The Royals kept rolling on Thursday, capturing a series victory over the Orioles after a dominant performance by Yordano Ventura. The team heads to Tampa Bay for a three-game series on Friday.
To whet your appetite for the weekend of baseball, let’s tackle some topics in our weekly mailbag of reader questions.
This hasn’t been the easiest year for Gore. He broke his jaw in March when a pitch hit him in the face. He sprained his ankle in July and missed nearly a month. He even has been caught stealing twice.
Gore has spent the entire season at Class AA Northwest Arkansas, and he has held his own as a hitter, with a .290 batting average and a .374 on-base percentage heading into Thursday. Given his speed, a .374 OBP is a legitimate weapon.
Gore will likely join the Royals in September. But he may not make the postseason roster. Kansas City already employs five outfielders, plus Ben Zobrist. Manager Ned Yost rarely pinch-runs these days, and even though Gore is faster, the team trusts Jarrod Dyson more for that role. So Gore may not get any October love.
Here is your weekly reminder: It doesn’t matter if Greg Holland or Wade Davis is the closer, because either way, Holland will pitch high-leverage innings for the Royals in October. He can blow a game in the seventh as easily as he can blow it in the ninth. The issue for Kansas City is getting Holland right.
Does this sound like a broken record? Good. It is. The issues haven’t changed: Diminished fastball velocity, inconsistent command of the offspeed stuff and alarming peripherals. Holland gave up two more runs on Thursday. He had not pitched in five days, mostly because his arm felt "cranky," in the words of Yost, and he needed the time off.
When the Angels bashed Holland around earlier this month, the general consensus spouted by the Royals was Holland required more regular work, so he could stay sharp. Given several opportunities to procure regular work in the past week or so, Holland was unavailable to go, because his body required rest. Perhaps you can see why this is a problem.
Put it at 0.01 percent, just because I learned long ago that you should never write something definitively won’t happen. But this pretty definitively won’t happen.
The rosters expand after three more games in August. There is no reason to cut Guthrie. His salary is guaranteed, regardless. His big-league utility is limited at this point, obviously, but he still plays a role in the clubhouse. He leads their post-game celebrations, he translates for Yordano Ventura and he has the unique ability to procure swag for his teammates. He may not throw many more high-leverage innings for the Royals, and he’s unlikely to make the playoff roster, but he’s not going anywhere.
I doubt it, and if anyone was actually upset about that, they should chill out. What Cueto said neither controversial nor, honestly, particularly interesting. Boston’s Hanley Ramirez also translated the message for reporters.
This happens all the time. An impeding free agent arrives at a park. A reporter asks if the player would like to play for the opposing team the next year. If the player answers the question – James Shields made a point to never talk about his free agency, for example – the player will almost certainly say something to the effect of, "Sure, I wouldn’t mind playing here, because it’s a great organization, and what matters to me is winning."
Here is what Cueto said, via Ramirez’s translation, to WEEI and others about playing for the Red Sox: "It depends. Because I’m a free agent, and I’m just going to pick the best choice to go. The main thing — I would like to come here because it’s a championship-caliber team."
The Red Sox reside in the American League East’s cellar, but they did win the World Series two years ago, so quibbling about the "championship-caliber" comment is a waste of time. Basically all Cueto said is what baseball players all the time. None of it matters, anyway. He will, almost certainly, sign with the team who offers him the most money in the offseason.
As he should.
I worked at The Daily Orange for six semesters: Two in the feature department, one as managing editor and two as the "enterprise editor," which was a job I invented so the paper could subsidize my beer drinking (I got paid like $100 a week, which is a huge amount of money for a broke college student). As a junior, I covered the men’s lacrosse team; as a senior, I covered the football team.
When I graduated college in 2009, The Star-Ledger hired me as an intern. They kept me around as a general assignment reporter when the summer ended, and when Brian Costa, the paper’s Mets writer, left for the Wall Street Journal, the paper couldn’t afford to make a hire, so they promoted me. I am not complaining. For the most part.
Yes. This is my sixth season as a full-time baseball beat writer, including four at The Ledger covering the Mets and the Yankees. Last year’s Royals were the first playoff team I ever covered.
Here are the year-by-year records for those clubs:
2010 Mets: 79-83
2011 Mets: 77-85
2012 Mets: 74-88
2013 Yankees: 85-77
That Yankees team posted the franchise’s lowest winning percentage since 1992. So I covered the worst Yankees team in two decades and the best Royals team in three decades.
I only stopped by to contribute to the Media panel on Sunday morning. My favorite part was Alex Speier of The Boston Globe providing some moderation, rescuing the audience from the general ineptitude of Mike Ferrin. I felt bad about this moment with Dave Cameron from FanGraphs.
I tempered my expectations, because I saw The Hotelier open for The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die last fall in Lawrence, and was disappointed by the lack of crowd interaction. The band was great, but there were only 25 people there, as I recall.
The audience was larger at Davey’s Uptown on Wednesday, and there were actual Hotelier fans there, which for me is a critical aspect of any show. The band played all the songs you want to hear – "Weathered," "Your Deep Rest," "Among The Wildflowers." They dropped a 1-2 of "An Introduction To The Album" and "The Scope of All This Rebuilding" to try close the show, but when they went to walk off the stage, the sound guy forget to play them some exit music. The fans shouted for them to stay, and so they played "Dendron."
"Cardinals" was a grower, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy "Cigarettes and Saints" more once I hear it within the context of the record. But "I Don’t Like Who I Was Then" gripped me instantly. Dan Campbell writes compelling lyrics, but the emotional resonance of his vocals sets him apart. He can convey so much with the cracks and warbles of his voice.