Judging the Royals

Lee Judge breaks down the Royals, game by game.

Royals Live

The Royals beat themselves

If the other team beats you, tip your cap—they earned it and you can live with that. But if you beat yourself, you gave the game away. Those losses are much tougher to take.

The Royals began giving this one away in the sixth inning. Up 3-2 thanks to homers by Salvador Perez and Mike Moustakas—and another RBI single by Moose—Jason Vargas had two outs and a runner on first base. With Yan Gomes batting, the runner—Michael Brantley—took off for second. The pitch was a changeup and finished low in the zone. Catcher Salvador Perez caught it just above the ground and may have rushed his throw to make up for lost time.

The throw to second base bounced and second baseman Omar Infante did not get in front of the ball—he played it off to the side. If an infielder uses his body to knock bad throws down he can keep short hops on the infield; if he tries an ole play and fails, that ball is going to be picked up by an outfielder.

Read more ...

By LEE JUDGE. 1 minute ago

Don’t overreact to early season numbers

Back when John Buck was a Royal, he got off to a hot start one year and that led the Kansas City Star to wonder if John Buck could hit .400. Since John Buck had never hit .300 over a full season, it seemed unlikely. Turned out it was; Buck’s best season left him 119 points short of .400 and as of this writing Buck has a lifetime average of .234.

Overreacting to early season numbers is generally a mistake.

Things change rapidly at this point of a baseball season. Eric Hosmer entered Tuesday night’s game hitting .275—if you want to overreact that could be cause for concern. Hosmer picked up four hits and ended the game hitting .311—overreact and you might start talking batting title.

Read more ...

By LEE JUDGE. yesterday

The slider that changed the game

The slider that changed the game came in the sixth inning. Let’s set the scene: the Indians had taken a two-run lead on a fourth inning home run by Michael Brantley. Coming into the game Brantley had hit .211 off Royals starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie and had grounded out in his first at-bat. With a runner on second base Guthrie fell behind Brantley 2-1; a fastball count. Instead of throwing a fastball, Guthrie threw a changeup. But the changeup was elevated in the zone and then elevated into the right field seats—Indians up 2-0. The Royals took the lead right back in the top of the fifth, 3-2 (more on that below).

Now back to the sixth inning:

Nick Swisher led off the inning with a double and the left-handed Jason Kipnis stepped to the plate. Kipnis is a 3-hole hitter and teams don’t always ask 3-hole hitters to give themselves up and move runners over to third. Teams often want their 3-hole hitters to drive the runner all the way in.

Read more ...

By LEE JUDGE. 2 days ago

Yordano Ventura opens up

If you want to know what went wrong for Yordano Ventura and the Royals on Sunday, take a look at the first two batters in the fifth inning. The score was 3-0 Twins—the Royals still had a shot—and Ventura had the inning’s leadoff hitter, Trevor Plouffe, 0-2. Catcher Salvador Perez set up low and away—why give a guy 0-2 anything to hit?—but Ventura missed high in the zone. Plouffe hit a triple.

Ventura then got the next hitter, Chris Colabello, into a 2-2 count and Perez set up low in the zone, but Ventura missed high. Ventura hit a single.

After the game Ned Yost said Yordano Ventura struggled to repeat his mechanics. Specifically, Ventura was "opening up." When a pitcher’s front side opens up too soon it causes a chain reaction. Picture a stack of building blocks and then imagine what would happen if you pulled the bottom block toward you; the top block would fall and it would fall away from you.

Read more ...

By LEE JUDGE. 2 days ago

View older posts

About the Blog

Judging the Royals is an inside look at baseball and the Kansas City Royals. Lee Judge watches every game, talks to the players and brings their point of view back to the fans.