Opinion

An A-to-Z rewind of the Royals’ season as it heads into September

SungWoo Lee, a diehard Royals fan from South Korea, visited Kansas City in August just when the Royals ascended to the top of the AL Central.
SungWoo Lee, a diehard Royals fan from South Korea, visited Kansas City in August just when the Royals ascended to the top of the AL Central. The Kansas City Star

A: All-Stars. The Royals had three representatives in this year’s All-Star Game: Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez and Greg Holland.

B: Batboy. A clairvoyant batboy predicted the Royals’ path to a comeback victory Aug. 26 against the Twins: A hit by Alcides Escobar and a home run by Alex Gordon.

C: Cardinals. The other team from Missouri was beaten three of four times by the Royals, a signal that perhaps the balance of power has shifted in the Show-Me State.

D: Dome. In the second game of the season, Ned Yost didn’t pinch-hit for Alcides Escobar because: “Pinch-hitting for guys gets in their dome.” Dome jokes became a Twitter staple for months.

E: Expected record. The Royals’ Pythagorean record heading into the weekend: 70-63. Their actual record: 74-59. Someone’s doing something right, correct?

F: Flip. After catching the final out of a 3-2 win over Oakland on Aug. 11, which put the Royals in first place, Jarrod Dyson did a backflip.

G: Gordon, Alex F. The left fielder has a good chance to win a fourth Gold Glove, and some are throwing his name in the MVP race in part because of his great WAR (wins above replacement).

H: Holland, Greg. Consecutive 40-save seasons have cemented Holland’s name among baseball’s top closers.

I: Interleague play. The Royals have the most victories in interleague play this season with 15.

J: James Shields. A free agent after this season, Shields is the only starter with playoff experience.

K: Kuntz, Rusty. The Royals’ first-base coach suffered a broken arm when hit by a ball off Salvador Perez’s bat during batting practice in April.

L: Lee, SungWoo. The Royals fan from South Korea visited KC in August just when the Royals ascended to the top of the AL Central. The city rolled out the red carpet and a star was born.

M: Myers, Wil. Who?

N: Nori Aoki jinx. Aoki has been hit in the groin with a ball while trying to make a catch, hit in the head with a ball when the catcher was returning a throw to the pitcher and fouled a pitch off his head.

O: One inning. Starter Aaron Brooks couldn’t complete one in his start May 31 at Toronto.

P: Planet. Broadcaster Rex Hudler called the moon a planet during a game. Neil deGrasse Tyson, he is not. But, hey, Uncle Hud always keeps the game interesting.

Q: Quote of the year. “Vargy pitched a great game.” That was Mike Moustakas’ mantra after he helped beat Colorado in May while some were calling for his demotion to Omaha.

R: Runs Saved. According to BillJamesOnline.com, the Royals have saved the third-most runs in the AL with their defense.

S: Speed gun. Yordano Ventura regularly lights up the radar gun at Kauffman Stadium with 100-plus mph fastballs.

T: Trade deadline. Fans grumbled when the Tigers added David Price just ahead of the non-waiver deadline, while the Royals brought in Erik Kratz and Liam Hendriks. But that deal has paid off well.

U: Underdogs. That’s not the case these days.

V: Valgus Extension Overload. When rookie pitcher Yordano Ventura exited with an elbow injury May 26 against Houston, fans feared the worst. Instead it was “valgus extension overload” on his elbow and he didn’t miss much time.

W: Wade Davis. Davis has appeared in a team-record 25 straight games without allowing a run. He’s been dominant, but he’s also pitched out of some tough jams.

X: X-ray. First baseman Eric Hosmer’s hand injury turned out to be worse than was initially believed after an X-ray showed it was broken.

Y: #Yosted. A Twitter hashtag usually preceeded by someone questioning the Royals’ managerial decisions. Or praising him. It evolves.

Z: ZiPS projections. These preseason projections had just one player hitting 20 home runs for the Royals. Looks like that could be the case.

To reach Pete Grathoff, send email to pgrathoff@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/pgrathoff.

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