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Kansas City Royals week in review: 9/19/2011

Now THAT was a nice week to be a Royals fan. Unfortunately, it all flew under the radar since the team is completely out of contention (again), and football season has ramped up and drained some focus. Still, it's a nice week when you put some real distance between the team below you in the standings and make up some on the team in front, even if it is relatively meaningless.

Standings

1 Tigers

2 Indians -12.5

3 White Sox -14.5

4 Royals -22.5

5 Twins -29.0

Game 149: Twins 0 @ Royals 4

Beating the Twins comes with just a tad bit more enjoyment than a victory over any other team, don't you agree? On this night, the Royals starter Bruce Chen put the kibosh on the Twins offense as held them scoreless in 8 innings with 8 strikeouts. Mike Moustakas hit his 2nd homerun of the season while Alex Gordon hit his 22nd. Those two runs would be sufficient, though the Royals did add two more insurance runs to be safe.

Game 150: Twins 3 @ Royals 7

Since the All-Star break, Luke Hochevar has a 3.52 ERA in 12 games started. He has been consistent and has helped the Royals mount an impressive 2nd half of the season. He added to his resume with a solid start to help the Royals sweep the Twins as he held them to 2 runs in 6 innings. He got help from some rookies as Mike Moustakas, Sal Perez and Johnny Giavotella each had 2 RBI.

Game 151: White Sox 2 @ Royals 7

The Royals kept on rolling as Melky Cabrera had a four hit night including his 18th homerun of the season. Not to be out-done, Billy Butler hit his 19th homerun so he could maintain bragging rights. Starter Jeff Francis held the division rival White Sox at bay for 6 inning by allowing only 2 runs. It was another great night for the bullpen as Louis Coleman and Aaron Crow combined for 3 shutout innings in the victory.

Game 152: White Sox 6 @ Royals 7

Decent pitching, decent hitting and a clutch late-inning double by a rookie. It seems almost routine after the last few weeks and hopefully it's a sign of what's coming in the future. On this night, things went to plan as Felipe Paulina had a solid start and Eric Hosmer finished it with a game-winning RBI double in the 9th inning.

Game 153: White Sox 3 @ Royasl 10

The Royals extended their season high winning streak to 7 games by punishing the White Sox. It's a nice turnabout for some old wounds that the Royals have incurred at the Sox home ballpark. Everett Teaford got his second win in as many starts by holding the White Sox to a single run in 6 innings. The real fireworks came on the offensive side of the ball where the Royals scored10 runs on 18 hits. Mike Moustakas and Jeff Francoeur each had a home run while Alcides Escobar hit his 8th triple of the season.

Game 154: White Sox 10 @ Royals 5

The White Sox got some payback after the previous night by dropping a ten-spot on them in retaliation. Frequent Royalsl tormentor A.J. Pierzzynski had a two home run night and Bruce Chen got roughed up in his start. Super rookie Eric Hosmer had a three hit evening as the Royals attempted a comeback but came up far short and ended their winning streak.

Position player of the week: Mike Moustakas

The rooke hit 3 homeruns this week en route to a .524/.545/1.048 week. He looks a lot more comfortable at the plate and hopefully this is a sign of what's to come.

Starting pitcher of the week: Everett Teaford

The kid does it again. Two wins in two starts. He struck out 4 and only allowed a solo-home run in his one start this week. He's certainly working on a spot in the rotation for 2012.

Relief pithcer of the week: Greg Holland

He only pitched 1.2 innings, but he only allowed a single baserunner who reached via walk. He's been the best relief pitcher on the team this season and nothing is slowing that down now.

The week to come

Well, we're down to the final week or so of games and the final home game is on Wednesday.Every game is a division game.

9/20-9/21 vs Tigers

923-9/25 vs White Sox

9/26-9/28 vs Twins

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

I really thought that the Royals would surpass the Twins and leave the cellar this week. It didn't happen, but I'm still convinced that it is going to happen. This team is better than the Twins, I have little doubt about that. The week wasn't all bad, they split a four game series with the division leading Detroit Tigers on the road but could only take one of three against the Indians at home.

Game 135: Royals 9 @ Tigers 5

The Royals offense is really beginning to click right now, but you know that things are going well when Sal Perez and Alcides Escobar hit back-to-back home runs. Luke Hochevar had another mediocre start (again) as he allowed 5 earned runs in 7 innings pitched, but he did strike out 7 and walk only 2. Luckily for the Royals, it was more than enough as they plated 9 runs in Detroit to take the series opener.

Game 136: Royals 1 @ Tigers 2

It's deja-vu all over again, the Royals played a one-run game that took extra-innings. This time, they were on the losing end as the offense was suddenly held silent by Tigers pitcher Doug Fister. Jeff Francis did his part as he held the strong Tigers offense scoreless through his 6 innings, but both Greg Holland and Aaron Crow allowed a run. It was just another heart-breaking loss, of which there have been many this season for the Royals.

Game 137: Royals 4 @ Tigers 5

Nate Adcock has done a pretty darn good job considering he had never pitched above A ball prior to this season. This game he was called upon to start and again, he did a pretty darn good job. He went 5.1 innings, allowed 2 earned runs and walked nobody. The suddenly shaky bullpen allowed 3 runs (all by Blake Wood) to surrender the Royals lead in the bottom of the 8th inning. Eric Hosmer was the offensive star as he hit his 13th and 14th home runs of the season.

Game 138: Indians 5 @ Royals 4

Bruce Chen has been pitching very well since he came off of the disabled list, but it was surely just a matter of time until the soft-tossing lefty had a bit of a struggle. That time came in this game as Chen allowed 5 runs on 8 hits in 6 innings. It was almost good enough as the Royals held a 4 run lead going into the bottom of the 5th, but the scoring stopped there. Alex Gordon helped the offensive output by hitting his 20th home run, and short stop Alcides Escobar had a pair of hits in the game as well.

Game 139: Indians 1 @ Royals 5

Now THIS is the kind of game that makes Luke Hochevar a potential ace. He pitched 8 innings while striking out 8, walking 1 and allowing no runs on 3 hits. The offense also held up their end by scoring 5 runs on Indians starter David Huff. Rookie second baseman Johnny Giavotella smacked his 2nd home run and Jeff Francoeur had two hits including his 46th double this season.

Game 140: Indians 9 @ Royals 6

In his second start this week, Jeff Francis wasn't near as effective as he was in the first start. He gave up 4 earned runs in 5 innings and the bullpen followed his lead by giving up another 5 in the final 4 innings of the game. Giving up 9 runs isn't the kind of thing that an offense can overcome, though the Royals did try. They scored 6 runs, including 3 in the 9th but the Royals still came up short. The middle of the lineup did the best they could as Butler, Hosmer and Giavotella combined for 7 hits and 4 RBI.

Position player of the week: Eric Hosmer

Eric Hosmer has shown not only that he belongs in the Major Leagues, but that he is capable of being a star. This week he hit .440/.484/.840 with 3 home runs and 4 walks.

Starting pitcher of the week: Luke Hochevar

Hochevar had two starts this week and had a 3.00 ERA with 15 strikeouts and only 3 walks. He really seems to be taking a step forward this season. While he isn't likely going to be the ace that the Royals envisioned, he has proven he can be a positive contributor in the starting rotation.

Relief pitcher of the week: Everett Teaford

The relievers were not particularly good this week, especially the suddenly struggling Aaron Crow. However Everett Teaford had a pretty solid week as he pitched 3 innings, struck out 2 and allowed no earned runs.

The week to come

The Royals head back on the road following the very brief home stand. They hit the west coast as they visit Oakland to play the Athletics, then onto Seattle and the Mariners. Again the goal is to surpass the Minnesota Twins in the standings, and that's likely going to require a winning road trip, so I'm looking for a 4-3 trip, which is certainly plausible against these two teams.

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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.

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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.

Standings

1 Tigers

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

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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.

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Kansas City Royals week in review: 8/22/2011

While the Royals could only secure two wins last week, they did play two of the best teams in baseball. They also didn't seem to be completely outclassed. They hung in most of the games and were battling from beginning to end. Also in the news this week, the Royals signed Jeff Francoeur to a two year extension. This is the least shocking news I've ever heard, and it also seems a bit unnecessary.

Standings

1 Tigers

2 Indians -4.5

3 White Sox -5.0

4 Twins -13.0

5 Royals -17.0

Game 122: Yankees 7 @ Royals 4

Every single Royals player got a hit in this game. Unfortunately, only one was for extra-bases and that was a double by Melky Cabrera. With that many singles, it's no surprise that the Royals only scored 4 runs on 12 hits. The Yankees on the other hand hit the ball for more power and put up 5 runs on Felipe Paulino on route to a total of 7 runs. Johnny Giavotella had an up-and-down game as he had 3 hits and was caught stealing twice.

Game 123: Yankees 9 Royals 7

The Royals found their power stroke in the second game of the Yankees series as they hit 3 doubles, a triple and a home run. The 7 runs they scored were not going to be enough as starter Danny Duffy struggled again. He allowed 8 runs on 8 hits and struck out 3 in only 3 innings pitched. Aaron Crow also showed his recent struggles by allowing a run and 3 hits in 2/3rds of an inning. There's no shame in giving up runs to a lineup like the Yankees, but giving up 9 is well more than nearly any offense can overcome.

Game 124: Yankees 4 @ Royals 5

Bruce Chen has acted as a stopper for the Royals most of this season. He was going to have to do it again to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Yankees. He wasn't dominant, but he was good enough to allow his team to win the game as he went 6 innings and allowed 3 runs on 7 hits. Alex Gordon and Billy Butler both had home runs in the same inning, although Butlers was contested and reviewed before being held up. Mike Moustakas could forget his struggles at the plate for at least one game as he went 3-for-3 with a double.

Game 125: Red Sox 4 @ Royals 3

Playing the Red Sox and Yankees back-to-back is enough to make any Royals fan glad to be in the American League Central. The Red Sox picked up right where the Yankees left off when they took game one from the Royals. Luke Hochevar had an OK start as he went 6 innings and allowed 4 earned runs. He allowed 8 hits, but he struck out 6 to keep the Red Sox somewhat at bay. Alex Gordon had a double and a home run, while Billy Butler had a three hit night. The bullpen held serve, but the Royals couldn't come up with that one more run they needed.

Game 126: Red Sox 7 @ Royals 1

This was the first game of the week where the Royals were not in the game. They had a punchless offense against a middling pitcher in Andrew Miller, and they had a pitching staff giving up runs at a breakneck pace. Jeff Francis continued his struggles of late as he surrendered 5 runs in 5 innings, not that it mattered much as the offense mustered only 4 hits and a single run. On the bright side, Mike Moustakas went 1-for-2 with a doublbe, a walk and a run scored.

Game 127: Red Sox 4 @ Royals 9

The Royals made up for the previous day's outing by pounding the Red Sox for 9 runs, nearly all of it scored in an 8 run 6th inning. Most of the heart of the lineup was involved as Gordon, Butler, Hosmer, Francoeur and Moustakas all had multi-hit nights and at least one extra-base hit. Starter Felipe Paulino did his part as he kept the team in the game until they could find that offensive spark. He allowed 4 earned runs in 6 innings, which isn't great but kept things close for long enough. The bullpen came in and ensured victory as Wood, Collins and Holland shut down the potent Red Sox lineup compeletely.

Game 128: Red Sox 6 @ Royals 1

The Royals reverted back to the team that made Andrew Miller look like a superstar as Jon Lester pitched an absolute gem. Danny Duffy rebounded and allowed only 2 runs in 6 innings of work while striking out 3. Most of the damage was done with Aaron Crow and Luis Coleman on the mound when they allowed 4 runs in 1.2 innings of work. All of it was unnecessary as the Royals could only score 1 run on 3 hits, all coming off of rookies Giavotella, Moustakas and Perez. I guess nobody told them that they weren't allowed to get hits off of Lester as it seems the Royals believe.

Position player of the week: Billy Butler

Country Breakfast earned the top spot this week by hitting .440/.483/.640. He had 11 hits, 2 doubles, 1 home run and 3 walks. Mike Moustakas gets a nod for his efforts as well, he was the runner-up this week and hopefully that signals better days for the struggling rookie.

Starting pitcher of the week: Bruce Chen

The performances this week, weren't anything to write home about, so Bruce Chen gets the award for being the least terrible of the week. A 4.50 ERA in 6 innings and allowing a .304 average isn't exactly worthy of any sort of award, but hey, somebody has to win.

Relief pitcher of the week: Greg Holland

Greg Holland is the best relief pitcher on this team right now and it isn't even close. He pitched 4 innings and allowed a single base-runner while striking out 4. What his role will be in 2012 will be quite interesting to watch.

The week to come

The Royals hit the road for an extended road trip that begins in Canada. They are going to need to shake the past week off and try to win some games on the road. 4th place is not out of the question, but it's going to take a winning streak of some sort.

8/23-8/25 @ Toronto

8/26-8/28 @ Cleveland

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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.

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Kansas City Royals week in review: 8/15/2011

Is it just me or did it seem like the Royals won more than one game last week? They hung tight with the Tampa Bay Rays and the Chicago White Sox but the results were not in their favor. I expected this week to be more competitive than it was, but again this team is young and fluctuations are normal.

Standings

1 Tigers

2 Indians -2.5

3 White Sox -4.0

5 Twins -11.5

6 Royals -14.5

Game 115: Royals 1 @ Rays 2

Luke Hochevar continued is post All-Star game dominance as he held the Rays scoreless through 6 innings and gave up a single run in the 7th. Unfortunately, his opponent, Jeremy Hellickson did him one better by allowing 0 runs in 7.1 innings. The Royals couldn't get to the Rays bullpen either and dropped the pitching duel 1-0.

Game 116: Royals 0 @ Rays 4

Jeff Francis pitched 7 decent innings and used only 80 pitches to do so. He allowed 4 earned runs, however which were 4 too many for the Royals offense. Again the Rays pitchers completely man-handled the Royals offense. This time holding them to no runs and 6 hits. The bottom of the order did the most damage as Mike Moustakas and Alcides Escobar both got two hits in the loss.

Game 117: Royals 7 @ Rays 8

For 8 innings, this game seemed pretty normal. The Royals held a 4 to 3 lead and seemed in a very nice position to win if the 9th went smootly. It did anything but. The Royals started the party by scoring 3 runs in the top of the 9th to take a 4 run lead. Surely with the Royals dominant bullpen and closer Joakim Soria, they were going to win the game. The Rays had other plans as they put together their own scoring barrage. Aaron Crow entered the game and allowed 2 earned runs while getting no outs. This further fueled the speculation that there's something wrong with him. Then Joakims Soria came into the game and poured gasoline on Aaron Crow's fire by allowing another 3 runs including a game-winning Sam Fuld triple.

Game 118: Royals 1 @ Rays 4

In their final attempt to beat the Rays in this four game series, the Royals offense was again smothered by the Rays pitching. Again, the bottom of the order did their job as Sal Perez, Mike Moustakas and Alcides Escobar each had 2 hit games. Melky Cabrera had 3 hits himself at the top of the order, however the Royals were unable to string any of these together to get some runs. Danny Duffy put together a decent start as he went 7 innings and allowed 3 earned runs, but it fell short of what the team needed.

Game 119: Royals 5 @ White Sox 1

A win! Finally, a win. After watching the Rays series, Bruce Chen probably figured he needed to pitch a shutout in order to help his team win a game. He did just that in the 6 innings he worked as he allowed no runs and just one hit to the White Sox. It was more than enough as the top of the lineup suddenly came alive with home runs from Butler and Cabrera.

Game 120: Royals 4 @ White Sox 5

The Royals managed to score 4 runs on 3 singles in the 5th inning and took a brief lead over the division rival White Sox. However, Luke Hochevar showed his tendency to wobble as he gave up 2 runs and the lead in the 7th inning. Reliever Aaron Crow came in and didn't exactly wow either as he walked a pair in a single inning of work. Rookie Johnny Giavotella continued to impress as he had a pair of hits and an RBI. Another hard-fought loss, something that seems pretty typical of this season.

Game 121: Royals 2 @ White Sox 6

A pretty pitiful end to a pitiful week. Starter Jeff Francis couldn't make it out of the 4th inning and had already put the Royals in a tough to overcome 6 run deficit. The offense, which was the biggest problem this week, again were punch-less as they could only muster a meager 2 runs on a Mitch Maier single. It put the capstone on a road trip that the team would likely rather forget.

Position player of the week: Melky Cabrera

His defense still isn't good enough to play center field, but his offense has been. Last week, he hit .448/.438/.759. It's concerning when an OBP is less than an AVG, but not when they're both over .430. The future of Cabrera will be interesting to watch, can he repeat this season next year? Doubtful, but he could still be productive.

Starting pitcher of the week: Luke Hochevar

He had one great start and one ok start. But he still had a 4.15 ERA on the week and continues to show improvement. He had 11 strikeouts and 5 walks, for a ratio that would be solid for an entire season. Can he carry this into 2012?

Relief pitcher of the week: Nate Adcock

The Rule V pickup has had quite the roller coaster of a season. He's a reliever, he's never used, he's a starter, now he's not, back to the bullpen, etc. Last week he pitched 3.1 innings and surrendered no runs. For never having pitched above the single-A level, he should get a lot of credit for how he's handled himself this season.

The Week to come

The Royals get to come home, but life won't get easier. They'll be facing the New York Yankees for three and the Boston Red Sox for four games. There should be an attendance spike, which is good for the team's bank account though. This will be a good chance for the plucky young Royals to build some confidence if they can at least split the games.

8/15-8/17 vs Yankees 8/18-8/21 vs Red Sox

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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.

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Kansas City Royals week in review: 7/25/2011

We've been waiting for a nice week of Royals baseball for a month and we finally got it. They went 4-2 against a pair of decent teams in the Chicago White Sox and Tampa Bay Rays. They even seemed to show a bit of that early season Royals magic as they won two of them in walk-off fashion in extra-innings. What's even more shocking is the fact that people continue to flock to Kauffman stadium to see a losing baseball team in sweltering heat. If this team starts winning then Royals tickets will be difficult to get.

Standings

1 Tigers

2 Indians -2.0

3 White Sox -4.5

4 Twins -7.0

5 Royals -12.0

Game 96: White Sox 5 @ Royals 2

Maligned starter Kyle Davies actually had a decent outing. He struck out 9, walked only 3 and allowed 2 earned runs in 5.1 innings. It's not enough for him to earn back many fans, but if you look at the numbers 2011 Davies is a different pitcher than he's been in his career. He's walking fewer and striking out more. What's odd is that the results aren't improving. Royal nemesis Mark Buehrle held the offense in check though Alcides Escobar and Billy Butler both had a pair of hits in the loss.

Game 97: White Sox 2 @ Royals 4

Danny Duffy has started to come into his own over his last few starts. He's finally showing at the Big League level why he was such a highly ranked prospect. On this night, he had the White Sox on their heels as he completed 7 innings, struck out 6 and allowed only 2 runs. The offense also helped him out by as Melky Cabrera hit his 12th home run and Eric Hosmer had a pair of hits. That's a lot of youth making big time contributions, something that's unusual for us Royals fans.

Game 98: White Sox 1 @ Royals 2

The White Sox recently beat the Royals with a walk-off balk and those kinds of losses stick in your craw. They Royals had felt they owed the Sox one and they got their justice on this night. In the 11th inning, Alex Gordon took off from third and scored the winning run on a wild pitch. Making White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen go bananas was just icing on the cake. To be in a position to win the game, thanks goes to starter Bruce Chen who tossed a gem of a game. He allowed a single run in 8 innings of work and allowed bullpen studs Joakim Soria and Aaron Crow to pitch important innings.

Game 99: Rays 4 @ Royals 10

In the grand-scheme, the Royals would like to be a lot more like the Rays. However on this night it was the Rays who were the envious ones. The Royals scored 3 runs in the 1st inning and continued to pile them on until they reached double digits.Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur both had three hit nights and Billy Butler hit his 7th home run of the season. All of that scoring was more than enough for starter Luke Hochevar, although he hit his pitch-count limit early and completed only 5.1 innings. As has been the case, the bullpen came in the game and shut their opponents down and the Royals won easily.

Game 100: Rays 4 @ Royals 5

Another game where the Royals needed extra frames to win in dramatic fashion. It's enough to make us all remember the early season excitement if we can ignore the teams record for a moment. The player who had to get the most enjoyment out of the evening had to be Mike Moustakas. He's been struggling mightily as he tries to adjust to the MLB pitching. On this night, he seemed quite comfortable as he had 2 hits and 3 RBI. The late inning hero was his good friend Eric Hosmer who hit a walk-off double to score Mike Aviles in the bottom of the 10th inning. With the win, the Royals tied their longest winning streak of the season (4) and won back-to-back series.

Game 101: Rays 5 @ Royals 0

The week started and ended on low notes, but everything in between was pretty good. Rays starter Alex Cobb baffled the Royals as he held them scoreless through 7 innings. Chris Getz was the only Royal hitter to have a multi-hit game as the Royals were shut out. Felipe Paulino had a typical start as he struck out a bunch of guys and allowed a bunch of hits, but it's impossible to win if the offense can't score.

Position player of the week: Eric Hosmer

The young rookie had an amazing week as he hit .417/.481/.500 and even had a walk-off double. He even had 3 walks and a stolen base. He's making a strong case to be the American League Jackie Robinson Award winner.

Starting pitcher of the week: Bruce Chen

I still don't have any idea how he does it, but Bruce Chen just gets guys out. He went deeper into the game, allwed fewer baserunners and fewer runs than any of the other Royals starters this week. What happens to him after this season is a mystery, but for now he's quite productive.

Relief pitcher of the week: Greg Holland

Holland struck out 7 batters in 4 innings last week. He also allowed only 2 base runners and 1 run. He is completely locked in right now and is probably the most reliable relief pitcher available.

The week to come

Things wont get easier this week as the Royals travel to Boston and Cleveland to try and keep some of their winning mojo going.

7/25-7/28 @ Boston

7/29-7/31 @ Cleveland

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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.

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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.

Standings

1 Indians

1 Tigers

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

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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.

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Kansas City Royals week in review: 7/11/2011

It wasn't a great week for the Kansas City Royals, but it was an improvement over the week prior. They beat a team that I believe they are better than (Chicago) and lost to a team I know they are worse than (Detroit). So all in all, it was about what I would expect from this team. Alex Gordon not making it into the All-Star game is certainly a disappointment because he was a very deserving candidate. There were some indications this week of the trade market starting to get hot and it will dominate Royals discussion for the next month or so as they look to unload a number of players and hopefully bolster their Minor League system.

Standings

1 Tigers

2 Indians -0.5

3 White Sox -5.0

4 Twins -6.5

5 Royals -11.5

Game 85: Royals 4 @ White Sox 5

Add this one to the embarrassing loss file. Newly minted All-Star Aaron Crow loaded the bases in the bottom of the 9th in a tie game and balks in the winning run. Yep. He balked it in. Jeff Francis continued to boost his trade value as he put together six innings of decent pitching. Meanwhile Eric Hosmer continued to be one of the biggest reasons to continue watching the Royals as he went 2-for-4 with a home run.

Game 86: Royals 5 @ White Sox 3

If there has been a bright spot in the Royals starting rotation, it's unquestionably Felipe Paulino. On this night, he struck out 9 in six innings while walking only three. It proved enough as the Royals scored five of their own and the bullpen was back to their old stingy ways. Melky Cabrera went 2-for-4 and has to be getting looks from contenders around the league. Alcides Escobar is proving his bat isn't a fluke as he went 2-for-4 with a triple.

Game 87: Royals 4 @ White Sox 1

Apparently the Royals should play more teams from Chicago. The last series before this one that the Royals won was against the Chicago Cubs. Starter Bruce Chen had a very solid outing as the veteran continues to impress. Eric Hosmer continued his hot hitting as he again went 2-for-4 with a home run. Alex Gordon has been the best left-fielder in the American League, but he was denied a spot on the roster. On this night he proved the doubters wrong by going 2-for-4.

Game 88: Tigers 3 @ Royals 1

The Tigers are a very good team that has a very good pitching rotation. Former Mizzou pitcher Max Scherzer proved that as he held the Royals to a single run in 6.2 innings. Royals starter Danny Duffy did his best to keep the Royals in the game as he put together one of his best starts to date. He struck out 6 and walked only 1 in 6 innings of work. Mike Moustakas continued his offensive struggles as he went 0-for-4 and lowered his OBP to .309 on the season.

Game 89: Tigers 6 @ Royals 4

Kyle Davies allowed 5 earned runs in 6 innings and still lowered his ERA. It's been that kind of season for the much maligned starting pitcher. It was an early deficit that the Royals could never overcome even though the bullpen allowed only 1 more run the rest of the game. Melky Cabrera and Alex Gordon combined for 6 hits and 2 stolen bases, but beyond them the offense was held in check by Tigers starter Rick Porcello.

Game 90: Tigers 6 @ Royals 13

The Royals needed this game in a bad way. They needed to just blow a team out of the water, but for some reason the Tigers seemed to be just on the cusp of taking back the lead. Starter Luke Hochevar did what he does quite often: start a game strong and give up a bunch of runs in a single inning. This time it was 4 runs in the 4th inning, and he was pulled. However the Royals were on a hit parade and they showed why they have a pretty decent offense. Alex Gordon smashed a home run and Billy Butler busted out of a slump by going 3-for-5.

Game 91: Tigers 2 @ Royals 1

Justin Verlander is really good. In fact he might be the best pitcher in the American League. If anyone wanted evidence, just look at what he did on Sunday vs the Royals. He went 7.2 IP, 0 ER, 9 K, 0 BB, 6 H. There's no shame in being shut down by one of the best in the game. On the hill for the Royals, Jeff Francis did his best to duel with Verlander by going 6.0 IP, 4 h, 2 ER, 1 BB and 6 K. The oddest part of the game was Eric Hosmer getting caught stealing 3rd base with one out in the 9th inning.

Position player of the week: Melky Cabrera

The Melk man is getting hot at exactly the right time. His trade value is likely getting to it's peak and teams are starting to make a push for the playoffs. Other than Jeff Francis or a bullpen arm, he's the most valuable commodity the Royals are looking to part with. This week he hit .414/.452/..517 and played a passable CF defense.

Starting pitcher of the week: Danny Duffy

Duffy put together one of his best performances as a Royal as he struck out 6, walked 1 and got through 6 innings. He was demoted to AAA, but only to keep him on schedule during the All-Star break. He's really starting to find his groove and is a lock (barring injury) to be in the 2012 starting rotation.

Relief pitcher of the week: Luis Coleman

Luis Coleman is the best relief pitcher the Royals have right now. Even better than Aaron Crow the All-Star. This week he threw 5 scoreless innings and allowed only 4 baserunners while striking out 6.

On the farm

Johnny Giavotella is just crushing the ball in Omaha (AAA). In his last 10 games he's hitting .333/.395/.500 with a home run and 3 doubles. The Royals know what he is doing down there and they are likely looking to shop Chris Getz at the deadline to make a spot for Gio.

Lorenzo Cain is another guy who is chomping at the bit for the Royals to make a trade. As soon as Melky is dealt, he will be called up because he has little left to prove at AAA. In his last 10 games, he's hit.444/..512/.750 with 3 HR and 2 doubles. He also has a much better glove than Cabrera does in center field.

It seems as if the small break that Mike Montgomery got in Omaha has paid off. In his last two starts, he's given up just 1 earned run in 11.2 innings pitched. More impressive than that, he's struck out 12 and only walked 3. Hopefully this is the start of something good for the young lefty.

Jake Odorizzi has made a smooth transition to AA. In his first start, he went 5 innings and gave up 2 earned runs. He was dominating high-A and looks to take the next step up the ladder.

Cheslor Cuthbert continues to impress at Kane County.He's one of the youngest players in the league and he's hitting .324/.369/.497 with 6 home runs. He also has a very good glove at third. He could be a very special player for the Royals if he continues to adjust to each new level he's faced with.

The week to come

The All-Star break starts today, so there is a light schedule of Royals games this week. After this week, we can say that the next ASG will be in Kansas City. Exciting, right? The Royals begin the second half of the season on the road at Minnesota where they can make up some ground on 4th place and try and avoid another last-place finish.

7/11 - Home Run Derby

7/12 - All-Star Game

7/14-7/17 @ Twins

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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.

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Kansas City Royals week in review: 7/4/2011

Ugh. Well, it just keeps getting worse, doesn't it? The Royals managed one measly win last week and managed to become not just the worst team in the American League Central, but the worst team in the American League. Nobody reading this is too shocked, right? This was a team that would eventually be doomed by it's obvious flaws, however the spectacular and customary descent has been worse that I had imagined. As I said at the beginning of the season, it may not be a great team, but it will be interesting. Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas showed flashes last night of why there is a reason to continue tuning in.

Things are never as bad or as good as people will have you believe, and the Royals are no different. The problems are over-blown and the successes, however minor, are over-sold. In the grand scheme of things, it was just a bad week of baseball. It doesn't foretell a future filled with more pain. This franchise has done the right things to dig itself out of it's own grave. It's not always pretty and it doesn't always work, but it's still interesting to watch.

Standings

1 Indians

2 Tigers -0.5

3 White Sox -3.5

4 Twins -8.0

5 Royals -11.0

Game 79: Royals 3 @ Padres 4

Going into the series with the Padres, I had high hopes. The ballpark played to the Royals strengths (gap hitters with some speed) and downplayed their weakness (terrible, terrible starting pitching). Not only that, I believe (and still do), that the Royals are a better team than the Padres. The Royals however, were bound to prove me wrong. Starter Jeff Francis seemed comfortable against his old division foes as he went 5 innings and allowed 3 earned runs. It wasn't spectacular, but it put the team in a position to win. The offense collected 10 hits, but came up a run shy as they dropped the opener.

Game 80: Royals 2 @ Padres 4

In the second game, the offense was nowhere to be found - ther than a Jeff Francoeur home run. Ned Yost elected to have Hosmer and Moustakas get a day off, which doesn't help. On the mound, Felipe Pauilino struck out 7, walked 1 and allowed 3 earned runs on 11 hits. He's a decent pitcher for the Royals who throws strikes, that nets him lots of strikeouts and a lot of balls put in play for the defense to gobble up. His ERA is a very respectable 3.21 and he's been one of the few bright spots so far this year. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough as the Royals dropped the second game in the series with the Padres.

Game 81: Royals 1 @ Padres 4

The Royals are not built to play in the NL. Having to sit either Billy Butler or Eric Hosmer so a pitcher can look silly at the plate hurts the Royals immensely. Bruce Chen gave up 4 runs, but they were all unearned. Regardless of how they came about, they stayed on the board. It was more than enough as the Padres earned their first sweep of the season.

Game 82: Royals 0 @ Rockies 9

The stadium and run environment in Denver is very different than the one in San Diego and the Rockies schooled the Royals in the series opener by scoring 9 runs. Starter Danny Duffy still seems to be working on adjusting to Major League competition. On the bright side, he struck out 6 and walked only 1. However, he also gave up 5 earned runs in as many innings pitched. It doesn't matter how many runs the pitching allows, though if the offense can't muster a single run.

Game 83: Royals 6 @ Rockies 9

The Royal bats woke up from their slumber as they scored 6 on this night. Whether it was due to adjusting to the altitude or realizing that they had Kyle Davies on the mound, we'll never know. Regardless, it was good to see the team put up some crooked numbers. Alex Gordon put on a display which should make every All-Star voter embarrassed as went 4 for 5 with a home run. Alas, it went for naught as Kyle Davies went all Kyle Davies and gave up 7 runs in 3 innings.

Game 84: Royals 16 @ Rockies 8

A win! Runs! Bad Pitching! This game had everything. Starter Luke Hochevar got involved in the run parade as he typically does - in a single inning. A five run 5th inning for the Rockies brought the game to within a run, but the Royals kept on mashing the ball and eventually put up 16 runs. Eric Hosmer had 4 hits and hit his 6th home run of the season. The Royals salvaged a single win this week and it was a doozy.

Position player of the week: Mike Moustakas

It wasn't a pretty week in the field, but that's not his specialty. Rather, he hit .421/.476/.526 with 2 doubles 2 walks and only 2 strikeouts. The kid can rake and he's beginning to show it.

Starting pitcher of the week: Bruce Chen

It was a low bar to win this award this week, but Chen barely edged out Paulino. He struck out 6, but opponents hit .296 against him. It's not a recipe for success, but it worked this week. It is nice to have him back in the rotation since his production is a large improvement over what else the Royals have to throw out there.

Relief pitcher of the week: Luis Coleman

Aaron Crow may have been selected to the All-Star game, but he was outpitched by Luis Coleman last week. Coleman threw 4.0 innings, struck out 7, walked 1 and allowed only 2 hits.

On the farm

Johnny Giavotella (2B) continues to swing a hot bat. He's hitting .417/.476/.694 in his last 10 games with 2 home runs. He's at the point where he's forcing the Royals hands and he should be getting a chance at the Major League level very soon over the weak hitting Chris Getz.

Lorenzo Cain (CF) is hitting .308/.374/.516 on the season and will make the inevitable departure of Melky Cabrera seamless and likely an improvement.

Jake Odorizzi (SP) was promoted from Wilmington (A+) to Northwest Arkansas (AA). He has a 2.87 ERA in 15 starts while striking out 103 and walking only 22.

The week to come

It's another week where the goals include trying to work out of last place and to have some improvement from the youth. It's the last week before the All-Star game and trade talks will begin heating up. The Royals have lots of pieces to move, so there will be plenty of things to discuss as that happens.

7/4-7/6 @ White Sox

7/7-7/10 vs 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.

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Kansas City Royals week in review: 6/27/2011

As Geogre Costanza learned on Seinfeld it's always best to go out on top. If that's the case, then last week wasn't too bad for the Kansas City Royals. The week ended with the Royals taking two games from the Chicago Cubs in front of a packed house. Unfortunately, those were the only two wins they had in the past seven days. On the positive front, the Royals are no longer in sole possession of last place, they've tied the woeful Minnesota Twins for the moment.

Standings

1 Tigers

2 Indians -1.0

3 White Sox -4.5

4 Royals -9.0

5 Twins -9.0

Game 73: Diamondbacks 7 @ Royals 2

In what should not come as a shock to anyone, starter Luke Hochevar was cruising through the early innings and then allowed runs in bunches in a single inning. It's easy to point to him as the reason the Royals lost, but that's mostly just ancillary blame for his other outings. The Royals failing to score more than two runs was the culprit in the series opener with the Diamondbacks. Alex Gordon did his part, going 3 for 4 and being a single shy of hitting for the cycle. Beyond that, the offense was non-existent.

Game 74: Diamondbacks 3 @ Royals 2

Starter Jeff Francis and reliever Aaron Crow gave the Royals every chance to win by holding the Diamondbacks to 3 runs, but again the struggling offense couldn't plate runs against a tough Arizona pitcher. Chris Getz, who has been the regular second baseman since the demotion of Mike Aviles collected three hits and scored the only two runs for the home team.

Game 75: Diamondbacks 5 @ Royals 3

All eight runs of this game were scored in the first four innings against each teams starting pitcher. Royals starter Felipe Paulino lasted into the 9th inning and struck out eight, but gave up five earned runs. Again, the Royals offense was held in check as no player got more than a single hit.

Game 76: Cubs 6 @ Royals 4

This was an odd back and forth affair that ended appropriately on what looked to be a blown call by the umpire on a bunt in the 9th inning. The bunt pop appeared to be caught by Mike Moustakas, but the call was that it hit the grass. The Cubs ended up scoring and going on to win the game. Jeff Francoeur smashed a long home run that hopefully snaps him out of being the Francoeur he's been over his career. Bruce Chen made his return the the starting rotation and went six innings while giving up four earned runs.

Game 77: Cubs 2 @ Royals 3

A win! It had been awhile since the Royals tasted victory, but Danny Duffy put together one of his better starts and it was just enough. Alcides Escobar hit a triple and was the only Royals to collect more than a single hit on the night. Regardless, the Royals scraped across three and got back in the win column.

Game 78: Cubs 3 @ Royals 6

Alex Gordon hit in his 13th straight game as the Royals not only won back to back games, but took a series against the Chicago Cubs. Starter Luke Hochevar went only 5.2 innings as Ned Yost might have signaled a shift in how he's going to deal with him. Rather than letting him work through trouble, he might begin pulling him at the first sign of it. In this instance it worked as the bullpen shut down the cubs in the series finale.

Position player of the week: Alex Gordon

Gordon hit in every game this week, and in fact has a 13 game streak going. In the past 7 days, he's hit .455/.520/.818 with a home run and 18 total bases. His battle with Billy Butler for the spot on the All-Star team is heating up.

Starting pitcher of the week: Danny Duffy

His one start this week ended with a good result, but the peripheral numbers weren't exactly stellar. He gave up only 2 earned runs in 7 innings, but he allowed 9 hits and 2 home runs while striking out only 2. More importantly, it just might have been the start he needed to stay at the MLB level when it's time to recall Kyle Davies.

Relief pitcher of the week: Aaron Crow

Tough call between him and Soria this week, but Crow pitched 2 more innings and that has value. I could easily be talked out of one and into the other. My biggest concern regarding these two great pitchers is that one of them will get an undeserved spot in the All-Star game over a more deserving Butler or Gordon

On the farm

In his last 10 games, Johnny Giavotella (2B) is hitting .395/.409/.488 with 4 doubles for the Omaha Storm Chasers (AAA). There are still questions regarding his defense, but his bat and plate approach are ready.

Starter Mike Montgomery has been struggling and his spot in the rotation on Friday was skipped for Omaha. The reports are that he wasn't injured.

Will Myers (OF) and Kelvin Herrera (RP) will be representing the Royals in the Futures Game in Phoenix during the All-Star Game festivities.

Jake Odorizzi (SP) has lowered his ERA to 2.61 after another solid start for the Wilmington Blue Rocks (A+).

Cuban defector Noel Arguelles (SP) has allowed one earned run in his last 15 innings for Wilmington.

The week to come

The Royals take to the road again and continue interleague play. They first visit the San Diego Padres and spend the holiday weekend in Denver playing the Rockies. The primary goal this week will be to end up not in last place, it's sort of meaningless but will get some fans and commentators off their backs a bit. The interesting decision will be what happens when the Royals promote Kyle Davies.

6/27-6/29 @ Padres

7/1-7/3 @ Rockies

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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.

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