Royals Rewind: 8/2-8/8 – Growing Pains


These are the times that try Royals fans souls.  Another youth movement.  Inexperienced players learning on the job.  In the end, it may work out well, but for the present time, it’s going to be a little ugly.  This was one of those ugly weeks.

The Royals headed out west, but it wasn’t quite Manifest Destiny at work, instead, they won two of six games and struggled to score runs.  Their highest run output in a game this week: a feeble three runs.  And they lost that game.

It was also a bipolar week, as fans expressed immense joy at the end of the Jose Guillen era.  The jubilation didn’t last as panic set in after a Bob Dutton report of Zack Greinke expressing doubt that he’ll see any of the top prospects make an impact before his contract expires in 2012.

If that scares you though, wait until you look at the numbers…

The Numbers
That’s right, the Royals had a .538 OPS this week. Not hearing so much chatter about the Royals being the “best hitting team in the league” lately.
37 hits, 9 for extra bases (6 doubles, 3 homers)
11 runs scored. Ouch.
7.3% walkrate. Yuck.

Team ERA: 3.60 – pretty much the only reason they won two games
Starters ERA: 4.58 – inflated by, of all people, Zack Greinke (7IP, 6 ER) and Brian Bannister (5 IP, 5 ER) – okay Bannister’s no surprise
Bullpen ERA: 1.23 – only ER came off of Dusty Hughes and rookie Greg Holland
36/21 K/BB ratio

Mitch Maier, 5-15
Alex Gordon, 2 homers

Jason Kendall, 3-19 – wearing down in the summer heat…
Wilson Betemit, 3-17, welcome back to planet earth
Gregor Blanco, 3-19, why’s he leading off again?
Chris Getz, 3-21, Oh. That’s why
Kila Ka’aihue, 1-12…and zero walks until Sunday’s game

The Verdict
Baseball is hard. It’s even tougher when you’ve shuffled out a fifth of your roster in the last two weeks, including your leader in homers and RBI. But, we must remember, 2010 wasn’t a hallmark year. We didn’t expect to contend, and this way, we find out what some young hitters can and can’t do on a day-to-day basis. Patience.

That being said, you’d really hope to see a better offensive performance from anyone. The only glimmer of hope right now is Alex Gordon. Though his average is still low, he’s hit in 10 of 15 games, and has four homers since returning to Kansas City, and they’ve been to all fields. Billy Butler‘s second half struggles continue, and Gordon may end up the team leader in homeruns. He only needs seven to overtake Butler’s 10 to do that.

I’ve seen some power-starved Royals teams in the past. I remember the days when Mike McFarlane led the team with 18 homers in a season. When Willie Bloomquist, Jason Kendall, Chris Getz and Gregor Blanco are getting a significant number of plate appearances, that’s going to happen. The current roster has a total of 35 homers among them. Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays has 34 alone.

But it’s not just power. Alex Gordon has 5 homers and 8 RBI this year. Other than his walk-off winner, his other four homers have all been solo shots. Earl Weaver and Billy Beane would be incensed.

The Royals will start a series tonight against Los Angeles before returning home to Kansas City to face the Yankees. So…it may be another painful week out there. Actually, I’d count on it.