All's quiet on the K.C. Front
The quiet from the Kansas City front office says that General Manager Dayton Moore likes this team. Yes, there have been some low points this season. But the team is riding a four-game winning streak and has won five of its last seven, including its first sweep in Oakland in 20 years. With the good vibes rolling today, we’re going to look at a few trends and maybe some on-pace numbers…
The Royals have won five of their last six on the road dating back to the All-Star break. If you include their last road game before the break, they’ve won six of seven.
Billy Butler is hitting
He’s got a .289 average and a .578 slugging percentage since the All-Star break. He’s had five homers and 15 RBI in July, with four and 14 post-break.
The pitchers are mowing down opponents
Zack Grienke and Brian Bannister set and tied career highs in K’s with 11 and seven, respectively, in games one and game three of the Oakland series. As a team, Royals pitchers punched out 31 A’s during the series.
At the back of the pen is Joakim Soria – the All-Star. He saved all three games in Oakland and has finished four straight. With today’s off day, he should be recharged to face the Sox over the weekend. And yet again, we’d like to make another plea to ESPN’s anchor desk. His name is pronounced “Wah-KEEM SOAR-ee-a.” Not “Joe-ah-kim” like the former Florida basketball player. The man’s an All-Star, treat him like one.
Walking the line
Alex Gordon set a Royals record yesterday with five walks. Gordon didn’t record an official at-bat. He is the second player this season to record five in a single game, but the only player to walk five times in only five plate appearances. The Rangers’ Milton Bradley walked five times in eight trips to the plate on April 16.
Alex Gordon easily leads the team in walks, with 16 more than Mark Teahen. Gordon is currently at 51 walks and is on pace to have 76. To compare, Teahen is on pace for 52.
The Royals currently have four guys with 10 or more homers. The team has another two players sitting at eight and nine dingers. And then Billy Butler and Mike Aviles, who both have time at Omaha this season, are at six round-trippers. If both keep hitting at the pace they are on right now, they’ll reach 10. That amounts to eight Royals with 10-plus home runs.
The 2003 club is the last K.C. team to have eight slug double-digits. Those players were? Carlos Beltran (26), Raul Ibanez (18), Angel Berroa (17), Joe Randa (16), Mike Sweeney (16), Aaron Guiel (15), Ken Harvey (13) and Michael Tucker (13). The ’03 squad ended with 162 home runs for the year.
Butler has played 80 games and according to pace numbers should hit 10 exactly. Around the Horn would like to predict a few more because of his July numbers – five homers in 25 games would be a pace for 32 in a season, which projects to 10.6 over the remaining 53 games.
To be fair, we’ll look at a few predictions for pitching. Joakim Soria, who we talked about earlier this season when he tied Jeff Montgomery’s 1993 pre-All-Star game save record (25), is on pace for 45 saves. He’ll stencil his name into the record books again with that total. It would tie the club record, set by Montgomery in ’93 and Dan Quisenberry in 1983. Monty had an 88.2 save percentage and Quiz ended ’83 with an 84.9. Soria is at 93.7 after saving 30 of 32 games.
Ron Mahay, maybe the most reliable man in the bullpen aside from Soria, has 18 holds this year. That’s already third on the Royals all-time list. At his current pace, he’ll reach 27 (26.7) which would fall one short of the team record of 28, set by Jason Grimsley in 2003.
One more note to think about, Zack Greinke has 125 strikeouts. That’s a pace for 186 (185.6, but you round up when talking about the kind of stuff he has), which would place him tied for eighth in the Royals record books.
An exciting nine-game homestand starts tomorrow with Ken Griffey, Jr. and the White Sox. Yep, the “kid” and his 600+ homers will make his first appearance at “The K” since 1999. Saturday has a lot going for it. It’s Military Apprecitation Day with camo caps to the first 20,000. It’s a FOX national broadcast and a 2:55 start time.