In what looked like a very difficult road-trip, the Royals came out of it with a respectable 3-4 record. Here are the key headlines:
Bullpen Falters a Couple of Times
With the starting rotation the Royals possess this season, the bullpen won’t have to be leaned on as much as it may have been a couple of years ago. However, with Holland’s closer job set in stone, it is up to the other relievers to bridge the gap. In one of the losses to the Indians on Wednesday, Kelvin Herrera was pegged with the loss. Jason Vargas and Justin Masterson matched each other pitch-for-pitch and had the game at 3-3 tie after six. It was here where Kelvin Herrera gave up the run to give the Indians the lead and they were never able to comeback. I definitely think Herrera has what it takes to be an elite arm in the backend of the bullpen, but he’s got to start being more productive after he struggled through the second half of last year. The other game where the bullpen failed the team was on Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Orioles. After Duffy made a couple of errors and hit a batter, the inevitable came up giving the Orioles a walk-off win.
James Shields is Rolling Now
After starting the year 0-2 (although not entirely his fault), Shields has been locked in his last three starts:
4/17 vs. Astros – 8.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 12 SO
4/22 vs. Indians – 6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 9 SO
4/27 vs. Orioles – 7.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 6 SO
Shields has looked dominant and it has been nice to see his strikeout numbers up. Aside from being the ace the Royals greatly need, Shields has helped the team so much with his leadership qualities he brings to the club. The young guys, like Yordano Ventura, can greatly benefit from the knowledge and guidance from a veteran like James Shields.
Where’s the Power At?
I knew the Royals weren’t necessarily a club that would pop a lot of homers, but I expected a little more than they’ve produced so far. Billy Butler’s struggles again this season lead me to believe he may be no more than a 15-20 homerun player, which is really disappointing considering his main asset to the team is hitting as he is a full-time DH. Anyways, the homerun totals for the Royals so far this year are:
Mike Moustakas – 4
Omar Infante – 2
Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez, Alcides Escobar, Danny Valencia – 1
No matter how good of pitching you got, you need some more homeruns than this in today’s game.
Next Week Look Ahead
This next week the Royals will square off against the Toronto Blue Jays (April 29-30, May 1) and the Detroit Tigers (May 2-4) with all the games coming at home in Kauffman Stadium. Look for Billy Butler to either start producing or possibly be moved down in the order if he doesn’t.
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