The Kendrys Morales Effect
I think another key is the re-emergence of Kendrys Morales. In the last 14 days, Morales is slashing .390/.468/.610. On the season however he’s slashing .226/.295/.370. The fact that he has been that good the last two weeks yet his season numbers are still that low, and this early in the season, really tells you how tough it has been for ol’ Ken at the plate.
Morales’s production increase does more than just fill a hole in the lineup. It gives players in front of him better pitches to hit such that they can’t just pitch around Hosmer, Cain, or Perez and count on Morales to make the out. We all know that when Morales is on, he is flat out dangerous.
I think another key is the re-emergence of Kendrys Morales. In the last 14 days, Morales is slashing .390/.468/.610.
Making Merrifield the permanent 2B, and moving him to the lead-off spot has also had a tremendous impact. Infante has been inept for awhile now and Merrifield is both an offensive and defensive improvement. Moving him to the lead-off spot means the Royals now have a speedy, patient, and capable bat getting more plate appearances per game than anyone else. I think the lineup could be improved even more by having the order go Merrifield, Cain, Hosmer, Perez, Morales. But hey, progress is progress right?
Explaining the home/road pitching split is a bit more tricky. A part of the difference has been the timing of Danny Duffy entering the rotation. Duffy didn’t enter the rotation until the 21st of May, filling in for the injured Kris Medlen and Chris Young. Duffy has been excellent as a starter so far, but the KC Royals had already had several poor outings on the road by then.
The other pitching issue has been the Yourdano Ventura roller coaster with many of his poor starts coming on the road. There may be some comfort issue with Ventura on the road vs. at home, but it appears for now that he has gotten it together and I expect him to come back from the suspension ready to play.
Going forward, if the Royals can just get back to .500 on the road and keep defending their home turf, they will have a place in the post season.