Thursday, April 12, 2012

Royals Today: 4/12/12.

So here’s the deal: if I’m going to keep this blog active and productive, I’m going to have to make some changes around here. Mainly, I’m not going to be able to write for long stretches at a time, so I’m going to have to make up for it by writing more often.

A few years ago, back when he was writing his blog, our dearly departed friend Chris Hayes used to have “One-Minute Mondays”, where he would blog as fast as he could for one minute and then post, usually in mid-sente

I can’t give you anything worth reading in one minute, but hopefully 20 minutes will suffice. The clock is ticking, down to 17:14 and counting. I’ll try to do this three of four times a week, sacrificing quality for quantity. We’ll try this out; let me know if this works for you in the comments. Oh, and if you have a catchy name for this column, let me know. “Plenty in Twenty”?

- The big news in the first week of the season is the rotation, which has been sensational – through six games, the starters have a 1.85 ERA, second in the major leagues behind only the Phillies.

There’s two ways of looking at this: you can argue that the rotation is going to be a lot better than we thought – or you can argue that the Royals just got one of the best weeks they’ll get from their starters all season, and they’re still just 3-3.

I argued before the season that the rotation isn’t quite as bad as everyone thinks, but I’m not about to claim victory based on one week. In 34 innings, the starters have combined for 15 walks and 25 strikeouts – hardly anything to boast about. Their success has come from allowing just 22 hits (meaning a .233 BABIP) and a single home run. The team as a whole has allowed just two homers in six games.

That’s not going to last. I think Luke Hochevar may have figured things out, and Danny Duffy’s first outing certainly was exciting. But I wouldn’t read anything into the first week’s performances.

- The bullpen, on the other hand, looks legit. They have a 3.38 combined ERA, and with just 5 walks and 25 strikeouts in 19 innings, they may be even better than that. (The bullpen’s BABIP is actually .400.) Tim Collins has thrown strikes so far, which potentially gives Ned Yost yet another late-inning power option he can trust.

He might need that new option if Jonathan Broxton doesn’t quickly bounce back and prove that his meltdown on Wednesday was a fluke. It was a save outing straight out of the Ricky Bottalico/Roberto Hernandez catalog, complete with an error, two walks, and two first-pitch hit batsman.

I don’t want to push the panic button just yet. In Broxton’s previous outing, he came in for the save, faced three batters, and struck out all three of them. That’s only the eighth time a reliever has done that in Royals history. In the first week, we’ve seen Broxton at his very worst, but also at his very best. We don’t know which is the anomaly yet.

I argued before that I’d rather have Broxton in the anointed closer role even though Holland’s the better pitcher, and you saw why on Wednesday – in a tie game, Holland came in to pitch the bottom of the eighth, and was allowed to get six outs. As a Capital-C Closer, he wouldn’t have done any of that – he wouldn’t have pitched the eighth, he wouldn’t have entered a tie game, and he wouldn’t have been allowed to pitch more than one inning.

The downside, though, is that when the Royals did have a one-run lead to protect, they brought in Broxton. The theory is sound; the problem is that the theory implies that while you use your best reliever in the most key situations, you use your second-best reliever in the closer’s role. It’s quite possible that Broxton is the fourth or fifth-best reliever in the pen.

For now, I’m fine with letting Broxton pitch the next time a save situation rolls around. But the second his control wavers, I’d have Aaron Crow or Holland or Collins getting loose as quickly as possible. Yost is a patient man, and his patience is a great asset when it comes to handling young players. It’s not an asset when it means sitting on your thumbs while your closer allows the tying and winning runs to score without the benefit of a base hit.

- This might – okay, this is – one of the dorkier things I’ve ever suggested, but for those of you attending the home opener tomorrow, may I make a suggestion?

Go ahead and cheer Eric Hosmer lustily when he’s introduced before the game. But save even louder cheers for Alcides Escobar. And when Alex Gordon’s name is announced, rustle up enough noise to make the stadium shake.

There is essentially nothing fans can do to influence the business decisions that teams and players make. If Eric Hosmer wants to sign a long-term deal with the Royals, it will get done, and if he doesn’t, then no amount of pleading on the part of the fanbase is going to change that.

But this is the “essentially” part. There’s a buzz about this team, and there’s a momentum that comes from having three players sign long-term contracts in the span of one spring training. That’s not enough to get Hosmer to sign, but it might be enough to get him to think about it. Tomorrow, send a clear signal to him, and to Moustakas, and to whoever else might be thinking about making a long-term commitment to the team: we take care of our own. We love all you guys, but the ones who love us back are getting the biggest cheers of all.

And if Salvador Perez – who is in town – gets introduced, bring the damn stadium down.

24 comments:

somedevil said...

I love it! I love the long posts as well, but the "Plenty in 20" is working great. You're not really sacrificing quality; you're just sacrificing the in-depth detail. You're changing your scope. Keep it going!

steak said...

You are too busy to write long posts... How little do you think of your readers that you assume WE have the time to read your long posts?

No but really, I like a post any way I can get it.

Now hurry up and do it again.

Benjamin said...

Love the blog, long or short.

Studying for step1 right now so shorter posts make for better study breaks!

Eric said...

I will take a short post with high frequency over a monthly "depth" article. Take care of family first, job second, and we will enjoy what is left over.

Joe Royal said...

Yeah, i would say it would be an upgrade. But if something major happens I would like a big post.

Scott D. Simon said...

Rany, love this blog and happy you find time for it at all.

Scott D. Simon said...

Rany, love this blog and happy you find time for it at all.

Jayboid said...

In the history of a sport I've never witnessed a "layman" gain so much respect as you.

I know for a fact the Royals brass read and use your brain.

You are such a treat. Thanks for whatever you can toss out there for us whenever you have the time.

Go Dyson Go, your time.

John said...

Love your blog and will gladly take whatever you offer, but more frequent albeit shorter is great, especially during the season, where there's so much to comment on. As a title, maybe "Royal Quick Hitters"?

kctiger said...

How about "The Score Board", as in 4 score and seven years ago. So your words may not be memorized for generations, but we will take what we can get.

Mike said...

I too enjoy the brevity of this column and welcome it if it means more frequency. The season has begun and there are new things to talk about daily. The long columns can be saved for off-season analysis. Or, like Joe says, when something big happens.

KCDC said...

Short and frequent is an upgrade in my book. I'm less interested in the statistical history that you dig up (although I'm always impressed by your finds) than I am in your takes on the topics. With more frequent 20 minute posts, you'll be able give us your takes on most of the big events from each week, and you weren't really able to do that with the level of detail that you held yourself to before.

Brian Tennyson said...

Love the shorter blog. Much easier to consume with my coffee. But I'll take whatever, as long as you keep it coming.

Jim M said...

Agree with all of the comments. I have been meaning to ask you how in the world you have time for everything you do. Jim

IndifferentDisdain said...

Loving the "Plenty in 20" format; keep 'em coming!

yorocko.com said...

Love this. While you're comparing Broxton's meltdown to the Botallico/Hernandez era, I was recalling Soria's five run blown save against the White Sox last year. Perhaps part of being a great closer is having great meltdowns to go with all those K's.

blue8505 said...

I love the shorter post. I would rather have frequency over length. As someone else said, sometimes I don't have enough time to even read the really long post.

BlueBloodGreyBeard said...

Love the shorter posts. I would rather read the posts more often, than not. I usually only have the time to read them at work and the longer ones put me on the edge of my seat, because my boss may come in and catch me. :)

K.C.Tigerfan said...

You can't use "Plenty in Twenty." I have copyrighted that for the intimate time I spend with my wife.

Why not just call it "Situational Hitting"? or "Something to Read While You Drop a Duece?"

J35J said...

I agree with Mike....

Mike said...
I too enjoy the brevity of this column and welcome it if it means more frequency. The season has begun and there are new things to talk about daily. The long columns can be saved for off-season analysis. Or, like Joe says, when something big happens.

April 13, 2012 8:19 AM

Ralph720 said...

Every day with a post is a good day. More often is great!

royalclone said...

I have a short attention span to start with, so I love the shorter blogs. I'm sure you will find yourself doing a longer one at certain points in the season, though.

Tampa Mike said...

I like the idea of shorter posts because I usually don't have time to read the long ones anyways.

"I think Luke Hochevar may have figured things out"
Maybe not... That's why people are so frustrated with Hoch. He was a #1 pick and shows flashes of that brilliance, but it's usually brief. I wish the Royals had options to get rid of him.

John said...

Rany, I love your stuff, and I'll take any columns you can offer.

As for a title, a ballgame is about 3 hours long. "One Inning of Brilliance"?