I don’t know if you have heard, but the Kansas City Royals are scuffling. Ever since the ‘Memorial Day Massacre’ the Royals have seemed off, especially offensively. Look, it was bound to happen. You can’t go on the offensive tear Kansas City went on to start the year and not have a stretch where the bats go cold. The humorous part is that it always appears that when one bat goes cold for the Royals, they all go cold. Don’t ask me why, I have no clue why that is, but it has been a regular occurrence the last couple seasons. Before delving into the woes of the Royals offense, there was some good for the Royals in this series, especially in the finale of this 3 game set, one in which gave Kansas City their only win of the series. So let’s start with the hero of that game.
Series MVP-Salvador Perez
Salvy didn’t exactly ‘tear it up’ this weekend, but considering how everyone else in this lineup has been doing(long glare at O000000000mar) his 4 for 11 stood out, especially the timing of his hits. First there was the home run he hit on Saturday to bring the Royals within 2 in the 9th inning:
No ‘Pope-Mobile’? That brings us to Sunday’s game. The score was tied at 3 in the bottom of the 8th when Perez steps up to the plate:
Sweet Sally, what a shot to put the Royals ahead for good! I was sitting in the foul territory of left field and just before that ball zipped by us, I made the comment that a Perez home run would be great in this spot. I might have also said they needed Salvy to hit one since the guy following him probably wasn’t going to do anything(I call that ‘The Infante Effect’). Either way, that blast not only helped the Royals not get swept in this series, but it was a big morale booster for this ballclub. The Royals have been struggling at the plate these last few weeks and while they might not all jump up and start tearing the cover off the ball, it wouldn’t surprise me if we see some of that lost swagger after this game. Salvy is one of the leaders on this team in a variety of different ways(hey, he even sometimes commandeers the pre-game show on TV) and what he did on Sunday was lead by example. A good series for Salvy and hopefully a spark for some of the bats in Kansas City’s lineup.
Pitching Performance this Series: Jeremy Guthrie
It’s safe to say this hasn’t been the best season of Jeremy Guthrie’s career. I think at this point he would just be happy if we could all forget his outing on Memorial Day(or as I have dubbed it ‘The Memorial Day Massacre’). With that said, Guthrie has followed up that atrocious outing with two of his better starts this season. On Sunday Guthrie was dealing as he had given up only 1 hit through 6 innings. I know some were questioning bringing Jeremy out for the top of the 7th inning, but at that point he was close to dominant and his pitch count was around 80. He would go on and allow two more baserunners in the 7th before being pulled for Kelvin Herrera, who would let those two runners cross the plate. At the end of the day Guthrie pitched 6.1 innings, giving up 3 hits and 2 runs while walking 2 and striking out 5. It wasn’t a mind blowing outing but it did the job and was more on pace with what the Royals need from him this year. The true test will be to see what he does this weekend in St. Louis.
It has been discussed quite a bit and has become more than just the elephant in the room; the Royals bats have gone cold. Just looking at the last week, only 3 Royals are hitting over .300 and one of them is Jarrod Dyson, who has a whole 7 at bats in that span. So where does one point the finger? I tend to believe there is multiple reasons why this is happening with the most prevalent one being that this is just a streaky offensive team. The Royals have been this way the last couple seasons and for whatever reason the whole team seems to do this, not just a bat or two. Why you might ask? No clue. I really wish I could point to one number or anomaly and say ‘this, this is what is going on’. But the only thing that really sticks out is that this team is one who doesn’t take a lot of pitches and puts the ball in play. That means that for them to be successful, they need an above average BAbip. In the last 2 weeks their BAbip is .242. Yikes! For the last month it is at .270, and .305 for the whole season. To give you a better idea, their BAbip during April was .346 and down to .282 in May. When the Royals are going strong, they get more hits that seem to find an empty spot on the field. When they struggle, those hits are hard to find and this team just doesn’t walk. In fact the best walk % they have had in a month this year is 6.2% in April, while the last 5 weeks or so they are in the lower 5%’s. As long as the Royals refuse to take pitches and refuse the free pass, they will have streaks like this where the offense peters out. As always, the next hot streak is just around the corner.
Tweets of Royalty
With the Rangers now in the rearview mirror, things will get serious real quick. The Royals now venture to Minneapolis to take on the first place Twins. The Royals will need to at least win 2 games in this series to hold at least a section of first place in the Central. Hopefully Sunday’s win will propel the team moving forward, as the Royals will have the Cardinals on the schedule after they are done in Minny. One game at a time, folks and hopefully we are talking about a first place ballclub again by the time the next series ends.