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Posts tagged with Mike Moustakas

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: 8/22/2011

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

Standings

1 Tigers

2 Indians -4.5

3 White Sox -5.0

4 Twins -13.0

5 Royals -17.0

Game 122: Yankees 7 @ Royals 4

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

Game 123: Yankees 9 Royals 7

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

Game 124: Yankees 4 @ Royals 5

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

Game 125: Red Sox 4 @ Royals 3

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

Game 126: Red Sox 7 @ Royals 1

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

Game 127: Red Sox 4 @ Royals 9

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

Game 128: Red Sox 6 @ Royals 1

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

Position player of the week: Billy Butler

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

Starting pitcher of the week: Bruce Chen

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

Relief pitcher of the week: Greg Holland

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

The week to come

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

8/23-8/25 @ Toronto

8/26-8/28 @ Cleveland

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

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

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

Standings

1 Tigers

2 Indians -2.5

3 White Sox -4.0

5 Twins -11.5

6 Royals -14.5

Game 115: Royals 1 @ Rays 2

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

Game 116: Royals 0 @ Rays 4

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

Game 117: Royals 7 @ Rays 8

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

Game 118: Royals 1 @ Rays 4

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

Game 119: Royals 5 @ White Sox 1

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

Game 120: Royals 4 @ White Sox 5

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

Game 121: Royals 2 @ White Sox 6

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

Position player of the week: Melky Cabrera

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

Starting pitcher of the week: Luke Hochevar

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

Relief pitcher of the week: Nate Adcock

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

The Week to come

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

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

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

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

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: 6/13/2011

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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The Royals promote Mike Moustakas

The Kansas City Royals promoted highly-touted third base prospect Mike Moustakas. In Triple-A, Moustakas wa hitting .287/.347/.498 with 10 home runs and 15 doubles. To make room for him on the roster, they optioned infielder Mike Aviles to Omaha.

I predicted that the Royals would promote Moustakas at some point in June, now that the date for Super Two status has passed. I figured they would wait until the next home-stand so he could make his debut in Kansas City, but instead he'll make his debut in Anaheim near his hometown of Los Angeles.

What I wasn't able to predict was exactly who was going to be moved to make room for Moustakas.I thought that there might be a trade including Wilson Betemit or Mike Aviles, but in the end it was a demotion for Aviles. He'd been struggling lately with the bat, but he's been a pretty reliable offensive performer for the Royals. He's also the only player on the bench that can play a middle infield position. It seems to me as if the Royals aren't done making moves. They can't go too long without having a backup infielder.

In the end, Mike Moustakas is ready to be tested in the Major Leagues. He can learn much more facing Big League pitchers than he can from facing Triple-A pitchers. This was the one promotion that I fully expected to see come prior to the season. The Royals are starting to look like the young and talented team that they are destined to be in the near future.

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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: 5/16/2011

Last week’s road trip for the Kansas City Royals wasn’t exactly perfect, however it was significantly better than their last foray in the field. They started off nicely by taking a series in the Bronx, which they haven’t done since 1999. However they faltered once they took their talents to Detroit to face the Tigers. This latest road trip seemed to be the mirror image of the last one in that the starting rotation showed up and the bats were relatively quiet.

Standings:

1 Indians

2 Tigers -3.5

3 Royals -5.0

4 White Sox -9.0

5 Twins -12.5

Game 35: Royals 1 @ Yankees 3 – boxscore

Royals starting pitcher Kyle Davies gave up three runs in five innings pitched against the New York Yankees on seven hits, however he continued to limit the free-passes by only walking one. The three runs were all the Yankees needed as the Royals scored only one run on a Melky Cabrera solo home run in his first game against his former team.

Game 36: Royals 4 @ Yankees 3 – boxscore

The Yankees took an early lead by putting up a pair of runs on starter Vin Mazzaro who was making his debut in a Royals uniform. The Royals battled back with two runs of their own, one of which came on Eric Hosmer’s first Major League home run. With the game knotted at two, they went to extra innings. The Royals struck first by scoring in the top of the tenth, but closer Joakim Soria couldn’t convert in the bottom of the tenth and surrendered a run. In the top of the eleventh, the Royals took another lead on an Eric Hosmer sacrifice fly. Louis Coleman came in and held the Yankees scoreless for the win.

Game 37: Royals 11 @ Yankees 5 – boxscore

In the series finale, there wasn’t near as much drama but it was just as fun. The Royals scored early and often by putting up six runs in a parade of hits in the second inning. Eric Hosmer hit his second career home run and Melky Cabrera hit his second of the series. Royals starter Sean O’Sullivan didn’t have to be perfect, and he wasn’t as he gave up four earned runs and again struck out no batters. The Yankees scored a few more, but were never really in the game and the Royals won their first series in the Bronx since 1999.

Game 38: Royals 1 @ Tigers 3 – boxscore

The Detroit Tigers have one of the best starting rotations in the American League and it was on display in this series. Tigers starter Justin Verlander held the Royals hitless through five innings. However in the sixth the Royals busted through with a run scoring triple from Melky Cabrera. Unfortunately, it was the only run they would score. Royals starter Luke Hochevar put together another quality start as he held the Tigers potent offense to three runs in six innings.

Game 48: Royals 0 @ Tigers 3 – boxscore

Royals starter Jeff Francis got off to a wobbly start as he surrendered three runs in the first inning, however he found his groove and gave up no more runs and pitched a complete game. The Royals offense was again stifled by a Tigers starter, only this time it was Brad Penny. They will have to settle for an 0-2 series as the finale was postponed due to rain.

Position player of the week: Melky Cabrera

It was a prettly light week in terms of offensive performances, but Cabrera hit .200/.333/.650 with two home runs, four walks, a double and a triple. He must have found that little something extra to show his old team that he is still worth something.

Starting pitcher of the week: Jeff Francis

Francis pitched more innings than any other starter this week and struck out more batters as well. He got touched up for a few runs in his first inning, but then cruised to a complete game.

Relief pitcher of the week: Louis Coleman

The bullpen continues to dominate the opposition and Louis Coleman was no exception. He threw 2.2 innings, struck out four and didn't allow a hit or a walk. He also earned a save in extra innings in New York. Not bad for a rookie.

On the farm:

Lorenzo Cain (CF) hit for the cycle and had a grand slam on Saturday for the Omaha Storm Chasers (AAA). He's now hitting .296/.377/.481 on the season.

Mike Moustakas (3B) hit two home runs last week and has a season line of .262/.340/.477 to go with seven home runs for the Storm Chasers.

Wil Myers (OF) re-aggravated his bruised left knee on Thursday and was held out for the rest of the weekend series for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (AA).

Starting pitcher John Lamb had a really nice outing this week as he went six innings while giving up one earned run and striking out four for the Naturals.

The Wilmington Blue Rocks' Whit Merrifield (OF) has been on fire as of late. He's hitting .349/.391/.442 in his last ten games.

Stat of the week:

Last week, the Royals bullpen threw 14.1 innings last week and gave up only one earned run.

The week to come:

Things don't get much easier for the Royals as they start a long home stand. They play the Indians, Rangers and Cardinals this week without any off-days. They will need to continue their torrid pace at home to keep up with the division leading Indians and suddenly surging Detroit Tigers.

5/17-5/18 vs Cleveland Indians

5/19-5/20 vs Texas Rangers

5/21-5/23 vs St. Louis Cardinals

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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: 5/9/2011

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

Standings:

1 Indians

2 Royals -4.5

3 Tigers -6.0

4 Twins -9.5

5 White Sox -10.0

Game 29: Orioles 5 @ Royals 6boxscore

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

Game 30: Orioles 3 @ Royals 2boxscore

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

Game 31: Orioles 1 @ Royals 9boxscore

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

Game 32: Athletics 3 @ Royals 2boxscore

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

Game 33: Athletics 3 @ Royals 4boxscore

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

Game 44: Athletics 5 @ Royals 2boxscore

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

Position player of the week: Jeff Francoeur

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

Starting pitcher of the week: Luke Hochevar

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

Relief pitcher of the week: Joakim Soria

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

On the farm:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stat of the week:

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

The week to come:

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

5/10 - 5/12 @ New York Yankees

5/13 - 5/15 @ Detroit Tigers

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

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