CLEVELAND — While the Royals are on an impressive run — 11-3 over the last two-plus weeks — our latest Twitter question-and-answer exchange suggests many fans aren’t quite ready to buy in completely.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
As my colleague Sam Mellinger (@mellinger) often points out, that’s understandable: Royals fans come by their skepticism and cynicism honestly. Real success for this organization is a distant memory.
A giveaway loss Tuesday night in Cleveland only heightens the concern among those who believe disaster is right around the corner.
It was, no question, a bad loss. Whenever the Royals, with their bullpen, fail to hold a two-run lead in the eighth inning, it’s a bad loss.
A mistake-filled ninth inning, which kept the tying run (and maybe more) from scoring, made it even worse.
Even so, it’s easy to forget (isn’t it?) that Monday’s comeback victory was an Indians’ giveaway. The series is tied 1-1 and should be tied 1-1. Had the Royals lost Monday but held on Tuesday night, would people feel better?
On to the questions:
• @WaldoGlenn: Eddie Rodriguez is awful. Your thoughts?
A third-base coach rarely gets noticed when he makes the correct read, and if he makes more than a handful of incorrect ones — he’s not coaching third for very long.
I think Eddie Rodriguez is a good third-base coach who I think makes the correct read nearly all of the time.
That said, I think he made a mistake Tuesday in stopping David Lough between third and home with what would have been the tying run in the ninth inning.
• @murphballer: how high does Herrera’s era need to get before he is taken out of the 8th inning role? Currently 5.04
Kelvin Herrera had been better since returning from Class AAA Omaha prior to Tuesday’s troubles. He’s still fighting his command a little — and he said the leadoff walk in the eighth was something that can’t happen.
But I see you basic point. And I think the leash on Herrera as the eighth-inning guy is short. The Royals have Aaron Crow and Tim Collins. I could easily see them shifting to a rotation between those three for that role.
• @robertsn300: How is Chen adjusting to bullpen life? He seems to have been really quiet this year.
Bruce Chen, who turns 36 today, has been a total pro about it. No griping. At least none that I’ve heard. That said, I think he’d prefer to get back into the starting rotation.
• @BraveRoyal: Have you heard any names mentioned as potential trade targets? If the Royals are still in contention at the break, that is
None seriously. Or at least none from people whom I’d take seriously.
• @sstorm89: Is it crazy to move Gordon to 3b, then have Cain shift to LF, and Dyson to CF? Big improvement for the O, despite a weaker D
The Royals believe it’s crazy to shift Gordon. So do I (for what it’s worth), but a lot of people kept posing the same question, so I ran it past manager Ned Yost a few days ago.
His reaction was complete puzzlement that I’d was ask such a question. And then said no such plan has been discussed. When the story ran in the paper, a few players (Gordon not among them) told me it as a stupid idea.
• @KnowSportsLand: Season is long, give us a short term goal. How many games back at AllStar break would give us a realistic shot at postseason.
First, I don’t think this is a playoff club as currently constituted. I think it’s a club capable of playing a little over .500, which is what I’ve said all along — in spring training, during the good start, the awful May and now.
But OK … I also think the Royals’ best chance for postseason is to win the division. I think the wild-card possibilities are far less likely. So that means staying within arms’s length of Detroit. Say five games.
• @MRay2587: did the @royals just get an excuse to send #lough down
I’m assuming you mean the play in the ninth inning of Tuesday’s loss. If so, then no. I think the Royals believe David Lough was right in believing he should have scored.
If you’re asking me what I think will happen — and let me emphasize “think” — I believe Lough will be optioned back to Omaha, barring injuries elsewhere, when Jarrod Dyson’s 20-day minor-league rehab stay is up.
• @KCgriffith1: everyone on the ESPN boards think you keep little kids in your basement. Is this true?
I don’t think so, but I’m on the road a lot. Will have to check with my young bride and get back to you. (We’re not talking cats, are we? They’re not supposed to be in the house.)
• @devo1210: when @mrzoombiya comes back, wouldn’t it make more sense to send Moose down rather than Frenchy? Not many RH bats available
Let me decode for some of the more casual fans. The references are to Jarrod Dyson, Mike Moustakas and Jeff Francoeur.
I suppose such a move is possible, but I’d be surprised. I don’t sense any inclination from the Royals to send Mike Moustakas to the minors.
• @bigbuddy77: wish they were playing like this when I came out from NY to see them last month...Brett the answer?
I believe George Brett brings an undeniable positive vibe to the clubhouse, and I think we’re seeing some positive signs. Eric Hosmer among them. But the recent success is fueled by the pitching staff.
Coaching credit there goes to Dave Eiland and Doug Henry.
• @zackwheat: Any talk of switching Brett Eibner back to pitcher? .221/.300/.384 in AA isn’t cutting it.
I haven’t heard anything along those lines, and I’d be surprised to see such a move this season. That said, this is a key year for Eibner and results, to date, have been (at best) mixed.
• @BillCarle1: How do the Royals decide where to send their new draftees? Idaho Falls, Wilmington, etc
Much of it depends on how advanced they are. Typically (but not always), high school draftees stay in Surprise for the Arizona Rookie League while college draftees go to Idaho Falls or Burlington.
It’s rarer to assign a draftee to a full-season team such as Lo-A Lexington or Hi-A Wilmington. But it happens.
The determination is often due to playing time. Say, the organization has four second basemen it wants to find time for. It will rank them and separate them on that basis.
• @jhawker316: A quality mgr and 3rd base coach= first place. Those 2 have made several bad decisions that have easily cost us 6+ games.
Oh, I couldn’t disagree more, on Ned Yost or Eddie Rodriguez, but debates like that are one of the things that makes baseball such a great game.
I think Detroit is, easily, the best club in the division. If the Tigers play to form, I think everyone else is playing for second place. I suspect many people disagree.
• @maizehusker: Any thoughts on what George Brett has done to help Alex with this slump? Are the struggles/stress George induced?
I talked to Brett about that recently, and he said he’s left Alex Gordon pretty much alone. He also said Gordon’s swing and approach look the same now as in April and May. He’s just not getting hits. It happens.
• @danloving: What is the rationale of sitting Johnson after he had such a good series against Tampa Bay? Getz’s numbers don’t justify it
Elliot Johnson burned his former club repeatedly, but I think he’s hitting about .200 against everyone else.
• @prezmike25: how does not getting pitcher wins affect the mentality of the pitcher?
There’s no doubt it bothers them, but it bothers some far more than others.
I’m guessing this is directed primarily at James Shields, who is now winless in nine starts despite pitching extremely well. He’s handled it so well that his teammates genuinely feel sorry for him. That’s not as common as you might think.
• @jsoloff: Can a team continually pull a player off the 30-day rehab as long as it’s within the 60-day DL window?
This is in reference, I assume, to the recent decision to recall right-hander Felipe Paulino from his minor-league rehab assignment due to lower-back soreness. (Paulino is recovering from Tommy John surgery.)
First, the 60-day window is a minimum of 60 days. Players can remain on the 60-day list for the entire season. Paulino and lefty Danny Duffy have already exceeded 60 days.
So the only devious motive would be to keep recycling the rehab-assignment period (30 days for pitchers; 20 for everyone else). That’s generally counter-productive; players don’t get better without playing.
Also, my guess is repeated recalls would likely attract attention from the union.