Yes! Finally finished grad school classes for the semester, which means I have more time to write. Anyways, here are a few quick things worth sharing before the Royals kick off their homestand against the Milwaukee Brewers this evening at Kauffman Stadium (if they get in tonight).
Talks with North Side Sox (CHW) and Walkin’ Off Podcast (MIL)
Last Friday before the White Sox series in Chicago, I was able to talk with Janice Scurio and Sam Sherman of the “North Side Sox” podcast, which is hosted on the site “South Side Sox” which is an affiliate White Sox blog of SB Nation.
Royals prospects and rookies we should keep our eyes on: Kyle Isbel, Brady Singer, Sebastian Rivero
Danny Duffy’s hot start
Other Royals on a tear: Salvador Perez, Whit Merrifield, Carlos Santana, Andrew Benintendi
A walk down memory lane: the Royals actually won a World Series with Ned Yost as manager
Kevin wrote not long ago that he believes the White Sox and Royals will contend for the AL Central. We ask him why, and if he expects Cleveland, Minnesota, and Detroit will put up any kind of fight for the division.
Kevin shares his KC hot spots with us: BBQ, cool neighborhoods, and a place we’d love to visit someday: the Negro Leagues Museum.“North Side Sox Podcast 15: The Kansas City BBQ” by Janice Scurio and Sam Sherman; South Side Sox
In addition, I was able to go on the Walkin’ Off podcast on Sunday night and talk with Tom, Todd and Francisco, who are three big Milwaukee Brewers fans and analysts. We talked about the upcoming series at Kauffman Stadium; why MLB instant replay needs an overhaul; and I also shared some Royals players to watch this season and even in this upcoming two-game slate.
Here is a video of the podcast below, but you can find it on other platforms here via Twitter.
Danny Duffy Injury
The Royals got some awful and deflating news on Monday on the off-day, which doesn’t bode well for their chances in this upcoming Brewers series:
The Royals have placed southpaw Danny Duffy on the 10-day injured list (retroactive to May 14) with a left forearm flexor strain, Anne Rogers of MLB.com tweets. They’ll make a corresponding roster move Tuesday.“Royals Place Danny Duffy On 10-Day IL” by Connor Byrne; MLB Trade Rumors
The Royals starting pitching hasn’t been a total disaster, but they haven’t been really good either, as they currently rank 26th in starting pitcher ERA and 27th in starting pitching WHIP, according to Fangraphs. A big reason why the Royals starting staff isn’t a total tire fire is that Duffy has been stupendous this year, as he is posting a 1.94 ERA and 10.37 K/9 in seven starts and 41.2 IP this year. He has been worth 1.6 fWAR, according to Fangraphs, and his absence will be sorely missed, especially in a series where the Royals will face two of the best pitchers in the National League Central (more on this later).
In the wake of Duffy moving to the IL, Kris Bubic moves into the rotation and will start in Duffy’s spot on Tuesday. Bubic has been solid as he is posting a 1.42 ERA in 12.2 IP after being called up from Omaha in May. However, a lot of his work has been in cleanup duty after rough Daniel Lynch starts, and it will be interesting to see how Bubic responds in his first start of the year. A good start from Bubic could give Royals fans hope that the pitching staff will be able to hold down the fort until Duffy returns. A rough start and well…a season that suddenly went south in May could become even worse by June.
Can the Royals get to Woodruff or Burnes?
The Royals catch the Brewers at a rough time, especially in the wake of the Duffy injury. The Royals will face the Brewers’ No. 1 and No. 2 starters Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes, who have both been lights out for the Brew Crew this year.
Woodruff has a 1.64 ERA and has struck out 61 batters in 49.1 IP this year. Burnes has arguably been even better, as he has a 1.54 ERA and has struck out 58 batters in 34.1 IP. What’s even more incredible about Burns is that he has allowed only ONE walk this entire year. In this era of baseball, where hitters are trained to be more patient than ever, that walk mark from Burnes is INSANE.
The Royals have struggled against pitchers who pile up the strikeouts, so this two-game stretch will be a difficult one for this lineup. On the bright side, the Royals have hit better at home than on the road so far this season. They have a .285 wOBA and 82 wRC+ (which both rank 25th in the league) in away games, but they have a .317 wOBA and 100 wRC+ at Kauffman Stadium (which ranks 12th and 14th, respectively).
Therefore, the fact that the Royals are returning back to the K bodes well for the offense, which will need to be in full force in the absence of the Duffy and amidst recent bullpen struggles. Safe to say though, the Royals haven’t faced many pitchers of Woodruff or Burnes’ caliber so far at Kauffman Stadium this year (only one really was Shane Bieber, who they did okay against), so it will be interesting to see if the Royals lineup will break through against the pair, or if the Royals will be another victim of Woodruff and Burnes’ strikeout-generating approaches.
Photo Credit: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images