Tag Archive | "Kansas City Royals"

Kansas City Royals Announce Roster For ALCS

2014 ALSC Logo

KANSAS CITY, MO (October 10, 2014) – The Kansas City Royals have announced their 25-man roster (attached) that they will use in the American League Championship Series against the Baltimore Orioles, scheduled to begin tonight at 8:07 p.m. ET (7:07 CT).  The Royals roster is set for the Championship Series round only as the club is allowed to select a new 25-man roster prior to the start of the World Series, should they advance.

Pitchers

Tim Collins – LHP
Wade Davis – RHP
Danny Duffy – LHP
Brandon Finnegan – LHP
Jason Frasor – RHP
Jeremy Guthrie – RHP
Kelvin Herrera – RHP
Greg Holland – RHP
James Shields – RHP
Jason Vargas – LHP
Yordano Ventura – RHP

Pitching Statistics | FindTheBest
Catchers

Erik Kratz
Salvador Perez

Infielders

Billy Butler
Christian Colon
Alcides Escobar
Eric Hosmer
Omar Infante
Mike Moustakas

Outfielders

Nori Aoki
Lorenzo Cain
Jarrod Dyson
Alex Gordon
Terrance Gore
Josh Willingham

The entire American League Championship Series is being televised nationally by TBS, with radio broadcasts on ESPN Radio as well as the Royals Radio Network.

Nothing new here, folks. It appears that the Royals will move forward with the roster that got them to this point. Speed, defense and pitching will be the keys to the ALCS for Ned Yost and the team.

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Kansas City Royals Are in Trouble If ALCS Comes Down to Managers

Ned Yost ALCS

Tight playoff series often come down to the tough decisions managers have to make. The upcoming American League Championship Series between the Kansas City Royals andBaltimore Orioles looks likely to prove that.

Both teams feature a roster of talented athletes who fought through the long MLB season to make an October run. Both were easily dismissed at various points during the season. Both have been considered teams that would likely fail before the end if they ever got to this point.

But if there is one key difference between the teams, it’s the quality of the two managers. In that area, Baltimore has the advantage.

Prior to this season, Orioles manager Buck Showalter was known as the manager who could succeed in the regular season but not in the postseason. Selected as the AL Manager of the Year twice before, in 1994 and 2004, the pattern suggested that he would be successful again in 2014.

This year, he led the Orioles to a surprising division title in the American League East. For the first time in his managerial career, Showalter was able to lead his team to a series victory in the postseason when the Orioles dispatched of the Detroit Tigers.

Ned Yost, on the other hand, has carried the reputation of a manager who can help a team rebuild. However, there has often been concern that he would not be the manager to lead a team to postseason success.

He struggled to achieve consistency in Milwaukee as manager of theBrewers. Shortly after Yost’s departure in 2008, the team found success under Ron Roenicke. He even struggled in 2012 to turn his Royals team into winners, despite saying himself that it was time to win instead of teach in a previous interview with i70baseball.

Now both managers find themselves matching wits on one of the biggest stages. Showalter has shown poise in the decisions he has needed to make up to this point. Barry Petchesky of Deadspin has praised the manager and even mentioned the potential unbalanced nature of the next series:

That Showalter’s decisions paid off here doesn’t necessarily mean they were smart decisions—though the fact that they’ve been paying off all series and all season tends to point in that direction—it just means, tautologically, that they were good decisions. That’s often more than enough for October, which is much shorter than it feels. Three wins down for these Orioles, eight more to go—the next potential four pitting Showalter against Ned Yost, which projects to a mismatch.

Yost has not received the same appreciation in the press. His managerial tactics, specifically in the Wild Card Game against the Oakland Athletics, led many to question his in-game decisions. Many, including Cindy Boren of The Washington Post, went so far as to say the team won “in spite of Ned Yost.”

Showalter seems to making all the right choices and is poised to break the stigma of his past, while Yost continues to be questioned despite his team’s success.

The two managers will square off in the ultimate game of chess to determine the American League champions.

Many wonder if Ned Yost will be playing checkers.

Bill Ivie is the founder of i70baseball.
Follow him on Twitter to discuss baseball year round.

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Royals Make Numerous Moves For September

September brings roster expansion to Major League Baseball. The additional depth gives the Kansas City Royals some flexibility as they look forward toward a possibly playoff run.

Roster Moves Include Johnny Giavotella

The roster moves allow the team to bring Eric Hosmer back from his injury and some familiar faces to the roster. Here is the press release that the team sent out:

KANSAS CITY, MO (September 1, 2014) – The Kansas City Royals announced several roster moves today as the Major League rosters can expand to 40 players. The club has selected the contracts of outfielder Carlos Peguero (from Omaha) and left-handed pitcher Brandon Finnegan (from Northwest Arkansas). In corresponding moves to the 40-man roster, left-handed pitcher Chris Dwyer and right-handed pitcher Blake Wood have been designated for assignment.

The Royals have also returned first baseman Eric Hosmer from his rehab assignment with Omaha and reinstated him from the 15-day disabled list (fractured right hand). Kansas City also recalled right-handed pitcher Casey Coleman, infielder Johnny Giavotella and catcher Francisco Pena from Omaha and outfielder Lane Adams from Northwest Arkansas to the Major League roster.

In addition to these player moves, the Royals announced that Chris DeLucia, the team’s Minor League Medical Coordinator, will join the club for September as an additional trainer as permitted by Major League rules. He will be with the Royals through September 13.

The moves bring some relief to the roster. They also bring opportunities to players that need some rest. The additions may help the club reach October for the first time in years.

Bill Ivie is the founder of i70baseball.
Follow him on Twitter.

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KC Royals’ Spring Training Report: Full Update of Surprises, Busts and Injuries

The Kansas City Royals have had an eventful spring.  For the first time in recent memory, the team is feeling the stress of a team that is expected to win.

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Winning brings its share of scrutiny, and The Royals have certainly found themselves in the spotlight.  Some players have excelled and been a pleasant surprise for the team.  Some have fizzled under the pressure and face uncertain futures.  Others have found themselves injured, either seriously or mildly, and have many questioning the team’s depth.

Some teams simply hope for a quiet spring to prepare for the long season.  If that was the goal for the Royals, it may be a difficult road ahead.

Mike Moustakas Leads a Group of Positive Surprises

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The surprises of the spring start with the production of a young man that the team desperately needs to perform well this season. Mike Moustakas, a player that the team has been anticipating to be a big part of the offense for multiple years, has seemingly arrived with the chip on his shoulder that the team wants him to have.

Moustakas leads, or is tied for the lead, with all regulars this spring in hits, doubles, home runs, runs batted in and batting average. He is slugging an amazing .921 and is second on the team with six walks. His offensive performance this spring has the team very hopeful that he can be a breakout star in the regular season.

Moustakas is not the only surprise this spring, however. On the mound, Yordano Ventura came in to camp ready to compete for the final spot in the starting rotation. The electricity that flowed through this young man when he took the mound this spring was something very few people could have predicted.

Ventura proceeded to pitch just over 15 innings to date, striking out 15 hitters while only walking one. He has held opposing batters to a .185 batting average, and he has posted a 0.72 WHIP. Ventura, according to Barry Bloom of MLB.com among others, has been named to the team's starting rotation after his dominance in spring training.

Bill Ivie is the founder of i70baseball.com.
Follow him on Twitter to talk baseball all season.

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Kansas City Royals’ Rotation Finalized: What About Danny Duffy?

The Kansas City Royals have put the final touches on their starting rotation.  Throughout the spring, a competition was formed between Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura for the final spot in the rotation.  On Monday, that competition officially came to a close.

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Manager Ned Yost announced on Monday to a group of reporters, including Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com, that there was no reason to hold back the announcement of the decision for the fifth starter.  With Duffy struggling this spring and Ventura being downright dominant, the time had come to make the decision official.

Ventura had thrown six shutout innings, striking out six Texas Rangers, on Monday night to solidify the decision.  That performance lowered Ventura’s spring ERA to 1.76 while elevating his strikeout total to 15 in just over 15 innings pitched.  The hard-throwing youngster did everything to prove that he was ready for this opportunity.

Competitions have winners and losers, however, and Duffy now finds himself on the outside looking in.  Early indications of the competition were that the loser would likely find himself in the starting rotation at Triple-A Omaha.  Due to the injury sustained by Luke Hochevar, now Duffy will be given the opportunity to claim the last bullpen spot.

The subject at hand is now which role better benefits Duffy in the long term?  He may be capable of claiming the final bullpen role but, despite his oddly weak spring performance, he has traditionally been a more than capable starter.

Ultimately, Duffy could see time as a starter this year and likely stands as the first player to receive a start should any of the current staff falter or become injured.  While sending him to Omaha may not be the best choice for his confidence, it may be the best option the team has for utilizing him efficiently later. Should someone find themselves hurt, it may be harder to slide Duffy out of the bullpen and into the rotation than it would to simply call him up from the minors.

Ventura pitched well enough to prove that he was ready.  He is likely the right man for the job.  Duffy carries the confidence of past success.  He has proven he can win at this level.

Both men will likely be in the rotation before the end of the season.  Until then, the question remains, what should be done with Duffy?

 

Bill Ivie is the founder of i70baseball.com
Follow him on Twitter to discuss all things baseball throughout the season

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Five storylines from Kansas City Royals camp

This has been an interesting spring for the Kansas City Royals. Some position battles have been settled, while others are still being hotly contested. Some players have sizzled in the Cactus League, while others have struggled. There is no shortage of news as Opening Day is inching closer and closer. Here are five storylines from Royals camp:

1) Yordano Ventura will crack starting rotation

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Ventura was in a battle for a spot in the Royals rotation this spring, with his main competition being Danny Duffy. Well it didn't end up being much of a battle in the end. Ventura has dazzled this spring forcing manager Ned Yost to name him as one of his five starters. After Ventura pitched six scoreless innings with six strikeouts against the Rangers on Monday there really wasn't a choice for Yost.

"We knew this was probably the way it was going to go," Yost said after Ventura pitched six innings of four-hit ball in a St. Patrick's Night, 6-0, greening of the Rangers at Surprise Stadium. "After tonight I think we've just seen enough. There's no reason not to announce this now." -Royals.com


Yost also told Royals.com that Ventura will slide into the third spot in the rotation behind James Shields and Jason Vargas, rather than as a fifth starter like many expected. This spring, Ventura has a 1.76 ERA over 15.1 innings and has held batters to a .185 average.

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Home finale was biggest moment in Royals history since 1985

Editor’s Note: Matt Kelsey is one of the original writers for i70baseball.  He has since moved on to other projects but submitted the following.

When I was much younger, my father took me and my brother to a the last game of the season for the Kansas City Royals.

RoyalsFans

We went to a lot of games when I was a kid – one summer, it seemed like we were out at the ballpark every other night – but this game sticks in my mind. It was the the late 80’s or early 90s. Back then the Royals were pretty good, posting a winning record most years, but the MLB structure of the time lumped the Royals into the huge American League West division, which featured seven teams and only one playoff spot each season. They were never good enough to break through and make the playoffs.

That year, the Royals were well out of the race, and the final month of the season was meaningless in the grand scheme of things. The last game of the season was especially pointless.

But we had an absolute blast that day. The stadium was on the verge of being empty. The orange seats of the Royals Stadium (yes, this was in the pre-Kauffman Stadium days) upper deck were a vast sea nothingness, and they belonged to us. The players were having fun down  there on the field, looking forward to their pending winter vacation, and it rubbed off on the handful of us in the crowd. After the game, we waited outside the stadium and collected autographs. All the players were signing that day. All of them were happy. One of the players (Danny Tartabull, maybe?) left the stadium in a huge fur coat, a woman on each arm, and climbed into the back of the biggest limousine I’ve ever seen.

As for the game itself? I remember nothing. I just remember the atmosphere that day.

Flash forward twenty or so years to Sunday afternoon. The 2013 version of the Royals were playing their last home game of the season. That game was much different. The Royals were in the midst of a Wild Card race, the first time they had been playoff contenders for a decade. After battling the Texas Rangers into extra innings, Justin Maxwell blasted a walk-off grand slam for the win.

And it was arguably the most important moment in Royals history since Game 7 of the 1985 World Series.

Yes, the Royals were sadly eliminated from contention a few nights later. But when this season started, could you have imagined the Royals competing for a wild card spot?

This team was written off multiple times during the season – even before the season began.

  • When the team traded top prospect Wil Myers to Tampa for James Shields, they were written off as an organization with its head placed firmly up its butt.
  • When the Royals lost on Opening Day, they were written off as a team that couldn’t even win with Shields, a legitimate ace, on the mound.
  • When the team went 8-20 in the month of May, they were written off as the same old Royals, with no hopes for postseason play.
  • When the Royals lost 10 out of 12 after a stretch where they went 17-3 spanning late July and early August, they were written off as a team that couldn’t stay on a roll.
  • And in the heat of the playoff race, every time the Royals lost a game, they were written off.

But the truth is, the Royals were contenders through the first 158 games of the 2013 season. And this season was no fluke; the 2014 Royals should be just as strong, if not stronger. They won’t be written off so quickly in the future.

Which makes last Sunday’s home finale that much more important.

It wasn’t just an amazing, walk-off, extra-innings win in front of a sellout crowd. Sunday’s game was a message to the rest of Major League Baseball: The Royals are not a joke anymore. The Royals are for real. They may be eliminated in 2013, but any opponents who write off the Royals in the future will regret it.

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The Royals get knocked out of the Wild Card chase

It was fun while it lasted, but the Kansas City Royals playoff hopes came to an end with Wednesday night’s 6-0 loss to the Seattle Mariners. Once again, the Royals offense went into a slump, not scoring a run since the 12th inning of Monday night’s 6-5 win.

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The last few weeks, the Royals were one of five contenders vying for a Wild Card spot. They caught and passed the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles, but they couldn’t gain ground on the Tampa Rays, Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers.

But the Royals didn’t give up. After they lost last Saturday’s game against the Rangers, they bounced back the next day with Justin Maxwell’s ninth inning grand slam off of former Royal All-Star Joakim Soria, giving the Royals a 4-0 victory. Then a four hour, 12 inning win the next day against the Mariners kept the Royals slim playoff hopes alive. But Tuesday’s 4-0 loss to the Mariners and an Indians walk-off home run win by Jason Giambi a few hours earlier hurt their playoff chances. Then Wednesday night’s loss and wins by Cleveland, Tampa and Texas put an end to the Royals playoff hopes.

It’s disappointing the Royals didn’t make the playoffs. But for the first time in almost a generation, the Royals looked like a credible Major League Baseball team. Finishing with a record above .500 for the first time since 2003 and being in the Wild Card hunt, the Royals gave hope to a long-suffering fan base that the team has turned a corner.

But there’s room for improvement. The offense is still weak and despite having five of six winning months, May’s dismal 8-20 record put the Royals in a hole they couldn’t get out of. With last month’s seven game losing streak and their recent critical losses to the Detroit Tigers and the Indians, the Royals doomed their chances of making the playoffs. Look at it this way: if the Royals went .500 in May with a 14-14 record, they would have an 89-69 record and be tied with the Rays in the Wild Card standings.

With an 83-75 record, the Royals have four games left against the Chicago White Sox. They need to win the series and finish with their best record since 1993, when they went 84-78. Their offseason focus will be improving the offense and rebuilding their starting rotation around James Shields and Jeremy Guthrie. They also need to maintain their good defense and bullpen.

Will this happen? With the Royals, it’s hard to say. In the past they’ve shown promise and then crashed and burned. If any team can mess it up, it’s the Royals. But they’re a better team than they were a couple of years ago. They were on their way to another losing season, but after the All-Star break they turned it around and for a while they made themselves into Wild Card contenders. They bounced back from many games and situations that would have doomed them in years past. The Royals have a ways to go, but their experience playing through the highs and the lows of 2013 should help them contend in 2014.

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Examining the Royals’ rest of season schedule

The end of the season is drawing closer and closer and the playoff race is heating up in the American League. The Kansas City Royals, despite dropping two of three games in Detroit, still have hopes of catching one of the two wild card spots.

JamesShields

Kansas City currently sits 3.5 games behind the Rays and the Rangers who are both 81-67 and would be the two wild card teams if the season ended today.

The problem for the Royals is they would have to pass four teams in order to make the postseason. The Indians are just 0.5 games out of the wild card, while the Orioles are 2.5 and the Yankees are 3.0. The Royals have 13 games remaining and need to get hot quickly. Let’s take a look at the Royals’ remaining schedule:

3-game home set with the Indians starting Monday
This is a big opportunity for the Royals to make up games in the standings. Kansas City is 7-9 on the season against the Indians, but they took two of three at the Tribe a week ago. The Royals will have ace James Shields on the mound to open the three-game set, going up against lefty Scott Kazmir of the Indians. Shields beat Kazmir back on September 11 in Cleveland.

3-game home set with Rangers starting 9/20
This is another chance for the Royals to make up ground in the wild card race. Texas has struggled in September after leading the AL west for a large portion of the year. The Royals are just 1-2 against Texas this year, after losing a series back in early June.

3-game set at the Mariners starting 9/23
The Royals are 3-1 this year against Seattle after taking three of four in a home series with the Mariners back in the first week of September. All four games in that series were deciding by two runs or less, so this should be a challenging series for the Royals in a time where they need to pick up victories.

4-game set at the White Sox starting 9/26
The Royals close the season in Chicago facing the last-place White Sox. This could be a dangerous series as the White Sox have little to play for except for spoiling the Royals’ season. Chicago actually leads this season series 8-7, but the two teams haven’t met since the end of July.

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Could the Royals make the playoffs?

Perhaps it’s the Royals fan in me, but I’m waiting for the Kansas City Royals to go on another losing streak and fall out of the Wild Card race. Or totally collapse and not even finish at or above .500. Sure, the Royals are 77-69 as of September 12 and it’s almost certain they’ll finish above .500 for the first time since 2003. But if any baseball team can have an epic collapse, it’s the Kansas City Royals.

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Yet the Royals are playing well and winning games. In the last 44 games over 44 days, the Royals went 26-18. They have one of the best post All-Star Game records in baseball. After a seven game losing streak around three weeks ago, their season appeared to be over. Since then, they’ve gone 13-5. Last Friday the Tigers, arguably the best team in the American League, beat the Royals 16-2, handing them their worst loss of the season. If anything would sink this young Royals team, it was that game. But the Royals shrugged it off and won the next two games, then took two of three games against the Cleveland Indians. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the Royals being 8.5 games back of Detroit and seven games back in the Wild Card, with little chance of making the playoffs. Now they’re seven games back of Detroit and only two games back of the final Wild Card playoff spot.

As a Royals fan, I’ve discovered this phenomenon called September scoreboard watching and checking the standings. I keep checking the baseball scores and MLB division and wild card standings on my ESPN Scorecenter app. I start rooting for teams like the Boston Red Sox to win their games against the Orioles, Rays and Yankees, the teams ahead of the Royals in the Wild Card race. Every time the Red Sox beat them and the Royals win, the chances of a Royals Wild Card spot improves. I root for the Chicago White Sox, a team I don’t really care for, to win their nine games between the Tigers and Indians. If the Royals win and the Tigers and Indians lose, the Royals have a chance to move up in the A. L. Central standings.

In a way, this Royals playoff run is surreal. I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, expecting the Royals to go on another losing streak or a team ahead of them in the Wild Card gets hot. There’s so much recent historical disappointment and losing, I expect things to go bad. Until the Royals make the playoffs, I’ll still be skeptical. But if the Royals go on a 14-2 winning tear similar to what the Colorado Rockies did late in 2007… well, a guy can dream, can’t he?

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