<![CDATA[Judging the Royals: Sports Columns & Blogs | The Kansas City Star & KansasCity.com]]> http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/ en-us Thu, 16 Oct 2014 15:43:08 CDT http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss McClatchy Interactive's Escenic Thu, 16 Oct 2014 15:43:08 CDT Judging the Royals 60 How does hitting in the two-hole help Mike Moustakas? http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article22134969.html#storylink=rss contains illegal HTML markup:

Whether baseball fans like to admit it or not, there’s a psychological factor to the game that we can’t ignore. Maybe pitching the ninth inning should be just like pitching the eighth, but the guys who have done it say there’s a difference.

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Sun, 24 May 2015 11:00:53 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article22134969.html
Kendrys Morales: Sure, you love him now http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article21866712.html#storylink=rss Friday night the Royals beat the Cardinals 5-0. Kendrys Morales went 3 for 4, raised his average over .300, hit two home runs and had five RBIs. There were 37,379 people in attendance and the ones that were wearing blue roared their approval. Which made me wonder: 41 games into the 2015 season, signing Kendrys Morales seems like a pretty smart move—but what were people saying at the time the deal was made?

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Sat, 23 May 2015 09:42:44 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article21866712.html
The St. Louis Cardinals: a scouting report http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article21678861.html#storylink=rss Friday night, the Royals start a three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cards are 27-14 and lead their division; the Royals are 26-14 and lead theirs. It’s hard to sweep a team this good and, yes, I could be talking about either team.

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Fri, 22 May 2015 11:19:54 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article21678861.html
Ask Lee: Why do big-league pitchers throw rookie hitters fastballs? http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article21583977.html#storylink=rss Recently a reader sent me an email asking some questions and I figured I’d try to answer them here on the website. If you have a question you think I can answer — and yeah, I did tee that one up for anyone who wants to be snarky — email it to me and maybe it’ll wind up as part of a column. So here we go…

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Thu, 21 May 2015 13:21:59 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article21583977.html
Mike Moustakas is hitting .331; this is how he changed his approach http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article21472170.html#storylink=rss This season Mike Moustakas is taking what the pitcher and defense give him; if it’s a pitch that allows a single to the opposite field, Mike is taking the single to the opposite field. But when he gets that home run pitch — a hung curve or a flat slider or a fastball that doesn’t quite make it to the inside corner — Mike still feels like he can turn on it and get his home runs.

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Wed, 20 May 2015 11:20:54 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article21472170.html
If pitchers are hard to hit, they’re hard to catch http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article21380457.html#storylink=rss If a catcher is handling a pitcher without great stuff — straight 4-seam fastballs and big, looping curves — that catcher will tend to look better than a catcher who is handling a pitcher with “nasty-nasty” stuff. If a pitcher has a nasty slider, a splitter that dives in the dirt or a sinker with great action on it, the catcher is going to tend to look worse as he fights to receive that pitch and keep the ball in front of him.

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Tue, 19 May 2015 11:23:23 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article21380457.html
If you want to understand the big moments in a ballgame, think small http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article21286428.html#storylink=rss Fans and the media tend to think big — who won, who hit a home run, what was the final score — but to understand how the game is played you have to think small: why did Luke Hochevar throw Carlos Corporan a 2-2 cutter on the outside corner?

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Mon, 18 May 2015 11:03:33 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article21286428.html
What’s happened to the Royals’ running game? http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article21187083.html#storylink=rss Last season, the Royals stole 153 bases. This season, after 36 games, they have stolen 23. So why haven’t the Royals been running as much? When you lead the league in steals, people take notice and do what they have to do stop you.

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Sat, 16 May 2015 16:58:58 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article21187083.html
Wally Pipp and the reason smart players play http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article21164505.html#storylink=rss According to legend, New York Yankees first baseman Wally Pipp took a day off because he had a headache. His replacement was a kid named Lou Gehrig. 2,130 games later Gehrig was headed for immortality and the Hall of Fame. Old school ballplayers learned a lesson: stay out of the trainer’s room and do not take a day off if you don’t have to. The kid they replace you with might be the next Lou Gehrig.

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Sat, 16 May 2015 09:02:21 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article21164505.html
Eric Hosmer: What makes him special? http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article21080481.html#storylink=rss No, it’s not the hair, but that’s an excellent guess — if I found out Eric had a team of barbers on 24-hour call to keep that ‘do perfect, I would not be surprised. In terms of playing baseball, what makes Eric Hosmer special is opposite-field power.

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Fri, 15 May 2015 10:14:04 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article21080481.html
How pitchers cheat: They do it in plain sight, not behind the scenes http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article20983341.html#storylink=rss Major League Baseball has a new security plan to further safeguard baseballs: an MLB representative watches them get carried from the umpires’ room to the field. Good job guys, because that’s not when it happens. If someone is going to doctor a baseball, generally speaking, it happens on the field, right in front of the umpires and fans.

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Thu, 14 May 2015 09:58:51 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article20983341.html
How Alex Gordon hit that home run http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article20825466.html#storylink=rss After the game Gordon said he was looking for “that one pitch to hit” and that one pitch was a fastball. This is why hitters need to study scouting reports or at least listen to someone who has. The Royals held a pregame hitters meeting and Texas reliever Stolmy Pimentel was mentioned. The gist of the information? Pimentel likes his fastball and he throws it a lot.

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Wed, 13 May 2015 10:48:49 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article20825466.html
The Royals and quality starts http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article20755353.html#storylink=rss A quality start — a start in which the pitcher throws a minimum of six innings and allows a maximum of three earned runs — is a quick way to figure out if the starting pitcher gave his team a decent chance to win. The Kansas City Royals have 12 quality starts; only three teams in the big leagues have fewer.

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Tue, 12 May 2015 13:41:57 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article20755353.html
Manufacturing runs: You better know how to do it http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article20669634.html#storylink=rss Let’s say you’re a team dependent on walks and home runs; that might be a great strategy over the course of a 162-game season, but once you get to October and the pitching gets better, you have to play the game you’re in that night. And if you have two pitchers throwing well, you better know how to manufacture what you need.

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Mon, 11 May 2015 11:31:27 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article20669634.html
The National Pastime: Second-guessing managers http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article20622180.html#storylink=rss Second-guessing the manager is a popular activity and that’s part of the fun of baseball: why did he do that, he should have done this. We can argue endlessly about what might have happened had the manager made a different decision — and we do. But since we don’t have all the information a manager has, it’s difficult to know what his true options are.

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Sun, 10 May 2015 09:16:44 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article20622180.html
Why managers don’t use closers in tie games on the road http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article20578770.html#storylink=rss Friday night the Tigers beat the Royals after Yohan Pino came into a tie game to pitch the ninth inning; Pino gave up a double to Anthony Gose and after Ian Kinsler bunted, Yohan picked up the ball and launched it into foul territory. Gose scored on Pino’s error and the Tigers walked off with a 6-5 victory. So with the game tied in the ninth inning, why not use closer Greg Holland?

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Sat, 09 May 2015 10:41:27 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article20578770.html
There’s no cheering in the press box, but … http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article20500077.html#storylink=rss But if there were, you might have heard an ovation for Luke Hochevar. Star beat reporter Andy McCullough says it’s been 585 days since Luke stood on a big league mound in a big league game. I trust that number because Andy wears those horn-rimmed hipster glasses and they automatically make you better at math. Plus, 585 days sounds about right.

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Fri, 08 May 2015 11:04:40 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article20500077.html
Lorenzo Cain and the little stuff that can hurt you http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article20419395.html#storylink=rss In the top of the first inning of Wednesday night’s game, Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain threw Cleveland’s Jason Kipnis out at home plate; the throw was described as “perfect.” Well, not quite.

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Thu, 07 May 2015 11:30:48 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article20419395.html
Wade Davis and the insurance run http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article20346852.html#storylink=rss In Tuesday night’s game against the Cleveland Indians with the score 4-3, Eric Hosmer tripled in the bottom of the eighth inning. His triple scored Alex Gordon from first base and provided the Royals with an “insurance run.” And being up two runs instead of one is huge.

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Wed, 06 May 2015 11:39:38 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article20346852.html
How Mike Moustakas almost killed me http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article20336658.html#storylink=rss There are a million unwritten rules in baseball. (OK, I actually don’t know how many unwritten rules there are because they’re unwritten — but a million sounded good, didn’t it?) Here are a couple of those rules and how I almost got smoked by a bad throw.

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Wed, 06 May 2015 10:14:24 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article20336658.html
Royals split four-game series with the Tigers http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article20155149.html#storylink=rss Hey, who told you the Royals should be happy that they split with Detroit because the Tigers were too good to sweep? I would love to take the credit, but if I say anything even remotely insightful it’s because someone wearing a baseball uniform said it to me first.

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Sun, 03 May 2015 20:11:44 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article20155149.html
Kansas City Royals month of May preview http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article20129265.html#storylink=rss In May the Royals play seven different teams and—as of this writing—three of those teams lead their division and four of them have winning records; it ain’t gonna be an easy month.

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Sun, 03 May 2015 08:49:39 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article20129265.html
Baseball’s evolution: Eric Hosmer takes what the defense gives him http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article20080761.html#storylink=rss Despite what we think about baseball being a timeless game, it’s a game that’s constantly changing. Base runners are stealing 100 bases a year and pitchers respond by creating the slide step. The latest step forward on the evolutionary scale would seem to be how hitters are responding to defensive shifts.

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Sat, 02 May 2015 08:49:45 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article20080761.html
Advance scouting report on the Royals’ May opponents http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article20051280.html#storylink=rss The Royals are scheduled to play seven different teams in May and — as of this writing — three lead their divisions and four have winning records; it’s not going to be an easy month.

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Fri, 01 May 2015 18:02:05 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article20051280.html
Tip for the Tigers series: Don’t let Miguel Cabrera beat you http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article20018034.html#storylink=rss The Detroit lineup is filled with very good hitters, so you have to pick your poison. But even among a group of very good hitters, one of them stands out from the crowd — don’t let Miguel Cabrera beat you.

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Fri, 01 May 2015 11:50:59 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article20018034.html
Getting hit in the head can mess with your head http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article19938654.html#storylink=rss When a guy gets hit in the head pretty much everyone is sorry it happened, but everyone will still try to take advantage of it. Throw a fastball up and in, then go away and see if the hitter still covers that outside corner of the plate. If the up-and-in fastball makes the hitter’s rear end want to leave the premises, that batter is in trouble.

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Thu, 30 Apr 2015 11:35:44 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article19938654.html
Royals designated hitters: Billy Butler vs. Kendrys Morales http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article19855707.html#storylink=rss Last night, the TV guys put up statistics to show how similar the Royals current designated hitter’s numbers are to the Royals’ former DH: Billy Butler is currently hitting .313, has three home runs and 12 RBIs. Kendrys Morales is hitting .321, also has three home runs and has 14 RBIs. But there is a difference: Kendrys runs much better than Billy.

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Wed, 29 Apr 2015 08:30:59 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article19855707.html
Mike Moustakas on his turnaround at the plate: ‘Better late than never’ http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article19822365.html#storylink=rss Monday night, Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas went four for five against the Cleveland Indians and raised his batting average to .342. Moustakas has been working on hitting the ball the other way in order to beat the overloaded shifts that left-handed pull hitters have been seeing in recent seasons. Hitting .212 might make you think you need to adjust and, to his credit, that’s what Moustakas has been doing.

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Tue, 28 Apr 2015 16:08:48 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article19822365.html
Why old-school ballplayers love Alex Gordon http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article19736523.html#storylink=rss Talk to guys who played big league baseball back in the day and you might hear about the current generation being soft. It's been my experience that every generation thinks the generation that follows it kind of sucks, but no matter how old-school the retired player is, you never hear a bad word about Alex Gordon.

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Mon, 27 Apr 2015 14:08:15 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article19736523.html
You don’t have rivalries with bad teams http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article19462344.html#storylink=rss If you’re mediocre, people don’t hate you. That helps explain what’s been going on with the Kansas City Royals this season. The Royals are no longer an underdog; they’re the American League champs. The Royals are good and they know they’re good and other teams are feeling less charitable toward them.

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Sat, 25 Apr 2015 12:24:37 CDT

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