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Order Restored, Twins Sweep Royals

Boy that was an ugly weekend in getting swept by the Twins. It’s not every day that the worst team in baseball goes on the road and sweeps someone in a four game series. Of course, as you all know, if it’s possible, the Royals will somehow find a way to get it done. Whereas in previous losses, you could point to a specific aspect of the team to blame for the poor play, this weekend was really a team effort. The offense was terrible, the pitching was pretty bad and the defense wasn’t near the level that it had been in previous weeks. We talked on Friday about Sean O’Sullivan, and he’s now on the disabled list, so that’s good, but let’s not sit here and pretend that he’s going to be replaced with someone markedly better. The starting pitching depth is the one area where the Royals are really thin right now. They will be for at least another year while the young arms are making their way to the upper minors. For now, it’s going to be a struggle to get through things.

Just a few thoughts from the weekend and for the upcoming week since I just don’t feel like rehashing anything in great detail:

  • Joakim Soria pitched again on Saturday night and looked really good out there. He still wasn’t generating the swings and misses that we’re used to which tells me that he’s not quite there yet, but he did continue to get weak contact. He would have had a 1-2-3 inning if not for a rare error by Alcides Escobar. Soria was starting batters off with strike one, which was his trademark, and he was doing a good job of staying out of the middle of the plate. He even appears to be trying to work in the big curve ball again, and he had one good one that was hit softly on the ground. I’m not remembering right now for sure, but that might have been the error. Either way, it’s encouraging to see Soria have some success. I don’t think it’ll be long before he’s back in the closer’s role.
  • Speaking of the closer’s role, also on Saturday Aaron Crow pitched his first game since being named the closer. He responded by giving up a long homer to the first batter he faced, but then he settled down and struck out the side. Like I said last week, he’s due for a bit of a regression, but his numbers indicate he’s not going to implode or anything. It’s just not typical that a pitcher can carry a 1.33 ERA through the whole season. Nothing to worry about here.
  • Jeff Francoeur continues to slide back into his typical statistics. I owe a hat tip to @bri_goodman on Twitter for pointing this out, but since I mentioned that I need a little more time to determine if his start is for real, Francoeur has hit .245/.293/.373. That’s pretty much the line that most fans expected when the Royals signed Frenchy this off-season. I know many of us were shocked at the numbers he was putting up, but assumed it wouldn’t last. He held out longer than usual, but he’s back to his old self. I just hope that Dayton Moore isn’t blinded by April and that he doesn’t do something stupid like giving him a three-year deal because of his intangibles. A great clubhouse is nice, but winning players are better.
  • Mike Moustakas had a bit of a tough weekend, but he’s still hitting .285/.345/.495 after a very slow start in April that was well documented. From all I’ve heard about him he’s a great guy and doesn’t let outside influences alter what he does on the field, but if he doesn’t get called up soon, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go into a bit of a slump. It’s only natural to be a little disappointed, and it’d be hard to see what the big club is doing and think that there wouldn’t be a use for a big time power bat. His time will come, and it will come soon. I’m sticking with my June 10 date that I mentioned a couple weeks back, but it wouldn’t floor me to find out that he’s been called up today. I wouldn’t expect it, but I wouldn’t exactly have to pick myself up off the ground from shock.
  • The Blue Jays are making their way into town this week, and I’m absolutely terrified at the prospect of Jose Bautista hitting against the Royals’ pitching staff. And yes, it’s still weird for me to write about fear of Jose Bautista. I get that he’s about the best hitter there is right now in baseball, but it doesn’t make it any less shocking the meteoric rise he has had. The Royals need to be very careful with him as the warm weather helps the ball to left field in Kauffman Stadium, and that’s his sweet spot for power. I’d be amazed if the Royals keep in the yard during a four game series considering their propensity for giving up the long ball. As long as they keep them to solo shots, they should be okay, but the Blue Jays are a surprisingly good team, so it’s going to be a tough week beyond even Jose Bautista.

The good news about this little tailspin the Royals are in is that they no longer have any delusions of contending in 2011. That means that they shouldn’t be doing stupid things like holding on to the veterans they signed to one-year deals and blocking any of the prospects who are probably ready to come up and play today. That means that it’s time to bring the kids up starting this week. I don’t care if they do it one at a time or in a wave like they did in the summer of 1996. I personally think they’ll make the current Royals a better team once they get settled in, but you can also make the argument that they’ll help the bottom line as well. We’re at a point in the season when fans don’t come out to see the Royals anymore. They’re sick of the bad baseball and they would rather spend their summer nights doing something else. By bringing up these highly touted prospects, the Royals will fill the stadium. Look at what they did on Hosmer’s first night in the big leagues. I’m not saying you do it for that reason, but it’s definitely an added benefit. Hopefully they give us some better baseball than we had to endure this past weekend.

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