Since it’s an off night let’s take a quick look at the state of the Royals. 11-19 is where we currently stand. I thought it would be more like 14-16 at this early point in the season but we hit a rough patch early on.
Obviously we can’t talk about the beginning of the season without touching on the 12 game losing streak. We already know what happened there. But if you look at the way this team has played since then it isn’t that bad. We’ve gone 8-5 over the last 13 since the streak ended and with the pitching we trot out there every night that’s an accomplishment.
Had we been able to avoid that horrid 12 game stretch we could easily be .500 or above. The 14-16 mark (which I thought we would have been around) could have been met by just winning 3 during the first homestand. Coulda, shoulda, woulda……I know, but I’m just saying.
To move forward and climb out of the hole we created, winning baseball games is a must. That sounds like an obvious statement…..and it is. But it really is that simple.
Here are some suggestions/thoughts on what needs to be done to keep playing above .500 ball:
1. We must get better starting pitching. Sanchez is on the DL but I don’t even think he’s really hurt. This is a chance for him to get away from starting games and figure some things out. If he doesn’t “figure it out” he could be out of the equation entirely. Hochevar isn’t getting the same treatment, the Royals are going to keep sending him out there with full faith and confidence. Strange to me, but I’m not the coach. Chen, Duffy and Paulino should at least give us a chance to win most nights.
The way I see it, we might as well go to a “pitcher by committee” approach and let the back end of the rotation become a hodgepodge of Teaford, Adcock, Sanchez, Hochevar, Mendoza and Mazarro. These guys are basically all the same anyways so why not let them alternate starts at the back end based on availability. Basically they would all be long relievers that split spot starts. If you think about it, the 4th and 5th pitchers in the American League are basically long relievers anyways so why not try a new and radical approach to the way you handle your staff. This would go beyond the manager that decides to occasionally use a 6 man rotation, it would literally be 5 or 6 guys sharing the 4th and 5th pitching spots in what was a traditional 5 man rotation.
I know it sounds a little absurd and people will argue that it would be too difficult to manage but essentially this is the way the Royals have been doing things all year. We’ve used at least 8 starters already this season. I think it would be a nice mix-up/change of pace and possibly even throw other teams off their game. Imagine not being able to game plan for the pitcher you were going to face in game 3 of the series match-up.
Enough of my sacrilegious baseball talk………on to my next point.
2. We need to get healthy and get a regular lineup in place. Start by getting Sally Perez back behind the plate, getting Lorenzo Cain back in CF, deciding why Giavotella is here and getting a stable line up in place. Our offense hasn’t been that bad so I can’t complain too much but things could be better. Dyson has done an okay job in CF, Getz has had an above average year thus far and the catchers acceptable. I think we will be improved however once Perez, Cain and Giovatella are playing everyday.
One thing I will mention regarding Getz is that I’m confused. The entire Giavotella thing is blowing my mind. I really think Dayton had something in place with another team to trade Getz and it fell apart at the last minute. I really don’t see another reason we have 2 second baseman on the team along with a career AAA utility man (Falu). Something will have to give here unless they plan on platooning Gio and Getz.
3. Hosmer needs to turn things around. I don’t expect him to rebound and have a great year in the batting average department but he needs to become clutch. Driving in runs, hitting for high OPS and knocking some HR’s should be his focus for the season. I really think he could still have a very nice campaign. The kid has too much talent to struggle indefinitely. Once he gets it going in the three hole this team will look totally different. Butler and Gordon are doing a nice job already and Hosmer will only help to contribute further once his production is up.
There are many other points I could ramble on about but let’s open things to the comment section. What are some thoughts you guys have about the above comments and what do you think needs to be done to continue our winning ways?