If you live in KC, you’ve seen him on the news or in the paper…and if you live outside of KC, you’ve probably seen him on social media. SungWoo Lee is enjoying his first trip to Kansas City – and the Royals are on a hot streak with him in town! On Monday, SungWoo watched batting practice from the field, met players and Manager Ned Yost, threw out a first pitch, posed for a selfie with George Brett, then had the honors of placing the ‘W” on the Royals Hall of Fame after the win.
The pitching has been there all season for the Kansas City Royals and manager Ned Yost. The bullpen, which has a 1.46 ERA since July 22, has been among the best in baseball and the starters have the fourth-best ERA (3.70) in the American League while limiting Royals relievers to the fourth-fewest innings in the Majors. When Eric Hosmer was placed on the disabled list with a right-hand fracture on August 2, many wondered where the offense would come from. During the current eight-game winning streak it has been a total team effort.
“We got guys hot at the right time,” Yost said. “Billy got hot at the right time, Gordy got hot at the right time, Cain was hot earlier then cooled off and got hot again, Esky’s swinging the bat well.”
“I think what’s most impressive to me is we’re really taking advantage with runner in scoring position we’re making it count.”
And taking advantage is putting it lightly. Kansas City is hitting an absurd .450 (27-for-60) with runners scoring position since the beginning of the streak on August 3 in Oakland. The stretch has propelled the Royals into first place by a half game in the American League Central after falling 8.0 games behind the division lead following play on July 21 behind both Detroit and Cleveland in the standings.
The winning streak has created a buzz among Kansas City fans, who have filled Kauffman Stadium the past four games to the tune of over 110,000. In the ninth inning on Monday night, the noise and energy was apparent.
“That’s your home field advantage,” Yost said. “If we can pack this place every night and have the energy and cheering for us it definitely is an advantage to home team. They feel it, they sense it, it’s almost like they crave it and helps them take their game to the next level. It’s a special time.”
The Royals have won six games in a row at “The K,” pushing their home record to 31-27.
By Nate Rowan
KC moved into first place on Monday behind outstanding outings from the four pitchers above: Yordano Ventura, who tossed 6.0 innings, followed by Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland, who went an inning apiece.
Davis has a 17.2 inning scoreless streak, second to Oakland’s Ryan Cook among active streaks. Herrera is right behind Davis, sporting a 17.1 inning streak. Holland has nine saves since July 26 and 35 on the year, just one behind the Major League lead.
Monday, August 11: Dish 441 or 412-29
Tuesday, August 12: Dish 441 or 412-29
Wednesday, August 13: Dish 441 or 412-29
Thursday, August 14: no TV
Friday, August 15: Dish 441 or 412-29
Saturday, August 16: Dish 441 or 412-29
Sunday, August 17: Dish 441 or 412-29
Prior to tonight’s series opener with the Oakland Athletics the Kansas City Royals acquired outfielder Josh Willingham from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for minor league right-hander Jason Adam. The deal was announced just after 6:00 p.m.. and General Manager Dayton Moore expects Willingham to be in uniform Tuesday. The deal comes after the Royals did not make a trade at the July 31 non-waiver deadline.
“We’ve been working on acquiring as [many] quality bats as we possibly can,” Moore said. “We worked on it prior to the deadline and we stayed consistent with our approach.”
Willingham won a Silver Slugger Award in 2012 with the Twins after hitting 35 homers and driving in 110 runs. Injuries limited him to 111 games last season and this year has appeared in 68 contests, batting .210 with 12 home runs and 34 RBI.
“He’s the type of player and presence that you add at this time of year,” Moore said. “I think he’ll be in the lineup most days as we’re set up right now. He can complement Raul very well [in the DH role].”
Kansas City will be Willingham’s fifth team, now in his 11th Major League season. He is a career .278 hitter with 11 runs scored, three doubles, three home runs and 11 RBI in 23 games at Kauffman Stadium.
By Nate Rowan
The Royals will look for their second consecutive series sweep on Sunday afternoon when they face veteran right-hander Tim Lincecum, making his second career start vs. Kansas City.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner has seen his velocity diminish over the course of the last few years, but his unique delivery still presents a challenge to opposing hitters.
“It’s funky,” said manager Ned Yost. “There’s a lot of moving parts to it. He used to be a guy that really threw hard. He’s more command now. He’s 91-92 (MPH) [and] he relies on his deception in his delivery and chase pitches, throws a lot of splits in the dirt. Those are all things we’re going to have to try to lay off of.”
Yost expects his hitters to lock in after the first time through the order.
“They’ll see it after the first time,” he said. “You just stay focused on the release point and you’ll be in pretty good shape.”
The Royals bullpen was up to its usual tricks on Friday night, combining to toss four shutout innings and seal the Royals’ fifth consecutive victory. Closer Greg Holland and setup man Wade Davis have been among the best in baseball all season, but the emergence of Kelvin Herrera, Jason Frasor, and others, has been a pivotal factor in the club’s recent resurgence.
“It means a lot,” said manager Ned Yost. “Giving us the opportunity to make the game a five or six inning game, like we did last night, is really, really important. To have Herrera throwing as well as he is, and Wade as well as he is, and Holly as well as he is, with the addition of Frasor and Downs – they’ve mixed in quite well down there – and Aaron Crow has done a nice job.”
James Shields will get the start for Kansas City tonight, as the Royals look to take their sixth consecutive series. After having some struggles for the better part of June, Shields enjoyed considerable success during the month of July, posting a 1.93 ERA, 33 strikeouts, and just seven walks in five starts from July 7-29.
“He got back to who he was,” said Yost. “Guys are going to go up and down. They’re going to have struggles. You just ride them out. The season is such a long, drawn out season, and they can go through a little period of dead arm where they’re battling through games without their best stuff. It always seems to bounce back. That’s exactly what happened. He went through that little streak and all of a sudden, bam, he bounced back, and he’s feeling great.”
Shields isn’t the only Royal who appears to be feeling great of late. Veteran slugger Billy Butler has caught fire since taking over at first base for an injured Eric Hosmer on July 31, batting .429 (12-for-28) with two home runs, three doubles, and six RBI over that span.
“It had been a while since Billy was putting up Billy-like numbers,” said Yost. “But you always knew that hopefully he was going to break out and start putting some offense up on the board for us, and he’s done that. He’s been impressive offensively here for us the last week or 10 days, but he’s been equally impressive defensively.”
In 14 games in place of his Gold Glove Award-winning teammate, Butler remains error-free.
“He’s kept himself ready all season long,” said Yost. “He’s taken hundreds of ground balls over there at first base, every single day, preparing himself in case we needed him. And when Hoz broke his hand, we needed him, and he’s done a great job for us. He’s made plays on balls I didn’t think he’d get to, and ended up making it easy.”
By Kolby Paxton
The Royals won a fifth straight last night, staying 2.5 games behind Detroit in the division and in control of the second A.L. Wild Card spot. Here are photos from Chris Vleisides and Jason Hanna:
Photos: Starter Jason Vargas, Billy Butler’s homer, Alcides Escobar turns a key 4-6-3 double play, Sal Perez makes the play at the plate, two awesome views of the postgame fireworks
Winners of four straight and 12 of their last 15 games, the Royals begin a seven-game homestand this evening versus the San Francisco Giants, an opponent that finds itself nearly identically positioned within the pennant race on the National League side.
“This is a big homestand,” said manager Ned Yost. “The Giants are in the exact same position we are. Of course, Oakland, with the pitching they have over there, they’re going to be very tough games. But we’ve been playing some tough games and playing very well.”
Yost said that hot bats throughout the lineup have been largely responsible for the team’s recent surge.
“We played better,” he said. “Billy got hot. Cain got hot. Aoki got hot. Mixed in with Alex, mixed in with Salvador doing what he’s doing. And we won ball games. That’s what we need to continue. We’re 40 games over .500 when we score four runs or more. We had guys get hot and it creates more offense when that happens.”
According to Yost, the team continues to focus on the division race in spite of the fact that it finds itself locked in a tightly contested Wild Card race.
“I don’t get them in there every day and put on a chalkboard, ‘Do not look at the Wild Card,’” said Yost. “[But] we want to win the division. They know that. They want to win the division. The Wild Card is Plan B. We stay focused on Plan A.”
The Royals will look to veteran Jason Vargas to keep the win streak alive in just his second start back from the disabled list. Vargas dropped his previous start at Oakland after the A’s exploded for eight runs in the fifth inning. Yost said that the box score was not indicative of Vargas’ performance, however.
“I saw Vargas being Vargas,” he said. “He commanded his fastball well. He kept his change-up down. I didn’t categorize that game as him having a rough inning. If we make a couple of plays for him and he gets out of that inning, maybe only giving up one, maybe two, but it just all kind of snowballed.”
The recently acquired Erik Kratz will get the start at designated hitter this evening, a decision that Yost said came down to Kratz vs. Christian Colon.
[Kratz] has got power and it was a difference between him or Colon,” he said. “Colon has done a really nice job for us. But either way, right now, you’re going to lose a little bit of protection. If something happens to Salvy, we’re going to lose our DH. But if I use Colon, if something happened to three of my middle infielders, I’m going to lose my DH. So I went with the catcher.”
The Kansas City Royals open a seven-game homestand tonight against teams from the West Coast as they host the San Francisco Giants (August 8-10) and Oakland Athletics (August 11-14). This is San Francisco’s first trip to Kauffman Stadium since 2008.
The Royals will celebrate Huskers Night on August 9 and will give away a bobblehead of University of Nebraska product Alex Gordon on August 10. Fans can also get great giveaways including another edition of T-shirt Tuesday (August 12) and a special edition Kansas City Baseball History poster (August 13). Please see below for more details.
Friday, August 8 – San Francisco Giants vs. Royals 7:10 p.m.
• Summer Fireworks – Fans will enjoy a spectacular fireworks show, presented by Hy-Vee and Pepsi, after the game.
Saturday, August 9 – San Francisco Giants vs. Royals, 6:10 p.m.
• 610 Saturday – The Royals have teamed up with Entercom and 610 Sports Radio for special pregame festivities outside Rivals Sports Bar that include 610 Sports Radio personalities, special guests, food and drink specials and much more. Fans can enjoy the 610 Saturday Appetizer Special – Buffalo Chicken Dip for just $6.10 – in Rivals Sports Bar from the time the gates open until the first pitch. Listen to 610 Sports Radio and receive a coupon code to purchase a ticket for only $6.10 in the Hy-Vee Infield. For more information, visit http://www.royals.com/610saturday.
• Huskers Night – Supporters of The University of Nebraska can join fellow Huskers for a night of big league action presented by FOX Sports Kansas City and Rally House. To join fellow Huskers, fans can visit http://www.royals.com/huskers for details or to purchase discounted tickets. The first 6,000 Nebraska fans who bring their Huskers Night discounted ticket to the Huskers table located inside Hy-Vee Gate B will receive a limited edition red and white KC Royals Nebraska cap. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. To reserve a group of 20 or more tickets, call (816) 504-4174.
Sunday, August 10 – San Francisco Giants vs. Royals, 1:10 p.m.
• Alex Gordon Bobblehead – The first 10,000 fans will receive a bobblehead of three-time Gold Glove Award winner Alex Gordon, presented by Pepsi.
• Cruise to the K Classic Car Show – The Royals host the fifth annual Cruise to The K Classic Car Show and Exhibit. Participating car enthusiasts will have the opportunity to see their cars on the warning track during pregame ceremonies. Cars will also be on display in Lot A throughout the day. Cruise to the K participants may purchase a special ticket package that includes entrance into the contest, two tickets to the game, a parking pass, commemorative t-shirt and dash plaque for just $30 (advance purchases). To register, please visit http://www.royals.com/carshow. To reserve a group of 10 or more tickets, which includes scoreboard recognition and block seating, call (816) 504-4167 or email email@example.com.
• Family FunDay Sunday – Each Sunday home game features pregame interactive kids entertainment by School of Rock, plus face painters, caricature or balloon artists in the Outfield Experience. New this season, fans also have the opportunity to get pregame autographs from select players each Sunday. All-Day Play Passes for unlimited activities in the Outfield Experience are available for just $10. In addition, the Royals are offering a Family FunDay Sunday 4-Pack that includes four Hy-Vee Infield tickets, $10 in loaded value per ticket to use for concessions and merchandise and four All-Day Play Passes – over $150 in value – for just $80! For more information, visit http://www.royals.com/sunday.
• Sunday Fun Run – All fans 14 and under can run the bases after the game (conditions permitting).
Monday, August 11 – Oakland Athletics vs. Royals, 7:10 p.m.
• Value Monday – All Hy-Vee Level tickets, excluding Hy-Vee Box, are just $8 courtesy of Hy-Vee. http://www.royals.com/fanvalue.
Tuesday, August 12 – Oakland Athletics vs. Royals, 7:10 p.m.
• T-shirt Tuesday – The first 10,000 fans will receive a special white Kauffman Stadium themed design t-shirt, courtesy of Sport Clips.
• Dynamic Deal – Don’t let the end of summer stop you from coming out to The K! On this day, the Royals are offering $10 Field Plaza tickets and $5 Hy-Vee Infield Tickets. Fans can take advantage of this special deal via the Kauffman Stadium Box Office, Royals.com or calling 1-800-6ROYALS.
Wednesday, August 13 – Oakland Athletics vs. Royals, 7:10 p.m.
• Student Night presented by INK Magazine – Rivals Outfield Box or Hy-Vee Infield tickets are available for Wednesday home games for youth and students with a valid ID at the Kauffman Stadium Box Office for just $8. Select tickets are also available online at http://www.royals.com/studentnight. Seating is subject to availability. All Student Nights include pregame food and beverage specials available at the Crown Classic concession area.
• Local Music Showcase presented by INK Magazine – Catch a free pregame concert on us. Every Wednesday Student Night also features live local music prior to the game in the Outfield Experience. Performing during this showcase will be the band, Hearts of Darkness. For details, visit http://www.royals.com/studentnight.
• Kansas City Baseball History Poster – The first 10,000 fans will receive a poster, courtesy of Pittcraft Printing and Sprint, featuring Kansas City’s A’s yearbook covers that celebrate Major League Baseball history in the city.
Thursday, August 14 – Oakland Athletics vs. Royals, 1:10 p.m.
• GordoNation – Fans can enjoy being a part of GordoNation, a special seating section in left field that will be reserved for die-hard Alex Gordon fans on Thursday home games throughout the season. The first 100 GordoNation fans will also receive an Alex Gordon big head. Tickets cost $35 and come with a gold GordoNation t-shirt. For details, visit http://www.royals.com/gordonation.
• All You Can Eat Seats – Fans can purchase All You Can Eat Seats located in the Loge Level (Sec. 318 – 325), which include unlimited ballpark fare. All the hot dogs, nachos, peanuts, pretzels and Pepsi products you can handle for $40 per seat! Individual and group discount tickets are available. For details, visit http://www.royals.com/allyoucaneat.
Fans may purchase tickets online at royals.com, by calling 1-800-6ROYALS, at area Hy-Vee stores or at the Kauffman Stadium Box Office.