Rewind Yourself: 4/26-5/1 - A Tale of Two Cities

It really was the best of times and worst of times for the Royals this week.  They got swept by Cleveland; embarrassed, really.  Then they turn around and sweep the Twins. In Cleveland, they were the Bad News Bears. In Kansas City, they were Murderer’s Row.

Madness.  Cats and dogs living together.

So they went 3-3 on the week, scoring 33 runs and allowing 32.  Considering how they started the week, I’d have never guessed that would be the result.  The Royals got good performances by a few hitters and good enough performances from their starters in the process.  How good?  Check out the numbers below:

The Numbers
Hitting slash stats: .296/.349/.507/.857
7 homeruns hit
16-57 with runners in scoring position
Five stolen bases in as many attempts
20 walks in 232 plate appearances – an 8.6% walkrate

They put up a line of .373/.413/.637/1.050 against the Twins.

Staff ERA: 5.47
Starters ERA: 8.10
Bullpen ERA: 1.74

Any guesses on what we need to improve on down the line?

The staff had a 27/25 K/BB ratio over 51 innings pitched. The bullpen had to pick up 20.2 of the workload due to short starts from everyone except Sean O’Sullivan and Luke Hochevar. The two had the only quality starts from the rotation.

Billy Butler, 7-21, 4 RS, 4 BB, 3 RBI – considering he was in the “Slumping” part of this column last week, this is a good sign. He was hitting the ball hard again most of the time.
Alex Gordon, 6-22, 4 BB, 6 RBI, and a bomb of a homer on Saturday
Mike Aviles, 6-21, 2 HR, 5 RBI
Matt Treanor, 6-12, 5 RS

Kyle Davies, 3.1 IP 8 ER
Jeff Francis, 3+ IP, 5 ER
Nobody on offense “slumped” so to speak, though Jeff Francoeur (6-24) and Wilson Betemit (5-20) cooled down from past performance levels.

The Verdict
As bad as the Royals looked in Cleveland, it’s a surprise to see them hit the tar out of the ball back home. The bullpen deserves a break in the coming week, as they’ve worked 16 straight scoreless innings.

Alex Gordon keeps hitting, Mike Aviles is picking things back up, and Butler’s starting to get back to form. That’s all good.

The starting rotation, though, is going to determine more of the Royals success than any batters can. They gave up too many big innings and put the team into too big of a deficit on the road. The Royals almost came back last week in Texas, but they had no chance in Cleveland. Things calmed down in Kansas City, at least.

It seems that the Royals are doing to be better off in larger stadiums. Much like the older teams of the 1970’s and 1980’s were built for the larger, faster then-Royals Stadium, this team is built more for a gap-to-gap approach to take advantage of good team speed. They split two game series in Minnesota and Detroit – bigger ballparks – but got hammered in more homerun friendly environments like Texas and Cleveland.

Walks and the longball are the key going forward. That’s scary, because when a 7-walk outing by Sean O’Sullivan is your best start…that’s not going to work long-term.

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Tags: AL Central Alex Gordon Baseball Billy Butler Kansas City Royals KC Kyle Davies Mike Aviles MLB Royals

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