Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Second Look at RBIe (RBI Efficiency)

Again, it's been over a year since my last post.  While my passion is unending, unfortunately my time is not, and I simply find myself too busy with work and school in order to post regularly.  But what better day than today, July 4th, to write about our beloved Kansas City Royals.  This post is going to be another look into the stat that I developed a few years ago, RBI Efficiency, or as I have now named it, RBIe.  I'll link to my previous post at the bottom, but let's take quick look at the stat itself once again.

RBI as a stat has long been a dubious way to determine a player's performance.  At best it is misleading and at worst it can be completely unreliable.  I have set out to alleviate this problem.  By taking a look at a player's POSSIBLE RBI in every given plate appearance and then comparing that to their ACTUAL RBI numbers, it is possible, in my estimation, to determine exactly how effective a player is at driving in runs.  For further reading, see my previous blog post.

On to the actual numbers.  This will be a breakdown of each Royal's RBIe.  We'll be looking at every Royal with at least 50 plate appearances as of the morning of July 4th, 2012.  Here we go:

11.3% - Betancourt - 0.112840
9.4% - Butler - 0.09375
8.7% - Moustakas - 0.087044
7.3% - Hosmer - 0.072727
7.3% - Quintero - 0.073077
6.6% - Pena - 0.065789
5.9% - Falu - 0.058823
5.4% - Maier - 0.053846
5.1% - Giavotella - 0.051282
4.8% - Gordon - 0.048059
4.7% - Francouer - 0.047059
4.6% - Getz - 0.045977
4.2% - Escobar - 0.042105
2.2% - Dyson - 0.021807

Just for comparison's sake, let's look at the top 8 RBI leaders in MLB:

1) Josh Hamilton - 14.1% - 0.140927
2) Miguel Cabrera - 10.9% - 0.108888
3) Jose Bautista - 11.2% - 0.111888
4) Carlos Beltran - 11.2% - 0.112299
5) Adam Dunn - 11.0% - 0.110497
6) Ryan Braun - 11.0% - 0.110266
7) Josh Willingham - 10.3% - 0.103147
8) Carlos Gonzalez - 11.1% - 0.111324

This stat is not the end all, be all stat of how good a player is.  But I believe it can be useful when trying to determine just how well a player is driving in runs.  A simple RBI total does not give you all the information.  RBIe gives you a better idea of how well that hitter is making use of their opportunities.  Thanks for reading.

For further reading, the link to my previous post:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Where the Royals went wrong..

Last night, the Royals COMPLETELY blew up an opportunity to win against the Yankees.  If you watched the game, you know I'm talking about the 7th inning.  Let's take a look at exactly what happened:

At the top of the inning, the Royals are down 3-1, with Jeff Francouer to bat and Freddy Garcia still on the mound for the Yankees.  Francouer singles on a soft line drive to LF which gives us a man on first with no outs.  At this point in the inning the Royals are expected (based on Baseball Prospectus's 2011 expected runs matrix found here) to score 0.8367 runs.  There is a good chance at this point that the Royals can get a run this inning to get it to within one.

Next, Eric Hosmer walks on 6 pitches, which leads to Garcia getting the hook.  This brings up men on first and 2nd, still no outs, and now the Royals are into the Yankees bullpen.  The Royals should have expected to score 1.453 runs this inning, which means they were getting quite close to a situation where they SHOULD have expected to tie the game.

Next, Mike Aviles flies out in a full count to the CF.  This decreases the Royals expected runs to 0.9012.  The Royals probably still should have expected to get one run back in this inning.

Jeff Francouer then steals 3rd base, so we have men on first and third, 1 out, for a run expectancy of 1.1629.

Matt Treanor then comes to bat, he subsequently walks on 5 pitches, this loads the bases with 1 out.  At this point the Royals can expect to at least tie the game in this inning, their expected runs goes all the way up to 1.5642.  A solid hit will tie it.

What Ned Yost does next, in my eyes, is unforgivable:

He actually lets Alcides Escobar bat with the bases loaded in a 2 run game.  Yes, Alcides Escobar, he of the .233/.259/.279 and 53 OPS+... yes, that's not a typo.. 53 OPS+ this year.  Needless to say, he's one of the worst hitters in the AL, and Ned Yost ACTUALLY lets him bat.  At this point, I'm fuming.  The Royals need a hit to tie it, or a walk to bring it within one (at this point David Robertson has thrown more balls than strikes).  Beyond frustrating.

Escobar strikes out swinging and the Royals run expectancy drops all the way to 0.6724.   Chris Getz then also strikes out swinging but at this point it doesn't really matter, does it?

Because in the MOST important at bat of the game, Ned Yost let the worst hitter on the team strike out.

Ned Yost has done a lot of great things for KC, but if he can't see the importance of letting a Wilson Betemit hit in that situation (and then sliding Aviles over to SS where he played all of '08..) then I'm not sure I have any time for Ned Yost.

P.S.  In case you were wondering, Alcides Escobar has a -16 OPS+ when coming to bat with runners in scoring position.  No, that's not a joke, no, I'm not flaming Escobar, he's been a very valuable piece to this team, but DAMMIT NED, Ya don't let him hit with the bases loaded when you're down 2 and have only 1 out!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Patience is Key..

Well, the Royals won again today, and now sit at 7-4 and atop the AL Wildcard leaderboard.  Obviously, we're 11 games into the year and it's WAY too early to make any assumptions about the 2011 season.. However, the Royals have avoided their characteristic slow start this season and now come home for an 8 game home stand which sees them facing the Mariners and the Indians (losers of 2 in a row).  Theoretically, the Royals could win 6 games and see themselves sitting at the top of the division almost a month into the season.  This would be great news.  It would be a testament to the young(ish) players the Royals brought in or called up for this season.. Ka'aihue, Francouer, Cabrera, etc. have all been contributors to this point.  Even players like Chris Getz and Matt Treanor have made impacts.  This has all been great and really fun to watch, but do not let it trick you into thinking it would be okay to rush our prospects.

It has been clear that many baseball teams have underperformed to this point this season.  The Royals may very well take advantage of all this bad baseball and actually finish .500 this year, I'm not predicting it, but I'm certainly willing to offer up the possibility that it could happen.  What I am most afraid of for this season is not losing 100 games, it is rushing players like Eric Hosmer and Mike Montgomery to the big leagues.  Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain are basically locks to see the bigs sometime before the All Star Break this season, because they have both spent time previous to this season in AAA.  Eric Hosmer, however is 21 years old and has only played in ~50 games in AA.  He needs to spend the whole season (or at least until September) in AAA.  You can not leave a player in the minors too long (and even if you could, one season certainly would not be the cutoff point).  However, you CERTAINLY can rush a player to the bigs too soon.. (see ANY of the Royals top prospects over the last decade).  By bringing Hosmer to the majors this year you gain NOTHING.  It would involve sitting/trading one of Billy Butler or Kila Ka'aihue and there is no reason to do that until next offseason.  Give both of those players a year to hit and show what they can do before you decide which you would like to keep and which you would like to trade away.

The same mantra goes for Mike Montgomery and all of our young starting pitching.  Give them each a season in AAA to hone their craft, certainly they will only get better over time.  Our rotation is not good at this point, but we aren't planning on winning the world series this season yet either.  I can think of a situation MAYBE where a pitcher gets hurt and goes down in mid/late July in which I might be okay with bringing up a young hurler, but we can cross that bridge when we get to it.  At this point I'd like anyone under the age of 23 to stay in the minors this season, please.

As an aside, scouts and statisticians can agree that players peak when they are 27-32 (or so).  Don't you want to hang on to our young players for all or at least most of this time period?  You're not hurting yourself by being patient, but you could easily ruin this whole "The Process" by bringing players up before their time.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Next Coming of Rick Ankiel?

I'm sure you've heard the story by now of Rick Ankiel the pitcher.  He came up as a phenom and flamed out almost as quickly later that year in the playoffs, due almost solely to a complete lack of command.  In 2000, at the age of 20, Rick Ankiel pitched in 2 playoff games.  He logged a total of 4 innings with a stat line that read: 4 IP, 5 H, 7 ER, 0 HR, 11BB, 5K, and 9 WILD PITCHES.  He literally could not find the glove.  The next season he was up for less than 30 innings in the majors and his career as a pitcher was over.

I bring up this refresher in the history of control blow ups on the mound because Vin Mazzaro had a similar incident on Sunday.  Mazzaro got the start against the Albuquerque Isotopes, but only managed to make it through 2.1 innings.  His line looked like this: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 5 ER, 7 BB, 3K, 1 WP.  Not on the exact same level but pretty eerily close to Ankiel's first playoff start.  Now the good news is that while Mazzaro was somewhat lucky last year, his control wasn't really much of a problem.  The bad news is that his control isn't really that great.  Mazzaro has 213.2 innings pitched in the majors in his career.  He has 89 walks for a BB/9 of 3.7.  When I see that his K/9 is only 5.8 it really makes me nervous.  This could be something that is just flukey and ends up being early season jitters.  But it's definitely something to keep an eye on.  According to this article at, Mazzaro will now be passed over his first scheduled start (This Saturday) in lieu of Sean O'Sullivan.

The article states that the Royals want to make sure Mazzaro gets a few quality starts in AAA under his belt before he pitches in the majors this year, even though he won the 5th starter's job in spring training.  This is understandable but it is scary that Sean O'Sullivan will be his replacement.  O'Sullivan is like a worse version of Mazzaro, not many strike outs, too many walks, and he's prone to the long ball.  As Roayls fans we didn't expect to get off to a 6-3 start, but here we are, and we're about to throw another long reliever in to be a starter, just as we have in the past.  There is one bright side to O'Sullivan, he's somewhat young, at only 25 there is a decent chance he may still improve.  But, as like Rany from likes to point out, most good pitchers are just as good in their early 20's as they are in their mid to late 20's.

Time will tell if Mazzaro or O'Sullivan will even be relevant to the Royals future pitching staffs.  Until then, it'll be an interesting story to follow.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Live Blog! 4/5/11 Royals 7, White Sox 6 - Final/12

Pregame thoughts:

Pitcher: Luke Hochevar 0-1, 4.76 ERA


Mike Aviles - 5
Melky Cabrera - 8
Alex Gordon - 7
Billy Butler - D/H
Kila Ka'aihue - 3
Jeff Francouer - 9
Alcides Escobar - 6
Matt Treanor - 2
Chris Getz - 4

We'll see your basic Royals lineup today, and the same one that was run out on opening day when Hochevar faced the Angels.  We'll face Gavin Floyd in his first start of the season.  The pitching matchup should be interesting, to say the least.. I see a lot of Floyd in Hochevar and vice versa.  Just saw that Billy Butler is a career .341 hitter vs. the AL Central.. holy crap, if he can stay healthy and fit, Billy has the opportunity to have a very special career.  Anyway, first pitch should be any minute now.

First Inning: 

Juan Pierre hit the hardest triple he'll probably hit all season and ends up standing at 3b.  And before I can finish typing the previous sentence Gordon Beckham hits a hard single to drive in a run.  5 pitches, 1-0.. most fans probably haven't even found their seat yet.. not the best of starts.

Great pitch by Hochevar to get the swinging strike on Dunn after he crushes a ball just foul.  Hochevar looks like his typical self, he has had some nice movement so far, but just isn't finding the strike zone consistently.

I was LITERALLY thinking "perfect triple play opportunity right here" and then Paul Konerko SMACKS one deep into LF.. definitely a no-doubter.. still no outs.. definitely depressing.

Rios reaches on a single.. still no one out..

first out is a little tapper back to the mound by Quentin.. hopefully this gets the ball rolling in the right direction now.  Second out on one more pitch and Alexei Ramirez comes up to bat.  Alright, top of the first is finally over.. hopefully we can scratch across a run or two in the bottom of the inning to make things interesting.. it's only 4 runs.. not un-do-able by any means

I'm looking for Mike Aviles to have an extended at bat here.. I would love to see him see 5-6 pitches at least.  Mike Aviles could really end up being as good of a leadoff hitter as the Royals have had in years.. I think he could be DDJ with more power.  Aviles flies out, but only after seeing 5 pitches.  Pitch count is of utmost importance, especially after such a long top of the first inning.

As I type that Melky is first pitch swinging and singles through the hole between short and 3rd.  GORDON!!!   Alex is first pitch swinging as well and crushes a ball to straightaway CF.  I think everyone who follows the Royals knows that this is a big year for Alex, and in my opinion, the early returns are great.

It's a great feeling to score 2 runs before your two best hitters even come to bat.  Billy Butler gets an average Billy Butler hit.. ball is perfectly squared up and crushed right back up the middle.  The kid can hit.  Seriously.

Kila may end up being my favorite Royal this year.  I love his mentality and at the plate I don't think anyone matches his patience and power.  Kila flies out to LF,  Billy is still at first now with 2 outs.. let's extend the inning just a bit longer.

I was half expecting Frenchy to crush the first pitch.  Instead, it's a bit inside and the count is 1-0.  The bottom of this inning has been huge.  If the Royals expect to be the '10 Padres of 2011, then attitude will be everything.  By scoring 2 and cutting the lead in half right after the Sox score 4 they can maintain their confidence.  Francouer flies out to end the inning.  To the 2nd we go!

Second Inning:

Brent Morel flies out to a perfectly positioned Francouer, good start for Hoch to the inning, it would be very important for this to be a quick inning.  Pierre grounds out to 2B and the Sox are down to their last out in the 2nd.  Inning will go on a bit longer as Beckham singles.  Sox have a dangerous middle of the order, it'd be cool hand Luke clutch to retire Dunn right here.  Instead, Luke falls behind 3-0.

Kinda figures that after working back from 3-0 to 3-2 Luke hits Dunn on the foot on a fail of a curveball.  Konerko grounds out to the SS Escobar to end the inning.  Not the best inning, but infinitely better than the first.

Escobar will lead off the inning, and singles right up the middle.  If Escobar can get on base a little more and work on his ISO SLG%.. he could end up being one of the best SS's in the game.. (as long as his defense stands to be as good as everyone says it is).

Matt Treanor is up, does anyone else hope that Treanor is the starter when Kendall gets back?  Or that maybe Kendall won't come back at all?  If I had to rank the catchers it would look like this: Brayan Pena > Matt Treanor > Jason Kendall.  I don't think Ned Yost agrees with me however, as I believe he probably has his list directly inverted.

There's really nothing quite like leadoff baserunners.  Wouldn't mind seeing Escobar try and steal here.  Base Stealing is overrated, but a player like Escobar needs to do the little things and help his team any way he can.  Looks like Gavin Floyd is thinking the same thing I am, and is throwing over constantly.  Treanor walks on 5 pitches, 2 on 0 out.

Thank God Getz isn't bunting here.  He pops out, and Aviles is up.

I like the look of the on-screen graphics, but why can't we put a pitch count up?  It's such useful information, and there are a lot of networks that keep one up all the time now.  Gotta love the double steal with 2 outs.. Let's see if Melky can double in a couple of runs now.  Melky singles through the right side and two runs score..

Wow, Melky completely lucks out when he advances to 2nd on the throw.. the play was very close, he was called safe.  I'd love it if Gordon can pull a rabbit out of his hat and give the Royals the lead here.  Instead he softly lines out to 3b on a pitch that broke his bat.   The game is now tied and Luke should be rested after another long half inning.  Onto the 3rd!

Third Inning:

Escobar makes plays that Betancourt could only dream of making.. and he makes them look easy.  I've been very impressed with his defense so far this season.

Three ground balls, three relatively quick outs.  This inning was Hochevar at his best.

Billy rarely hits a ball that isn't screaming.. unfortunately that one was right at the defender.

Kila strikes out, but only after running an 0-2 count to 3-2.  Frenchy hits one hard to extend the inning, however.  I'm very impressed by how well the Royals have been at extending innings.  For me, the only way to beat an opposing pitcher better than by scoring runs is to make him through a ton of pitches early in the game.

Francouer steals 2b and has such a good lead it doesn't even warrant a throw from Pierzynski.  Escobar grounds out and the inning is over, but at least it wasn't a 1-2-3 inning.

Fourth Inning:

Looks like Hoch is doing a good job of keeping the ball down now.  If he can keep the ball down AND throw strikes he could be great, it seems as if he never can do both.  As I write this Hoch walks Ramirez on 4 pitches to start the inning.

The stats say it doesn't matter, but Matt Treanor really looks good receiving the ball.  He frames it well and presents a big target for the pitcher.

Wow, the Royals of the past would have found a way to mess up that routine fly ball, (2b, ss, cf converging) instead, Melky calls for it and other two defenders peel off.  Nicely done.  Onto the bottom of the 3rd.

We need to come up with an awesome nickname for Matt Treanor, who grounds out to leadoff the inning.  Getz grounds out on a 3-0 pitch.. I'm ready for Wilson Betemit, are you?  Aviles strikes out and the Royals go 1-2-3 for the first time this game.  Frustrating inning, especially Getz's plate appearance, you just can't give up outs!

Fifth Inning:

Before I can even think of something to say there are 2 outs in the inning.  This game has just cruised by after the first 2 innings.  Hochevar looks to have found his groove.. (hopefully).  Another quick pop up and the Royals are back to bat.  Time to knock Floyd out of the game.

Melky is retired for the first time tonight which brings up Gordon.  Time to work on that slugging percentage, Alex.  Instead, he swings over the top of a slider and strikes out.  Typical.  Time for Billy and hopefully Kila to give the Royals the lead.  Instead, Butler grounds out softly to SS and it's another 1-2-3 inning for Floyd.  Onto the 6th!

Sixth Inning:

Quentin just gets the ball in to LF over Escobar's outstretched glove.  That ruins Luke's 10/11 retired in a row streak.  The White Sox now lead after a Alexei Ramirez triple drives in Quentin from first base.

One out and man on 3rd so the Royals bring the infield in.  I wholeheartedly disagree with this move, but I thought the double steal was dumb too, and it worked out perfectly, so let's see if Yost is pulling the right strings here.  Luke dials up a great pitch and earns his first strikeout of the night.  Time to limit the damage to one run and get this final out of the inning.

ANNNNNND now we're down 2 runs.. gotta love the infield singles.  Luke is at 100 pitches.  Assuming he retires this batter there's no chance he comes out for the 7th, right?

That ball was smoked!  Luckily it hung up just enough to get to Melky..  Top of the sixth is in the books, time to start the comeback again.

Kila takes a walk to start the inning.  Leadoff walks are the genesis of comeback rallies.  Let's go!

Brent Morel makes an AWESOME jumping stab at a scorching line drive meant for the LF corner.  The kid can play defense, that's for sure.  Escobar grounds into a double play and the 6th is all done.  Didn't hear on the broadcast that someone was warming up.. If I had to guess, I'd say Kanekoa or Aaron Crow are coming in.  99% sure Luke isn't going to go back out there though.

Seventh Inning:

Looks like I was right, Aaron Crow comes on to pitch the 7th inning.  Even when the Royals aren't winning it will be great to see these young pitchers and players this year.  It finally feels like we're building towards something.  Wow, Aaron Crow's stuff looks absolutely electric.  Considering how many good young starters we have, we might very well see Aaron Crow and Tim Collins setting up Joakim Soria in the immediate and distant future.

And Crow just painted a fastball right on the black for a called third strike, and then Getz makes an error.

It's all good though as Crow gets two foul outs and a strike out while allowing no hits or runs.

Floyd comes back out for the bottom of the 7th and the Royals have to be hoping to scratch across a couple of runs to tie it up.

Treanor looks kind of silly as Floyd k's his 5th of the night.  That was about as well as Getz can hit a ball.. and it sort of dribbled through the hole between 2nd and 1st.  Aviles really struggling at the plate tonight, aside from his first at bat he's looked kind of confused.  Aviles lines into a double play.. tough luck, he squared the ball up pretty well, just hit it right at SS Ramirez.

Eighth Inning:

Aaron Crow back out to pitch the 8th.  Let's see if he can grab a couple of K's and run through a quick top half.  I never realized Crow had such a great slider.  It really is on fire tonight.  Royals try to go around the horn but the runner is just safe to avoid the double play.  Morel running on the pitch and Treanor nails him by at least a couple of steps for the third out.

Chris Sale comes on for the 8th inning.  I haven't seen him pitch yet so this should be interesting.

If Gordon can do something here against the tough lefty I'd be pretty impressed.  He's worked a full count, so that's at least a moral victory.  Gordon splits the LF and CF and rolls one to the wall.  1 out double for Alex!  Awesome!

3-1 count for Butler.. *Danger Chris Sale, Danger!*


You just had to think that we might be able to get to the Sox Bullpen.  And it looks like we did.

wow, what a worthless PA by Kila.. didn't see one hittable pitch and swung at all three.  Ugly, ugly stuff.  You've GOTTA be better than that.  Especially right after a rookie pitcher gives up a game tying HR.. You have to think there was an opportunity for a walk.

Jesse Crain comes on to relieve Chris Sale.  Frenchy works a 2-1 count and then singles to LF.  The Royals know how to beat up a bullpen, that's for sure.  Wow, Francouer JUST got picked off.  Wasn't even a good move either.  Frenchy either lost his footing or was just way slow, either way he was clearly out.

Ninth Inning:

Soria on to pitch the ninth.  I could turn the t.v. off for five minutes and still tell you exactly what will happen, haha.  Comebacker to Soria for the first out.  High popup to Escobar on the infield for the 2nd out.  Frank and Ryan are arguing against walks.. kind of makes me want to cry.  Meanwhile, Soria K's Adam Dunn to end the top of the inning.  On to the bottom of the 9th.

Escobar up to bat, then Treanor, then Getz.. I'm hoping Getz won't get the chance to bat, either we'll have won, or Yost will have pinch hit for him.  Escobar pops up to Konerko, 1 out.

Matt Treanor up.. can he become a folk legend with another HR?  And instead he hits a soft come-backer to the mound.. please pinch hit for Getz.

And Yost is letting Getz hit.  Awful, just awful.  Predictably, Getz keeps it in the infield and taps one back to the pitcher for the third out.  Onto extras!

Tenth Inning:

Robinson Tejada is coming on to pitch the top of the tenth inning.  At this point I'm just hoping for quick  a quick half inning so we get another shot at the Sox bullpen.  Our 7-8-9 hitters don't give us much of a chance.. I feel a little better about our 1-2-3 and even better about our 4-5-6!

Kila makes a nice play on a foul pop up to end the top of the 10th.. pretty easy and stress free inning for Robbie right there, if the game goes 11 I fully expect to see him out to pitch again.

Sergio Santos on to pitch the bottom of the 10th.  Turns out he's a converted SS.. I'm hoping this means he's more of a thrower than a pitcher and we can score on him.

Gordon breaks his bat but keeps the ball fair and ends up on 2b with a double!! Gordon has really impressed me this season, now it's time for the Butler.

And Butler gets IBB'd which brings up Kila with 2 outs and a man on first and second.. having made clear how much I think our 7-8-9 suck.. This is literally our best chance to win this game (lefty to bat, righty on mound)

C'mon Kila!

1-1 count. -- Kila fights one off and the count goes 1-2.. and strikes out swinging.  Pretty ugly stuff, too. Onto the 11th.

Eleventh Inning:

Kanekoa Texeira on to pitch.  He gets the routine fly out to LF to start the inning.  And then he gets Alexei to fly out to LF.. Gordon makes me so nervous when he plays it so cool basket catching those liners with one hand.. He's gonna drop one eventually, and everyone's going to react badly, why not just give all your effort and make sure you catch every ball!

Morel sends a liner into RF for a single and the White Sox have a base runner for the first time since the 8th inning.  Juan Pierre sharply grounds out to Aviles and it's the Royals turn to bat.

Jeff Francouer to lead off, and like I said, if we don't see a HR here, I'm afraid we'll see a 12th inning.  Santos is still pitching, he's got some good stuff, but he's the type of pitcher that Francouer could take deep.  Instead, Frenchy pops up to Morel and there's one out.

Escobar grounds out to his counterpart, Ramirez.  It's Treanor Time.  Treanor K's and it's time for the Sox middle of the order.. Beckham has been white hot tonight, scary stuff.

Twelfth Inning: 

Kanekoa Texiera is back out to pitch the 12th.  If he can put Beckham away I'll feel much much better.  And instead Beckham hits one to Gordon in left who has to range far to his right and get the ball in quickly to 2b to hold Beckham to a long single.  It was really a nice defensive play by Gordon.  Hard hit ball to Getz and he (barely) gets the ball to 2b in time to get Gordon Beckham for the fielder's choice.  Scary to watch, but nice play nonetheless.  Konerko walks and there's 2 on with 1 out..  Time for a clutch double play.

Yost brings on Jeremy Jeffress to pitch.

Very interesting what just happened.. Lillibridge, on to pinch run for Adam Dunn gets caught in no mans land and then gets seemingly picked off but he was called safe.. the Ump thought Aviles had the ball in his hand and tagged the runner with an empty glove.  The umps get together and the runner is called out.

And then Alcides Escobar makes what HAS to be the best defensive play of this young season.  He ranges DEEP in the hole and makes a perfect throw to first base.  Probably the best pick and throw I've seen ... maybe ever.  bottom of the inning time!

Getz to lead off the inning.. awful, but we'll fight through it.  Hopefully he can get on base so our real hitters can do some damage.  Getz works the count full.. and singles right up through the middle!  I'm hoping he doesn't try and steal second, at least until we have an out.

Forgot to mention, Tony Pena is on to pitch.

Aviles lays down a bunt as a single tear falls from my eye.  Getz advances to 2b.


Post game wrap:

Well now I've had a chance to calm down a bit, I think I can reflect back on tonight's game.  Tonight's game is a good example of how I hope this season will go.  The Royals were far from perfect, but they managed to get the job done.  They bunted when they probably shouldn't have, they double stole when it was probably too risky.  They ran into outs at 2nd base, they got picked off of first base, they struck out too much and walked too little, but the bullpen was incredible and they walked away with the win.

The biggest difference between this year and Royals of years past has got to be attitude.  This hot start that they've gotten off to is the perfect way to bring a young talented team like the Royals together for the season.  Opportunities are abound for this year's Royals and up is the only way to go from here.

I'm headed out to the park tomorrow, with the bullpen pretty obliterated I hope to see a good game from Jeff Francis.  If you read this, thanks!

First Live Blog Attempt

Tonight during the Royals game I plan on live blogging.  I will be watching the game with my trusty computer in hand and will be typing in all of my thoughts as the battle progresses.  If this is something you're interested in being a part of then show up here tonight around 7:00 pm central and hang out with me.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

2011 Standings Predictions

Below are my predictions for the end-of-the-year standings for the 2011 MLB season.  I have made a few "bold" predictions, mostly because I see some older teams regressing and some young teams taking a step forward.  As all of us Royals fans know, this season won't be nearly as exciting as next year, but hopefully I can check back at the end of the year and see how accurately (or not) I was able to predict this season!   Play Ball!

AL East:
Boston Red Sox
Tampa Bay Rays (Wild Card)
Baltimore Orioles
New York Yankees
Toronto Blue Jays

AL Central:
Minnesota Twins
Chicago White Sox
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Cleveland Indians

AL West:
Texas Rangers
Oakland Athletics
Los Angeles Angels
Seattle Mariners

NL East:
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves (Wild Card)
Washington Nationals
Florida Marlins
New York Mets

NL Central:
Milwaukee Brewers
Cincinnati Reds
St. Louis Cardinals
Chicago Cubs
Houston Astros
Pittsburgh Pirates

NL West:
San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies
San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers
Arizona Diamondbacks

Thanks for reading!