Judging the Royals

Lee Judge breaks down the Royals, game by game.

Royals Live

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.

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By LEE JUDGE. 3 minutes ago

Chen + pen = win

Danny Duffy came out of the pen and threw 96 miles an hour. He also threw a curve and a changeup. Wade Davis followed Duffy and matched that velocity with his fastball—96—and also threw a curve and a cutter. Greg Holland closed the game and touched 97 with his fastball and also threw a slider and what MLB.com called a changeup, but might actually be a splitter.

This is what they mean when they talk about power arms out of the bullpen; guys who throw in the mid-to-upper nineties. Throw that hard and hitters have to start their swings sooner and when hitters start their swings sooner they’re out in front of all those curveballs, changeup, cutters and sliders.

As Star reporter Blair Kerkhoff wrote earlier today, the Royals bullpen has now thrown 14 consecutive scoreless innings. They scuffled early, but recently the bullpen has been lights out. Lucky for Bruce Chen; he threw five innings and gave up four earned runs. Bruce left the game with a lead, but leads don’t get much smaller. The score was 5-4 when Chen came off the mound and thanks to Duffy, Davis and Holland it was still 5-4 when the game was over.

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By LEE JUDGE. yesterday

Alex Gordon puts on a show

With two outs in the top of the fourth inning Minnesota designated hitter Josmil Pinto hit an 86-MPH fastball off the wall in left-center field. That part of the wall is 387 feet from home plate, so Pinto made the turn at first and headed for second base. After the game Ned Yost was asked if he was surprised Pinto tried to go to second and Ned said no—it was a legitimate double. You hit a ball off the wall in the gap, that’s a sure double.

Unless Alex Gordon is out there.

Even Alex thought Pinto was right to try for two: "You gotta run on that." Do you really want to settle for a single off the wall? In Kauffman Stadium?

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By LEE JUDGE. yesterday

The Royals are back to .500

The Royals completed a sweep of the Houston Astros and are now back to .500 with a record of seven wins and seven losses. James Shields got his first win of the season by pitching eight innings and giving up just one run. Shields also struck out 12, while giving up two walks and four singles—and two of them were infield singles. That’s some pretty good pitching.

It was easy for Royals fans to be down after their team got swept by the Twins and it’s easy for Royals fans to be pumped after their team swept the Astros—the hard part is keeping an even keel. I’m not great at math, but I’m pretty sure there are 148 games to go. If you have a great team you’re going to still lose 60 to 70 ballgames; you can’t climb out on the ASB Bridge every time it happens. Same goes for winning; it’s a whole lot better than losing, but guess what—you gotta do it again tomorrow.

Be like the ballplayers and keep an even keel.

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By LEE JUDGE. 2 days ago

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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.