Leftridge: Royals April Recap

At this juncture, there’s no point in discussing just how abysmal this year’s Royals team is shaping up to be; everyone knows how unbearably awful they are and almost everything that is worth saying has already been said.

The starting pitching is uniformly poor.
The offense—teeming with youngsters full of promise and talent—has looked overmatched and been ineffective.
The bullpen has been inconsistent and riddled with injuries.
Ned Yost is a complete jackass ill-equipped to manage a t-ball game.
Yes, pontificating on the sorry state of your Kansas City Royals is akin to beating a dead horse—and then repeatedly raping that horse while the young horse’s son looks on, crying.
That’s why I thought it might be beneficial to take a look at the good—and it’s an admittedly short list—that transpired over the first month of the season. With bad, surely there must come good, right? Anyone…?
Let’s start with the obvious:
 
Hitting for Power.
Since the dawn of Billy Butler, we’ve been promised the rise of a chubby lad capable of busting out stadium lighting with one fell swoop of his maple. Ditto Alex Gordon. And Eric Hosmer, and Mike Moustakas. Power develops over time, however, and rare is the hot young prospect who immediately begins crushing towering shots fresh out of the gate. It seems that now, however, the boys have started piecing it together. Butler and Hosmer have five a piece, which puts them on track to knock in around 30. Gordon and Moose have a respectable four each. Though pickings grow slim the further you move down the stat sheet, it’s encouraging to see our supple young power-potential guys, well, hitting for power.
 
Playing His Way Out.
When not having his ankles busted with wicked line drives back to the mound, Luke Hochevar is either pitching lights out or getting his shit rocked harder than your douchebag hipster friend at a Jeff Mangum concert. There seems to be no in between, and for the “ace” of a pitching staff, this is COMPLETELY unacceptable. Fun stats with Hoch time, everyone!
–      Hochevar’s 2012 ERA of 7.36 is third worst in the American League!
–      His career ERA of 5.37 compares “favorably” with other Royals’ pitching legends like BRANDON DUCKWORTH and former staff ace (LOLZ) RUNELVYS HERNANDEZ!
–      He’s making $3.5 million this year!
–      He’ll turn 29 this season, the magical age at which statisticians say a pitcher is entering their peak!
With any hope, his schizophrenic April is beginning to spell the end of Luke. And no, we don’t need him to spend some time in the minors, and no, he doesn’t need to work some things out mechanically. He’s a terrible pitcher and a complete bust. With any luck, his gigantic, Dumbo-like ears will fly him back to Colorado so that Kansas City sports fans will no longer be saddled with the stink of his failure.
 
Jonathan Broxton Settles In.
After a blown save in early April against the mighty Oakland Athletics (.500 record!), Big Butter Broxton has “gutted” out some saves and looked “well-rounded” in doing so. His previously “rotund” ERA has dropped to a respectable 1.86, and the shoulder injury that precipitated the Dodgers’ willingness to part with him seems to be a non-issue. Broxton appears ready to carry a “hefty” workload.
Fat jokes, everyone.
But seriously, Broxton looks good which means we can flip him to a contender in July. And though the cities purveyors of fine barbecue may weep, it’s simply a necessitation.
 
Gloat ‘Em If You Got ‘Em.
You know who has a worse team ERA than the Royals? The BASTAN FACKIN’ RED SOX and the MINNESOTA TWINS. That’s right, suck it, you bean-eating racists and… nice people with mostly pleasant dispositions. Again, this may seem petty, or insignificant, but when you’re a Kansas City sports fan, you take the small victories and act like they’re a really big deal. If you don’t, you’re liable to vomit yourself to death and/or abuse prescription pain medication.
 
Alright, so I was only able to come up with four. Four, measly (though exciting!!!) things to take away from the first month of the season. Be sure to tune in for next month’s installment where I hope to share the following:
–      Ned Yost’s dismissal.
–      Yuniesky’s Player of the Month honors (don’t ask).
–      Luke Hochevar’s demotion (they won’t release him, unfortunately, but at least it’s a start).
–      A THREE GAME WINNING STREAK, YO.
–      Hosmer raises his season average to something north of .200.
–      Jarrod Dyson uses his speed for something good (triples, stolen bases) instead of evil (hilarious miscues in centerfield).
Until then, we’ll see you in the cellar, sports fans!
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13 Responses to Leftridge: Royals April Recap

  1. dreamwriter326 says:

    I’m not seeing it that way
    This won’t be the popular sentiment, and possibly will sound a bit like lunacy, but I haven’t given up on this team at all. This is the youngest team in the Majors, and they’re off to a slow start (won 5 of the last 7, though).

    Hosmer, Butler, Moustakas, Francoeur, Gordon … etc., I’m excited to be a Royals fan this year. You guys can tell me how wrong I am if you want _ and I might be _ but it’s way too early to write off this team. I will not be surprised if they are .500 by the All-Star break, and finish better than that.

    Or they could finish 15 games under, who knows? All I’m saying is these guys are different from the days of Angel Berroa or Jose Guillen half-assing their way through a season. Seeing Hosmer celebrate a hit, or Moustakas bare-hand a dribbler and make the throw for the final out … that’s just fun.

    Go Royals.

  2. Brandon Leftridge says:

    @ dreamwriter
    I agree about the excitement of watching the young guys grow. Moustakas has had a really promising start, which is encouraging. It’s too bad there aren’t more fans with your level of optimism.

  3. Jim says:

    Reality Check
    Fellas, fellas, fellas. Neither of you mentioned one, single pitcher. Young talent for position players gets you nothing in this league. Three things translates into wins. 1. Pitching 2. Pitching 3. Pitching.

    Homerun hitters and pitching. THAT wins championships. Royals have neither. End. Of. Story.

    Love the boys in Blue. But, I’m a realist. 72 Wins / 90 Losses.

  4. Brandon Leftridge says:

    @Jim
    Jim– I actually wrote the article. I mentioned pitching– both terrible and fantastic. I disagree with the sentiment that we have no power hitters.

    I also don’t think that we have a chance to compete this year. There’s nothing in my previous comment that said that– I simply stated that it’s fun watching Hosmer and Moose in all of their youthful exuberence, and that I wished others had the optimism that dreamwriter does.

    Cheers.

  5. Jim says:

    @BL
    OK, I guess time will tell if your optimism or my realism was the prudent position. You cannot win in this league without pitching. Royals have none. I mean they really have none. They will be lucky to have 12 or 14 game winner. And that guy will be your ACE! It just isn’t good enough. Maybe, just MAYBE, the homerun record might be eclipsed this year. But, I doubt it. Most teams have a guy or guys that hit 40 dingers year in and year out. The Royals haven’t had ONE of them for nearly 30 years!

    I’m a huge Royals fan, Brandon. But what I see on the field is NOT good enough. It doesn’t make me optimistic about anything.

  6. Kerouac says:

    Closer Broxton’s 9th inning entrance song should be
    ‘Pressure’ by Billy Joel… or maybe ‘I Fall To Pieces’ by Patsy Cline.

    I wouldn’t count on him being another Joakim Soria, who KC likewise took off the LA Dodgers hands an few years ago. For all of JS success / LA’s miscalculation, Broxton is a guy who had success in LA and then lost it, whereas Soria never knew said as a Dodger.

    I’ve been a Dodgers fan since the 1950’s (when I was not being a fan of / feeling compassion for my hometown KC Athletics). A short time ago I commented that Broxton would disappoint Royals fans, given a little time…scant days later, JB hit batters back to back (pun intended) to force in the winning run. Point: do not let his early success (relatively speaking) become expectation, or, like Chiefs fans a Schottenheimer playoff team any, your heart will be broken..

    There is a reason a team like the Dodgers (who are steeped in pitching tradition) gave up on the guy. As happens with relievers fairly often, he just lost ‘it’/ said went…it started at the All Star break in 2010 (a game in which he laid a giant egg) and things went downhill from there. JB seemed to have a problem with such pressure situations & pitching in LA didn’t help (a closer that ‘can’t’ is sort of like Milli Vanilli unplugged.) That Broxton (‘the biggest man in the world’ according to TV analyst and former MLB’r Mark Grace) is no Jack LaLane may have contributed to or exacerbated his elbow injury recent past. Hopefully given time, the once stellar JB finds ongoing success here in KC but like love given an ex who doesn’t reciprocate, management may get but an alimony obligation & that’s some strong coffee.

    Speaking of which, the NL Dodgers are trying the same recycling tack with an former AL reliever Todd Coffey, whose listed 240 (right… and then some) poundage makes him Broxton light as it were. These guys as others ‘may’ find a brief respite elsewhere, but almost without fail they are on borrowed MLB time, and running on fumes. Unless they can manage recreate themselves from fastballer to knuckleballer or become Jaime Moyer (or sell their soul a baseball sense ala Dorian Grey), will be only a matter of time till the Grim Reaper comes for them (by the way, Hochevar too was (almost) an ex-Dodger… his case, LA not capitulating to Scott Bora$ looks to have been the right choice.)

  7. Brandon Leftridge says:

    @ Jim
    I appreciate your input. Again, I’M not optimistic– I just said it would be nice if more people were.

    You’re right on all accords, really. There’s pitching in the pipeline, but the big question becomes, can they match it up with the young offensive talent when THAT talent is ready to bloom? That remains to be seen.

  8. Brandon Leftridge says:

    @Kerouac
    Excellent post.

    And I wholeheartedly agree with the evaluation of Broxton. I wrote a piece a few weeks ago about Broxton, and how Yost cannot allow any room for failure. Despite Broxton’s recent run of success, nothing gold can stay. I’m just hoping he can hold it together until the trade deadline.

  9. Kerouac says:

    Mea culpa, mama mia
    Sara, Farrow and Zottoli…

    I concur with myself too BL – except when I get confused (which is often nowadays.) Broxton’s ‘meltdown’ came in a regular season game vs the Yankees, not in the All Star game. Rather, yet ANOTHER Dodger reliever (now a former) named Hong Chih Kuo came apart at the seams in the All Star game a couple of years ago. He was a lefty closer of brief renown who threw about, oh, 100 mph & was let go by the Dodgers end of last season; Seattle signed him this spring expecting deja vue and instead found flotsam…Kuo is now out of baseball, note to Royals fandom.

  10. Brandon Leftridge says:

    @KEROUAC
    Yes, I believe Broxton lost his closer gig TO Mr. Kuo, if I’m not mistaken.

  11. the dude says:

    Always room on the
    Cards Nation bus, climb aboard!

  12. balbonis moleskine says:

    We have a great core with Butler, Gordon, Moose and possibly Hosmer. Danny Duffy looks like a solid number 2 starter this year, will eventually develop into our ace. Chen is a solid 3rd/4th starter but nothing spectacular.

    The problem isn’t hitting. The problem is pitching, as always in baseball. To win a division you pretty much need a solid (but not exceptional) group of hitters and 3 money pitchers. We have the solid core of bats but have one pitcher. Montgomery in AAA will hopefully be another of those 3 money pitchers.

    That means to win a division in the near future we need Montgomery to pan out and the Royals to get one more money starter via free agency. Two solid starters probably means wild card in future years.

    Personally, I enjoy watching the team. They are young enough to care about the team–not a bunch of 35 year old journeymen. The tickets are laughably cheap and the K is one of the most beautiful baseball fields in the country.

  13. balbonis moleskine says:

    to clarify, our current money pitcher is Duffy. I don’t believe in Hochevar as a high quality talent.

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