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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: 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: 8/1/2011

Going on the road and facign the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians was no easy task for the Kansas City Royals, though they came away with a more than acceptable 4-3 record last week. The record on the field was over-shadowed by the moves the Royals did and did not make at the trade deadline. They did move Wilson Betemit and Mike Aviles but chose to hang onto Jeff Francoeur and Melky Cabrera. The organization has not had a lot of love for Aviles, so it was obvious he would be moved. Keeping Cabrera and Francouer seems to be a bit of clinging to some hope that Cabrera will repeat a career year (not often the case) and that Francoeur will...well honestly I don't know why they kept Francoeur. Regardless it was a pretty good week to be a Royals fan.

Standings

1 Tigers

2 Indians -2.5

3 White Sox -4.0

4 Twins -7.0

5 Royals -11.0

Game 102: Royals 3 @ Red Sox 1

The Royals took the first game in Boston in a pitchers duel featuring Kyle Davies and Jon Lester. Yep, you read that right. 2011 Kyle Davies continued to do what he's done this season: strike out more guys and walk fewer. However he didn't give up the runs he's been giving up. He's been on a decent run lately and maybe he actually wil turn into a decent pitcher. Now former Royal Mike Aviles put down the best-worst bunt possible and put the Royals in a position to win the game It wasn't a typical Royals game, but it was a victory and one worth staying up late to watch.

Game 103: Royals 9 @ Red Sox 13

Game 2 of the Boston Series was quite the opposite of game 1. Runs were plentiful for both teams as both starters managed 3.2 innings for their respective teams. Duffy struck out 5 in his 3.2 innings, but allowed 6 earned runs. Reliever Nate Adcock one-upped him by allowing 3 earned runs and getting just one out. In fact the only Royals relief pitcher who didn't allow a run was outfielder Mitch Maier. It was that kind of game. The Royals bats tried to keep pace with the 13 runs Boston scored, but could only muster 9. Billy Butler and Alex Gordon hit back-to-back homers and Mike Aviles went 3-for-5, but it was all for naught.

Game 104: Royals 5 @ Red Sox 12

With the bullpen depleted, the one thing Bruce Chen HAD to do was go deep into the game. Unfortunately, he could only muster 4 innings while giving up 10 earned runs. Nate Adcock was summoned to finish the ball game and did a fine job with the final 4 innings. The game was never withing the Royals grasp, however Butler and Hosme both homered to give something for the fans back home to cheer about.

Game 105: Royals 4 @ Red Sox 3

Luke Hochevar put together a very solid start in route to helping the Royals split the series with the Red Sox. He went 7 innings, struck out 6, walked 1 and allowed only 2 earned runs. The offense was bouyed by the bottom of the lineup and another Billy Butler home run. A four-run 4th inning was all the scoring needed to split the series and leave Boston with a very satisfactory grin.

Game 106: Royals 12 @ Indians 0

The Royals might have a chip on their shoulder in regards to the Indians. It's hard to look across the dugout and see a team that seems to be just as talented, yet fighting for a Division title. On this night at least, the Royals put the Indians in their place. A Melky Cabrera grand-slam represented a mere third of the Royals scoring output in route to a 12-0 beat down. Jeff Francis had one of his best outings to date as he went 8 inings and struck out 6. Billy Butler and Alex Gordon both added homeruns of their own and Alcides Escobar went 3-for-4.

Game 107: Royals 2 @ Indians 5

It's rare for this years Royals rotation to put together three straight solid outings, but that's what happened as Felipe Paulino went 6 innings and allowed 0 earned runs. Unfortunately, the bullpen wasn't as steady and allwed the Indians to score 4 runs and win in walk-off fashion. All 4 runs were on the shoulders of closer Joakim Soria. Catcher Matt Treanor left the game with a concussion when he tagged out Matt LaPorta at the plate. It was a gut-wrenching loss to a plucky division rival.

Game 108: Royals 5 @ Indians 3

Rookie Danny Duffy bounced back from a terrible outing in Boston and held the Indians in check for 5 innings as he allowed only 2 earned runs and struck out 6. It was enough as the Royals offense scored 5 runs on the Indians sfaff. Alex Gordon and Jeff Francoeur both hit their 14th home runs and Melky Cabrera collected a pair of hits. The Royals bullpen came into the game and picked up were Duffy left off and allowed a single run for the rest of the game as the Royals took the series from Cleveland.

Position player of the week: Billy Butler

In the last 7 days, Billy Butler has hit 5 home runs, collected 12 RBI and hit an additional 2 doubles. That's good for an OPS of 1.349 this week. He's been on an absolute tear this week and is a huge reason the Royals were able to have a winning road trip.

Starting pitcher of the week: Jeff Francis

It's shocking that he's still a part of the Royals after the non-waiver trade deadline. He would make a solid contributor for a contending team and still might get moved through the waive trade system. Last week he pitched a great 8 inning 6 strikeout, 0 earned run affair to earn the nod this week.

Relief pitcher of the week: Mitch Maier

Hey, you gotta give it to the outfielder who pitched a scoreless inning in Fenway right? He may never get a chance to win this prestigious award again. I've always been a huge Maier fan and getting to see him pitch was pretty sweet. I would love to see him be a part of a winning Royals franchisce, but with the non-trades of Cabrera and Francouer, I don't see it happening.

The week to come

The trades may not be over as players can still be moved through the waiver system. I'd be surprised if the Royals don't make at least one more move. Also, getting Cain and Giavotella into the clubhouse is something the Royals have to figure out. Both are dominating in AAA and deserve a shot to prove they can do it at the highest level. The Roayls get to come home and take on the Orioles and the division leading Tigers.

8/2-8/4 vs Orioles

8/5-8/7 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: 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: 7/11/2011

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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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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