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Kansas City Royals week in review: 5/31/2011
The week in review is a day late due to the Memorial Day holiday, I hope you will excuse the tardiness. The Royals won only a single game last week. There's no sugar-coating a week like that. This team is certainly struggling and doing so in a number of ways. One day it's no offense, the next it's no starting pitching and the next it's a flailing bullpen. The biggest change of the week came in the form of Joakim Soria losing his closer role to rookie Aaron Crow, a move which probably should have happened earlier.
2 Tigers -5.0
3 White Sox -8.5
4 Royals -9.0
5 Twins -14.5
Game 47: Royals 3 @ Orioles 6 - boxscore
The first game of the week was oddly prescient as then closer Joakim Soria gave up three runs in the bottom of the 9th to blow his third save of the season. It wouldn't be his last, but it was surely the beginning of the end. Danny Duffy toed the mound for the second time in his Big League career and he seemed significantly more comfortable in his role. He struck out 6 while walking only 3 in 5.1 innings. Alex Gordon hit his 5th home run of the season to continue his resurgence.
Game 48: Royals 2 @ Orioles 9 - boxscore
Starter Luke Hochever was cruising through the first 3 innings and then suddenly -- POW -- out comes Big Inning Luke and he surrenders 8 runs in a single inning. It's as maddening as it is inexplicable, but he's prone to it happening. The Royals were never able to overcome that deficit. The lone bright spots were Melky Cabrera and Billy Butler collecting a pair of hits.
Game 49: Royals 5 @ Orioles 6 - boxscore
Stop me if you've heard this one before. Royals starter struggles but offense keeps pace with the opponent, the bullpen gets involved and keeps the team in the game until a team wins in extra-innings. Its seems as if every other game this season follows that script. This time it was the Orioles beating the Royals in the 12th inning and starter Jeff Francis struggling. Regardless it was a hard fought game where they had a chance to win, but couldn't pull it off.
Game 50: Royals 12 @ Rangers 7 - boxscore
A WIN! It's the only one the Royals would be able to claim this week, but it was at least very entertaining. It was a tale of two games as the teams combined to score 13 runs in the first 2 innings and then only 1 more run was scored through the following 12. That one run came courtesy of an Alex Gordon home run that tied the game in the top of the 9th inning and helped send the game to extra-innings, again.
The early fireworks were the result of newly minted starter Nate Adcock, who surrendered 7 runs in 2.2 innings. Luckily, the bullpen responded by throwing 11 scoreless innings, including 4.1 innings from newly acquired pitcher Felipe Paulino. In the top of the 14th, the Royals were going to make sure they took home the W as Alex Gordon, Melky Cabrera, Eric Hosmer and Brayan Pena all homered in a 5 run explosion.
Game 51: Royals 1 @ Rangers 10 - boxscore
If revenge is a dish best served cold, then nobody told the Texas Rangers. They rebounded from the stunning 14 inning loss by pounding out runs on the Royals early and often. The latest Royals starter to fall victim to surrender-runsitis is Sean O'Sullivan who allowed 10 in 5.2 innings while striking out only one. The Royals offense also laid down and died as the Rangers rolled.
Game 52: Royals 6 @ Rangers 7 - boxscore
Royals rookie starter Danny Duffy had a tough hill to climb as he was facing a high-powered offense in a park conducive to offense. He performed well, giving up 3 runs in 6 innings while striking out 4. He limited the mistakes by only walking one. After an early deficit, the Royals took the lead in a 5 run 4th inning on a pair of run scoring singles and a Brayan Pena home run. The Rangers continued to chip away and tied the game in the bottom of the 8th with Aaron Crow on the mound. The Royals took a one run lead in the top of the 9th and again put closer Joakim Soria in to try and shut the door. He failed again and earned his 2nd loss and 4th blown save.
Game 53: Angels 10 @ Royals 8 - boxscore
The Royals were finally back at home where they've had some success this season. Early on, things seemed to be going their way as they took a 6-1 lead in the bottom of the 2nd thanks to homeruns by Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer. Starter Luke Hochever wasn't great but he was adequate holding the Angels to 4 runs in 5 innings. However the Angels chipped away until they were down only 1 run going into the top of the 9th. Fans everywhere covered their eyes as the Royals again summoned Joakim Soria. What would have been nearly unimaginable last year was suddenly unsurpising as Joakim Soria handed the Angles 3 runs and earned his 5th blown save, the 2nd in as many days. After the game Ned Yost announced that Joakim Soria was no longer the closer and that Aaron Crow would get the nod most often.
Position player of the week: Alex Gordon
He's begun to settle in as the lead-off hitter. In the last week he's hit .273/.333/.636 with 3 home runs and 3 doubles.
Starting pitcher of the week: Danny Duffy
He took the mound twice this week and held his own in two hitter friendly parks. In those two starts he threw 11.1 innings and gave up 5 earned runs while striking out 10 and walking 4. He seemed to be much more in contol and confident on the mound than he did in his Major League debut, which isn't surprising.
Relief pitcher of the week: Felipe Paulino
He threw 4.1 innings last week, but it was in one game in Arlington and he allowed only one baserunner. He did that only hours after being acquired from the Colorado Rockies for cash. He kept the Royals in the game and was instrumental in the only win the Royals got this week.
On the farm:
Mike Moustakas (3B) continued his hot streak as he's hit .325/.349/.400 in his last 10 games for the Omaha Storm Chasers (AAA).
Lorenzo Cain (CF) has also been stroking the ball and has a .445 on-base percentage in his last 10 games. He's now hitting .304/.378/.484 on the season for Omaha.
Mike Mongomery (LHP) has given up 11 runs in his last two starts combined as he continues to have some struggles at the triple-A level.
Salvador Perez (C) has hit .316/.333/.421 in his last 10 games for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (AA).
Jake Odorizzi (RHP) continues to tear through High-A as he's now holding a 2.31 ERA in 9 starts with 66 strikeouts and 12 walks for the Wilmington Blue Rocks.
Cheslor Cuthbert (3B) has gotten off to a fast start for the Kane County Cougars (A-) as he's hit .314/.368/.543 with 2 home runs in his first 8 games this season.
The week to come:
With visions of a Division title in 2011 slipping away, it's time for the Royals to get down to business and just win a few games for respectability. Being at home should help, as will the possibility of a new closer.
5/31-6/1 vs Angels
6/2-6/5 vs Twins