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Posts tagged with Danny Duffy

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: 7/4/2011

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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Kansas City Royals week in review: 6/13/2011

After the way the Kansas City Royals have been playing the last two weeks, the bar for a successful week was lowered quite a bit. Even under the higher standards of earlier int he season, this was a pretty good week. The Royals went 4-3 and didn't lose a series. It was a nice rebound from getting swept in four games by the Minnesota Twins. In major news this week, highly-touted prospect Mike Moustakas was promoted from Triple-A. The Royals also drafted their 2011 class which was lead by local kid Bubba Starling.

Standings

1 Indians - tie

1 Tigers - tie

3 White Sox -3.5

4 Royals -6.5

5 Twins -9.0

Game 60: Blue Jays 2 @ Royals 3 - boxscore

Newly acquired pitcher Felipe Paulino continued to excel as a starter. Against the Blue Jays he threw 6.2 innings while allowing only a single earned run. He lowered his American League ERA to 0.56 as a member of the Royals. The bullpen held the Jays scoreless to keep the Royals struggling offense in the game. The offensive player of the game was Eric Hosmer, as he walked in the tying run in the 7th and singled home the winning run in the 11th. Joakim Soria got the win as he was placed back in the closers role after a brief demotion.

Game 61: Blue Jays 8 @ Royals 5 - boxscore

Vin Mazzaro returned to the Royals in what looks like a prodigal visit. His first start after being demoted for a historically rough outing was an improvement, though not improved enough. He threw five innings and gave up 6 runs. The Royals tried to claw back and eventually scored 5 runs on 11 hits, but it wasn't enough to win the game.

Game 62: Blue Jays 9 @ Royals 8 - boxscore

Danny Duffy has shown flashes of brilliance surrounded by the struggles of a young pitcher. The rookie was inefficient again with his pitches and was unable to get to the 5th inning as he surrendered 5 runs while striking out only 1 and walking 4. Homeruns by Melky Cabrera in the third Billy Butler in the 8th allowed the Royals to keep the game close, but they came up a run short.

Game 63: Blue Jays 2 @ Royals 3 - boxscore

This was a game that it seemed the Royals had to have. Ending the home-stand with a split four-game series rather than a losing one is a big difference. It's situations like these where a team counts on their "ace", in the Royals case that's Luke Hochevar. On this day, he proved he was worthy as he pitched 7 innings and gave up 2 earned runs whiel walking 3 and striking otu 3. The Royals then relied on their setup man Aaron Crow and their re-minted closer Joakim Soria. Everything in the game just seemed to go according to plan. Eric Hosmer collected a pair of hits and an RBI and Jeff Francoeur plated two runs on a single to right. It was the kind of game that can make the players and the fans take a deep breath and think "ok, this team isn't that bad", which is just what we all needed.

Game 64:Royals 4 @ Angels 2 - boxscore

Jeff Francis has been the most important off-season acquisition the Royals have made. He continued to prove his worth and increase his trade value as he went 6.1 innings while striking out 3, walking 1 and surrendering only 2 runs in the opener with the Angels. That, combined with a scoreless 2.2 innings from the bullpen was all the pitching the Royals would need, thanks to homeruns by Cabrera and Butler, and RBI hits by Chris Getz and Alcides Escobar. The most significant part of the night was the debut of Mike Moustakas, who went 1-for-3 with a walk in his first game as a Royal.

Game 65: Royals 5 @ Angels 7 - boxscore

It was one of those weird games where piecing together what happened after-the-fact can be difficult. Royals starter Felipe Paulino went 5 innings and gave up 5 runs, but only 2 earned while he walked 1 and struck out 5. Reliever Tim Collins gave up 2 earned runs on 2 walks and 0 hits. Mike Moustakas hit his first Major League home run, light-hitting Alcides Escobar had a single and a double. In the midst of all these odd happenings, the Royals ended up losing a game they never lead, but were close the whole game.

*Game 66: Royals 9 @ Angels 0 - boxscore*

It's been a while since the Royals won a laugher, a game where they just run away with it and don't let the other team get close. For a team that's struggling, and one that's on the road it is probably some of the best medicine. It's exactly what the Royals got against the Angels. They turned five double-plays and scored 9 runs. Starter Vin Mazzaro was owed by the baseball gods and should now be evened-up. He allowed 0 earned runs in 7 innings while striking out 0, walking 5 and allowing 5 hits. Usually, those kinds of starts don't end so well, but for Vin, on that day it did. En route to scoring 9 runs, Gordon, Butler, Getz and Escobar (yep, Escobar) all had multi-hit games.

Position player of the week: Billy Butler

I really wanted to go with Alcides Escobar, who hit .400/.423/.520 this week, because he'll probably never have a better week in his career, but Butler just flat out hit him. Butler hit .320/.452/.600 with 2 home runs and 6 walks. On top of that, people are starting to talk about how they don't think Butler is useful in the middle of the Royals order. It's an idea which is quite absurd. If you don't value what Butler does, I'm not sure you're paying attention.

Starting pitcher of the week: Luke Hochevar

Hochevar is one of the most enigmatic pitchers I can remember. He can go from brilliant to awful in seconds. He can cruise along not allowing hits and then POW he gets lit up for 5 in an inning. He only had one start this week, but he got through his rough patch quickly and kept the Royals in the game. He's proving he belongs on a contending staff. Not necessarily at the top, but at least in the mix.

Relief pitcher of the week: Joakim Soria

I'm not sure he's taken home this award yet this season. He's battled himself the entire year and was even demoted from the closer role. At the beginning of this week he was re-inserted into the role and he was somewhat close to his old self. He threw 4 innings and didn't allow an earned run. More importantly, he struck out 4 and walked only 1. Here's hoping he's back.

On the farm

The draft happened last week and most notably the Royals drafted local outfielder Bubba Starling from Gardner-Edgerton. He has yet to sign, but all indications are that he will, eventually.

In his last 10 games, Johnny Giavotella (2B) has hit .391/.417/.652 with 2 homeruns. On the season he's hitting .307/.370/.428 for the Omaha Storm Chasers (AAA). He's on the short-list of guys to be promoted to the big league club next.

Mike Montgomery (LHP) continues to struggle as he adjusts to the Triple-A level. It's not something to worry about, he's a young kid getting his first taste of this level of competition. He's going deep into games and shows all the signs of someone who can adjust and continue his climb up the organizational ladder.

Wil Myers (OF) had his first week back after being on the D.L. with a knee injury. He's hit in 5 of his 9 games since returning and now has a line of .266/.331/.358 for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (AA).

Last years 1st round draft pick, Christian Colon (SS) has hit .314/.415/.457 in his last 10 games for the Naturals. He's the kind of guy who isn't likely going to be a superstar, but rather someone who can do lots of things pretty well and provide value to a Major League team for a number of years.

Cuban defector Noel Arguelles continues to impress for the Wilmington Blue Rocks (A+) as he has 32 strikeouts and only 5 walks in 49.1 innings of work.

Cheslor Cuthbert (3B) is having a very nice go of things for the Kane County Cougars (A-). He's hitting .296/.363/.521 with 4 home runs. Not bad for the teenager from Nicaragua. He's a name to keep a close eye on, I've been impressed with him for the past 2 years.

The week to come

The Royals are on the road this entire week as they visit Oakland and then St. Louis for some inter-league action. How the Royals utilize Billy Butler and Eric Hosmer when they lose the DH for the three game series against the Cardinals will be of interest.

6/14-6/16 @ Oakland

6/17-6/19 @ St. Louis

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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: 6/6/2011

On the bright side, the Kansas City Royals won twice as many games last week as they did in the week prior. On the not-so-bright side, that means they only won two games in the last seven days. The one thing this team had been doing well this season was playing at home. The series against the Angels continued that trend, however losing four straight to the Twins was enough to dash the hopes of even the most optimistic fans. With the team falling so far out of contention, the beginning of the MLB Draft couldn’t be better timed. The first round begins tonight at 6:00 p.m. and fans around the league can begin to look to the future, again.

Standings

1 Indians

2 Tigers -2.5

3 White Sox -7.0

4 Royals -9.0

5 Twins -12.5

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 unsurprising 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.

Game 54: Angels 3 @ Royals 7 -boxscore

It's becoming clear that when starter Jeff Francis struggles in the 1st inning, it doesn't mean he is going to strugle for the entire game. This time, he surrendered 2 runs in the 1st frame, but it was all he would give up until the Angels scored one more run in the 6th. It was plenty of pitching for the Royals who scored 5 runs in the 3rd inning on a hit-parade where 5 different Royals had RBI hits.

Game 55: Angels 0 @ Royals 2 - boxscore

When Felipe Paulino was purchased from the Colorado Rockies, he had a 7.36 ERA. In his second appearance with the Royals he was placed in the starting rotation and threw 5 innings of scoreless baseball. It was exactly the kind of start the Royals were dying for and they took advantage, barely. Billy Butler's two-run walk-off home run represented the entirety of the Royals offensive output.

Game 56: Twins 8 @ Royals 2 - boxscore

Sean O'Sullivan continued to be ineffective as he could only get through 2.2 innings while surrendering 8 hits, 7 runs and striking out only 1. He would be placed on the 15-day disabled list the next day. It was a deficit the offensively struggling Royals could not overcome. Jeff Francoeur was the lone bright spot, going 3 for 4 with 2 RBI in the loss. Joakim Soria got his first taste of non-closing action as he pitched a scoreless 8th and 9th.

Game 57: Twins 5 @ Royals 2 - boxscore

Rookie starter Danny Duffy has improved each and every start he as made, however his biggest issue has been getting deep into games. This was no exception as he completed 5 innings and had to leave with 96 pitches under his belt. He allowed 7 hits and 3 earned runs while walking 3 and striking out 3. It wasn't a great start, but one to build on for the youngster. The story again was the struggling offense. Butler had 3 hits and Hosmer had a pair, but neither had an RBI.

Game 58: Twins 7 @ Royals 2 - boxscore

Luke Hochevar started well, as he threw 5 innings and gave up 1 run. However, in the 6th and 7th the Twins plated 5 while he was on the mound. The top of the Royals order did their jobs as they got on base 7 times in 15 plate appearances. They just couldn't string hits together and get runners across. It was the third game in a row where the Royals put up 2 runs against the Twins, and the third game in a row where it wasn't enough.

Game 59: Twins 6 @ Royals 0 - boxscore

In an ugly end to an ugly series, the Royals went down without scoring a single run in the finale. Starter Jeff Francis had his typical struggles in the 1st, but settled in as he is wont to do. Billy Butler continued is torrid hitting streak by going 3-for-3. That's about where the positives end. It was a four-game sweep by the worst team in baseball, there's no sugar-coating that.

Position player of the week: Billy Butler

He's the best hitter on the team and his last week is more proof of that fact. He hit .400/.483/.520 with a walk-off home run last week.

Starting pitcher of the week: Jeff Francis

There wasn't much to be excited about in the starting pitching front, but Jeff Francis continues to deliver. He had a 2.57 ERA in 14 innings of work last week. He struck out only 3 while walking 4, but he's been successful. He should be getting lots of notice in trade talks which are the inevitable result of the way the Royals have been playing recently.

Relief pitcher of the week: Greg Holland

It could have been Blake Wood, but Holland gets the nod as he has yet to give up a run. He threw 3.2 innings last week and struck out an eye-popping 7. He's just another guy in a stacked bullpen that seems to rarely get the lead as of late.

On the farm:

The Royals announced last week that John Lamb (LHP) would undergo Tommy John surgery. It's a big setback for the team and for the young starter. It's unfortunate, but the list of pitchers who've come back from that surgery is long. He's a great kid and I'm personally rooting for a great comeback.

In his last 10 games, Mike Moustakas (3B) has hit .378/.370/.600 with 2 homeruns for the Omaha Storm Chasers (AAA)

Starter Mike Montgomery (LHP) continues to struggle with command as he has given up 15 runs in his last 3 games combined. He has a 5.23 ERA in 63.2 IP for Omaha this season.

Wil Myers (OF) played yesterday in his first game back since an injury that put him on the shelf in early May. He didn't seem to miss a beat as he went 2 for 4 with a double for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (AA).

Jake Odorizzi (RHP) continued his dominance of the Carolina League (A+) as he now has 74 strikeouts to 14 walks in 52.2 innings. In his last outing, he went 6 innings, struck out 8, walked 2 and have up 3 hits and no runs.

The week to come:

The MLB Draft is likely the most important thing happening for the Kansas City Royals this week. The draft is extremely deep and the Royals have the 5th overall pick. The other story of local interest is where Gardner-Edgerton star Bubba Starling will end up. Some have him going to the Royals, but my guess is that it's unlikely. In terms of on-the-field action, the Royals continue their long home-stand against the Blue Jays and then go on the road to face the Angels.

6/6-6/9 vs Blue Jays

6/10-6/12 @ Angels

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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: 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.

Standings

1 Indians

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

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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: 5/23/2011

So far this season, Kauffman Stadium has kind to the Kansas City Royals.However, this week, their fortunes changed. A likely combination of increased competition and regression to the mean handed the Royals a 2-5 home-stand last week. To make up for injuries and to improve the roster the Royals made a series of roster moves from Kyle Davies going on the disabled list to prospect Danny Duffy being promoted. The team as it is today is quite a bit different than the one that took the field on Monday. That's something that's certainly going to continue as the wave of young talent forces it's way onto the Major League roster.

Standings:

1 Indians

2 Tigers -7.0

3 Royals -8.0

4 White Sox -9.0

5 Twins -14.5

Game 40: Indians 19 @ Royals 1 - boxscore

It was a night that every Royals fan and player would like to forget. The division leading Indians come in to town and put on a hitting clinic. Starter Kyle Davies left after 1/3 of an inning and starter Vin Mazzaro was put in to try and eat innings and keep the Royals in the game. He failed to do that in historic fashion by allowing 14 earned runs in 2.1 innings. The Royals never came back and luckily an 18 run deficit still only counted as one loss.

Game 41: Indians 7 @ Royals 3 – boxscore

The Royals dropped both the second game of the brief two-game series with the Indians as starter Sean O’Sullivan’s inability to miss bats led to 6 runs. The Royals offense however, did seem to show signs of life as Melky Cabrera and Eric Hosmer both had two hits and an RBI.

Game 42: Rangers 5 @ Royals 4 – boxscore

The Royals promoted highly-touted prospect Danny Duffy and immediately inserted him in the rotation. His first start wasn’t as good as he’s used to in triple-A, but he held his own against Major League hitters as he struck out four in four innings while surrendering two runs. The game was tied going into the ninth inning when an Elvis Andrus single scored Rangers center fielder Craig Gentry to take a one-run lead. It was a short-lived lead as Eric Hosmer hit the very first pitch in the bottom of the ninth into the right field seats for a home-run. A wild pair of extra-innings ensued as the Royals had two consecutive players walk and get picked off at first base. The Rangers scored a pair in the top of the 11th and the Royals could only muster one in the bottom off the inning as they lost the opener to the Rangers.

Game 43: Rangers 1 @ Royals 2 – boxscore

The Royals needed an ace-like start from Luke Hochevar to stop their losing skid, and that’s exactly what they got. Hochevar went 8.2 innings and allowed only a single run while striking out four. It was barely enough as the Royals tied the game in the bottom of the ninth on a Mike Aviles single. In what should be very familiar to Royals fans this season, there were more extra innings. This time it only took one when Jeff Francoeur singled home Melky Cabrera on another walk-off victory for the Royals.

Game 44: Cardinals 0 @ Royals 3 – boxscore

Veteran starter Jeff Francis wasn’t about to let Luke Hochevar hog all of the glory as he held the Cardinals scoreless over 7.2 innings while striking out 6. A three run 7th was a team effort as four different players got hits and one got a walk. It was all the run support needed as relievers Aaron Crow and Joakim Soria held the team across the state scoreless to complete the shutout.

Game 45: Cardinals 3 @ Royals 0 – boxscore

The Cardinals must have been thinking that turnabout was fair play as their staff held the Royals scoreless and they put up three runs to produce a mirror image of the previous night’s game. Spot starter Nate Adcock held his own for five scoreless innings, but the normally stingy bullpen allowed three runs in the last inning and two thirds. No Royal had more than a single hit and none of the five hits they did get went for extra bases. It wasn’t a recipe for success as the Royals dropped the second game of the series.

Game 46: Cardinals 9 @ Royals 8

The Royals were in a six run hole going into the bottom of the 5th inning thanks to a very tight strike zone and another start by Sean O’Sullivan where he wasn’t able to strike any one out. This Royals team, however seems to always believe they can come back and they chipped away at the lead. They scored one in the 5th, three in the 6th and two in the 7th to tie the ball game at seven. The scoring parade was lead by two home runs by Wilson Betemit and one by both Jeff Francoeur and Alex Gordon. It’s beginning to be repetitive, but the Royals went to extra innings, again. This time, it benefitted the Cardinals as they plated a pair in the top of the 10th and the Royals could only muster one.

Position player of the week: Eric Hosmer

Hosmer hit .333/.355/.533 last week and lead the team in hits and total bases. He did however, strike out eight times and walk only once. It's likely that opposing pitchers are going to start throwing more balls out of the zone and make him chase. How Hosmer responds and adjusts will be very telling.

Starting pitcher of the week: Jeff Francis

The off-season free agent continues to impress. In his one start this week against the hot-hitting St. Louis Cardinals, Francis threw 7.2 scoreless innings while striking out six and walking only two.

Relief pitcher of the week: Aaron Crow

Just another ho-hum week for Aaron Crow. He threw 3.1 innings while allowing no runs and striking out five. Crow has a 0.79 ERA on the season and has averaged more than a strikeout per inning.

On the farm:

Clint Robinson (1B) has been white-hot recently as he's hit .419/.479/.698 in his last 10 games for the Omaha Storm Chasers (AAA). He's now hitting .352/.434/.630 on the season.

Mike Montgomery (LHP) had a very nice start for Omaha last week as he threw seven innings and struck out seven with only two walks. On the season he has 40 strikeouts to 27 walks in 49.1 innings.

John Lamb (LHP) left his last start for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (AA) after getting only one out with elbow discomfort. He was placed on the disabled list as the team was trying to assess the problem.

Salvador Perez (C) has been on a hot streak in Northwest Arkansas. He's hit .324/.359/.459 in his last 10 games with a home run and two doubles.

Carlo Testa (LF) is hitting .405/.476/.676 in his last 10 games for the Wilmington Blue Rocks (A+). \

Jake Odorizzi (RHP) is sporting a 2.28 ERA with 59 strikeouts and only 9 walks for Wilmington. He was acquired this past off-season as part of the Zack Greinke trade.

Sugar Ray Marimon (RHP) combined with Chas Byrne (RHP) to throw a no-hitter last week for the Kane County Cougars (A-).

Blue Valley Northwest graduate Jason Adam (RHP) has had a fine start to his professional career. In his last start he threw 8 innings while striking out six and walking none for Kane County.

The week to come:

The Royals hit the road this week as they visit Baltimore and Texas for a pair of three-game series. Danny Duffy is slated to get two starts and how he continues to adapt to the highest level will be quite interesting. Since the Royals are 8 games out of first, watching what the first place Indians are doing isn't of much importance this week. It's up to the Royals to win a bunch of games if they want to hang in the race regardless of what any other team does.

5/24-5/26 @ Baltimore

5/27-5/29 @ Texas

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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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Dany Duffy’s Royals debut comes in a wild game

One of my favorite moments in baseball is watching a player's debut at the Major League. It's a once in a lifetime moment that the player has likely dreamed of for nearly his entire life. Many debuts are brief and most are uneventful. The vast majority of players get their first taste of the big leagues as a relief pitcher or a position player, so the debut consists of a brief inning or a handful of at bats. Last night was the somewhat rare occurrence of a player getting his first shot as a starting pitcher as Danny Duffy made his highly anticipated appearance in a Kansas City Royals uniform.

It's something that has been more rare, it seems for the Royals than for other clubs. The last Royals player to make his debut as a starter was J.P. Howell on June 11th 2005 in Arizona. The last Royal to make his debut as a starting pitcher an do so in Kauffman Stadium was Jimmy Serrano on August, 4th 2004. It's unlikely that there will be that long of a time between the next pitcher to debut as a starter, however it was a rather unique moment and the game that was played matched the uniqueness.

Duffy's first pitch was a 95 mph called strike to Rangers hitter Endy Chavez and the crowd cheered the big moment for the young pitcher. His second pitch was a 96 mph fastball which was swung on and missed. Duffy is known to have a very nice fastball, but 96 seemed to be a bit fast.

It looked as if he was over-throwing a bit and was falling off the mound pretty hard as he followed through. I'd imagine that Duffy had a little extra adrenaline flowing in that first inning, which combined with every players desire to prove that they belong was enough to put him just a tad out of his comfort zone. After the game he was asked if he was a little amped up more than usual.

"Absolutely, I think anytime in a situation like that you're going to be pumped, but I need to learn to control that."

I asked him if he felt he was over-throwing in the first inning.

"I felt like I was really under control, it was jumping out of my hand....I was amped."

The ball was jumping out of his hands as he hit 96 a few times in the first and didn't hit it again the rest of the game. He also didn't have great command of his off-speed pitches. That resulted in a couple of singles and a walk, but a double play and a weak popfly let him escape without damage other than an elevated pitch count.

As the game moved on, Duffy seemed to settle down a bit and his control and off-speed stuff returned to him. All three outs in the second were strikeouts, although he did walk Mike Napoli. It's significant because one of Duffy's biggest issues surfaced immediately when Napoli stole second base, which was his first of the season. The Rangers ended up stealing four bases on Duffy. When asked about it, manager Ned Yost said after the game:

"One of the things we're going to have tow work on is duffy containing the running game, he's a little long at times and allowed runners to go from first to second and second to third.....that's something were going to continue to work on with him, but its something we can clean up."

He ended up throwing four innings and gave up six walks while striking out four. His stuff looked very good and as he settled down he got even better. The rest of the game was a crazy series of opportunities followed by mis-steps on both sides, with neither team really doing anything to earn the win but rather seeing which team was going to lose.

It seemed to be in the Royals hands as Eric Hosmer crushed a game tying home run on the first pitch of the 9th inning against Rangers closer Neftali Feliz. Then back to back Royals batters walked and were picked off and the game went to extra innings. The Royals seemed to feel that Feliz was balking as he was throwing to first, which caught the runners off the bag. However, it's only a balk if the umpire says it is and he was silent. If Feliz does have as Ned Yost termed it "a balk move", then I can see the first player getting caught, but there's little excuse for the second.

In the end, it was a hard-fought but sloppy game. The Royals stayed in it with the defending American League champions. However staying in games isn't enough as Danny Duffy said after the game:

"I didn't come up here to keep my team in the game, I came up here to win. It's a bummer."

A bummer indeed, but staying in games is the first step. Winning, with this group of players seems almost inevitable. It didn't happen last night, but it will.

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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 promote Danny Duffy and insert him into the starting rotation

With the injury to Kyle Davies and the inneffectiveness of Vin Mazzaro last night, it was only a matter of time before the Royals made some moves to help the starting Rotation.

The first move came when the Royals optioned Vin Mazzaro to Omaha (AAA) and promoted Everett Teaford in his place. However, if Davies were to go on the disabled list, there would be a need for a starter. That move was announced today when the Royals said that they will be promoting highly-regarded pitching prospect Danny Duffy from Omaha to Kansas City.

He will be making his first Major League start on Wednesday against the Texas Rangers. Prior to the season Danny Duffy was rated by Baseball America as the 68th best prospect in baseball. At Omaha Duffy has been fantastic. In 36 innings, he's posted a 3.00 ERA while striking out 43 and walking only 10. While I was in Surprise, AZ for Spring Training he was creating a lot of buzz with scouts. He throws a hard fastball in the upper-90's with some movement due to his 3/4 arm slot.

Last year at the beginning of the season, Duffy walked away from baseball but to the great joy of the Royals organization he decided to come back later that same year.

If he were to stay on the Royals roster for the rest of the season, it's almost assured that he will be eligible for a fourth year of arbitration under the "super two" rule. The Royals have shown that they are willing to ignore the financial ramifications of early call-ups if it helps the team win games today. It seems to be a break from what the Royals have done in the past and a gamble that could backfire on them down the road.

So far Danny Duffy is the second highly touted promotion from the Royals loaded farm system. There are more to come as the season wears on. They should be able to help the team, but the real question remains as to whether or not they can keep the Royals in contention.

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Kansas City Royals week in review: 5/2/2011

Last week was an up and down week for the Kansas City Royals. They went 3-3, but got killed in the first three and won the last three. The first series was against the Indians and it pushed the Royals further away from first place. Fortunately, no other teams in the American League Central could win either so they maintained their 2nd place standing. The final three games were against the Minnesota Twins and the Royals stopped their losing skid and remained in striking distance of 1st place after the month of April.

Standings

1 Indians

2 Royals -4.5

3 Tigers -7.5

4 White Sox -10.0

5 Twins -10.0

Game 23: Royals 4 @ Indians 9boxscore

Royals starter Luke Hochevar gave up 3 home runs and 6 earned runs over 6.1 innings pitched. The bullpen was no better, giving up 2 home runs themselves to the white-hot Cleveland Indians. The lone bright spot was center fielder Melky Cabrera going 3 for 4 with a home run.

Game 24: Royals 2 @ Indians 7boxscore

Jeff Francis has been a steady force in the starting rotation, but on this night he stumbled. He gave up 5 runs in the bottom of the 1st inning to put the Royals in a hole to start. The Royals were able to score a pair of runs solo home runs from Jeff Francoeur and Mile Aviles in the 2nd inning. The Royals bullpen allowed 0 earned runs in 5 innings, but the offense was never able to score again.

Game 25: Royals 2 @ Indians 8boxscore

In order to avoid being swept in the series and to stop a 5 game losing streak, the Royals needed to take the final game from the Indians. In order to do that they needed a good start from Kyle Davies. Unfortunately, that did not happen. Davies gave up 8 earned runs in 3.1 innings and gave up 4 home runs. The Royals bats were kept quiet for a second straight game with only Matt Treanor collecting multiple hits.

Game 26: Twins 3 @ Royals 4boxscore

After a miserable 0-6 road trip, it seemed as if the season hung in the balance as the Royals returned home. Royals starter Bruce Chen played the role of stopper by throwing 5.1 innings and giving up just 2 earned runs. The play of the game was a sacrifice fly by Alcides Escobar to short left field that allowed speedster Jarrod Dyson to score the go-ahead run in the bottom of the 8th inning. Closer Joakim Soria did his job and the Royals ended their losing skid.

Game 27: Twins 2 @ Royals 11boxscore

Royals starter Sean O’Sullivan didn’t seem sharp, but he was effective. The Twins were only able to scratch two runs through 6 innings. The Royals didn’t do much better against Twins starter Brian Duensing as the Royals carried a slim one-run lead into the bottom of the eighth. Suddenly, the offense exploded as the Royals scored 8 runs and put the game away.

Game 28: Twins 3 @ Royals 10boxscore

Royals infielder Mike Aviles has been hot and he didn’t stop in the finale against the Twins. He went 3 for 5 with a home run and 4 RBI to help the Royals secure the sweep. It was the first time the Royals had swept the Twins in a series of 3 games or more since May 7-10, 1999.

Position player of the week: Billy Butler

Butler hit .333/.440/.667 last week with 4 doubles and a home run. He’s one of the best pure hitters I’ve ever seen play the game, which combined with his age makes me believe he will get to 3,000 hits in his career.

Starting pitcher of the week: Sean O’Sullivan

There weren’t many decent starting pitching performances this week. The best start of the week was one where O’Sullivan seemed to muddle along and allow the Twins baserunners, but no runs. He went 6.0 innings with 1 earned run, 7 walks and 3 strikeouts. If the Royals plan on continuing to compete, they are going to need a better weeks than this out of the rotation.

Relief pitcher of the week: Nate Adcock

For most of April, it seemed like Rule V pitcher Nate Adcock was going to see very sparse action. However this week, he got into two games. He pitched 4.0 innings, gave up no earned runs, struck out 4 and walked only 1.

On the farm:

Vin Mazzaro (RHP) struck out 10 batters in his last start for Omaha (AAA). He has a 4.86 ERA on the season with 22 strikeouts and 13 walks.

Danny Duffy (LHP) hasn’t allowed an run to score in his last three starts for Omaha (AAA). He sports a minuscule 0.90 ERA with 24 strikeouts and only 4 walks.

Mario Lisson (3B) of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (AA) has caught fire. He’s hitting .310/.453/.786 this season with 6 home runs.

Pitchers Noel Arguelles (LHP) and Michael Mariot (RHP) are piggy backing each other and pitching on the same day in the rotation for the Wilmington Blue Rocks (A+). They’ve presented a formidable duo for opposing hitters. Arguelles has a 1.02 ERA with 15 strikeouts and 1 walk. Mariot has a 0.63 ERA with 15 strikeouts and 4 walks.

In his last 10 games, Brian Fletcher (OF) is hitting .432/.462/.649 for the Kane County Cougars (A-). He’s also stolen 4 based this season.

The week to come:

The Royals homestand continues against the Baltimore Orioles and the Oakland Athletics. If the Royals are going to continue to be contenders, they have to beat teams like these. Neither of them is great, but neither is a pushover either. The schedule in May doesn’t let up either, so grabbing a few wins at home could cushion a rough patch that might be coming.

5/3-5/5 vs Baltimore Orioles

5/6-5/8 vs Oakland Athletics

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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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