Jun 8, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals pitcher James Shields (33) delivers a pitch against the New York Yankees during the sixth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Off Day Thoughts

One of the fantastic things about a competitive team, lots of big games.  Last night was one of them, and who would we rather have take the bump than “Big Game James”?  Perhaps anyone else in the rotation.

Lately, James Shields has not been the dominant James Shields we are used to.  He’s done a good job righting the ship after these shaky starts, saving wear and tear on the bullpen.  That’s ok, but not for the rest of this season.  He needs to be one of the two best starters in the rotation and right now he is not.  Something seems off.  He was so concerned about a runner at third he  balked in a run, but later gave away a swipe of second base.  I mean, Butler could have stolen that base.  Shields should right the ship.  He’s got his head screwed on right and there is plenty of season left.

That said, don’t be surprised if he has another rough patch this season.  His name came up quite a bit the last couple weeks while pundits discussed the regression of Justin Verlander.  The likely reason for Verlander’s slip is tread on the tires.  Verlander has thrown more pitches than anyone since 2008, and I’ll give you one guess who’s the solid second place guy.  Again, the Royals can’t have Shields pitch like he has the last few starts the rest of the year.  However, their solid rotation and bull-pen, can over come another tough stretch.

More thoughts on Shields.  Many have dreamed of a scenario where the Royals pony up and re-sign him.  No way.  There is no logical reason to expect him not to regress at the point, so whoever signs him will over pay.  Nope.  Given the Royals ability to sign league average starters, and turn them into solid, front of the rotation horses, his signing is an unnecessary risk.

I could not be more impressed with how well the Royals have done with the likes of Ervin Santana, Jeremy Guthrie and Jason Vargas.  What is behind this?  Some credit has to go to Dayton Moore, but how about pitching coach, Dave Eiland?

Check out the team ERA (s) since Dave came on board.

2012 ERA:  4.30  ( 10th in AL)

2013 ERA:  3.45  ( 1st in AL)

2014 ERA:  3.66  (3rd in AL)

Let me be the first to suggest, “Diamond Dave Bobble Head Night”.

Although the Royals lost last night, they have won 5 of their last 7 series.  That’s a very solid month, even better when you consider that each team played is either a play off contender or a divisional foe.  They are now 4 back of Detroit.  Are they contenders?  Yes.  Why?  Run differential.

The Royals have a plus 13 run differential, that ranks 6th in the AL and 11th overall.  Take a look below.  You may now agree that the it’s all about beating the Tigers for the Central…or relocating to California.

Oakland:  129  ( I know…Oh my God!)

Toronto:  29

Texas:  50

Orange County:  48

Detroit:  14

Kansas City:  13

Baltimore:  10

It’s starting to look like this team’s divisional hopes lay on the bat of Eric Hosmer.  He’s an incredible athlete, a run saver at first base, and a below average hitter right now.  It was nice seeing him get 2 hits off of Jesus Kershaw * on Tuesday, but one of them was an actual  miracle from the real Lord.  Hosmer’s first inning single would have made Vlad blush.  That was a cartoon moment and only spoke to his vacant plate discipline.  More encouraging was the 2 walks he coaxed last night.

*  Kershaw is, indeed,  a pitching prophet.  I haven’t enjoyed watching the Royals lose that much since Pedro Martinez played. Nobody changes eye levels like that guy.  He’s an artist.   Don’t take that the wrong way and say I was happy with the out come *

I would like to say there is a bat out there to trade for, so we don’t have to put this all on Hoz.  I just don’t see it.  I also don’t see the league ready or almost ready guys in AAA needed to acquire said bat.  No pressure, Hoz.

Does anyone else think Wade Davis should pitch the eight inning of the All-Star Game, no matter what?  I don’t care about last night’s human moment.  Do you?

Does anyone else think it’s a blessing Aoki hit the DL?  I really enjoy his GIFs, but prefer more Dyson.  Dyson has some serous swagger.  At times, it’s misdirected at the media, but who cares?  Watching a confident, hot Dyson is a blast.  What a show he put on last night.

Does anyone else feel better with Valenecia and the third base platoon back?

Does anyone else badly want to see Gordon and Butler swap places in the line up?

I love Tim Lincecum and all baseball stars that march to their own beat.  Very happy about his no-no.

The Royals can make a good month great by wining this upcoming series with the Orange County Sluggers.  As seen by their run differential, they present quite a test.



Tags: Eric Hosmer James Shields Kansas City Royals

  • jimfetterolf

    Nice piece Ed.

  • moretrouble

    Ed, this piece is the best insight I’ve seen from you yet. Nice work … keep doing what you do.

  • Ed Connealy

    Thanks fellas…great opportunity to win a big series starts tomorrow. Light a candle for Hoz!

  • cardsfanatik

    Nice piece Ed, however, I do believe they need a bat. I think Dayton knows they need a bat. It doesn’t mean that one is out there, but the need is there. Moustakas should be in his last full year to prove anything, we have some guys coming or at least one (Cuthbert) who should be ready to step up next year. So giving away the farm for a 3rd baseman shouldn’t happen. The OF situation could be different. So far the OF pipeline isn’t screaming MLB, neither Bonifacio or Starling are hitting their weight. This team doesn’t have a power hitter. If they could trade for one, and if the salary was a problem, they can trade Butler this off-season, and with Zimmer hopefully ready for the MLB rotation next spring, signing Shields shouldn’t happen. They could sign a 3-5th type, for insurance. You are correct there. But with Shields AND Butler coming off of the books, even with raises due, they should be able to afford a power hitting OF’er. I think this team is tremendously close, and I believe with a consistent hitter in the middle of the order, it would indeed put them over the top. I’m afraid that player isn’t Hosmer though. I hope I’m wrong, but he isn’t consistent enough, and truthfully, he never shows up until late June, early July anyway. IF, and I stress IF, Dayton sees a trade on the horizon, to pick up a power hitting OF’er, the ONLY 2 names that shouldn’t be on the table are Zimmer and Ventura. Other than that, everyone should be in play. I do believe that Shields has struggled, but I don’t think they are where they are right now without him. And I feel that some of the pitching success has come FROM him, not just Eiland. Not taking anything away from Dave, he’s awesome, but I believe that Shields has put some of his mentality into this rotation’s head. Now, with all that said, I believe that IF the Royal’s are still close to the division race, or still in the wild card hunt, come the trade deadline, they better do everything they can to add offense. I just don’t see this line up as constructed, beating out the guys that they will be facing for the post season. Doesn’t mean its out there, BUT Dayton should be blowing up the phone of EVERY team that has an OF with some pop that is going nowhere this year.

    • moretrouble

      Really nice post, Cardsfan. I agree with your sentiments. To elaborate on your thoughts, I wonder sometimes if KC isn’t just training Hosmer and Moustakas for free agency. Boras is their agent and if those guys have a big coming out party in their contract year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Boras take them into the FA market, where they can make a boatload of money KC can’t afford to pay.

      They still need a hitter … even they know that. Like you, I wonder what will be out there at the deadline, but KC does have trading pieces if they’re inclined to make a move. However, I would be surprised if they spun off Shields. They got what they wanted out of the Santana separation … which was an additional draft selection … that might be their strategy with Shields, too. But, no doubt, if they do make a major move, they’ll have to trade big-time talent. I suspect KC won’t do that, but rather will trade around the fringes, like they did last year acquiring Maxwell. And, I would be disappointed if they did.

      You can only knock on the door so long before opportunities vanish. Maybe, that’s their strategy … being competitive is good enough. If that’s true, then it’s a strategy that comes from David Glass, who appears to be just as big a tightwad as Calvin Griffith.

      • cardsfanatik

        I agree with your statements, but I hope we’re wrong in our thinking. KC fans DESERVE at LEAST a couple of post seasons after so long of nothing. Glass could actually endear himself to KC Royal’s fans, if he seizes this opportunity.