Judging the Royals

The Oakland A’s: Who’s hot right now?

Athletics designated hitter Billy Butler was congratulated after hitting an RBI single to score Stephen Vogt during their April 18 game against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
Athletics designated hitter Billy Butler was congratulated after hitting an RBI single to score Stephen Vogt during their April 18 game against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. The Kansas City Star

The Kansas City Royals started a three-game series with the Oakland A’s Friday night and when a team goes into a series they want to know who’s hot right now. Here’s the Athletics lineup from the last game they played; player’s name first, overall average and then what that player has hit over the last seven days.

1.) Billy Burns: .322/.320

2.) Eric Sogard: .258/.385

3.) Stephen Vogt: .308/.625

4.) Ben Zobrist: .252/.278

5.) Josh Reddick: .292/.313

6.) Brett Lawrie: .289/.300

7.) Ike Davis: .267/.154

8.) Marcus Semien: .266/.238

9.) Sam Fuld: .207/.182

Assuming I transcribed those numbers right the Royals are catching the A’s at a bad time; two-thirds of the lineup is hitting well over the last seven days, on the other hand, half of those numbers were put up against the Texas Rangers a team ranked 17th in ERA.

(Frankly, you start playing around with all these numbers and I get the feeling you can show anything you want to show—which is pretty much what happens in arbitration.)

Pay attention to pop ups caught in foul ground; there’s a ton of it in Oakland. A ball that’s three rows back in another stadium can be playable in the A’s park.

What about Billy Butler?

You might have noticed his name missing from that lineup. It appears Billy hasn’t played much lately; hitless in seven at bats over the last seven days. And Butler’s overall numbers are .249/.311/.347…not exactly $10 million a year stats so far.

Edinson Volquez vs. Yordano Ventura

Edinson Volquez got the start Friday night and has been the Royals most consistent starter. There were some—me included—who wondered whether Volquez would have been a better choice for the No. 1 spot in the rotation.

For the first few weeks of the season No. 1's match up with No. 1's and a guy can pitch really well and still have a losing record. Plus No. 1 pitchers get attention that guys down in the rotation don’t.

There was an argument to be made that Yordano Ventura would have been better served by being stuck in the middle of the rotation, matched up against other middle of the rotation pitchers. Let Ventura rack up some wins, have success and gain confidence in 2015, then put him in that No. 1 slot when he’s ready.

The Royals went another direction and maybe moving Yordano down in the rotation wouldn’t have changed a damn thing—who knows?

Anyway, Volquez has only faced five of the Oakland hitters in the past for a total of 26 plate appearances; the Royals struggle against pitchers they’ve never seen before, maybe the same thing will happen to the A’s.

Oh yeah, Brett Lawrie

If I recall correctly—and I often don’t—the Royals had a brawl with the Cleveland Indians and then the next day whoever was doing the game on radio said that was all forgotten and the game would proceed without incident.

The leadoff hitter Willie Wilson got drilled on the first pitch.

And if it didn’t happen that way it should’ve. I’ve got no insight into what the Royals are thinking about doing when Lawrie comes to the plate, but I get the impression they’ve had enough suspensions and fines to last them a while.

The Oakland fans might be another matter.

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