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Kansas City Royals week in review: 8/29/2011
Last week, the Royals were on the road but still won half of their games. That's a successful road trip for even the best teams. For the Royals it's reason to celebrate, because they've been miserable on the road this year (22-42). The Royals are making up ground on the Twins for 4th place in the division. It's not something to get excited about though it may signal an inflection point in the as-of-late lopsided rivalry.
2 White Sox -6.0
3 Indians -6.5
4 Twins -17.0
5 Royals -18.5
Game 129: Royals 6 @ Blue Jays 4
Before the season I said that I thought Bruce Chen would make 0 starts after the All-Star break, I'm very happy to be woefully incorrect on that prediction. Chen made two solid starts this week, and started with this one in Toronto. In a very un-Chen like performance, he struck out 9 batters and gave up only 4 hits as he allowed 3 runs in 7.2 innings pitched. The offense put on a hitting clinic as they had 16 hits including home runs by Hosmer and Butler, but yielded only 6 runs. It was enough even to overcome what seems like a customary run allowed by Joakim Soria in the 9th inning.
Game 130: Royals 3 @ Blue Jays 4
Luke Hochevar put together another quality start on the road no less. More importantly he walked only 1 Blue Jay while striking out 5. Rookie Mike Moustakas seemed to be breaking out of his slump as he went 2-for-3 with a walk, and Billy Butler had a three hit game as well. All of it went for naught since what matters in the end is which team scores more runs, and the Royals came up a run short in this 4-3 contest.
Game 131: Royals 9 @ Blue Jays 6
In the rubber match of the series, the Royals made better use of their 16 hits by scoring 9 runs rather than the 6 from the opening game. Billy Butler raised his season average to .300 with a 4 hit night, and Moustakas had another mutli-hit game to lend even more credence to the theory that he's coming around. The Royals needed nearly all of those 9 runs as the bullpen didn't hold up after Jeff Francis departed after 6 innings and 2 runs. The amazingly steady Greg Holland and the suddenly unpredictable Joakim Soria each gave up a pair of runs to turn a blowout into an interesting game.
Game 132: Royals 1 @ Indians 2
Felipe Paulino is certainly the lesser known than Ubaldo Jimenez, but both were acquired this season by the Royals and Indians and Paulino has been the better pickup so far. Jimenez did show in this game at least, that he can be an elite caliber pitcher from time-to-time. He shut down the Royals by striking out 10 and walking only 1 in his 7 innings of work. Paulino wasn't near as effective, but held the Indians to 2 runs in 6.2 innings. The rookie duo of Moustakas and Hosmer each had a pair of hits in the loss.
Game 133: Royals 8 @ Indians 7
The second game of the series went quite differently than the first. The Royals gathered 11 hits including Alex Gordon's 18th home run of the season en route to scoring 7 runs. Starter Danny Duffy was effective bug inefficient as he struck out 7 in only 5.1 innings of work. The bullpen held their own until a 3 run home run by Asdrubal Cabrera off of Louis Coleman in the 8th put the Royals down for good.
Game 144: Royals 2 @ Indians 1
Bruce Chen has found something in the past two years, and the million dollar question is whether he can keep it up. For now, though he's doing just fine. On this night, he held the Indians to 1 run in 7.1 innings which was barely enough. Relievers Greg Holland and Joakim Soria seemed to brush off their last disaster and did exactly what a setup man and a closer are supposed to do: 5 up, 5 down to close the game for the win.
Position player of the week: Mike Moustakas
I'm relieved to see the young third-baseman in this position. To say he's been struggling is very much an understatement. However, in the last 7 days, he's really turned it on. Last week, he hit .478/.520/.565 with 2 doubles and 2 walks -- raising his season triple slash line to .232/.287/.291.
Starting pitcher of the week: Bruce Chen
The amazing Panamanian lefty has been proving doubters wrong for two years and this week is a prime example of why. He started 2 games and struck out 13 batters, walked only 3 and allowed 4 earned runs. He also passed through waivers because no teams were interested in trading for him. It's possibly a sign of the lack of playoff races, but there still are doubts as to whether he can continue to do what he's been doing.
Reliever of the week: Blake Wood
It was an odd week for relievers. Lately it's been easy to just hand it to Greg Holland and be done with it, but even though he was his typical self, he did have one game that hurt him badly. So this week, I'm giving the award to Blake Wood. His week wasn't great, but he did pitch a couple of important innings and did so capably. It's nice to have a guy like that around and Wood did his job fine enough this week to net himself this digital hardware.
The week to come
The Royals continue their road-trip in Detroit where they will face the division leading Tigers and then return home for a very short weekend home stand against the Indians. While the Royals are out of the race, there will be some jockeying for position within the lower ranks of the division and soon the Rosters will be expanding and some new faces will join the fray.
829-9/1 - @ Detroit
9/2-9/4 - vs Cleveland