• With the release of the 2012 Royals schedule, the only thing that jumps out at me is a visit from the Brewers of Milwaukee June 12–14. I very much hope Zack Greinke will not pitch in the series. It would only bring up unpleasantness from the past and mean spirit from some Royals fans.
• Bruce Chen is a magician. I had one of those perfect nights at the park this Tuesday, where the weather could not be better and the good guys make the Twins look silly. Chen was the main reason, plowing through the Twins for eight innings with his off-speed, arm-slot varying slop. His game score of 85 was the best of the year for the Royals. He continues to outshine his unimpressive defense-independent stats for a second straight year, and while the saber-nerd in me knows he is probably due to regress, I can not help but believe in some of the cliches. That Chen just “knows how to pitch.” I would be glad to see him back in Royal blue again next year to see if he can extend the magic show.
• In my previous gallimaufry, I proposed a few metrics that could be used to come up with a new pitcher’s record and showed how each Royals starter was faring by classifying starts as a “win” for a quality start, positive win probability added or game score of 51+. Here are those updated records (through the 13th):
The team-wide average of the three records (64-85) is just one game different than the team’s actual record (63-84). For me, the quality start and game score records of 66-83 are too kind to what has been a very bad staff. The win probability added record of 59-90 sounds just right.
• For whatever it is worth, Alcides Escobar has gained the MLB lead in shortstop UZR with a current rating of 9.5 runs above average. Factor in offense though, and he only comes out at 17th of 22 qualified shortstops in fWAR. He is on the short list of the worst hitters in the league: His 68 wRC+ is fourth worst among qualified hitters and his -5 win probability added is by far the worst.
• While the 2011 season has been another lost cause in the standings, I am dreading the season’s end. In years past, it can feel merciful, but this year it feels like the real Royals are just taking shape. Ever since Sal Perez debuted on August 10, the lineup of the future is suddenly here in the present, and man are they talented and fun to watch. 2012 could very well be bogged down by starting pitching woes again, but the position players make me feel opening day can not get here soon enough.