Through the First 88 Games…
“The break comes at a good time.” – Buddy Bell, KC Star, July 9, 2007.
As much as we all love baseball, this year’s four-day All-Star Break comes – as Buddy put it yesterday for the Star’s Bob Dutton – at a good time. It not only gives the guys (and the front office folks!) time to rest and regroup, but, and especially after winning our second straight homestand with Sunday’s 12-4 win over the Devil Rays, it’s a great time to evaluate. Here are just a handful of figures to start looking at…
Record at the All-Star Break: We enter the ASB with a 38-50 mark, which is seven wins more than last year. It’s also the most wins we’ve posted at the “unofficial” halfway mark since posting a 51-41 record in 2003 and also only the second highest win total in seven years.
Splitting the First Half: After starting the season with a 16-28 mark, we’ve evened out a little more, posting a straight-up 22-22 record in the final 44 games of the “unofficial” first half.
Royals Rookies: Unfortunately, Tony Pena, Jr., is NOT a rookie this year. TJ, who went 3-for-5 with three doubles and four RBI in Sunday’s game and has a .281 average this year, misses out on rookie status since he recorded 85 days of service with Atlanta in 2006. (More than 45 days of service at the Major League level or at least 130 at-bats marks a rookie year.) Meanwhile, to date, Billy Butler has accumulated 37 days of M.L. service and with Sweeney’s return to the lineup postponed, B. Butler should be reaching rookie status soon. In just 25 games this season, Butler is already batting .286 (24-for-84) with five doubles, three homers and 14 RBI…in the last homestand, Butler collected 11 hits in 31 at-bats to post a .355 average. Oh yeah, he had nine RBI including that six-RBI game vs. Seattle. His buddy in the rookie field, Alex Gordon, got off to a slow start, but in his last 30 games, he’s batting .316 (37-117) with 20 RBI and five stolen bases.
On the mound…MLB recognized Brian Bannister’s rookie success, awarding him the AL Rookie of the Month award for June. Bannister is 5-5 with a 3.71 ERA in 13 starts this year. In the pen, Joakim Soria, a Rule 5 pick, has been lights out with a 2.21 ERA in 36.2 innings pitched (33 games). He completed 10 of 13 save opps while Dotel was sidelined to start the season, and has not allowed a run since May 20 at Colorado – a span of 13 appearances. Basically, there has not been this much good “Rookie talk” around the Royals for a few years (maybe 2003…Berroa). Looking at the stats through Sunday, who is your pick for Royals Rookie this year? Should any of them be getting league consideration for Rookie of the Year?
Calming Down: Through the “unofficial” first half of the 2006 season, the Royals pitching staff had 51 wild pitches (87 games). This year, the staff has kept it under control a tad more, collecting just 33 wild pitches through the first 88 games. But, on the flip side, instead of our guys struggling with control on the mound this year, they are actually dealing with the lack of control by the rest of the league. The Royals have been hit by 55 pitches this year, making them league leaders in the bruise category.
Dogs at The K: The team photographer sent some photos from yesterday’s LIVE hot dog race over and we thought we’d share. Can you tell that Ketchup won from this shot?
So…there are a lot more mid-season reports floating around right now, but let’s here what you have to say. Do you have a take on how the Royals have done…or better yet, how they will compete for the remainder of the season? Here’s a chance to share your opinion on the Royals play through the first 88 games of 2007…