Series Preview: Kansas City (July 31-August 2)

KANSAS CITY, MO - JULY 18: Brayan Pena #27 of the Kansas City Royals pours water over Billy Butler #16 after Butler hit a game-winning home run during a game against the Seattle Mariners at Kauffman Stadium on July 18, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals won 8-7. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Team in a Box (click to enlarge)

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The conventional wisdom going into the season was that the Royals were going to struggle to prevent runs (at least in their rotation) but a talented young lineup would compensate for that. The pitching has been bad thanks to a flameout by Sanchez and some key injuries to expected starters (Duffy, Paulino), but the offense just didn't have the breakout season expected.

Typical Lineup

Pos. Player BA OBP SLG PA
LF Alex Gordon .290 .371 .425 463
SS Alcides Escobar .305 .343 .420 401
CF Lorenzo Cain .260 .301 .452 83
DH Billy Butler .307 .377 .509 419
3B Mike Moustakas .262 .317 .461 394
C Salvador Perez .333 .356 .542 101
RF Jeff Francoeur .238 .275 .366 403
1B Eric Hosmer .232 .301 .362 405
2B Yuniesky Betancourt .232 .260 .406 220



It's been a couple months since the Royals and Indians played, so I haven't looked too much at how they're doing. So I was shocked at how bad Eric Hosmer's line is. Yeah, he was struggling when the Royals were in town at the end of the May, but he's gotten worse since. The good news is that he did have a decent month of June (.270/.340/.438), but in July his power has simply disappeared; he's hit a grand total of 5 extra-base hits in 103 July plate appearances.

Alcides Escobar has been a bright spot, rewarding the Royals for running him out there every day in 2011. However, a lot of the defensive statistics show a complete 180 from his fine performance last year. Maybe it's because of shifts?

The Royals didn't trade Jeff Francoeur at last year's deadline, instead extending him through the 2013 season. Last offseason, with Lorenzo Cain expected to be the starter in center field, they dealt Melky Cabrera to the Giants for Jonathan Sanchez. Both moves backfired, as Francouer has been awful, Sanchez beyond awful, and Cabrera a dark-horse NL MVP candidate.

Probable Starting Pitchers

Date Pitcher ERA Innings SO/9 BB/9 H/9
July 31 Luke Hochevar 5.26 113.0 6.6 2.7 10.0
Aug 1 Luis Mendoza 4.47 92.2 5.3 3.9 9.9
Aug 2 Jeremy Guthrie 9.58 10.1 7.0 2.6 13.1

On paper this should be a relatively easy matchup, but I've said that in the Baltimore and Minnesota series. Mendoza started twice against the Indians in April (April 15 - 4 IP, 5 ER; April 26 - 5 IP, 2 ER) and is back in the rotation after a short spending much of May in the bullpen.

Jeremy Guthrie was acquired for Jonathan Sanchez in a GIGO deal, and so far it looks like neither pitcher has benefited from a change of scenery. Once upon a time Guthrie was the Indians' best prospect, and had some nice seasons with the Orioles, but it's not looking good for him right now. He should some opportunities with the Royals because of the state of their rotation, but if he doesn't pitcher better down the stretch he might not get another opportunity.

Key Relievers

Throws Pitcher ERA Innings SO/9 BB/9 H/9
Right Jonathan Broxton 2.27 35.2 6.3 3.5 9.1
Right Kelvin Herrera 2.92 52.1 8.1 1.9 8.3
Left Tim Collins 3.42 50.0 12.1 4.1 6.8

Broxton may be dealt before the game begins; he's a free agent at the end of the year, and is

On the Shelf

  • 3B Mike Moustakas (knee) - day-to-day
  • RHP Felipe Paulino (elbow surgery) - out for the season
  • RHP Joakim Soria (elbow surgery) - out for the season
  • RHP Blake Wood (elbow surgery) - out for the season
  • LHP Danny Duffy (elbow surgery) - out for the season

The Royals have four - count 'em - four pitchers out for the year recovering from Tommy John surgery. Soria is probably the most prominent of these pitchers, but losing Duffy early in the season may have been a bigger loss; Duffy was one of the better pitching prospects in baseball, and was starting his first full major-league season. Paulino was also in the rotation to start the season, and was coming off a decent 2011 campaign after arriving in a mid-season trade from Colorado.

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