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Kansas City Royals week in review: 5/9/2011

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The Kansas City Royals essentially held serve last week. They went 3-3 overall against two non-divisional opponents. They didn’t make up any ground in the American League Central race, however they didn’t lose any either as they remain 4.5 games behind division leading Cleveland. The story of the week was the promotion of top-prospect Eric Hosmer and the demotion of Kila Ka’aihue.

Standings:

1 Indians

2 Royals -4.5

3 Tigers -6.0

4 Twins -9.5

5 White Sox -10.0

Game 29: Orioles 5 @ Royals 6boxscore

Starting pitcher Jeff Francis struggled again, giving up 5 earned runs in 5.2 innings. Fortunately the bullpen did what they do and held the Orioles scoreless for the remainder of the game. Jeff Francoeur continued to hit the ball well as he hit a solo home run to tie the game in the sixth inning. He also hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the tenth to score the winning run.

Game 30: Orioles 3 @ Royals 2boxscore

Kyle Davies threw his third Quality Start in his last four games as he held the Orioles to three runs in 6.1 innings. It was the extent of the runs the Royals would give up, but it was one too many as the Royals could only plate two runs. One of those runs came on a Jeff Francoeur home run and the other on a Melky Cabrera ground out.

Game 31: Orioles 1 @ Royals 9boxscore

The Royals took hold of the game in the first inning by scoring four runs on Orioles starter Chris Tillman. They continued to pile on as they eventually scored nine runs. It was more than enough as starter Bruce Chen continued to pitch extremely well and gave up one earned run in seven innings. Melky Cabrera was the offensive star of the game by going three-for-four with a home run.

Game 32: Athletics 3 @ Royals 2boxscore

The Royals took an early lead on an Alex Gordon home run and an RBI triple by Mike Aviles. Starter Sean O’Sullivan went 8 innings and gave up 3 earned runs. It sounds like a recipe for a win, but on this day it wasn’t. The Royals couldn’t put more than the two runs across the board and dropped the first game in the series with the Athletics.

Game 33: Athletics 3 @ Royals 4boxscore

Royals starter Luke Hochevar put together his best start of the season by going 7 innings and giving up only on earned run. Reliever Aaron Crow finally showed he was human by giving up his first runs of the season when he surrendered a 3 run home run to Cliff Pennington in the eighth inning. The game was tied going into the bottom of the ninth and a now familiar set of events transpired. Butler single, Dyson pinch run, Francoeur single moves Dyson to third, and then a sac fly by Aviles wins it.

Game 44: Athletics 5 @ Royals 2boxscore

Jeff Francis hasn’t pitched well lately, and in this game he wasn’t great but he kept the Royals in the game. Again, the lack of offense was the undoing of the team on this day. Eric Hosmer had his first multi-hit game of his career by going 2-for-4 with a double. The team as a whole only had six hits as the team could only muster two runs

Position player of the week: Jeff Francoeur

Jeff Francoeur hit .273/.320/.591/ last week and collected two home runs. He also seemed to always be in the middle of whatever was going on offensively for the Royals. So far, the off-season acquisition has been a gigantic help to the team. Whether or not he can continue to hit well is the million dollar question.

Starting pitcher of the week: Luke Hochevar

It easily could have been Bruce Chen for this week as well, but Hochevar gave allowed only four base runners in his seven inning stint. Both pitchers are worthy of recognition this week and they will have to continue to pitch well if the Royals have thoughts of staying in contention.

Relief pitcher of the week: Joakim Soria

After some wobbles early in the season, it seems that closer Joakim Soria is back to his old self. He only pitched two innings last week, but he struck out four, walked none and allowed only one hit.

On the farm:

In his last ten games Lorenzo Cain (OF) has hit .395/.489/.553 for the Omaha Storm Chaser s (AAA). Mike Moustakas (3B) has 12 hits and 11 RBI in his last ten games for Omaha. He’s now hitting .250/.333/.420 on the season with five homeruns.

Danny Duffy (SP) has struck out 41 batters and walked only 7 in his six starts this season for Omaha. In his last ten games, Christian Colon (SS) has hit .333/.381/.385 with three stolen bases for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (AA)

Whit Merrifield (OF) is now hitting .311/.390/.406 with six stolen bases on the season for the Wilmington Blue Rocks (A+).

Jake Odorizzi (SP) has walked only five guys in 26 innings while striking out 38 and posting a 2.42 ERA for Wilmington.

The young Cuban defector Noel Arguelles (SP) has 19 strikeouts and one walk in five games started for Wilmington.

Gerard Hall (SS) has hit .333/.400/.487 in his last ten games for the Kane County Cougars (A-).

Stat of the week:

The Royals lead all of baseball with 15 wins at home.

The week to come:

The Royals embark on a difficult road trip this week. They begin with a three game set in Yankee Stadium against the American League East leading Yankees. After that they visit divisional rival Detroit for three games. In order to keep in contention, the Royals will have to take some of their home success and replicate it on the road. It’s too early to say that this week is make-or-break, but it’s going to be extremely important nonetheless.

5/10 - 5/12 @ New York Yankees

5/13 - 5/15 @ Detroit Tigers

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Nick Scott is a contributor to Royals Authority and is the host of the Broken Bat Single Royals podcast, you can follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.

Comments

banjax451 3 years, 4 months ago

Excellent recap as always, Nick.

For me, the most fascinating development last week (apart from Hosmer) is that with each passing week there appears to be more and more evidence that the Twins and White Sox are not going to be significant players in the AL Central. The Twins in particular appear to be completely lifeless and most importantly, punchless. Their run-differential on a per-game basis is by FAR the worst in baseball (-2.0). Yes, injuries have compounded that, but Mauer isn't the whole reason why they are struggling at the plate - and Mauer still has no timetable for his return.

The White Sox had a better week, but even they have continued to struggle - I think Liriano's no-hitter says more about the quality of the White Sox than anything about the Twins. At 9.5 (Twins) and 10 (Sox) games back of Cleveland, both teams are actually in a more do-or-die situation than the Royals at this point - a .500 month for KC likely would have them still in contention...a .500 month for the Twins/Sox would be better, but borders on a disaster for both teams (and I'd argue we've seen nothing that would indicate this is about to happen).

The longer we go with them struggling, the easier it becomes for KC to continue in contention.

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Nick Scott 3 years, 4 months ago

I think that having those teams so far out of 1st at this point was another reason that we saw the Hosmer call up. Putting those teams even further down and then making it a 2 or 3 team race early is something which the Royals would clearly prefer.

I picked the twins 3rd in the division prior to the season because I don't believe in them at all this year. I believed a bit more in the sox, but picked Detroit to win.

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banjax451 3 years, 4 months ago

I had picked the White Sox, but they appear to be an absolute mess as well. I think you're dead-on that the status in the Central was a contributing factor to the Hosmer call-up...right or wrong (and only time will tell), the Royals front-office appears to believe that they have a shot at contention NOW. And you win now, if you can. I believe that, going in, they truly did mean it when they said they were going to give Kila the year...but circumstances changed. I do feel bad for him, but as you put it so well in the podcast...the Mike Jacobs signing is "patient zero" on the Kila-thing. A bad decision then, a worse decision now.

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Nick Scott 3 years, 4 months ago

I'm very surprised b y the white sox, I'm just not too surprised with the twins.

I agree that winning now is the right idea, but that's going to be costly in about 5 years from now.

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Bob Forer 3 years, 4 months ago

Nice recap, but for those of us who keep up with the Royals on a daily basis in the Kansas City Star, analysis--which you do well--is preferred. Your thoughts on Hosmer would be quite welcome.

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Nick Scott 3 years, 4 months ago

Sycophant, thanks for the input. This monday weekly recap is just one thing that I do on a weekly basis. I'll have more analysis up as time and opportunity permit. I posted an artivle last week about my thoughts on the callup which you can read here:

http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/kansas-city-royals/2011/may/5/the-royals-have-promoted-eric-hosmer/

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Steve Jacob 3 years, 4 months ago

Expect lots of movement in the Central the rest of the month, the Royals and Indians play a brutal schedule the next three weeks.

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Nick Scott 3 years, 4 months ago

Yes, the upcoming games for KC and cleveland could be pretty rough. The Royals just need to survive the next few weeks and not let anyone gain ground or let the indians run away and hide.

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