Royals Rewind: 7/26-8/1


The Royals started the week off with an awful showing against the Twins, getting swept and embarrassed, allowing 36 runs in three games, but scoring only 7 of their own.  Kansas City rebounded by taking three of four from Baltimore in a close  series that could have been a four game sweep by the Royals without some misplays (or could have been a split or series loss with a few breaks going against the Royals).

As the trading deadline loomed, the Royals had already traded Alberto Callaspo, and added to the shuffling by trading Scott Podsednik, then at the last moment, announcing a trade of Kyle Farnsworth and Rick Ankiel.

Salvaging three games while moving some dead weight off the roster (and getting some intriguing prospects in return) — that’s not a bad week (just, er, ignore that Twins series…)

Oh, and Dayton Moore graduated the first member of his draft classes to the big leagues.

The Numbers
28 runs scored in seven games
Four homeruns
4 stolen bases in 4 attempts
The Royals walked in 9.3% of their plate appearances for the week

Team ERA: 7.06 – That Twins series really hurt
Starters ERA: 6.75 – Sean O’Sullivan put in a quality start and Zack Greinke rebounded from a humbling start against the Twins
Bullpen ERA: 7.56
40/30 K/BB ratio
Allowed 9 homers

Wilson Betemit, 9-22, 5 RBI
Billy Butler, 7-27, 5 RS, HR, 3 RBI – go-ahead homer on Saturday night in the 8th inning
Alex Gordon, 7-24, 4 RS, 2 HR, 5 RBI – walkoff three run homer on Friday night, homered two days later. You have no idea how good it feels to be able to write his name on here. Perhaps Kila Ka’aihue can join him soon…
Chris Getz, 7-19 – also made the game-ending play yesterday afternoon to preserve the one run lead
Mitch Maier, 5-9, 3 RS, HR, 4 RBI – With Ankiel gone, he should play close to everyday, an opportunity which he deserves. Also made a nice fundamental play backing up second base on an overthrow that saved a run.

This is sweet victory for many of the Royals fans online…
Jose Guillen, 3-26 – slumping right at the deadline. Thanks. He might still be moved in a waiver trade, though.
Willie Bloomquist, 2-17
Jason Kendall, 4-20

The Verdict
Well, that could have been a much more painful week, but taking those last three against the Orioles help. The Royals will try to ride that momentum out west, as they will take on Oakland, Seattle and Los Angeles before returning home to the K to face the Yankees.

Ned Yost has done a good job with the team, given the level of talent he’s working with.  It’s no surprise he had his contract extended over the weekend.  The bullpen’s struggled in the last month or so, and injuries to Gil Meche and Luke Hochevar have thinned out the rotation, but he’s got the Royals playing near-.500 ball despite all that. Wilson Betemit is playing out of his mind, and while I expect regression, he might be able to hit over .300 with more than 200 at bats. I’d have never expected that. Alex Gordon might be figuring things out. He’s hit in seven straight and the two homers are encouraging.

Most importantly, the Royals moved three expiring contracts of aging players and got some value back in return. Not only did they get Luke May and Elisaul Pimentel and Tim Collins, but they opened up a spot for Gordon to play everyday, while Mitch Maier can return to regular playing time as well. If Jose Guillen gets moved, Kila will finally get some extended at bats at the major league level (right? RIGHT?).

This season is now shifting to seeing how the young players adjust to playing every day. Chris Getz has done well since June, hitting .305 and getting on base at a .354 clip. He’s also stolen five bases without being caught. As we saw in the Orioles series, he’ll probably play a lot more second base with Mike Aviles filling in, spelling Yuniesky Betancourt at short and Wilson Betemit at third.

All joking aside, the Process has officially begun to get into the fun part. As more young players bubble up through the rest of 2010 and then start competing for jobs in 2011, it could be a very exciting time to be a Royals fan.

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