Royals Links: Billy Butler’s Role, Road Warriors, Storm Chasers are Champs, & More
Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
We’re just a few days away from the next “most important Royals series since 1985” when the Tigers stroll into Kansas City for a 3-game tilt this weekend. Before that, though, the boys in blue need to handle the White Sox for two more games, one of which pits them against Chris Sale, who’s having arguably the best season of any American League pitcher. Considering how the offense fared against John Danks, that could be quite a tall task, but at this point in the season, there is no outcome that would surprise me.
Liam Hendriks could come out tonight and throw 8 innings of 1-run ball, or he could get shelled in 4 innings, and neither result would cause me to bat an eye. The only thing about this baseball season that I’m sure of, is that I don’t really know anything at all. And let’s be honest, neither do you. Regardless, here are some links to a few articles on the Royals that may offer a bit more information on this unpredictable team.
– Royals Review’s Max Rieper takes a look at the schedules of the Royals’ competitors down the stretch, along with their pitching matchups. The Tigers and Athletics seem to be in pretty good shape, but the Mariners face a much tougher road, with 10 more games away from Seattle, and 6 more games against the Angels. If the Royals can take care of business against weaker teams, a playoff spot should be secured. Then again, that could be a rather large “if,” based on how the last few weeks have gone.
– Billy Butler returned to the lineup last night, but another appearance tonight is far from certain, writes Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star. Ned Yost has been hesitant to play Butler, who is in the middle of a nasty slump while playing sporadically over the last three weeks. Despite the lack of playing time, Butler apparently is content with his manager’s decision, and will simply wait to be called upon, if needed. One would have to think Butler has something left in the tank, considering his pedigree, although it remains to be seen if he’ll get the chance to prove it.
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– Jonah Keri and Neil Payne teamed up on Five Thirty Eight to investigate the idea that teams who are successful on the road in the regular season may also have an edge in the postseason. The Royals just so happen to be better on the road than they are at the K in 2014, so that information could be somewhat relevant, if they are able to reach the playoffs for the first time since 1985.
– In his blog from a couple of days ago, Rany Jazayerli mentions how putting Nori Aoki in the designated hitter spot isn’t that crazy at all, a point I’ve made a few times on Twitter recently. Aoki has been the team’s best hitter in September, and he’s been above average for several months now. Even though he does some of the most awkward things you’ll ever see a baseball player do, he’s contributing to the club in a positive way, especially at the plate.
– At Minor League Ball, Lee Warren wrote about the Omaha Storm Chasers clinching their third Pacific Coast League title in the last four years, on the back of Aaron Brooks and his masterpiece in the clinching game 5. Brooks threw a complete game 2-hitter, striking out 9, and retiring the final 20 batters he faced. Brooks had a rough major league debut this year, but he was incredible in the playoffs for the Chasers, striking out a batter per inning and allowing only 2 earned runs in his 3 starts. They have a chance for their second consecutive Triple-A National Championship tonight, as they’ll face the Pawtucket Red Sox at 6:00 pm CDT. The game will be televised on NBC Sports Network, and Christian Binford will get the start.
– Ken Rosenthal has a post on FOX Sports’ Just a Bit Outside blog that dives into the league’s ongoing attempts to create some kind of a policy on how to handle cases of domestic violence involving MLB players. In the wake of the Ray Rice scandal, the NFL instituted a firm system that isn’t terribly clear on how everything will be handled. Both MLB and the players’ union want to be sure any program covers all the bases, without creating even more questions down the road.