and how much he produces. He has a batting average similar to that of Mike Moustakas’ this year, and didn’t get much attention while playing for the Angels. I think the last time I even heard his name in a highlight was about four years ago.

Who knows though, Dayton Moore does have a pretty good track record with the old dudes he picks up.


With the All-Star Game just a week away, it’s disappointing to know that the Royals will have ZERO players representing them in the Mid-Summer Classic. Sure, the Royals have talent, but in a mediocre season nobody gets noticed.

For the Royals, this year isn’t about how many All-Stars they have though. I think it was clear 20 games into the season this was going to be just another year for this team. As the season is now halfway over, the Royals need to focus on one thing; winning.

4.5 GB Detroit and with series coming up against Cleveland and Detroit, the Royals have a perfect opportunity to both secure their current position in second (Cleveland is trailing them) and gain some ground on Detroit. A 3 game series at Cleveland and a 4 game series at Kauffman against Detroit means it’s time to buckle down and finish out the first half on a strong note.

Baseball is about taking advantage of opportunities, and this is one of the best one the Royals might have all season. With a decent record in June, it’s time to go even further in July and start playing like real contenders.

Check back tomorrow for a Cleveland series preview.

Happy 4th of July!