Royals Rewind 6/21-6/27: Winding Down Interleague Play


The Royals finished up Interleague play with a series in Washington before returning home to host their cross-state rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals. After the dust settled, the Royals had lost the series to Washington (but beat Stephen Strasburg) and took the only series of the year against the Cardinals, much to the chagrin of the best fans in baseball.

The Royals are playing near .500 ball with Ned Yost at the helm (20-21 since taking over for Trey Hillman), so they’ve had a lot of these 3-3 weeks. Nobody expects this team to contend – yet – so hanging around .500 is fine, though also disappointing. Think of those “Lowered Expectations” parody ads on Mad TV. It’s kind of like that.

The Numbers
Team AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS
.310/.339/.362/.701
-I suppose if you assume the Royals would normally be batting about .255 and then consider the massive amounts of singles as walks, it’s not that painful. But a .362 slugging percentage? Yuck. The Royals had been on a 7 game homerless streak until Wilson Betemit‘s three-run homer off Jaime Garcia. Maybe they’ll get something going with a return to the normal AL schedule.
The Royals drew 8 walks in 223 plate appearances. That’s a 3.59% walk rate. I’m pretty sure the Royals are actively trying NOT to draw a walk.
The activity on the basepaths from April is no more, as has been covered before. The Royals are becoming adept at the 3 steals and 3 caught stealing stat line the last few weeks.

Team ERA: 2.42
Starters ERA: 3.13
Bullpen ERA: 0.61
Team K/BB ratio 33/17
WHIP 1.12
Kind of weird numbers, but strong performances by Zack Greinke and Brian Bannister helped. Also, as I showed a few days ago, the key members of the bullpen have improved under Ned Yost. If the starters (mostly Kyle Davies and Bannister) can get themselves right, the second half may showcase some strong pitching performances through the entire staff.

Streaking
Jose Guillen, 10-23, 4 RBI, extended hitting streak to 21 games (though hasn’t hit more than a single since June 11 and hasn’t homered since June 6)
Scott Podsednik, 10-25, 4 RS, 3 RBI, 2 SB
David DeJesus, 9-25, 2 RS, 4 RBI. DeJesus is actually distancing himself from Billy Butler in the race to represent the Royals in the All-Star Game. (Guess who called that about a week ago…)
Alberto Callaspo, 8-23
Mike Aviles, 6-18
Jason Kendall, 5-19, 3 RS, 6 RBI
Robinson Tejeda, 5 IP, 7/1 K/BB ratio

Slumping
Billy Butler, 4-24, seems less patient lately
Yuniesky Betancourt, 2-19, welcome back to earth, Yuni
Mitch Maier, 1-8, victim of lost playing time with Guillen in right field during interleague play
Anthony Lerew, 5.1 IP, 10 hits against in one start
Kyle Davies, 7 IP but gave up two key homers to take the loss against the Cardinals

The Verdict
Following last week’s poor showing after being swept by Atlanta, a 3-3 split and a victory over a dominant Stephen Strasburg is a nice rebound. The lack of power is concerning, as Billy Butler is still stuck on 7 homeruns, and as noted above, Guillen hasn’t homered in weeks despite his hitting streak. The 3rd through 6th hitters (usually DeJesus/Butler/Guillen/Callaspo) have a combined 5 homers in June. If not for Butler and DeJesus being doubles machines (16 combined in the month), the key run-producing part of the Royals lineup would have only a handful of extra base hits.

That’s not going to get it done, and as the trade deadline approaches, Guillen and DeJesus are at the peak of their value. The Royals need power, not just for this year (as we’re in a race to stay ahead of Cleveland and out of the cellar), but for future years.

It’s time for Kila Ka’aihue. And while we’re at it, (don’t smirk at this idea) I think it’s time a prodigal son makes his return too.

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Tags: AL Central Baseball Billy Butler Brian Bannister David DeJesus Jason Kendall Jose Guillen Kansas City Royals KC Kila Kaaihue Kyle Davies MLB Ned Yost Royals Scott Podsednik Zack Greinke