Royals Rumblings – News for August 17, 2018

Royals Rumblings – News for August 17, 2018

I know OMD linked to this yesterday, but it just got a little line mention so I’m put it here for an encore. The Players Tribune does the “Letter to My Younger Self” thing and one of the recent ones featured Willie Aiken. Not growing up in KC, I didn’t know a lot him and the article really captured his story.

Dear 24-year-old Willie,

Get out of there. As fast as you can.

Turn back around and walk out of the hotel room.

I know it’s more cocaine than you’ve ever seen in your entire life. And I get that it is 1979 after all, and pretty much everyone seems to be snortin’ coke … and you’re a little curious about how it might make you feel if you try some. But trust me on this one.

Just leave.

Now…

This is harder than I ever thought it would be … sitting down and writing you this letter today. Because as much as I try to convince you, and pour my heart out, I know full well that….

You’re not going to do what I’m asking. You are going to walk in and sit down and hang out in that hotel room for a while. You’re gonna do some lines and have some fun and … set yourself on a certain path. And it kills me because I know what that means — what’s going to happen next. So I’m starting to get an idea of what it’s going to be like for me to write the rest of this letter.

I’m basically sitting here, heartbroken, wishing I could go back in time.

Mike Axisa of CBS Sports appreciates the Cubs trading for Terrance Gore and draws a line to Dave Roberts and Theo Epstein’s tensure in Boston.

During their 2014-15 postseasons runs, Kansas City used Gore as a pinch-runner extraordinaire. He has appeared in 57 career MLB games, postseason included, and 45 times he entered the game as a pinch-runner. Most notably, Gore stole second base and later came around to score in the eighth inning of Kansas City’s comeback win in the 2014 AL Wild Card Game.

Maria Torres of the KC Star described Jorge Lopez’s first day on the job in Kansas City:

He met his new trainers and coaches, introduced himself to a manager who had inside knowledge about him and began to ingratiate himself to new teammates. Then he made himself comfortable in the home clubhouse, the one with the blue carpet and the Player of the Game sign that hasn’t lit up frequently this season. He liked what he saw and what he felt. There was camaraderie; there was a sense of purpose, even in dwindling months of a season with a team on pace for 113 losses.

Also in the Star, Pete Grathoff talked to Brett Phillips about his walkup music.

Below is your daily story from Rustin Dodd at The Athletic. For each subscription, I get a gallon of Gorilla glue, presumably for gluing gloves and galoshes on gorillas.

At Royals Farm Report, royalscollector predicts September roster moves.

From around the Fansided network:

The Royals make two national listicles:

Sarah Langs of ESPN has a “100s tracker”. YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHO IS ON PACE FOR 100 LOSSES!?!

Kansas City Royals (35-82); On pace for 113 losses

• The Royals won the 2015 World Series and now appear headed for a 100-loss season. The last team to win the World Series, then suffer a 100-plus-loss season within the next four years was the Diamondbacks. They won the 2001 World Series, then went 51-111 in 2004.

• Royals’ 100-loss seasons: four (2006, 2005, 2004, 2002)

This week’s MLB.com AL Central listicle is from Scott Merkin and highlights “game changing skills”.

Royals: Brett Phillips’ arm

Why it matters: As the Royals launch this rebuild, they are trying to do it the “Royal Way” once more, with tremendous speed and defense in the outfield as they had with Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson. Phillips, acquired from the Brewers in the Mike Moustakas trade, has blazing speed and perhaps the strongest outfield arm since Jermaine Dye — and that says a lot considering left fielder Alex Gordon is a five-time AL Gold Glove Award winner and has more outfield assists than anyone in baseball since 2010. Phillips has a 80-grade arm that he has shown off since joining the Royals.

Signature moment this season: Against the White Sox, Phillips displayed that arm by throwing a dart from center field to home to nail Leury Garcia, who was trying to tag and score. The throw was measured at 100.1 mph, the hardest throw by any Royals outfielder since Statcast™ was launched in 2015.

There were also a trio of oddball articles on Yahoo that were not Royals related but were still fun:


At the request of some in Rumblings yesterday, we’ll forego the usual Friday video game theme, which will return in two weeks.

My words certainly won’t do the woman or her legacy justice so I’ll just the music do the talking. Godspeed, Queen of Soul.

Royals throwing young arms at Blue Jays

Royals throwing young arms at Blue Jays

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With Danny Duffy and Ian Kennedy on the disabled list, the Kansas City Royals‘ rotation consists of four freshmen — Glenn Sparkman, Jorge Lopez, Brad Keller and Heath Fillmyer — and one sophomore in Jakob Junis.

Sparkman will make his first career start on Thursday night against the Toronto Blue Jays after eight relief appearances. Lopez, who was acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers as part of the Mike Moustakas trade, made his third career start on Wednesday.

Junis has made 38 starts, including 16 as a rookie last year. Keller has made 13 starts and Fillmyer six.

Sparkman (0-1, 5.06 ERA) is the oldest of the quintet at 26, while Lopez and Junis are 25. Fillmyer is 24 and Keller just turned 23.

“It’s just getting your feet wet and understanding how good you can be,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “It’s about commanding the strike zone and changing speeds. It’s not pitching behind in the count with good stuff. It’s about pitching ahead in the count with good stuff.

“It’s just continuing to trust in your stuff, believing in your stuff and go out and compete within yourself.”

Fillmyer walked five — three wound up scoring — and hit a batter in five innings in a no-decision Tuesday against the Blue Jays. While Keller won on Monday, Yost mentioned he threw more balls than strikes in the first two innings.

“That’s not going to work,” Yost said. “You have to get ahead in the count. Instead of five-six pitch decisions, there were three-and-four pitch decisions (after the second inning). He was ahead in the count. He did a better job of keeping them off-balance. You always can when you’re ahead in the count.

“You’re behind in the count, they are sitting on your best percentage pitch. Most of these guys, it’s a fastball. When you’re ahead in the count, they can’t do that. It creates a little bit of a doubt. Their stuff is all good enough to be successful when that little bit of doubt is in the back of a hitter’s mind.”

Sparkman threw 68 pitches over 4 1/3 innings in a relief appearance Friday against St. Louis. He retired 12 of the first 14 batters he faced before giving up a home run to Harrison Bader in the sixth.

“These young guys they think they’re good now, but until you know you’re good, it’s a big door to walk through: thinking you’re good and knowing you’re good. Once you know you’re good, you’ve got it. These kids for the most part, their stuff is pretty good. They’ll continue to refine and develop their pitches and their command.”

Toronto will counter with right-hander Sam Gaviglio, who was 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in four outings, including two starts, last September with Kansas City. The Royals traded him to the Jays in spring training for a player to be named.

Gaviglio (2-5, 4.86) said facing his former team for the first time does not give him an extra incentive.

“They gave me a chance last year,” Gaviglio said. “I’m thankful for that. I’m still friends with a lot of guys. I got to catch up with them a little bit a couple of days ago.

“I don’t think it really changes anything. As long as I execute my pitches, I’ll be fine.”

Gaviglio has struck out 14 in 11 innings in his past two starts.

“I think a little more consistency,” Gaviglio said. “I think everything’s kind of coming out a lot more off my fastball than it has in the past. Just learning myself and how to execute and what I want to do to hitters.”

In his last eight starts, he has pitched through the sixth inning only once.

“Just attack guys and get some early outs, some quick outs,” Gaviglio said of his goal to pitch deeper into the game. “We’ve got some good catchers here and defense. Just trust it.”

The Blue Jays are 5-1 against the Royals this season after winning 6-5 Wednesday night behind Curtis Granderson’s two-out, fourth-inning grand slam. Lopez was the losing pitcher in his Kansas City debut.

Toronto is 12-13 since the All-Star break. The Royals have lost 11 of their last 13 and dropped to 36-84 for the season.

Granderson's grand slam leads Jays past Royals 6-5

Granderson's grand slam leads Jays past Royals 6-5

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Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Russell Martin tries for but misses a foul ball hit by Kansas City Royals’ Lucas Duda during the sixth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Curtis Granderson hit a grand slam, Marco Estrada pitched effectively into the seventh inning and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Kansas City Royals 6-5 on Wednesday night.

Jorge Lopez (0-2), who was making his Royals debut after being acquired July 27 from Milwaukee as part of the Mike Moustakas trade, threw a 2-0 fastball that Granderson drove over the Royals’ right-field bullpen gate with two outs in the fourth inning.

It was Granderson’s 10th career grand slam and his second this year, both against the Royals. The first was April 18 in Toronto. He has 19 home runs and 50 RBIs in 106 games against Kansas City.

Royals pitchers have yielded a major league-leading 10 grand slams.

Kevin Pillar singled home Teoscar Hernandez with the first run of the fourth and contributed an RBI single in the second for the Blue Jays, who have won three of four.

Lopez was removed after 4 2/3 innings, allowing six runs on eight hits, two walks and a hit batter.

Estrada (6-9) gave up four runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings to pick up his first career victory at Kauffman Stadium.

Salvador Perez homered twice in the loss, his fifth career multi-homer game.

Perez connected in the first with Whit Merrifield aboard and led off the fourth with his 21st home run. Perez has hit at least 20 homers in four consecutive seasons, joining .John Mayberry, Steve Balboni, Bo Jackson and Mike Sweeney among the Royals to accomplish that feat.

Brett Phillips tripled in the seventh and scored on Alcides Escobar‘s two-out single for the other run off Estrada.

Ken Giles allowed a pinch-hit homer to Ryan O’Hearn but still earned his 15th save in as many chances and his third with the Blue Jays.

Rain delayed the start of the game by 15 minutes.

HE’S THAT FAST

Adalberto Mondesi stole three bases, including one when he was picked off first base, on Tuesday. Royals manager Ned Yost compared Mondesi’s acceleration to former Kansas City speedsters Jarrod Dyson and Terrance Gore. ”It’s up there,” Yost said. ”It’s very easy, quick, hard speed. It’s just, boom, he’s gone. It’s like the Road Runner. You expect a little pillow of dust following him. He’s that fast.”

ROSTER MOVES

Blue Jays: LHP Tim Mayza was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo. LHP Thomas Pannone was optioned to the Bisons.

Royals: RHP Blaine Boyer, who yielded a two-run eighth inning homer on Tuesday in a 6-5 loss to Toronto, was released. Boyer had a 12.05 ERA in 21 relief appearances. … The Royals sent Gore to the Cubs for cash considerations. In parts of four seasons with Kansas City, Gore was primarily used as a pinch runner, stealing 21 of 25 bases and scoring 24 runs, but went 0-for-11 in 49 games.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez (bruised right index finger) made a rehab start for Class-A Dunedin in the Class A Florida State League, going 3 2/3 innings and allowing one run on two hits, while walking four and striking out three. He threw 35 strikes in 74 pitches.

Royals: OF Brian Goodwin (left groin strain) will begin a rehab assignment Thursday with Triple-A Omaha.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: RHP Sam Gaviglio (2-5, 4.86 ERA), who was with the Royals last September and traded to Toronto in spring training, will start the series finale.

Royals: RHP Glenn Sparkman (0-1, 5.06) will make his first career start after eight relief appearances.

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Royals getting look at Lopez vs. Blue Jays

Royals getting look at Lopez vs. Blue Jays

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Marco Estrada is on the backend of his career at 35 years old.

He will become a free agent after this season, earning $13 million in 2018 with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Jorge Lopez is 25 years and just beginning his career with the Kansas City Royals, who obtained him as part of the trade July 27 that sent third baseman Mike Moustakas to the Milwaukee Brewers.

The right-handers are the probable starters Wednesday for the third contest of a four-game series.

Lopez is replacing Burch Smith in the rotation. This will be Lopez’s third big league start. He went 0-1 with a 2.75 ERA in 10 relief appearances earlier this season with the Brewers and was 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in two starts in 2015 with Milwaukee.

Estrada is 5-9 with a 4.84 in 20 starts. This will be his 271st career game and 182nd start. He has a 60-61 record with a 4.12 ERA since breaking into the majors in 2008 with the Washington Nationals.

Estrada took a no-hitter into the seventh inning in an Aug. 4 start at Seattle before giving up a one-out double to Mitch Haniger. That was the only hit he allowed before being removed after issuing a walk to lead off the eighth.

In his last start on Friday against the Tampa Bay Rays, Estrada took the loss, allowing five runs on five hits and two walks over 5 1/3 innings, while striking out six.

Estrada is 1-2 with a 3.26 ERA in three career starts against the Royals, allowing seven runs on 17 hits and five walks with 11 strikeouts over 19 1/3 innings. He is 0-2 with a 3.29 ERA in two starts at Kauffman Stadium.

Smith failed to make it out of the second inning in a 7-0 loss Friday to the St. Louis Cardinals. He permitted five runs on six hits, including homers to Matt Carpenter and Paul DeJong, and was pulled after 46 pitches in 1 2/3 innings.

He is 1-1 with a 6.82 ERA in 16 home appearances, but has a 7.87 ERA in two Kauffman Stadium starts. He is going to be the bullpen.

The Royals want to take a look at Lopez the final six weeks of the season.

“We want to see what we have,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.

He pointed out Lopez is coming off a good outing. In his last start for the Storm Chasers, Lopez pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings, while allowing three hits, walking one and striking out seven.

The Blue Jays beat the Royals 6-5 on Tuesday night to even the series at 1-1. Toronto had scored only four runs in their previous four games. Kevin Pillar hit a two-run go-ahead homer with two out in the eighth. Danny Jansen hit a solo shot, his first big league home run in his second game.

Blue Jays starter Ryan Borucki was pulled after four innings with a blister on his right foot, but is hopeful he would not miss his next start.

The Blue Jays (54-65) are 11-13 since the All-Star break.

The Royals lost for the 10th time in 12 games and are 2-6 on this homestand with two games remaining. They are 47 games below .500 at 36-83 with 43 games left.

Pillar homers in 8th to lift Blue Jays over Royals 6-5

Pillar homers in 8th to lift Blue Jays over Royals 6-5

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Toronto Blue Jays’ Kevin Pillar celebrates with Aledmys Diaz (1) after hitting a two-run home run during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kevin Pillar hit a two-run homer with two outs in the eighth inning to lift the Toronto Blue Jays over the Kansas City Royals 6-5 on Tuesday night.

Blaine Boyer (2-1) retired his first two batters before walking Aledmys Diaz and backing Pillar into an 0-2 count. Pillar hit the next pitch over the wall down the left field line.

Ken Giles worked a perfect ninth for his 14th save and second with the Blue Jays since being acquired from Houston on July 30.

Salvador Perez and Jorge Bonifacio hit back-to-back doubles in the seventh off Jake Petricka (2-1) to give the Royals a short-lived 5-4 lead.

Adalberto Mondesi had a career-high four hits, including two doubles, stole three bases, drove in a run and scored a run for Kansas City.

The Blue Jays, who had scored four runs in their previous four games total, jumped to a 3-0 advantage. Teoscar Hernandez and Kendrys Morales walked to lead off the second and both scored. Pillar contributed a two-out RBI single, while the other run scored when Diaz grounded into a double play.

Heath Fillmyer walked two more Jays in the third and hit Russell Martin with a pitch with the bases loaded for the third run.

The Royals answered with three runs in third, which included Perez’s run-producing double and Whit Merrifield and Alex Gordon adding RBI singles.

Danny Jansen put the Blue Jays ahead 4-3 in the fourth with his first big league home run in his second game.

The Royals quickly tied it with Mondesi’s two-out single scoring Alcides Escobar, who had doubled.

Fillmyer left after five innings and 93 pitches, allowing four runs, five hits and five walks.

Blue Jays starter Ryan Borucki was pulled after four innings, yielding four runs, six hits and four walks.

The Royals have lost 10 of 12.

Rain delayed the start of the game 31 minutes.

DOUBLES FOR ESCOBAR

Escobar’s sixth-inning double was the 200th of his career. He is the 11th Royal to reach that milestone.

JAYS ACQUIRE BAKER

The Blue Jays acquired minor league RHP Bryan Baker from the Rockies as the player to be named in a July 26 trade that sent RHP Seunghawan Oh to Colorado. Baker posted a 3.80 ERA in 43 relief appearances with Class A Lancaster.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: Boyer was making his first appearance since April 29 and missing 61 games with a back strain. … RHP Aaron Sanchez (bruised right index finger) will make a rehab start Wednesday for Class A Dunedin in the Florida State League.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: RHP Marco Estrada (5-9, 4.84 ERA) will start the third game of the series.

Royals: RHP Burch Smith (1-4, 6.97) will make his seventh start after beginning the season in the bullpen.

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports