Wednesday, April 29, 2015

KC hit parade

Last night, the Royals went to Pound Town and laid wood all over Progressive Field in Cleveland. They had 11 runs and 18 hits, giving them 216 hits on the season, which leads all of baseball. For the second straight night, 8 of the 9 Royals players got at least one hit. Yesterday, I pointed out some individual performances driving the Royals’ success, but today, I thought I would highlight the team as a whole. I wanted to take a closer look at some of the team's hitting stats so far in this young season and see what might be interesting:

The Royals average the most hits per game, by almost one full hit over the next closest team, and they average 3.5 more hits per game than the Phillies, who average the least. That is incredible. The chart below shows some of the best and worst hitting teams, along with the league averages:

The Royals have the highest Batted Balls in Play (BABIP) in the MLB (.341), which is a measure of the batting average of all at-bats minus strikeouts and home runs, since a ball is not in play during those. What this means in reality is that they are hitting the ball hard, resulting in more hits. 

The Royals have 9 players who have at least 10 hits, and the Padres have 8, Rockies have 8, Orioles have 10, Tigers have 9, White Sox have 7, Angels have 7, Rangers have 6, and Phillies have 7. 

The Royals have 65 extra base hits, meaning they are not solely relying on singles and sacrifices to advance runners like they have in the past. 

To go along with those hits, the Royals have scored 106 runs, which is the fourth most in the MLB, and more than every team in the National League. Of those 106 runs, 99 were batted in, which is also the fourth most in the MLB. I made another chart of the runs in the MLB for a closer look at some teams, as well as the league averages:
The Royals have a run differential of 40, which is by far the best in baseball. St. Louis is second with a run differential of 28.

The Royals still have the fewest strikeouts in baseball (110), which is 17 fewer than the next closest team, (ATL). It is also a full 4 fewer strikeouts per game than the league leader (HOU).  

Since the Tigers lost to the Twins last night (thanks Minnesota!), the Royals are back in first place. Even better, the Royals just defeated the Indians' two best pitchers. Hopefully the Royals continue their winning ways into the weekend’s series against the Tigers. Saturday night's Royals-Tigers matchup is certainly more important to me than the Mayweather-Pacquaio fight. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

#3 in MLB, #1 in our Hearts

The Royals won in Cleveland last night, pushing their record to 13-6, which is third-best in all of baseball. Their strong start has been driven by the energy and enthusiasm of the team, as well as individual performances. Even though there is still 88% of the season left to play, it is worth singling out some of the players who are driving this early season success, so below you will find some statistics that are helping the Royals thrive:
  • Lorenzo Cain has the 5th highest batting average (.362) in the AL, which includes 25 hits and 2 home runs, along with 12 RBI’s. He also has 5 stolen bases, 6 bases on balls, and has been hit by 4 pitches. His on-base percentage (.438) is 8th highest in the MLB.
  • Edinson Volquez has been even better than advertised, leading the Royals’ starting pitchers with an ERA of 1.91 and 23 strikeouts. He has also given up only 5 bases on balls in 28.1 innings pitched. 
  •  The Royals bullpen has been outstanding, allowing only 5 earned runs on the season in 59.9 innings pitched, good for a 0.75 ERA. They also have 57 strikeouts and 8 saves. Wicked good, even though closer Greg Holland has missed the past few weeks due to injury. The MLB already knows how good the Royals bullpen is, BUT THEY ARE HELPLESS TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT:
  • Paulo Orlando, who spent the past 9 years in the Minors, has been making the best of his first shot at The Show. He currently has a .289 batting average with 5 triples (more than all but 10 TEAMS in the MLB), and 4 bases on balls in only 45 career at-bats. He has filled in nicely in right field for the injured Alex Rios.
  • Defensively, there are no weaknesses. Sal Perez has thrown out 7 runners trying to steal, and runners are only lucky enough to steal a base on him 22% of the time, and overall lead the all of baseball by allowing only 36.4% of runners to steal. The Royals as a whole only have 10 errors, which is fewer than all but 5 teams, which has helped them have the 4th best defensive efficiency ratio in the MLB. Alex Gordon seems to be on his way to another Gold Glove, and Eric Hosmer, Perez, and Alcides Escobar are also building their cases for one as well. Gordon had the best catch of the year this past Sunday (see below):
  • Mike Moustakas, who only had 17 opposite field hits last season, already has 14 this season. His new approach at the plate has allowed him to be a very effective hitter batting second in the lineup. His on-base percentage (.419) ranks #20 in the MLB, and his batting average (.342) is second-best on the Royals. He is tied for the team lead with 3 home runs and has also been hit by 6 pitches. 
The Royals have had a great start to the season and I hope it continues. They may be third-best in baseball but they are number one in my heart. Let's go Royals!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Suspensions galore

This past weekend was rough for the Royals. Friday’s game against the White Sox was delayed by rain, and then Saturday’s was suspended. The Royals ended up losing the delayed game, and then lost their regularly scheduled game on Sunday. In addition, the MLB handed out suspensions to the Royals like they were Halloween candy. No, they were giving them out like Oprah:
 Yordano Ventura received a 7-game suspension, Edinson Volquez received a 5-game suspension, and Lorenzo Cain and Kelvin Herrera received 2-game suspensions. The White Sox, who were the ones who started last Thursday’s fracas, only received two 5-game suspensions. The MLB is sending a clear signal that it is perfectly okay to bean the other team and get into fights, as long as you do it first. Idiots. The MLB is becoming a corporate version of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

This whole charade has got me up in fumes, and if I was the MLB commissioner, after reviewing the evidence, here are the punishments I would have doled out:

White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton: 162 game-suspension for being a little douche and starting the whole thing.

White Sox pitcher Chris Sale: 1,620 game suspension for trying to fight Yordano Ventura AFTER SALE WAS ALREADY EJECTED. A lesser suspension is sending the message to children around the world that it is ok to be violent for no reason, just like drug cartels. Chicago = savage. 

White Sox pitcher Jeff Samardzija: 16,200 game suspension for attacking Royals 3rd base coach Mike Jirschele, who is 56 years old, and smushing his face into the dirt at US Cellular field (pic below). Additionally, Samardzija gets a lifetime ban from MLB activities for his role in plunking Lorenzo Cain with a pitch on Opening Day, right after Mike Moustakas hit a home run, WHICH WAS CLEARLY INTENTIONAL. Samardzija would also be forced to cut his disgusting hair.
White Sox fans: 1 million game suspension because they were chanting “Royals Suck” this past weekend and thus they are complete ignoramuses. THEY ARE THE DEFENDING AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONS, YOU MORONS. The White Sox have the 4th-worst attendance in the league and barely deserve a team.

I would give the Royals 0 suspensions because they are clearly not at fault whatsoever and the MLB should do everything in its power to protect the Reigning AL Champions. And it's not like Yordano Ventura said anything to Adam Eaton that you can't already hear on the Disney channel...

The Royals play the Indians and Tigers this week. Should be a tough week but I believe the Royals will be fine, despite having half their team either: 1) suspended, or 2) dealing with injuries suffered as a result of being hit by a pitch.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Undefeated against the White Sux

As a huge baseball fan, one of the items on my bucket list is to see all 30 MLB stadiums. I currently do not have the funds to see all of them in 23 days like one guy did. Heck, I couldn’t even see all of them in one season, much less 30 days.  However, I do make it a point to check out every stadium I can when travelling, and I have personally seen the following stadiums:

Great American Ballpark (Reds), Wrigley Field (Cubs), US Cellular Field (White Sox), Minute Maid Park and Astrodome (Astros), Busch Stadium – both old and new (Cardinals), Arlington Stadium (Rangers), Target Field and Metrodome (Twins), AT&T Park (Giants), Fenway Park (Red Sox), and of course, Kauffman Stadium. I should note that I was not able to go inside AT&T Park (although I did get inside their team store), Fenway Park, or the Astrodome. 

I know this is a short list and only 9 MLB teams are represented so I am likely missing out on some beautiful baseball stadiums (in particular, I really want to visit PNC Park in Pittsburgh and Camden Yards in Baltimore). However, I did want to provide some rankings on the stadiums I have visited. 

Best overall stadium: Kauffman Stadium. I know I am biased but you cannot beat the tailgating atmosphere, cheap tickets, and beautiful views of the field from anywhere in the stadium. My favorite place to watch the game is to watch from the seats in Rivals (bar in right field) or standing in front of the fountains in the outfield area. 
Beautiful Kauffman Stadium, behind the famous fountains. Heaven on Earth
Best stadium food: Minute Maid Park. The Astros, despite their losing ways in recent years, have really hit it out of the park with the food they offer. I have posted about their food previously (here and here), but you really have to experience it yourself. They serve local beers that are delicious, and although they do not have a tremendous amount of variation in their food offerings, they do have helmet nachos, which are one of my favorite things in the world. If you ever want to visit, I am happy to show you around.  The stadium is best when the roof is open, which isn't all that often since it is so humid in Houston.
Minute Maid Park in Houston, which has a retractable roof and delicious food
Best view from stadium: Busch Stadium. It is hard to beat the view of the famous St. Louis arch, although Minute Maid Park has a fantastic view of downtown Houston from seats on the first base side. 
Gorgeous view from Busch Stadium
Best tailgating: Kauffman Stadium. Ribs, dogs, brats, Boulevard – what can beat that?!? No stadium can even come close to the wonderful sights and smells emanating from the massive parking lot surrounding the Truman Sports Complex. Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is built similarly to the Truman Sports Complex in that there is a huge parking area surrounding the Rangers and Cowboys’ stadiums, but even though everything is bigger in Texas, their tailgates are not as good.  

Worst Stadium: By far, the worst stadium on this list, in my most objective and unbiased opinion, is US Cellular Field in Chicago. I will openly admit that I thoroughly dislike the White Sox, but their stadium simply sucks. It has a poor, bland design and the views of the field are not very good. Even worse, you are only able to walk around whichever level your seats are on, so if you buy the cheap seats in the nose bleed section you cannot get down to the field level and watch batting practice. Downtown Chicago is barely visible from the stadium, and many White Sox fans are disgusting. Food options are very mediocre (although they do have helmet nachos!), and just about the only positive (besides helmet nachos!) is that it is easily accessible by public transportation, although it does take a good 20-30 minutes to get there from downtown. White Sox uniforms are boring, they have no exciting players to watch (except for Chris Sale, who is only exciting if you like watching pitching), and their manager is a joke. While attending the University of Iowa, I met many people from Chicago and even though almost everyone from there loves the Cubs, very few of them have the same sentiment towards the White Sox. And after watching last night’s game between the Royals and White Sox, it is certainly easy to see why.
US Cellular Field. Blah.
 For those of you who didn’t watch or have not heard/read about it yet, the game included an almost 10-minute brawl that interrupted the game and set off another media storm surrounding the defending AL Champs. This time, the blame should be placed on the White Sox, who first hit Mike Moustakas with a pitch (on the shoulder and face), and then later instigated both benches clearing when Adam Eaton made a remark to Yordano Ventura to which Ventura replied with an expletive that set off the brawl. 5 players were ejected (3 Royals), giving the Royals 9 ejections for the season (most in all of baseball), and even though that makes them look like the ultimate bad guys, one need only look to the very first game of the season to see why the White Sox commenced the violence this year (Jeff Samardzija plunked Lorenzo Cain after Moustakas hit a home run on Opening Day). In all honesty, the Royals were due to go after the White Sox, if only to keep their pride. Samardzija was one of the main pugilists during the brawl and was ejected. He should be facing a suspension.

After the dust settled from the brawl, the game itself lasted until the 13th inning, when Eric Hosmer drove home Jarrod Dyson, who was filling in for Lorenzo Cain after he was ejected in the melee. The Royals are now 4-0 versus the White Sox this season. Let’s hope they stay undefeated against those boys from the South Side. There are 3 games left in the series, so we may see another fight or two…

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Losing to Twins = facepalm

Last night the stupid Twins continued their ability to slow the Royals, winning 3-0 at Kauffman Stadium. It really made me angry. Here is an actual picture of my reaction:
The Twins already have 11 errors this season and they average only 3.2 runs per game. They hit two Royals with a pitch last night, not out of anger or animosity, but BECAUSE THEY SUCK. So understandably, I would rather have a paper cut on every finger than watch the Twins shut out the Royals. In fact, below is a list of things I would rather have than watch the Twins shut out the Royals:

-I would rather have half of my fingernails pulled out

-I would rather listen to Justin Bieber for 3 hours straight

-I would rather watch any of the following crappy Adam Sandler movies: Blended, Jack and Jill, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, Grown Ups 1, Grown Ups 2, or That’s My Boy 

-I would rather have my eyebrows waxed

-I would rather give an important presentation at work with a visible booger in my nose 

-I would rather have to cover my arm in Livestrong bracelets

-I would rather be a contestant on Who Wants to be a Millionaire but get the first question wrong, like this guy or this lady.

-I would rather go bowling and throw every single ball in the gutter

-I would rather have to carry a selfie stick around for an entire week 

-And finally, I would rather spend a day in Detroit, Michigan which is the most disgusting city in the world. If you do not believe me, check out the pics below:
The city is clearly not fit for normal human beings to live in. By the way, the Yankees destroyed David Price and the Tigers 13-4 last night so HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA the Tigers suck!!!!!!!!!!!

Next up for the Royals is a series in Chicago versus the White Sox. Beat the Sox Boys!