Highlighting this week’s edition of KC Royals Midweek Musings are a COVID-19 update, news about former Royals here and abroad, and other baseball odds and ends.
Some KC Royals Midweek Musings while hoping the club’s offensive explosion against the Tigers Monday is, despite the quiet bats against Detroit Tuesday night (except Whit Merrifield’s three-run homer), a sign of better things to come at the plate:
COVID-19 concerns. COVID-19 sent shock waves through baseball Monday and Tuesday. First came Monday’s news that the virus hit the Marlins hard. A number of positive tests caused postponement of Miami’s game against Baltimore and the Phillies’ contest with the Yankees (the Phillies played Miami over the weekend). Reports surfaced Tuesday that the Washington Nationals have voted not to travel to Miami for their scheduled weekend series with the Marlins.
Tuesday afternoon brought word that MLB has “paused” the Marlins’ schedule, the Phillies probably won’t play until Friday and officials are mulling future scheduling possibilities.
The KC Royals haven’t escaped the virus. Ryan O’Hearn returned to the lineup Monday after testing positive; Salvador Perez returned in time for the season opener; Brad Keller and Jakob Junis are working back into game shape after their bouts with COVID-19; and Hunter Dozier, Cam Gallagher, Daniel Tillo and Nick Dini remained out as of this writing.
Former Royal and current Colorado reliever Tim Collins opted out of the season Monday.
Thin pitching situation. The Royals’ pitching staff, already suffering from the absences of Keller and Junis, took two more hits Tuesday when the club put starter Mike Montgomery and reliever Foster Griffin on the Injured List. The timing of Griffin’s forearm was easy to see during Monday’s game, while Montgomery’s lat injury likely contributed to his poor start the same night.
Pitcher Jake Newberry and outfielder Nick Heath took their spots on the active roster.
Lovelady off the active roster. Richard Lovelady’s curious saga continues. Just a day after pitching against Cleveland Sunday, the southpaw reliever found himself optioned to alternate camp to make room for Ryan O’Hearn’s return.
Lovelady worked one inning Sunday. He walked one and gave up Jose Ramirez’s second home run of the game in the Indians’ 9-2 series-clinching win.
He pitched well in spring training and Summer Camp but, for whatever reason, the Royals seem less patient with him than other pitchers in the organization. (Jorge Lopez, for example, survived the O’Hearn roster move).
Ex-Royals make Opening Day rosters. Several former Royals survived the first roster cuts to open the season on other clubs’ rosters.
Drew Butera is with the Rockies, Christian Colon is with the Reds, Brad Boxberger made the Marlins, and Emilio Bonifacio is playing with Washington.
Edinson Volquez and Luke Farrell made the Rangers; Justin Grimm is with the Brewers. The Blue Jays kept Sam Gaviglio.
Terrance Gore and Scott Alexander are on the Dodgers’ 30-man. Jose Martinez is with Tampa and Jon Jay is playing for the Diamondbacks.
Liam Hendriks and Jake Diekman are pitching for Oakland. Brain Goodwin and Ryan Buchter are with the Angels.
The White Sox designated Cheslor Cuthbert for assignment Monday.
Comerica Park crowd noise. The piped in crowd noise at Comerica Park during the first two Royals-Tigers games proves why fake spectator noise is a bad idea. It sounded terrible. Enough said.
Updating former Royals overseas. Kansas City alums Nori Aoki and Alcides Escobar are playing well for Japan’s Tokyo Yakult Swallows. Aoki has six home runs and a .327 average in 31 games while Escobar has a homer and is batting .291 in 29 appearances.
In the Korean Baseball Organization, former Royal Aaron Brooks is 5-3 with a 2.54 ERA in 14 starts.
Simulation. The opening of major league baseball’s actual 2020 campaign hasn’t ended Baseball-Reference’s simulated season at baseball-reference.com. Through Tuesday’s contests, the KC Royals remained in fourth place in the American League Central with a 38-69 record, 30 games behind first place Cleveland and a half-game ahead of cellar-dwelling Detroit.
Team leaders include Ryan O’Hearn with 16 home runs, O’Hearn and Jorge Soler with 50 RBIs, Adalberto Mondesi with 28 steals, Whit Merrifield with a .320 average, Jorge Lopez with seven wins and Ian Kennedy with 11 saves.
The Yankees, Indians, A’s, Nationals, Cardinals and Dodgers lead their divisions.
The simulation uses Out of the Park Baseball 21. Updates appear around Noon every day.
That’s it for this week. We’ll be back with more KC Royals Midweek Musings next week; until then, stay safe and healthy.