Tag Archive | "Excitement"

Royals Fans Feel Duped

Kansas City Royals fans woke up to an exciting email in their inbox today, they had been given the opportunity to purchase Opening Day tickets.  Once they opened the email, frustration set in very quickly.

The subject line of the email gave fans reason to get fired up, it read “Your Royals Opening Day Ticket Opportunity”.  Many fans had signed up recently for the opportunity to purchase tickets to the Royals home opener and most jumped quickly to the assumption that their name had been drawn in that regard.

Unfortunately, the subject line did not match the body of the email.  As overjoyed fans opened the email to see what they needed to do to ensure their seat at the home opener, they found the following text:

RoyalsTicketOpp

“You are receiving an exclusive opportunity to purchase tickets to every 2013 game, excluding Opening Day, today! Buy tickets before the rush!”

That’s right, the email that stated it contained your opportunity for Opening Day tickets revealed that it, in fact, contained your opportunity to buy tickets to anything except opening day.

Fans have taken to social media with their displeasure with the club over what some are calling a “bait and switch” tactic.  Many felt slighted and wondered how the club could provide an email with such a glaring oversight.  Many seem to feel this is “par for the course” with the Royals business over the last few seasons.

There is a lot of excitement around the Royals going into 2013.  The team should take notice and make sure they are not coming across as “the same old Royals”.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball
Follow him on Twitter here.

Posted in I-70 Baseball Exclusives, RoyalsComments (0)

Everyone Calm Down – Royals Trade Reaction

The Kansas City Royals  traded away two high level prospects last night, bringing home a legitimate ace and another strong pitcher.  The trade provided the Royals with the one thing they had been looking for over the last two seasons, an improved pitching staff.

Naturally, the pulse of the Royals fan base raced.  Seemingly, it was not from excitement, it was from disappointment.  The fans seem to feel that the team came out a “loser” in the deal.

Everyone Calm Down.

The Royals had a very big need.  They needed an ace for this team and they got it.  Not only did they get a strong number one, they picked up a legit number three in the process.  The rotation has been overhauled this offseason and, going into 2013, this team looks poised for a playoff run.  Indeed, it may in fact be “Our Time” for the Royals fan base.

The cost of the acquisition is what seems to be bothering most people.  Trading away two strong prospects in one trade is steep no matter how you look at it.  That being said, these players were not ready to contribute in 2013 and may not track as great as they once did.

Jake Odorizzi is a firm pitching prospect that shows promise and will be a contributor to a major league pitching staff within the next few years.  Most scouts agree, however, that he will contribute as a number three or four guy, most likely solidifying the middle to back-end of a rotation.  His breaking stuff has not developed as well as many thought it would and his fastball, which clocks in the mid-90′s, is elevated more often than most would like.

Wil Myers was a hitting machine at Triple-A Omaha last year.  Most anyone you talk to will tell you that this young man will be a strong outfielder in the Major Leagues.  Projections have him hitting 25 home runs and driving in 85+ runs while playing consistent defense.  Those same projections figure his arrival in the Major Leagues in late 2013 and those numbers to become reality in 2015.

Mike Montgomery was included in the deal and may be the player that breaks out the quickest in Tampa.  He is a classic “change of scenery” guy and fans will need to remind themselves that whatever he does, in whatever uniform he does it in, he most likely would not have accomplished that wearing a Royals uniform in the first place.

So, the Royals traded away a potential big hitter, an average pitcher, and a guy that just couldn’t get traction within this organization.

What did they get back?

Wade Davis is a slightly better version of Odorizzi.  The biggest difference between the two is that Davis is ready to produce in the middle of the rotation now instead of two years from now.  He has been successful as a starter and a reliever and figures to make an impact on this rotation immediately.

James Shields is an ace pitcher that finished in the top three in Cy Young voting just a year ago.  He is also highly regarded as a mentor type player that will help the clubhouse chemistry around the young talent coming through the organization.  He is a total package player that will impact this team in 2013 and 2014 before reaching free agency.

The Royals still have some holes.  They have a need in the outfield and at second base.  But the biggest issue for this team was the pitching rotation and that is no longer an issue.

When it comes down to it, if you want to improve your team, you have to give something up in the process.  This team gained known commodities in exchange for potential.

I’ll take a known winner over a potential win any day of the week.  Not only that, I’ll take winning now over maybe winning later.

Maybe if everyone calms down, they will agree.

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$500 Freeroll on FanDuel.com this Friday

$500 Freeroll on FanDuel.com

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MLB $500 Free Contest

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Posted in Cardinals, Featured, RoyalsComments (0)

Waiting No More

The season is finally here.  No more what ifs, no more predictions, just statistics and results.  All the fans can do now is sit and watch what happens on the field.  Many predictions have been made over the last six months about the Kansas City Royals yet like everything else in life all the assumptions account for nothing just the results. All the excitement about the Royals in 2012 can continue with the team having a good productive start to the season or the excitement could taper off like seasons in the past.  Kansas City has not been this excited about their hometown team for a long time, the 1970s and 1980s to be exact.  But this time it is different.  This team wants to win not only for themselves but for the city itself.  Also, not only do they want to win but they want to do it here in Kansas City.  The future is still the future but the present is now and nothing feels greater than to have our team playing in our town right now.

In years past, the city has always been excited about the fact that baseball season has started but that was because they had another option for a night out on the town that started at Kauffman Stadium.  Now, fans have the excitement on the field drawing them in.  They are not just going for Garth Brooks in the sixth inning or hot dogs or over priced cold beverages. Now for the first time in years they are going to watch the likes of first basemen Eric Hosmer, 2011 Gold Glove winner Alex Gordon out in left field, a young gun pitching staff along with the whole cast of Royals.  The team is finally the attraction and they want nothing more than to be the talk of the town.  In years past teams that the Royals organization put out of the field were there to make their money and get on to the next thing.  But this time it is different.  Winning is now the only thing.  Not many people outside of Kansas City are truly giving this team a chance.  Reasons like they are young, they won’t spend the money needed to field a winner, they are breeding the next big New York Yankee or Oakland A, but that is exactly what some of the players on this team want the outside media to say.  The underdog mentality will fuel this young ball club to do what I believe to be great things not only in years to come but this season as well.

The clubhouse has never looked as tight nit as they do now.  This team of young guys who have grown up differently, gotten their shot in the Major Leagues in many ways, have come together to join as a team.  Talent only can get a team so far but if these guys can stick together and be the family that a team needs to be success will come.  All of this aside, what do we do now?  All we can do is sit, wait, and hope that the team the Royals are putting out on the field is what we all think it can be.  Royals teams of the past had their time but for now, like the season slogan states, this is the 2012 Royals time to shine.  And shine they will.

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The 2012 Kansas City Royals starting rotation: How big of a question mark is it?

Despite all of the attention the Kansas City Royals are receiving for their young offensive stars, most analysts still say that the starting pitching will be what holds the Royals back this year.  But is this group getting the credit it deserves?

There is an immense amount of optimism surrounding the 2012 Kansas City Royals.  For any fan under the age of 20, this sort of optimism is unprecedented in their lifetime.  For the rest of us, it is hard to remember the last time there was this much excitement around the club.   However, there is one part of aspect of this year’s Royals edition that most consider to be a huge question mark, and that is the starting pitching.  People outside the organization look at the Royals pitching staff and don’t see a proven Ace. This is a valid point.  But the Royals, for the first time in a good number of years, should have 5 guys (or more) that they can throw out there that can not only miss bats, but give them a chance to win every time out.  Here’s a look at the projected Royals starting rotation and what we might expect from this group in 2012:

Projected Opening Day Starter-Luke Hochevar:

Last season was a mixed bag for Hochevar.  The first half was mostly the usual erratic Luke Hochevar that Royals fans had become used to seeing pitch for the previous 3 years.  He would start a game strong, sometimes even dominant.  Then he would get himself into a jam and things would completely unravel from there.  It was maddening.  Was it in his head?  Could he not pitch effectively out of the stretch?  It wasn’t until Ned Yost began forcing Hochevar to pitch out of these situations that a change became evident.  The results in the 2nd half demonstrated that change.

First the good:

-Hochevar was 2 innings away from pitching 200 innings, finishing with 198, the most of his career to this point

-At 4.68, Hochevar finished with his lowest ERA as a full-time pitcher in the majors

-His 1.283 WHIP was down significantly from 2010, and was the best he has posted as a full-time starter

Now, the better:

-In his 12 starts after the All-Star Break, Hochevar’s ERA was 3.91

-His strikeout rate was also way up.  For the year, Hoch had a 5.8k/9 SO rate. However, after the break, it was 7.7

-His WHIP after the All-Star Break was a stellar 1.12

-After the break, Hochevar averaged 6.11 innings per start

If we assume Hochever picks up where he left off in the 2nd half of the season, we should expect something along these lines:

Innings: 201

ERA: 3.90

WHIP: 1.15

K: 172

Those numbers might not be Ace type of numbers, but that is a damn good #2 starter on a championship team, which is what Hochevar’s potential was always thought to be.  He is also 28 years old, in what should be the prime of his career.

Projected #2 starter-Jonathan Sanchez:

Sanchez is probably the most electrifying pitcher to wear a Royals uniform since Zack Greinke.  If anyone in the 2012 Royals rotation has the potential, when at his best, to become the ace of the staff, it is likely Sanchez.  However, he has always struggled with control, and last year battled injuries.  He will be 29 years old for the duration of the season and is probably the biggest wild-card in the rotation.  When at his best, he is a high strikeout, low hit-rate, high walk-rate pitcher.  If we split the difference between what would be a successful season, or a disappointing season for Sanchez, it might look something like this:

Innings: 175

ERA: 4.10

WHIP: 1.35

K: 185

To put it into perspective, in 2010, Zack Greinke’s last season with the Royals, he posted these numbers:

Innings: 220

ERA: 4.17

WHIP: 1.245

K: 181

Sanchez has the potential to do much more than the numbers listed above.  But if he gives the Royals something along those lines, that will make him a solid contributor to the rotation.

Projected #3 starter-Bruce Chen:

Chen would probably be the biggest candidate for regression out of this group, mainly due to his age.  He will turn 35 midway through the season.    He has also spent a significant amount of time on the Disabled List the last two seasons, which has cut into his Innings Pitched #’s and is definite cause for concern. I have a feeling that Dayton Moore might like a mulligan on the decision to give Chen a 2 year deal for $9,000,000.  If you assume Chen hits the DL for his normal stint in 2012, with a bit of regression, it is reasonable to expect his 2012 numbers to look like this:

Innings: 145

ERA: 3.97

WHIP: 1.40

K: 95

If Chen can make it 145 innings, and put up these type of numbers, he probably slots as more of a #5 starter on a playoff team.  If we ever again have to say that Bruce Chen was the best pitcher on the staff, that will mean things have gone terribly wrong.

Projected #4 starter-Felipe Paulino:

Why the Royals were trying to act as if there was any question as to whether Paulino would be in the rotation at the beginning of the season, is still a mystery.  At least Ned Yost is now conceding that Paulino has a “leg up” in the competition for the rotation spot.  What Paulino did last year is likely the most under-appreciated part of the Royals 2011 campaign.  Paulino will be 29 in October, so he is another who is in what should be the prime of his career.  Despite a paltry win total, he posted an excellent 8.6K/9 innings.  His 4.11 ERA and his 1.372 WHIP should both come down in 2012, as the BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) stats show that an abnormal # of balls dropped for hits last year.  Paulino started 20 games last year, and averaged just over 6 innings per start.  If he is able to start 32 games, that should put him right around 200 innings for the season.  Call me optimistic, but this is what I expect from Paulino this season, with the potential for more:

Innings: 198

ERA: 3.80

WHIP: 1.25

K: 190

This would make Paulino another solid #2-like starter for a championship team, which he is certainly capable of becoming.  If only the Royals could find a #1 starter (hint, hint)

Projected #5 starter-Danny Duffy

It is looking more and more likely that the #5 spot in the rotation will end up going to Duffy, though this is not a certainty yet. Duffy just turned 23 in December, so he has youth on his side.  As a rookie in 2011, he showed promise, but also struggled to go deep into ballgames and pitch his way out of jams.  There was one game though, last year, in which Duffy gave Royals fans a taste of what he could become.  That was on June 19 against the St. Louis Cardinals, when Duffy struck out 9 batters in 3 2/3 innings.  This game showed the reasons both why Duffy has such promise, and why he still had a little ways to go.  While he only walked 1 batter, he gave up 6 hits and let his pitch count get all the way up to 90 before being pulled with 2 outs in the 4th.  If Duffy can adjust his approach this year to not always pitching for the strikeout, learning how to finish a batters off, and pitching more efficiently, he is the guy who could step up and be the ace of this staff.  I expect Duffy to take a huge step forward this year, and for his numbers to look something like this:

Innings: 170

ERA: 3.65

WHIP: 1.35

K: 132

It would make sense that the Royals would continue to be careful with Duffy.  If “The Process” is to come to fruition, Danny Duffy is going to need to be a big part of that.  If he can put up numbers close to those above, that will put him in great position for a true “breakout” campaign in 2013.

While this Royals team is missing the true “ace” starter that they had in Zack Greinke, one could argue that top to bottom, this is the best rotation the Royals have had in over a decade.  While injuries could play a role in this, there is also more starting pitching depth in the organization than at any other time in recent history.  Whether it’s Luis Mendoza, Aaron Crow, Mike Montgomery, Nate Adcock, or someone else, the Royals should be able to keep things afloat should one or more of these guys go down.   This group of starting pitchers will be one of the more interesting things to monitor as we get rolling in 2012.

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Way Too Early 2012 Predictions: MVP

To settle my excitement about the 2012 MLB Season down a bit, I decided to lay out a few predictions about what might happen next year.

First off, I want to start with: Who will be the Royals MVP next year?

There is no easy choice here. With the everyday lineup that the Royals will have on Opening Day next year, there are about 10 to 15 possible choices for this award.

My first thought was to pick Eric Hosmer.

The 22-year-old will be entering his first full season playing first base for the boys in blue. His third place finish in the A.L. Rookie of the Year vote did not do his season justice. If the award was based on who has the brightest future rather than who had the best complete year, Hosmer would have definitely took home the hardware.

However, I kept looking up and down the roster for someone that could put together a better year than Hosmer in 2012. Billy Butler, Jeff Francoeur, Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez… The list goes on and on.

But for this award, I had to give it to Alex Gordon. He was voted the Royals’ best player, won his first Gold Glove, and received three 10th place votes for the A.L. MVP in 2011. He will still only be 28 years old at the beginning of next season, and I don’t have any reason to believe he can’t put up even better numbers.

Although I don’t think Gordon will get up to 20 outfield assists next season, he definitely has a shot to earn another Gold Glove. I picture his offensive numbers somewhere in the area of .300, 25 HR’s, and 100 RBI’s. That is, if he is moved out of the leadoff spot.

He might still be hitting in the one-hole next year, because the Royals still don’t have a true leadoff hitter. If he is still in that spot, expect his RBI’s to go down, but not by much.

Gordon did almost everything right this year. He showed his leadership on and off the field and deserved every bit of credit he received.

Before we give Hosmer the award for the next 10 years, let’s go ahead and give Alex one more shot.

Royals Tweet of the Week

whats up everyone! new to this twitter thing but ill figure it out.. hit me -duff
@dduff23
Danny Duffy

Danny Duffy officially on Twitter. This should be a fun follow.

Posted in Featured, RoyalsComments (0)

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Next year’s expectations of the Kansas City Royals might be at an all-time high.

When was the last time you have been so excited for the Royals’ season to start?

For me, the answer is never.

After the Royals’ last winning season in 2003, I could not wait for Opening Day 2004 to arrive. This time around, I would multiply that by about 10. The general feel from the Kansas City area is that most people would agree.

The Royals are getting some positive national media attention for the first time in a long time. Not that that really matters to the team in general, but it helps create an even larger local buzz. Add that with the fact that Alex Gordon won his first ever Gold Glove award and Eric Hosmer (although he didn’t win the award) is considered the rookie with the brightest future of anyone in the Majors. With all those things, you’ve got a recipe for a level of excitement not rivaled by any other Royals team for over 20 years.

I cringe every time anyone says that the Royals are still a year away from really contending. It’s probably a pretty good assessment of the team, however. They still have a few pieces to fill in and some experience to gain.

But with all the buzz and anticipation, it’s impossible for me (and probably many, many others) to think the Royals can’t compete in the AL Central next year.

We all might need to curb our enthusiasm for a while because 2013 could be the time for the Royals to finally get over the hump. 2012 could be another 70-win season like this year’s campaign and they could miss out on the playoffs for the 26th straight season.

On the other hand, it’s more fun to believe that next year will be that year when they make a magical run to the postseason.

I’m going to go ahead and stick with that second option.

Royals Tweet of the Week

From the man himself, Eric Hosmer. Showed a lot of class and pride.

It's a complete honor to be named in the top 3 for rookie of the year, big congratulations to my boy Jeremy Hellickson!
@Hos3KC
Eric Hosmer

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Examining The Puma: Your Thoughts

The signing of Lance Berkman to a one year, $12 million extension has the internets (and most noticeably Twitter) a buzz. Where else should one go to gauge the opinion of the fanbase?

In a effort to get a feeling for just how the fans viewed the deal we asked for some Tweets to be sent our way

Tweet me folks, what do you think of the return of Berkman to the #stlcards? One year/12mil...hit me with your thoughts.
@i70baseball
i70 baseball

The responses (and tweets that we found) were varied, from monetary concerns to excitement. Some even found it to be a funny contract completely. Below are the responses from you, our fans.

@ maybe a little too much $, but it's good to see berk back. worked out for everyone this yr, can next yr too.
@jdotson8
Joel Dotson
@ initial reaction is totally against since it preceded the Pujols extension. #oneortheother #notboth
@throatwarbler
Bob Netherton
@ I think getting as much business as possible done before trying to lock up Albert is a smart move by Mo. Molina Furcal next?
@ Not sold on it. $12 million is a lot that could fix other problems. Berkman has 7 HR, 28 RBI despite hitting .314 post-ASG
@JonDoble
Jon Doble
@ like the Berk deal, but agree with @. Good insurance if Pujols leaves, need Craig in lineup, MI & pitching
@ HAHAHAHA 12 mil for one good year of an old man! This will turn out well....
@KCRoyalman
✔KCRoyalman
@ Think it's a good deal. His "raise" is basically offset by Carpenter's "reduction" next year.
@cbensinger
Chuck Bensinger
@ YES!! I'd want a little longer, but nevertheless it's awesome. :) #BigBerk
@PDiddySwagMan
Patrick Hennessy
Thrilled about Lance Berkman's contract extension. Makes sense on all levels. #stlcards
@GregScott1991
Greg Scott
@ I hope that everybody realizes that Berk's return all but guarantees TLR will be back, right ? #scrappyreduxredux
@throatwarbler
Bob Netherton
With how outrageous money is with athletes these days 12 million for Lance Berkman is a pretty good deal. #stlcards
@FishSTL
Michael Fisher

Stay tuned to our ongoing series of articles today “Examining The Puma” as we take a look at Berkman’s year in Cardinal red and our reader’s thoughts on the signing.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
Follow him on Twitter here.

Posted in CardinalsComments (1)

These Guys Are Fun To Watch!

You know what’s no fun to watch? Drying paint, growing grass, and blowouts. The lack of drama and excitement in a blowout can make for a long, boring experience when you’re watching a game. Mostly, this holds true when your team is on the wrong end of a laugher. Though, one of the most fun games I ever attended was this massacre, likely due to being there with a very good friend of mine. Even a couple of superbowls in recent memory have been one-sided, and I suspect most people who chose to continue watching, did so mostly for the commercials in those instances.

Yadier Molina is enjoying a great year at the plate (not just behind it) so far in 2011.

But, this Cardinals team has been a lot of fun to watch so far this year! 6 extra-inning games so far, and of the first 50 games of the year 30 of them have been decided by 2 runs or fewer! I’m a big fan of close games, and since I fall to the “traditionalist” side of baseball’s fan base, having 60% of the games decided by 2 or fewer runs is very attractive to me…especially of the 2-1 variety. The lineup has been interesting to watch, and the pitching staff has given us plenty of reason to stay on the edge of our seats…whether it’s because of a perfect game in the 7th, or a blown save in the 9th.

The Cardinals haven’t come out of every “exciting” game with the win, but isn’t that what keeps it exciting? I don’t know about you, but I like close games. And while I don’t like the Cardinals to lose, watching them play a game that keeps me entertained has plenty of value to me. I’m more partial to results provided by the recent excitement like we saw on Sunday in Kansas City than I am the kind from a month ago in Houston, but give me a game that’s fun to watch, and I’m a happy fan. Not to say I don’t enjoy the occasional slugfest (as long as its the Cards lineup doing most of the slugging), because those have their place too.

I think we’re off to the kind of start that we expected for the 2011 National League Central–a tough fight with a lot of games that

The Cardinals seem to be having fun as a team so far in 2011.

matter. Though back in March, few might have guessed that the Cards would be perched atop the division with a 3-game lead over the Reds, Cardinal Nation isn’t complaining. The Reds probably aren’t going anywhere, and it looks like the Brewers just might continue to hang around, keeping this an interesting race for at least the foreseeable future. We’ve all seen seasons when the Cardinals run away with the division by double-digit margins (10 games in 2000, 13 in ‘02, 13 in ‘04, 11 in ‘05…etc), and that’s great. But, I’d be very surprised to see anything like that this year, no matter who wins the division. So, if watching a close game that directly impacts the standings of a close division, sit back & have fun, the 2011 National League Central is for you!

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20 Games In: More Meaningful Than You Might Think

19 games into the season, and the Royals have pulled off a surprising stretch of winning baseball. Fans have found themselves walking a tightrope between excitement and skepticism, with the memory of 2009′s 18-11 start and ensuing collapse still fresh. Personally, I will never complain about wins, and the 2011 Royals have been a blast so far, but my hopes for the remainder of the season remain tempered with a healthy dose of wait-and-see.

The Royals, now at 12-7, will have their first winning record after 20 games since 2003, and only the second since 1989. How much of a team’s true talent level is revealed after 20 games? Looking back at the Royals past, the answer could be “more than I expected.” In a surprising number of years, the team’s winning percentage after 20 games has been fairly similar to their final tally. Only once has a Royals team had a winning record after 20 contests but finished the season with a losing mark (1983). (If you are wondering where that 2009 team is, they just missed the cut by being .500 after 20 games.) And only five teams have dug themselves out of a losing 20 game start to finish above .500 (’84, ’87, ’91, ’93, ’94). That means 86% of Royals teams (36/42) have finished above or below .500 when having a similar winning or losing record after 20 games.

Getting a little more technical, the statistical correlation between the winning percentage after the first 20 games and at the end of the season for Royals teams is .42 (0 meaning no correlation, 1 meaning perfect correlation). So obviously there is still a lot of wiggle room after 20 games. But to a larger degree than I expected, teams that are winners after 20 games tend to be winners at the end of the season, and teams that are losers after 20 games tend to be losers after 162. Let’s hope that holds true this year.

Royals seasons 1969--2010

Best 20 Game Start: 16-4 in 2003; Final record: 83-79

The surprise to me in this exercise has been how few fluky starts the Royals have had, but of course there have been a few. Clearly, this was one, but fluky or not, it did lead to a fun summer of contention and the only winning Royals season in the last two million years.

Worst 20 Game Start: 3-17 in 1992; Final record: 72-90

A flukily bad start, but in the broader sense, correctly reflective of an actually bad team.

Limiting this exercise to Royals history may skew things a little. Because their history is generally drastically split between very good years and very bad years, perhaps it should not be surprising that Royals teams usually are showing their colors after 20 games. Looking at the more varied pool of all 2010 teams, seven squads flipped from above or below .500 after 20 games to the opposite at the end of the season, meaning 77% of teams finished on the same side of the .500 line. In 2009, eight teams flopped between winners/losers after 20 and 162 games (73% stayed the same).

We are moving out of the embryonic stage of the season, with win-loss records compiling to the point where teams will be trying to build on a good start or dig out of a bad one from here on out. Whatever the rest of the year may hold, it is nice for the Royals to be in a position of strength after 20 games for a change.

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