LJWorld.com weblogs Broken Bat Single Kansas City Royals Blog
Kansas City Royals week in review: 7/18/2011
The Royals just seem destined to lose to the Twins. It's been inescapable the past 10 or so years and this week's four game series was no exception. On paper, it seems as if the Royals are a better team than the Twins, but it didn't work out that way this weekend as the Royals dropped 3 games in a 4 game series to lose to their I-35 foes.
3 White Sox -4.0
4 Twins -5.0
5 Royals -12.0
Game 92: Royals 4 @ Twins 8
In the four game series with the Twins, only one Royal reliever gave up any runs: Blake Wood. Unfortunately, he gave up 4 of them in a single inning and put the game out of reach. A relief pitcher giving up that many runs isn't a rare occurrence in baseball, but it has been for the Royals in 2011 --that makes it particularly difficult. Brayan Pena and Melky Cabrera both gathered a pair of hits in the loss.
Game 93: Royals 2 @ Twins 1
This was one of the best games of the season. Starter Luke Hochever threw 7 inning and allowed only one eared run. Going into the 9th inning, that was one run too many as the Royals had only managed goose eggs against Twins starter Nick Blackburn. However, in the top of the 9th inning rookie Eric Hosmer blasted a ball over the center-field wall and gave the Royals a 2-1 lead. Closer Joakim Soria came in in the bottom of the 9th and helped give the Royals a much-needed win. If only there were more games like this each season. How fun would that be?
Game 94: Royals 3 @ Twins 4
Royals starter Jeff Francis has done a very good job of keeping his team in the game this season. He hasn't been a great pitcher, but he's been more than adequate. It's something quite rare it seems from a pitcher wearing Royal blue. In this game, being in the game just wasn't enough. The Royals offense continued to fizzle as they were held to a mere 3 runs. Alcides Escobar accounted for most of that as he hit a two-run home run.
Game 95: Royals 3 @ Twins 4
This game was highlighted by recent Dayton Moore acquisitions. Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francouer both had a pair of hits and starter Felipe Paulino struck out 8 but allowed 4 earned runs. It simultaneously shows how much improvement this team needed and also how much improvement it still needs. While there were some solid contributions from new players, they will likely need to be replaced very soon and also supplemented with additional talent. It still only translated into yet another one-run loss to the Twins.
Position player of the week: Jeff Francoeur
There were only 4 games this week, but Francoeur lead the team in extra-base hits and even took a couple of walks. It suddenly seems as if the Royals are planning on keeping one of Francoeur and Cabrera and trading the other. Whether or not that is the ideal move, it should put some pressure on Francoeur to play well if he wants to stay because he's been significantly out-played by Cabrera as of late.
Starting pitcher of the week: Luke Hochevar
The Royals coaching staff has said that Hochevar has been working on adjustments to help alleviate his tendency towards the big inning. I'm solidly of the belief that his problems stem from issues he has pitching from the stretch, not the more widely accepted and impossible to define "mental issues". If he can put together more outings like he did this week, then he's actually deserving of a #1 spot in the rotation.
Relief pitcher of the week: Aaron Crow
It was a pretty good week for the former Mizzou Tiger. Crow got to don an American League All-Star jersey although he wasn't going to get in the game due to sickness and the fact he is a setup man for the Kansas City Royals. He did however pitch 2.1 scoreless innings in relief for the Royals and continued being a valuable asset in relief.
On the farm
Johnny Giavotella can no longer be ignored. He went 4-for-4 last night with 2 home runs. There is no reason for him to not be getting every day playing time at the MLB level today.
Lorenzo Cain is also decimating the competition in AAA. He's hitting .405/.450/.622 in his last 10 games.
Pitcher Mike Montgomery has been improving lately. His last three starts have been quality starts and he's lowered his ERA to 5.14. More importantly, he's only walked 3 batters in his last 20 innings.
The week to come
Trade talks should heat up big time this week. Watching what the Royals do on the market will be more interesting than what happens on the field.
7/18-7/20 vs White Sox
7/22-7/24 vs Tampa Bay