Royals finally play good game, stand at 2-2 on road trip...

For the first time in nearly a month, the Royals controlled a game from start to finish, picking up a solid 6-4 win over the struggling Oakland A's. The offensive attack included 13 hits and four doubles, two of which were hit by RC's budding favorite player, Shane Costa. Seth Etherton, who was acquired over the weekend from the Padres, pitched well in his first start for the Royals, picking up the win while allowing two runs (one earned) and six hits in five innings pitched. The A's battled him all evening, fouling off pitches left and right, and Etherton was removed after the fifth when his pitch count climbed to 100. Amazingly, his was just the fifth win by a Royals' starter this season.

Costa hit two doubles today.

In fact, it will be interesting to see how the pitching rotation shakes out this week. As you surely know by now, Runelvys Hernandez was cast away to the minors after his pathetic outing on Sunday, and it doesn't sound like a return to Kauffman Stadium is in the cards for Hernandez anytime soon. 810 WHB reported that Hernandez was not at all pleased with his demotion, and that he threw something of a hissy fit when he learned he was heading back to triple-A.

Mark Redman is scheduled to return to the club on Tuesday after missing several days while on bereavement leave. If his forearm is no longer sore, he could rejoin the rotation this week, and he's presently scheduled to pitch on Saturday against the Mariners, which was Hernandez's turn in the rotation.

Affeldt might not be in the rotation much longer.

Of course, that doesn't mean that Jeremy Affeldt's spot in the rotation is safe. Word is that Bobby Keppel will also join the rotation, so if Redman's forearm is no longer nagging him, all signs point to Affeldt being sent back to the bullpen. This is a very welcome development for RC, as Affeldt has been terrible in all but three starts this season. Keppel has been very effective in his two extended relief appearances, so hopefully he'll carry some of that over into the starting rotation. At the very least, we hope Keppel can simply keep the Royals in the game, which is something that Affeldt has been completely unable to do. If Redman's good to go on Saturday, we expect to see Keppel make the start against the Mariners on Friday in place of Affeldt.

  • Another welcome development today occured when David DeJesus made his return to the Royals after spending several weeks on the DL with hamstring injuries. To make room for him on the roster, the Royals optioned struggling fan favorite Aaron Guiel back to Omaha. It's never fun to see a guy like Guiel sent down, but there were few options available. In a perfect world, we suppose we'd prefer to see Matt Stairs persuaded to begin his coaching career a little sooner than anticipated, but that unfortunatly isn't a realistic option. Some folks would probably prefer to see Emil Brown sent down, but those are the same people who ignore the fact that Brown is currently the Royals' hottest hitter.

    Brown is on an offensive tear.

    In fact, in the 11 games since May 19, Brown has gone 17-for-40 (.425), raising his batting average from .215 to .267 while hiking his OPS to .755 (up from .649). He had a similarly miserable April last year, but Brown began to hit in May (.313/.389/.506) and carried his pace through the rest of the season. This May, Brown is hitting .302/.351/.500, and he's starting to again show that short, quick stroke RC loves to talk about. Guiel is a nice option to have off of the bench, but we agree that Brown's continued presence in the Royals' lineup offers more value to the club. Besides, with the way injuries have ravaged the roster this season, we wouldn't be surprised to see Guiel back up pretty quickly.

    Of course, there's always a concern associated with any move, and our biggest in this case is that DeJesus's return to the lineup might start to cost Costa regular playing time. With the starting outfield again relatively healthy, it will be interesting to see if Buddy Bell manipulates the lineup to continue getting Costa steady at bats. It certainly wouldn't hurt to see Brown supplanting Stairs as the primary DH, but we've given up on predicting the construction and "logic" of Bell's lineups. Is Brown a "DH-type" player? Apparently, only Bell knows the answer to that...or at least, his is the only opinion that seems to matter. Regardless, it would be an awful shame to see Costa taking a seat next to Esteban German in the dugout four out of every five games.

  • The amateur baseball draft is only one week away, and RC is still planning to unveil our final Draft Prospect Update, which will probably come on the Monday before the draft. We were pleased to learn yesterday that North Carolina is hosting an NCAA regional, so RC will be in Chapel Hill this weekend getting one last look at our top-ranked player, Andrew Miller. Miller had a rough outing in the ACC tournament, picking up a loss against NC State while allowing seven runs (five earned) over six innings. He'll be well-rested, and he should get Friday's start vs. Maine, so we'll be sure to take photos and provide a report from Chapel Hill.

    Miller has one last shot to impress the Royals...and RC

    Also, we'll stay on top of the GM search this week, as Dayton Moore will presumably decide whether or not to accept David Glass's rumored offer to take the organizational reins in the coming days (Please!). We'll have more to say about our disappointment with Glass's conduct over the past month, but for now, we can do no better than to refer you to Joe Posnanski's excellent columns from the past week, here and here.

    Anyway, that's what's on tap for this week. Stay tuned!

    At 5/30/2006 1:45 PM, Blogger KowboyKoop said...

    Brown has been real hot lately...and his OPS STILL isn't as high as Guiel's..and oh yeah, there's this little thing called defense which Brown is ATROCIOUS at......Brown should be released and Guiel should've been kept as a 4th OF...

    At 5/30/2006 2:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Keeping Brown over Guiel is the correct move. Brown was arguably the Royals' best hitter last season after a slow start. He's heating up now.

    I'd like to see Brown at DH and Costa in LF most nights. Stairs can substitute at DH versus righties on occasion.

    At 5/30/2006 2:37 PM, Anonymous Alex said...

    I dunno about Keppel in the rotation. I know he had two good relief appearances but he had a 5.00 ERA at Omaha and it seems like he was primarily called up so he wouldn't become a free agent b/c of a stipulation in his contract. Guiel will surely be back up when Reggie Sanders inevitably hits the DL or is traded.

    Please please please Dayton Moore take the job! From everything I have read he seems like absolutely the best candidate. If the Glasses are too stubborn and ignorant to cede control to him, then the situation really is worse than we thought...

    At 5/30/2006 4:27 PM, Blogger PghChris said...

    And you'd think the Royals could maybe find a spot for a .400 hitter with a near .500 OBP somewhere in our lineup. I mean, I know we do have a powerhouse lineup and all.

    Just a question, but when someone fills the DH role, shouldn't they be able to hit? We have Matt Stairs hitting barely .230 and German sitting on the bench with close to a .500 OBP twitling his thumbs. Why? Someone please explain this to me. Simply because Matt Stairs can hit more homers than German?! It's not like we need more lefties in this lineup. Just another example of Bell's incompetence.

    The lineup should look like this almost every night with a little variation here and there:

    3B German
    CF Dejesus
    2B Grudzielanek
    RF Sanders
    LF Costa
    DH Brown
    1B Mientkiewicz
    C Buck
    SS Anyone but Berroa (Blanco?)

    You can cycle in Stairs and Graf twice a week to keep them active.

    I realize Grudz is not a three hitter and the organization wants Dejesus to assume the leadoff role, but until German slows down, you simply shouldn't put him anywhere but leadoff. I mean, seriously, while his numbers are put up over a small timeframe, what he's done in his playing time, he's right up there with the best leadoff hitters in baseball, something the Royals haven't had in a long, long time. What doesn't he do that you need a leadoff hitter to do? He makes good contact (more walks than strikeouts), he hits for a high average, he works a pitcher and walks a lot, has a very high OBP, he is a good baserunner and is a threat to steal..... I mean what more are the Royals waiting for him to show?! I know, I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir here.

    I see both Dejesus and Grud as second spot hitters, but if German leads off, someone has to bat third. I like Costa in the three spot, but unless you want to drop Dejesus or Grud to sixth, I don't see that happening. Maybe drop Dejesus for a while until he gets his rhythm back, but regardless eventually you want Dejesus at the top of the order.

    As far as the rotation, I was only hoping that Affeldt could give us a couple more good starts so we could pawn him off to someone for a decent prospect. Unfortunately, and not suprisingly, he imploded.

    I think we're also seeing Run at a crossroads at his career, and I fear we may have seen the last of him as a productive major league player. He's got so many issues I don't know where to start. The one thing he seemed to always have for him was his feistiness, that bulldog mentality, and I don't see that anymore. Between injury problems, an inability or an unwillingness to keep his weight down, and a disappointingly low strikeout ratio per 9 innings, I just don't have a lot of hope we'll ever see a quality Run again.

    I'm fine with Keppel. No one's confusing him with Clemens. Just someone who can hold the tide a little, maybe like Etherton. As all Royals fans are hoping, maybe, just maybe, we can see the real Grienke in a month or so. I'm not going to be holding my breath though. I'm also optimistic about what Madritsch can do for this ballclub when/if he gets healthy.

    Guess that's enough of a ramble for now....

    PS I'm loving have Posnanski back writing again after his time off writing his book or whatever he was doing. While he's always been a solid writer, I've always felt he's at his best during baseball season, and like Dave said, his latest two articles are dead on, DEAD FREAKING ON.

    Please someone tell me how Glass was so successful with Wal-Mart?

    At 5/30/2006 4:58 PM, Blogger RoyalCornhusker said...

    I'm all for giving Keppel a chance despite his numbers in Omaha. He did well in long relief in KC when called upon. He's young. Let's see what he can do.

    On another note, I saw Luke Hudson pitch in Omaha on Friday. He pitched 4 1/3 innings in relief, giving up 0 hits and 0 walks. He threw 31 of 41 pitches for strikes! He pitched again on Monday, getting a save after throwing 4 innings of 2-hit relief, striking out 5. He didn't walk a batter and threw 36 of 51 pitches for strikes. His ERA in Omaha is now 1.17!

    Dave, what do you think of giving Hudson another shot in KC, in either middle relief or as a starter? Has he ever been a starter?

    At 5/30/2006 5:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I love PGH's lineup.

    I think Dejesus would fit in much better in the #2 spot, Grudz is a great #2 hitter, but dejesus is the long term solution in that spot.

    Plus, given how awefull half these american league catchers are, the Royals could markedly improve their offense by running more with German.

    Does RC have a position/idea why Huber is playing outfield in omaha now?


    At 5/30/2006 5:35 PM, Blogger RoyalCornhusker said...

    My thought on Huber playing OF is that the organization is still hoping Teahen will be solid at 3rd by next season so they can move Gordon to 1st. Lubanski doesn't appear as close to MLB as Butler and Huber, so our future OF could be Huber, Costa and DeJesus with Butler OF/DH.

    Does RC agree?

    At 5/30/2006 5:51 PM, Blogger Max said...

    PGH - nice lineup. You are 100x smarter than Buddy Bell. Congratulations.

    My guess is that Huber must really stink defensively at 1B. Putting Gordon at 1B would be foolish IMO. From what I hear he is excellent defensively at 3B, a much more important position defensively.

    The whole handling of Justin Huber has been a debacle. The Royals don't deserve Huber.


    At 5/30/2006 6:04 PM, Blogger Dave said...

    Royalcornhusker, I do like Hudson's stuff, as he mixes a mid-90s fastball with a really nice breaking ball. I was very impressed with his first couple of outings this year, and I think he certainly has Major League quality pitches. It's good to see him doing so well in Omaha, and if he keeps it up, it's probably only a matter of time before he's recalled (although he'll have to be re-added to the 40-man roster to make it happen). He'll probably stay in relief, but he was almost exclusively a starter before this season in a pro career that goes all the way back to 1998.

    I don't think Huber's move to the outfield has anything to do with Teahen and Gordon. Rather, I think it's a product of Huber being a pretty lousy defensive first baseman. I watched him take grounders from Buddy Bell for about 20 minutes in Baltimore, and he sure didn't look very comfortable, particularly on backhands -- he flubbed several plays, and he didn't look anywhere close to Major League ready.

    I have mixed feelings about the move, which I suspect might be more permanent than the Royals are leading on. However, if Huber proves to be a decent defensive outfielder, his bat should play out there. You have to figure that at least one and maybe two of the Butler-Maier-Lubanski trio will flame out before becoming a productive Major Leaguer, so I don't see any problem with an overabundance of outfielders in the system.

    As for the lineup, I think any proposed lineup that includes regular playing time for German is an improvement over what we've been seeing every day.

    At 5/30/2006 6:18 PM, Anonymous tulsagbrettfan said...

    Regarding Moore, he is presumed brilliant because he's been with the Braves organization, and had a nice rise through their ranks. If he is that great, and heir apparent to John S in Atlanta, why would they let someone take him away? Wouldn't they hold onto him for dear life? What is different from Moore to pre-GM Allard Baird? They both were highly thought of in the scouting ranks. One has failed as a GM, albeit under an alleged P.O.S. meddling family ownership, and the other is still a high-level scout. What makes Moore better than Baird as GM under the glASS regime? Why will the glass bandits move out of Moore's way with baseball decisions, but wouldn't extend the same to Baird? This whole pile smells to high heaven!!

    At 5/30/2006 6:22 PM, Blogger Max said...

    I don't think Atlanta can force Dayton to stay. There isn't a job open in Atlanta. There is in Kansas City. He wants to be a MLB GM. He also grew up a Royals fan.

    Also, Frank Wren is also considered to be a possible candidate to replace Schuerholz someday.

    Dayton's track record as a scout is much better than Allard's was. Allard was involved in the Royals system. You can see how many players that produced. Now look at all the young talent in Atlanta's system over the years.

    As far as your final point, Moore has indicated he will only take the job if Glass doesn't meddle.

    At 5/30/2006 10:18 PM, Blogger KowboyKoop said...

    Someone please give me some numbers showing how Brown is better than Guiel. Guiel's OPS is higher, he hits more homeruns, and his defense is CLEARLY way better.....someone please tell me why Brown is the correct choice. Yeah, Brown is hot right now..and his OPS STILL isn't higher than Guiel's........Guiel's OPS is better despite very irregular playing time...I guarantee if Guiel got the playing time that Brown did he'd post an OPS of at least .850..which Brown could not do. Brown is a stat-padder and doesn't hustle...Guiel plays balls-to the-wall and gives it everything every night....Brown over Guiel is a joke.

    At 5/31/2006 1:59 AM, Blogger COroyal said...

    Give it a rest koop. You're posting the same thing over and over on 14 different boards. We get it, Guiel for president.

    At 5/31/2006 2:59 AM, Blogger Dave said...

    Thanks, CO. I just don't understand the Guiel craze. Yes, he plays hard, and yes, he's a better defensive outfielder than Brown.

    But Brown is just a far more dynamic hitter when his swing is right.

    Kowboykoop, I appreciate your posts, but since you insist comparing the OPSs of the two players, why don't you check out the May splits, which is a far better indicator of how the two guys are playing right now, not to mention far more important when making personnel decisions for the present:

    Brown: .851
    Guiel: .799

    And it's not that Brown made up the difference in any one category either...he was better across the board for the entire month of May.

    Now, I'm not really one to argue that decisions like this should be based on one month of play. But it's no less silly than basing an argument on Brown's two months against Guiel's one.

    At 5/31/2006 9:58 AM, Blogger KowboyKoop said...

    My argument is based on their entire CAREER's...not two months. Look at what Guiel did in 2003 in his ONLY serious chance at playing time. He would've hit close to 25 homeruns that year if he had played all year...and he'd do it again if given the chance. He had 3 in 19 game heres, that projects to be in the 22-25 range again. And yeah, Brown's OPS was .50 points higher in May, because he was hot..but Guiel wasn't hot, he was just hitting like normal. Just wait until Brown cools off, and everyone will start hating him again and wish they had Guiel. Look at last night's game, he had HORRIBLE at bats in a lot of crucial situations. Not Guiel. Remember when he first got here and drew that huge walk to start a rally? That's the difference. Guiel has a way better approach. I'm not saying he should be a starting player, he should be our 4th OF and Brown should be released. The more playing time Berroa and Brown get, the worse our franchise becomes, and it's a shame no one but me can see this.

    At 5/31/2006 10:02 AM, Blogger KowboyKoop said...

    Oh yeah, and have we already forgotten just how atrocious Brown's defense is? Guess now that he is hitting well for a period everyone just wants to forget about that, but just wait, as soon as he makes a retarded mistake out there to cost us a game (which is inevitable) everyone will jump on my "anti-Brown" bandwagon and will be wishing they were with me all along. The correct choice is Guiel, and it's very obvious. It isn't about which batter is "hotter" in one month..it's about who the better player is. HEY! Mark Teahen is hotter than Alex Gordon right now. Guess that makes Mark Teahen the better player and better prospect, right? Exact same logic...but somehow I know you won't agree with that one..

    At 5/31/2006 10:38 AM, Blogger RoyalCornhusker said...

    I think what the whole Guiel/Brown argument boils down to that everyone can agree upon is that neither player is stellar and neither should be a part of any long-term plan. Either could be a 4th or 5th OF/DH. Both are replaceable.

    Guiel had a good 99 games in KC in 2003 (.835 OPS) and did well in Omaha in 2005. Brown had a good year (150 games) in KC in 2005 (.804 OPS).

    Guiel is better defensively.

    I liked them keeping Brown based solely on his 2005 production at the plate. He also started slowly last year and is heating up, so I'd like to see if he gets back to being as productive as he was last year in KC.

    At 5/31/2006 10:54 AM, Blogger Max said...

    Reminds me of the great Harvey/Pickering debate of 2005. Look how important that ended up being.

    At 5/31/2006 11:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    hey, Pickering ended up doing those great commercials for MLB2006.

    At 5/31/2006 12:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    i am not sure why you debate over brown, gueil, teahan or whoever....they all suck!

    At 5/31/2006 12:53 PM, Blogger DL said...

    Baird fired...Moore to be next GM. Confirmed on 810WHB as well.


    At 5/31/2006 1:00 PM, Anonymous tulsagbrettfan said...

    5 year deal, and complete control of baseball operations? Finally we've hit on some glimpse of light. Moore will join us right after the draft? Think he'll have any input in our draft? Sure he's very up to speed with the draft, coming from his position in atlanta. Would he have some sort of contractual clause with atlanta, preventing him to participate in our upcoming draft?

    At 10/02/2007 3:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    The more playing time Berroa and Brown get, the worse our franchise becomes, and it's a shame no one but me can see this. This franchise information is not correct.
    I don't actually agree with you, their playing is not that bad. Our franchise still has great franchise business opportunities.


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