Royals Drop Game Two 4-1

Sarah Davis

There aren’t too many games that have warranted the use of the phrase, “Yosted” as of late. This would be one of those games. After six innings, Yordano Ventura’s pitch count was nearing 100, but he was showing no signs of tiring. In fact, Ventura seemed to be improving as the game went on, so naturally Yost decided to bring him out for one more inning. It wasn’t a horrible decision, but pretty soon that ‘not horrible decision’ turned into one after the first two hitters reached base. Stubbornly, Yost would still not take him out. Ventura ended up surrendering three runs in that seventh inning. Minnesota tacked on another run off of Aaron Crow, insuring that the Royals would not come back.

Ventura has been very shaky of late. In his last 12.2 innings, Yordano has allowed ten walks while only striking out nine batters. I’m no mathematician, but that’s not a great strikeout to walk ratio. Ventura ended the night going 6.2 innings, three earned runs, and four strikeouts.

The offense is also to blame. The lone run came on a Nori Aoki double. Who knew that manufacturing runs was a skill that Nori had? Aoki doubled off of the right field wall, and with authority, and promptly stole third which forced an errant throw by the catcher, Kurt Suzuki.

Yesterday was a case of over-management when he took Danny Duffy out after 79 pitches. Today, a case of under-management after not taking Ventura out after the leadoff single in the seventh inning. There is no sense in freaking out over one loss- it’s going to happen. The Royals are still in first place, and very much in the pennant chase. The frustrating thing, though, is that this loss could have been avoided easily.

Jeremy Guthrie and Tommy Milone will square off tomorrow at 1:10 central time. Guthrie will look to bounce back after a tough outing of just 4.2 innings, and four earned runs. Tommy Milone will make just his second start for the Twins after being traded from the A’s at the trade deadline for Sam Fuld. In his career, Milone is 3-0 with a 1.84 ERA, but did sacrifice three earned runs the last time he face Kansas City.

This marks the third loss since July 29th. The other two losses? Against Jon Lester. Yes, both of them. Kansas City has one nineteen of their last twenty-four matches, and now have a half game lead over the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers beat Seattle today to regain control of the second Wildcard sport, and inch closer to the Royals.

One loss certainly doesn’t make or break a season, but this one was painful in the eyes of many. Each win from here on out is important. To steal a quote from the very wise Rex Hudler, “Everyday is a day. Every game is a game.”

KC Blasted by A’s 11-3

Sarah Davis

It was a great run that boosted the Kansas City Royals from third place, and eight games back from the AL Central lead, to first place, and half a game up on the Detroit Tigers. Surely everybody knew that we wouldn’t win out. It’s a nice thought, but we were due for a loss, and this one came in embarrassing fashion.

It was a night where not much could go right for the Royals. Jeremy Guthrie was greeted by back-to-back singles, and a double by Brandon Moss to put Oakland on the board in the first. Lorenzo Cain’s assist limited the damage to a one-run first inning. The A’s would tack on two unearned runs in the third inning on Alcides Escobar’s eleventh error of the season.

Three runs in the fourth and fifth innings would knock Guthrie from the game. It’s an interesting line from Guthrie tonight, no doubt: 4.2 innings, four earned runs, and four strikeouts. The only ‘big hit’ he allowed was Brandon Moss’ RBI double back in the first inning. The Athletics managed eleven hits off of Guthrie, but only one for extra bases. The last out in the fifth inning belonged to Aaron Crow, and he got Josh Reddick to fly out on one pitch.

Kansas City bats finally woke up in the fifth inning. Lorenzo Cain doubled Mike Moustakas to third base, and Alcides Escobar doubled Moose in. Nori Aoki then hit an infield single to score Lorenzo Cain. Aoki advanced on an errant throw by Eric Sogard. Salvador Perez then added to the score with an RBI double to cut the Oakland lead to three runs. That would be all that the Royals offense could muster up against Lester and the A’s.

The rest of the night belonged to Bruce Chen. It appeared to everyone that Chen would be one and done. Chen Worked a 1-2-3 inning, and it spiraled from there. The next three innings would be similar to A’s batting practice earlier in the day. Oakland slaughtered Chen for five earned runs in his four innings pitched, and it was not pretty. It was a case of, “Our bullpen is tired, so we’re going to leave Chen hanging out there like a wet towel.” Chen’s final line was similar to one of Jonathan Sanchez’s good starts back in 2012.

The upside to this is that the Royals are still in first. The Tigers lost 4-2 to Pittsburgh tonight, and are fading fast. Detroit has lost four in a row, and have lost Anibal Sanchez and Justin Verlander.

The Royals will send Jason Vargas to the mound for his third start since the appendectomy in Tampa Bay. The A’s will counter with Scott Kazmir. Kazmir gave up four earned runs to the Royals when we faced him last in Oakland. To steal a line from James Shields, “Amnesia is your best friend.” Kansas City just needs to move on from this game, and get back on track.

Pen to Win, Royals Win 4-2

Sarah Davis

Greg Holland got his 100th career save tonight in a 4-2 win, so that’s a huge accomplishment for him.

Jason Vargas was very solid over five innings of work, and only allowed two earned runs while striking out five San Francisco batters. Both Giants runs were scored in the third inning when Joaquin Arias doubled in Pablo Sandoval to put San Fran on the board. Matt Duffy singled in Joaquin Arias, and that would be it as far as scoring for the Giants.

Two outfield assists from Nori Aoki really saved the game for the Royals. Aoki’s first assist was to third to gun down Hunter Pence (Hunter Pence can’t parallel park.) His second assist was to home plate to throw out Joaquin Arias.

Kansas City’s scoring got started in the first inning on a two-run home run from Billy Butler. In the sixth inning, Butler added his third RBI of the night when he singled in Omar Infante. Alex Gordon chipped in tonight with an RBI single to score Salvador Perez.

It was a big night for the bullpen. Four innings of shutout baseball with six strikeouts. The quiet acquisition of Jason Frasor was one of the few good ones that Dayton Moore made before the trade deadline. Frasor has now pitched 5.2 innings, and has given up no earned runs, and struck out eight batters. Wade Davis made me feel like I was back in 2012 watching Jonathan Broxton, who always seemed to flirt with disaster every night, but would somehow get out of it.

After the All-Star break, Ned Yost and Dayton Moore said that if there were going to be improvements, it would have to be internally. Billy Butler has provided exactly that. For whatever reason, people still find a reason to complain about it. Yes, there was a base running error tonight, but it didn’t effect the game. Let’s have fun with stats, shall we? As a first baseman this year here are Billy’s stats: .349/.391/.605 with two home runs in 43 at-bats. In 357 at-bats as the team’s DH, Billy is .261/.310/.336 with three home runs. It will be…or should be a tough decision to move Billy Butler back to DH when Eric Hosmer comes back from the DL. If I were the Royals, and I’m not, I would trade Hosmer for an outfield bat, or try to find a James Shields replacement when he leaves.

Shields will be on the hill tomorrow for the Royals. Shields has had two very good starts his last couple trips to the mound, and hopes to continue his success. The Royals will have the tall task of facing Tim Hudson. Hudson this year has a 2.74 ERA, and has a 2.24 ERA in away games this year.

The Royals have won five straight, and tomorrow will go for their sixth series win in a row. I think the Royals are a legitimate playoff contending team, and I hope they can keep on rolling.

Royals Thump Dbacks 12-2

Sarah Davis

First of all, a huge congratulations is in order for Alex Gordon who collected his 1000th career hit.

It was a night where nothing could go right for the Arizona Diamondbacks pitching, and everything could go right for the Kansas City Royals offense.

The Diamondbacks had a lead over the Royals for exactly 2.2 innings. They scored Jordan Pacheco on an RBI-single by outfielder Mark Trumbo. That would be the only run the Dbacks offense could muster up until the eighth inning. Danny Duffy went five complete innings with seven strikeouts. It was all up to the bullpen after that, and they came though with four solid innings.

“Duffy doesn’t get very much run support.”

I find myself saying that tonight as the Kansas City offense gave Danny Duffy twelve runs to work with. It started with a three-run dinger from All Star starting catcher Salvador Perez, and escalated from there. For the past two games, the fifth inning has been so kind for the Royals. In the past two games, they have scored thirteen runs in the fifth inning. With two on, Billy Butler crushed a two-run home run to left-center field to give KC a 6-1 lead. After Alex Gordon scored on a wild pitch. With the bases juiced, up comes Nori Aoki. Aoki blasted a ball over the right field wall to give Aoki (!!!!) the third grand slam of the season. Yes, as your eyes do a double-take, I did say Nori Aoki. Alex Gordon had the other RBI as he singled in Billy Butler for the twelfth run of the game.

Danny Duffy is now 6-10 with a 2.39 ERA this season. Over Duffy’s last five starts he has allowed four earned runs, and sat down 26 batters. Duffy has shined in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery.

Billy Butler and Salvador Perez both had quite the night. They were a combined 7-10 with two home runs, and six RBIs. Over the last seven games Butler is hitting .364/.364/.545. It’s an understatement to say that while Eric Hosmer is out, they really need his bat to step up.

The Detroit Tigers beat the Yankees today, so Kansas City gained no ground there. The Angels and Blue Jays both lost. Kansas City now sits 0.5 games back of the second Wildcard spot, and 4.5 games back of first place in the AL Central.

The Royals will send Yordano Ventura (8-8, 3.50 ERA) to face Josh Collmenter (8-5, 4.07 ERA) for game two of the series at 8:40 central time. Let’s hope they didn’t use all of their offense up for Danny Duffy today, and get some runs for Yordano tomorrow.

Why We Love Baseball

Sarah Davis

In September of 2001, one nation was brought together after a terrorist attack devastated the United States and its’ citizens. Again, in April of 2013, disaster struck again. The one thing that brought people together, and started the healing process was baseball. Now, two nations are coming together and the thing in the middle of that is none other than baseball.

Sung Woo Lee is a citizen of Seoul, South Korea. Since the 1990s, Sung Woo has had a love for the Kansas City Royals. In fact, he is such a big Royals fan that he even put it on his bucket list to come to Kansas City, and watch a Royals game in person. On August 5th he will be arriving to Kansas City to fulfill the dream he’s had for over two decades.

The truly amazing thing about Sung Woo is not only that he has been a Royals fan since the 90s, which truly deprives him of watching a good team, but he wakes up and watches Royals games on MLB.TV despite the 14-hour time difference. Nobody, not even Sung Woo knows the reasoning behind the Kansas City fandom, not even the man himself. Of course, you won’t hear him complaining about his favorite team.

When asked who his favorite player is in an interview from 2012 interview by a site called ‘Rambling Morons’, he responded, “I love all Royals players, even mediocre farmhands. It’s a difficult question. I never actually watched Brett, Saberhagen, Splittorf, and many legendary players, so my favorites are Sweeney, Dye, Damon, Beltran, Randa, and Greinke. I love all of the men on the 40-man roster.” I had to edit a bit, as Sung Woo did not speak good English at the time.

Sung Woo is one of the most optimistic Royals fans, and I’ve even had the pleasure of conversing with him about the team via Twitter.

I tweeted out, “Kansas City is headed for last place, aren’t they?”

Sung Woo replied, “Maybe, but we’ll get a higher draft pick, and re-build our farm system.”

Sung Woo’s eternal optimism about his Boys in Blue is for good reason. After working long and hard, Sung Woo uses the team as a coping mechanism to unwind, and relax after a hard day’s work.

Not only has he caught the attention of the casual fans, Sung Woo has caught the attention of radio host, Danny Parkins, and Kansas City Royals lefty, Danny Duffy. Duffy said that if Sung Woo ever made his way to the states, he would pay for Royals tickets so that he could see his favorite team in person. Since then, Duffy has left twitter, but Parkins and Sung Woo have kept in touch. It was not until after he announced his travel plans that Parkins found out. Once he got word, Danny Parkins did the incredible deed of hooking up Sung Woo with Royals tickets. What’s remarkable is that the team themselves are letting him throw out the first pitch. Chris Kamler, and the rest of the ‘Rambling Morons’ have taken it upon themselves to give Sung Woo an official Kansas City welcoming.

From the depths of Korea to the heartland of the U.S, a lifelong baseball fan finally gets his dream to come true. This is why we love baseball. To learn more about Sung Woo Lee, and keep up with the hubbub, follow @Koreanfan_KC on twitter, and search #SungWooToKC.

5th Inning Dooms Royals, Lose 8-3

Sarah Davis

Back-to-back games when the Royals scored one run in very important games. The difference? Yesterday’s game was a shutout, and a shutout is a win 100% of the time.

The A’s scored eight runs today, so you can’t tell me that they missed Cespedes…. For today at least. Today, they had no trouble scoring runs against a troubled Royals defense.

At the beginning of the fifth inning, it looked like Kansas City was well on their way to another 1-0 defeat against the newly revamped Oakland Athletics. Jason Vargas cruised through four innings even throwing a perfect game in his first game back after suffering a ruptured appendix three weeks ago.

In the third inning, Kansas City managed a run against Jon Lester on an Alcides Escobar single, a Nori Aoki walk, and two sacrifices by Erik Kratz and Lorenzo Cain. That would be all that the Royals could muster up until the seventh inning when they put two meaningless runs on the board to bring them within five runs.

The fifth inning is what wreaked havoc for Vargas and the Royals, and would eventually boot Vargas from the game. On paper, it says that Vargas surrendered seven earned runs, but Vargy was actually really….good. After a defensive miscue by Billy Butler on an infield pop-up, and two other defensive disasters by Mike Moustakas and Alex Gordon, the A’s put eight runs on the board in the fifth inning. Only Gordon’s was ruled an error, which leads to seven earned runs being charged to Vargas.

Aaron Crow gave up the other run. In the last 11 innings pitched, Crow has given up six earned runs, and is the proud owner of almost a five ERA. What started out as a zero ERA all the way up until May18th is now 3.13 ERA.

I could sit here and tell you all the ‘should’ve, would’ve, and could’ve’ plays that were supposed to happen, but at the end of the day, it’s a loss, and a very inexcusable fifth inning from Royals players.

The Boys in Blue will wrap up the series in Oakland tomorrow starting at 3:05 central time. They will send out ace (or whatever else you would prefer to call him) James Shields to battle against Scott Kazmir. Kazmir is a lefty, so I would expect to see Christian Colon, who came off of the bench today to get the start for Mike Moustakas tomorrow.

The best we can hope for today is the Tigers, Indians, Blue Jays, and Angels all lose. The likely event of all four of those teams losing is not likely.

Royals Come Back, Win 6-3

Sarah Davis

After standing pat at the trade deadline, Royals fans spent the latter half of today in a bit of a foul mood. A team with a lot of holes, and admittedly so, made absolutely no attempts to make this team better, but still has high hopes of making the playoffs. Sounds crazy, right? That’s because it is.

Tonight didn’t get off to a dazzling start, but it finished as one for Yordano Ventura. Danny Santana (something about Santana’s that just like to hit against KC) homered to lead off the game. The other Ventura run was unearned, and came off of an E5 throwing error on third baseman Mike Moustakas.

Yordano Ventura got off to a rocky start allowing the leadoff home run, but was solid afterwards. Ventura scattered four more hits while striking out seven batters in seven innings of work.

Kansas City tied the ballgame in the fifth inning with two runs on back-to-back doubles, and a fielding error on Eduardo Escobar. The Royals would put four more on the board to take the lead back for good in the seventh. The Royals are trying this new thing called ‘frenzy hitting’ and, call me crazy, but I think it might be working. Lorenzo Cain got things started in the seventh inning with a double to left field. With two on after a Mike Moustakas walk, Alcides Escobar tripled to score both of them. Jarrod Dyson then singled in Escobar, and would eventually come around to score on two stolen bases, and a throwing error.

Game notes: X-rays have revealed that Eric Hosmer has a stress fracture in his hand, and is out 3-4 weeks. Hosmer injured it against Jon Lester in Boston. Lester has since been traded, and we will see him this weekend in Oakland.

Pitching matchups for Oakland do not look good at all. Game one will feature Jeremy Guthrie and Sonny Gray (yikes.) Jason Vargas is set to make his return after being on the DL due to the removal of his appendix. Vargas will face recently acquired Royal killer, Jon Lester. Scott Kazmir and James Shields will round out the series. I must say, folks, the matchups don’t look good for our Boys in Blue.

Detroit lost today to Chicago, and the Royals now sit four games back of the AL Central lead. Need I remind you: Detroit acquired David Price, and the Royals acquired absolutely nobody. Unless you count Jason Frasor, Scott Downs, Raul Ibanez, and Erik Kratz a big acquisition, this trade season was a bust.

Royals Edge Twins, Win 3-2

Sarah Davis

It was looking like another game that would require Danny Duffy to throw a shut out just to even qualify for a win.

Danny Duffy made one mistake pitch four innings of Wednesday’s matchup against the Twins. Duffy left a fastball up to Josh Willingham, and he hit it a very long way. Duffy settled down until the fifth inning when he put two on with one out. Ned Yost decided to pull the plug and go to recently acquired Jason Frasor. Frasor would get out of the inning with no damage done.

Danny Duffy pitched a very respectable game: 5.2 innings, one earned run, and four strikeouts. Duffy did give up six walks tonight which elevated his pitch count. Duffy threw 105 pitches, that in which only a little over half of them were strikes. He didn’t have a bad outing, but it’s definitely not what Royals fans are used to seeing.

Danny Duffy now leads the rotation in ERA at 2.42, but is 5-10 this season. Seriously, you cannot make this stuff up. The Royals have given him no run support.

As for the offense tonight, they did not show up until the sixth inning when they decided that it might be a nifty idea to score some runs for their pitcher who just labored through 5+ innings, and only allowed one earned run.

With one out in the sixth inning, Salvador Perez doubled in Omar Infante, and advanced to third on a wild throw by Eduardo Nunez. Alex Gordon then drove in Salvy with a double of his own, as did Mike Moustakas.

The other Twins run was given up by none other than the wonderful (sarcasm) Scott Downs. Downs now has a 5.51 ERA on the year.

Tonight was a very boring ballgame, and I was clearly not entertained. I hope the Royals will do a better job tomorrow when the send Yordano Ventura to the hill to face Kevin Correia.


I will be breaking down all Royals trades right here. That’s assuming if Dayton Moore gets off his rear end and makes a trade. Just please don’t let it be for Emilio Bonifacio.

Royals Fall Short of Comeback, Lose 2-1

Sarah Davis

Legend has it that if you score more runs that the other team, you’ll win the game. The Royals must have missed that.

It was a horrible quality start for James Shields, if that makes sense. Shields threw an average of 20.67 pitches per inning. While Shields went six complete innings, and only allowed two runs, he wiggled out of jam after jam, and was a bit out of control with his location.

The umpires certainly didn’t do the Royals any favors. In the top of the fifth, interference was called on second baseman Omar Infante, and Sam Fuld was awarded third base. Nothing would come out of it as Shields would wiggle out of that jam too.

Shields couldn’t get out of the third inning without a run when Josh Willingham sacrificed in Danny Santana (Ugh. Another Santana.) Danny Santana scored the other run in the fifth inning, and that would do it for the Twins.

Kyle Gibson has dominated the Royals all season. Gibson continued his success tonight when he pitched seven scoreless innings, and only allowed two hits.

Kansas City didn’t score their loan run until the ninth inning. With no outs, Omar Infante doubled off of the left field wall. Eric Hosmer dumped one into left field to give him his 46th RBI of the year. That would be as far as the Royals rally would come as the next three batters went down in order against All-Star closer, Glenn Perkins.

The Royals did not lose any ground in the AL Central race after Detroit lost to Chicago, but they now sit 3.5 games back of the second wildcard spot.

Phil Hughes and Danny Duffy will square off tomorrow at 7:10 for the second game of the series. Let’s hope that, for once, we can provide some run support for Mr. Duffy.

Aoki, Butler Lead Royals Over Tribe, 7-5

Sarah Davis

In the middle of the second inning, I thought the game was over. The Indians had a five run lead, and the offense looked to be dormant. Kansas City started chipping in the third inning, and tied it in the fourth.

Carlos “The One Man Wrecking Crew” Santana, and the Cleveland Indians put a five spot on the board in the second inning.

The inning scoring in the second inning started with a Carlos Santana big fly to give the Indians a 1-0 lead. With two outs, it would appear to the Royals that Guthrie had limited the damage. Alas, the Indians would go on to score four more runs that inning to give starter, Zach McCallister a five run lead.

Kansas City would put one run on in the bottom of the third inning, but the real damage would come in innings four and five. After an Alcides Escobar RBI single to cut the lead to 5-2, Nori Aoki would hit a 2-RBI triple to bring the Royals back within one run. Aoki would dash home on a pass ball.

In the sixth, with Salvador Perez aboard, Billy Butler, for the second day in a row, mashes a go-ahead two-run home run to put the dagger in Cleveland.

Determined to get Jeremy Guthrie his sixth win of the year, Ned Yost sent Guthrie out for his sixth inning of work. Guthrie got two outs in the inning before Yost decided to pull the plug and go to Scott Downs. Downs would finish Guthrie’s inning, and Guthrie would finish with five ER, and four strikeouts through 5.2 innings of work.

With the trio of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland, Cleveland’s hopes for avoiding a series loss were dwindling. Between the three of them, they allowed one hit, and sat down four Indian batters via the strikeout.

Carlos Santana continues to be a thorn in the side of Kansas City. Santana is 6-11 with four RBIs in the series thus far.

After being benched to start the game tomorrow, Billy Butler has hit two go-ahead two-run homeruns. Both of them were 420+ feet homeruns.

Eric Hosmer continues to sit with a hand contusion after being hit by a Jon Lester pitch in the Boston series. Raul Ibanez and Billy Butler have filled in at first while Hosmer is recovering.

Kansas City will go for the sweep tomorrow against Cleveland. The Royals will send Bruce Chen (2-2, 5.80 ERA) out to the mound to keep their winning streak alive. The Indians will counter with Danny Salazar (2-4, 5.12 ERA) in hopes to avoid a sweep, and fall to three games under .500.

I would not expect a pitching duel with both guys having ERAs over five. I would, however, expect Ned Yost to send his ‘Surrender Sunday’ lineups out to play. Somebody should really tell Ned that those games count too.