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Salvy Someday to Cooperstown?

Jun 21, 2016 -- 10:48am

By Chad Rader
810whb.com Site Editor

 

Any statements about the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Royals historically have stopped and started with two words:

George Brett

After then, perhaps a couple of players have stirred early thoughts of finishing their career with a speech at Cooperstown. Bret Saberhagen. Carlos Beltran.

Heck, from 1995-2010, it was tough to foresee the next player just in the Royals Hall of Fame. After Mike Sweeney retired, there weren’t even many Royals who played more than five years. Let alone put up any worthy numbers. To even think Kansas City would produce a Baseball Hall of Famer, well, that was laughable.

Until now, and while the roster is filled with future Royals Hall of Famers, it only has one with a true – and legit – shot as a Major League Baseball Hall of Famer.  

For most the Royals, the Eric Hosmers, Alex Gordons and Lorenzo Cains aren’t piling up big offensive numbers to project as Hall of Famers. Yes, Hosmer has a lot of career left, but first base is such a tough position to make the HOF without 500 homers or a few MVPs. Otherwise, Hosmer probably projects as another Will Clark with many strong years, postseason moments but not the big career numbers to stack with the first base greats.

To make the Baseball Hall of Fame, one has to combine stats at the top of his position with either longevity, big playoff moments or intangibles off the chart.

Of course, George Brett had all of these. Some just had a longevity, solid numbers and were on memorable winners (Tony Perez, Catfish Hunter), a very good player who hit big milestones (Robin Yount, Craig Biggio with 3,000+ hits apiece) or just token Chicago Cubs (Ron Santo, Billy Williams).

One Royal does have an early graph towards joining Brett in Cooperstown:

Salvador Perez

While its early in his career, Perez is on track for many nice landmarks for the position:

 

Gold Gloves

Perez already has three at ages 23, 24 and 25. But this isn’t always a benchmark for the position to get into the Hall of Fame.

Only six catchers have won more than four Gold Gloves. Yet only one (Johnny Bench – 10) is in the HOF, with Ivan Rodriguez and Yadier Molina to be determined.

For that matter, 20 catchers have won the Gold Glove 3 times, but only two (Bench, Gary Carter) are currently in the Hall.

If we count Ivan Rodriguez as a HOFer, then only 3 of 20 have made the HOF and it isn’t a serious factor as one would think in HOF voting.

Only five catchers have won 6+ Gold Gloves. Rodriguez (13), Bench (10) lead the list, with Molina (8) perhaps approaching 10 total. After then, irony for KC with Bob Boone (7) and Jim Sundberg (6).

 

All-Star appearances

Assuming Perez makes the All-Star Game, which as the leading overall vote getter should be a no-brainer, Perez already has four ASG appearances – by age 26.

Other full-time* catchers: Yogi Berra (15), Johnny Bench (14), Ivan Rodriguez (14), Mike Piazza (12), Gary Carter (11), Carlton Fisk (11), Roy Campanella (8).

All are in the Hall of Fame.

*Elston Howard had 9, but his first three ASG’s years averaged less than 50 games at catcher. Howard didn’t make the HOF.

And just because Salvy is the leading vote-getter doesn’t necessarily mean anything. The likes of Davey Lopes, Josh Hamilton, Jose Bautista (twice) have led the majors in votes. But for the most part, there have been many Ken Griffey Jrs, Cal Ripkens, Joe Morgans, Reggie Jacksons and even three catchers in Ivan Rodriguez, Gary Carter and Joe Mauer.

Which the fact the two retired catchers who have led the All-Star Game in voting in the last 30 years each made the Hall of Fame may say something in itself. That’s how dominant a catcher is during his time, to lead the ASG in voting.

Let’s go overall. In MLB history, 64 players have made the All-Star Game roster 10 or more times. Excluding being banned (Pete Rose), steroids (Bonds, McGwire) or not being voted on yet (A-Rod, Manny Ramirez), only two  aren’t in the Hall. Steve Garvey and … catcher Bill Freehan.

 

Playing on a Winner

While many players have made the Hall of Fame while not playing for perennial championship teams, it certainly doesn’t hurt. Being a fixture of “that era the Royals won” will help Salvy.

Another 1-2 postseasons will have Perez. Because being part of "an era" does make a difference, as below with say a Lance Parrish vs possibly Jorge Posada into the Hall of Fame.

Finally, having a World Series win over a New York team also will help. As we know, Brett's heroics over New York only boosted his lore come voting time. While Perez didn't have the signature moment (but was a part of it) vs the Mets, it still helps the World Championship came against the Mets instead of being vs Atlanta or Milwaukee.

 

Offensive numbers

Salvy needs to approach 250 homers to be a 100% lock. But compared to his position, 250 homers and say 8 Gold Gloves and 8-10 All-Star Game appearances would be enough.

First, a look at Hall of Fame catchers and their numbers in the past 50 years.

Yogi Berra: 358 HRs, 1430 RBI

Johnny Bench: 389 HRs, 1376 RBI

Carlton Fisk: 376 HRs, 1330 RBI

Gary Carter: 324 HRs, 1225 RBI

Mike Piazza: 427 HRs, 1335 RBI

*Ivan Rodriguez: 311 HRs, 1332 RBI

 

Yes, a short list. Ivan Rodriguez theoretically would be another, but hard to say what the view of the ‘roids era will take on him. But he should be clear.

But while Perez is 26 and looks on a good track, here are a few others that looked the part at the same stage:

 

 

 All-StarGold GlovesHRRBIAwards
Benito Santiago3375333ROY
After 3 straight AS and GGs, Santiago made another AS the next year, then just one more at 37 years old. He also didn't win another GG after 26 years old.
Lance Parrish20102328 
Parrish went on to 8 All-Stars and 3 GGs, while piling up 324 HRs and 1070 RBI over 19 years. Parrish may represent what Perez could be and NOT make the HOF
Charles Johnson1463201 
CJ was a member of the World Champion Florida team, but didn't win another GG and just one ASG appearance
Joe Mauer3272397MVP, 3 BA titles
Mauer looked like a certain HOF'er with an MVP, 3 batting titles by 26. But didn't hit well since
Buster Posey2061263ROY, MVP
Posey lost a year with a broken leg, but since has put up big numbers and on 3 World Champions
Salvador Perez4490359 

 

Let’s assume Perez finishes with 24 HRs and 80 RBI, he’ll be at the following after the age of 26:

HRs: 90
RBI: 359

Now let’s say over the next 10 years, with some big years, but some injuries, he averages 15 HRs and 70 RBI:

HR: 240
RBI: 1059

 

Perez would need to average 20 HRs for the next 10 years, and 80 RBI  to get to the 300-HR, 1300-RBI mark as the other current Hall of Fame catchers (plus Ivan Rodriguez).

 

Others to compare by pure numbers:

Lance Parrish (1977-1995)
324 HRs, 1070 RBI
8 All-Star Games
3 Gold Gloves
1 World Series ring
1 postseason

 

Perhaps Parrish got overlooked, especially when compared to Gary Carter (just 3 Gold Gloves), the numbers are VERY similar.

---

Another name, and on many winners:

Jorge Posada (New York Yankees, 1995-2011)
275 HRs, 1065 RBI
5 All-Star Games
0 Gold Gloves
4 World Series
14 postseasons

 

If Posada makes the Hall of Fame, that actually may help Salvy in two regards. 1) the bar is lowered for offensive numbers 2) the Hall is more open to catchers than averaging about 1 per every 10 years. 

---

And back to:

Bill Freehan (Detroit, 1961-1976)
200 HRs, 758 RBI
11 All-Star Games
5 Gold Gloves
1 World Series title
1 postseason

Freehan has the ASGs and a good number of Gold Gloves, but shows that the offense is a must.

So there isn’t any certain plateaus that if Perez hits, he’ll make. But getting to 300 homers and 1,300 RBI certainly will seal the deal. If 250 homers, then will need to stack up around 8 Gold Gloves and 8-10 All-Star Games to offset falling shy of 300/1,300.

 

Against His Peers

The final hurdle to be looked at is, how did he stack up at his position? Was he the dominant player at his position, or top 2-3 and deserving of the Hall of Fame?

Buster Posey

Posey will be Salvy’s biggest threat, if it became and either-or situation. Even with big years, Posey still sits at 110 homers in his age 29 year, and would need to average 20 homers per year for a decace in a giant ballpark to get to 300. While Gold Gloves aren’t a big factor for the Hall (see Carter or Piazza), Posey essentially only had one full MLB year before the age of 25, which will hurt the overall career numbers.

Joe Mauer

Mauer once led the majors in All-Star votes (2010), won the MVP in 2009 and three batting titles – all by age 26. But then he failed to hit more than 11 homers in a year, and just over 10 three times. Perez could pass Mauer in career homers by the age of 28.

While on three post-season teams, and likely will end up with a batting average over .300, Mauer may not even clip 150 homers, and that’s tough sledding on a Hall of Fame ballot.

Yadier Molina

Molina has the All-Star numbers (7) and Gold Gloves (8) along with postseasons (8) along with World Series (4) and titles (2) and to make some noise. But his offense is offensive with just 101 HRs and 669 RBI, and looks more like the next Bill Freehan of his era.

 

With the early jump on his career, Perez looks to have a 30-homer, 100-RBI jump on Buster Posey. He likely blows out the other two, though Mauer (MVP, 3 batting titles) and Molina (postseasons) have a decent debate.

But in the end, perhaps like Piazza and Posey, or Fisk, Bench and Carter, there’s no reason why Posey and Perez both can’t be in the Hall of Fame.

 

Overall

A few obvious factors for Perez have to happen:

-          Stay healthy

-          Stay productive

-          10 All-Star Games

-          8 Gold Gloves

-          300 homers

-          1,200 RBI

-          Make another 1-2 postseasons

 

Although, Perez could reach 250 homers and 1,000 RBI, and if he reaches either 10 All-Star Games or 8 Gold Gloves, there hasn't been a catcher denied yet of the Hall of Fame with either of the ASG or GG totals. Then with 250/1000 and 8/8, Perez should be in.

Perez is on a right track though and you being to wonder, will someone be dumping a water cooler on Salvy in Cooperstown someday?

 

Chad Rader serves as the site editor of 810whb.com and oversees 810 Varsity. Rader can be followed at @810varsity or @chadrader

 

Why Are KU Fans, Media Stunned? Kansas Is Very Good

Feb 25, 2016 -- 3:43pm

By Chad Rader

Kansas winning a Big 12 title. Yawn, what else is new, right?

For the rest of the league and common basketball fans on the outside, this seems like old news, like another seasonal Boulevard beer coming out or brash Donald Trump quote.

For many Jayhawks fans and media, most seemed astonished that the season has flipped and KU likely clinches a share of its 12th straight league crown on Saturday.

Yes, 12 straight conference titles is still a laughable, amazing feat. For weeks, discussions of Kansas on-air or online have been prefaced how its "not one of Self's most talented teams", as if its with a hodge-podge of players or Bill Self took a roster of middling players and turned them into a winner.

Maybe its because KU trailed in the Big 12 race just three weeks ago. Maybe its because there isn't a lottery pick - or two - on the roster.

But like Self told the media at Thursday's weekly press conference, there's more to a team than a superstar or two that makes a great team.

"We don't the great prospects as we've had in the past," replied Self, when asked how they've won without a top 15 projected NBA draft pick this spring. "We've had some pretty good prospects run through here, as evidenced where they're drafted. But what we have are many good players. Sometimes that creates balance and creates a lot of things that's fun to coach."

"Sometimes when we say that, it's discrediting how good your players are. We have good players, and a bunch of them. We don't have the projected NBA top lottery picks as have in some of the years in the past."

"And they care, and they care a lot. They try real hard and are competitive. And we've also been fortunate, knock on wood, we've stayed away from injuries. Won some close games that could go the other way."

And that's not to say there aren't future NBA stars on the team. Self reminded the media that eventual No. 5 pick Thomas Robinson sat behind three NBA lottery picks (Marcus and Markieff Morris, Cole Aldrich). Or Jeff Withey was the sixth best post player on the roster, before setting a NCAA Tournament record for most blocked shots in 2012.

Self talked about Cheick Diallo and Carlton Bragg and even freshman LaGerald Vick, and they'll eventually be good. But it doesn't benefit Kansas to play them right now.

"It's not an easy thing when you get humbled and highly recruited to come in and buy in, that's difficult to do, but our three freshman have been great," Self said. "The thing that's been important to us is that this team also has to win. It's such a balance that you want to do what's best for the kids, but on the flip side, what's best for the kids is playing the guys that's best for our team."

---

Self was also asked if he's most proud of this team (likely) winning the Big 12. I thought earlier this season of writing a column, ranking Self's most talented teams, and this certainly is far from the bottom. Heck, the 2012 team had Justin Wesley as the first man off the bench (referenced later, below). Christian Moody started on some Big 12 title teams. No offense, but Brady Morningstar and Tyrell Reed were the starting backcourt and KU still won the league and were a No. 1 seed.

If it wasn't for Buddy Hield, Perry Ellis may be the Big 12 Player of the Year. Frank Mason III and Devonte Graham would star at point for most teams. Wayne Selden Jr and Lucas are experienced, older players, as well as Traylor and Greene off the pine.

Maybe it's the glamorous high-scoring offenses of an Iowa State, or star power of an Oklahoma that had KU fans and media offline, but seriously? And with a two-game lead with three to go, beating Oklahoma and Baylor - and most teams - twice, its hard to fathom how Self doesn't win Coach of the Year.

---

It's funny how the season started and evolved, and how short fans and media's memories become. First, Kansas wins the World Games in South Korea, and all that was discussed was how the Jayhawks have a veteran roster, two good point guards and an elder tandem of Perry Ellis and Wayne Selden.

Then the Cheick Diallo / NCAA fiasco lingered, and everyone expected greatness immediately the freshman. Then it was that Self wasn't playing Diallo and Bragg, and he should've taken losses to advance their progress for the NCAA Tournament. Those murmurings got louder after KU lost three of five in mid-January, and now KU wasn't going to even win the LEAGUE!

So Self kept playing Landen Lucas and Jamari Traylor with toggling Brannen Green and Svi Mykhailiuk and Hunker Mickelson (when healthy). Gradually, Lucas found his role inside and now has averaged 8.4 ppg and a whopping 10.8 rebounds in the last five games - a span which includes three road wins.

And a team that did seemingly fold once the road team got the lead now how flipped that and been the veteran team, like it showed in South Korea, that rises up in the final 3-4 minutes, and makes the plays. At Oklahoma, at Kansas State, at Baylor - all within single digits and 1-2 possessions, and KU made the plays to win.

"Intangibles have played a role in it. Certainly toughness is one of those big intangibles," Self said.

The recent eight-game win streak, seven in Big 12 play to slam the door on the league, all started with the Kentucky win on January 30, in which KU showed the same moxie down the stretch as it did in the fabled Oklahoma triple-overtime classic. Since then, well, it may have been the jumpstart KU needed.

"I thought the way the schedule was, we had a chance to get the wheels back on if we played well. But I don't think down the road that far and think one or two games at a time... I haven't thought about we can get on a serious roll right here when have to go to OU, have to go to Baylor, still have to go to Manhattan."

But Kansas showed then - and since - it is the more veteran team down the stretch.

"We close the (Baylor) game out 13-2, I think is a sign of toughness. Not necessarily physical toughness, but mentally tough."

Which may equate to what KU fans want the most - a long NCAA run. The last elder team KU has was the 2012 and 2013 tourney teams that went to the NCAA Final and then the Sweet 16 (with a near walk to the Elite Eight before Elijah Johnson implosion). The team wasn't the highest on talent after Thomas Robinson in 2012, but won every game down the stretch in the final minutes.

With just a few weeks before the NCAA Tourney, that's what KU resembles - a better version of the 2012 team. And that team has Justin Wesley and Conner Teahen as the first off the bench. Not Diallo's and Bragg's and Svi's and Greene's and Traylors.

While there may not be a Jayhawk called on the NBA Draft's first hour - or first round - that doesn't matter when it comes to this season and what still remains. Maybe it wasn't Diallo and Bragg, but Lucas instead. Who cares?

And KU has a few things that fans and media can't measure. And to reference baseball as Self does in pressers, its much how the Royals don't project to high win totals in that desire and toughness and know their roles and handling late-game pressure aren't measured. And what everyone seemingly forgot - KU basketball just knows how to win.

"It's their last go round, Self said. "They just want to win."

Put Gordon Memories in Scrapbook - Then Turn Page

Dec 14, 2015 -- 10:16pm

By Chad Rader

For the past two years, Royals fans have clamored for Kansas City to sign one of its World Series heroes, or else Kansas City will have failed in the offseason.

Last year, it was Billy Butler. Then around July, there weren’t any more cries for Billy Butler to be in the Royals lineup anymore when his replacement, Kendrys Morales, was the anchor of the offense.

Now this offseason, its Alex Gordon who Kansas City must sign for the offseason to be a success. And for the second straight offseason, I’m telling Royals fans to forget the memories and look ahead.

The latest going rate for Gordon is five years, $85-$105 million. Which puts Gordon still collecting $17 million when he’s 37 years old. Do you think the Royals will get ANYWHERE close to $17 million in value when Gordon is 37? Or 36? Or even $7 million in value?

Look at it objectively, not with your heart. Just like when you took the memories of Butler cranking the wheel during the World Series and cataloged them. But then enjoyed Kendrys Morales belting in over 100 RBI - which Billy Butler accomplished just once. Fans already posted that we are forgetting Game One of the World Series and Gordon's heroics in the bottom of the ninth. Hey, that’s great, but its in the books. Kansas City has a ring. Thank you Alex, we’ll see you at the reunion in 10 years.

To strap a small-market organization with a player making $17 million for each of the next five years, they better:

a) Win a Cy Young or be a perennial Cy Young contender

b) Be a consistent 25/25 player with strong defense

c) Hit 30 HRs with 100 RBI every year

 

Gordon is none of the above. Instead:

A) He’s suffered injuries in the past two years

B) Is getting older

C) Has yet to hit 25 HRs or drive in 90 RBI

This is a hitter who batted eight in the postseason. I can recall the days when we'd disclaim a Royals cleanup batter as saying "Jeff King would bat 7th on a World Series team". Well, the Royals were a championship team, and Gordon batted eighth. Should the Royals shell out $15M+ for a No. 8 batter?

---

The Royals timeline for spending and winning is the next 1-2 years. Dayton Moore needs to continue to work financially around the core of Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Yordano Ventura, with Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez along the way too. A one-year reclamation project in left field for $7-8 million, and another in right field is better than shoving all-in on Gordon. Or trade for Carlos Gonzalez, who will rake $17-$20M for two more years, during the Royals time of contention, but not for FIVE years.

Then in 3-4 years, say 2018 or 2019, be prepared for Kansas City to reboot and endure a rebuild mode with perhaps just 2, maybe 4 of the aforementioned core around. At that point, Gordon at $17 million will be an albatross killing the organization and untradeable.

Now if the market dries up and if Kansas City can snag Gordon at say four years, $55 million ($13.75M per year) with a option for the fifth (which KC will decline, but give Gordon a free $2-3M), then sure. Otherwise, get into five years – ugh - and getting into another Mike Sweeney contract.

And if a team signs Gordon, Kansas City gets a Type A draft pick. The Royals will land a player for this year eventually AND garner another chip for the future too.

Yes, its tough to swallow a homegrown player, a hometown hero, not returning to Kansas City. And at what point are Royals fans going to just trust Dayton Moore's moves? And also realize its baseball, and players will come and go - even your favorite ones. And also realize - its Alex Gordon's choice as well.

So Royals fans – put all your Alex Gordon memories down in your Kansas City scrapbook, continue to enjoy the greatest era in Royals history – and turn the page.

Good Things Couldn't Last Forever

Oct 19, 2015 -- 10:02pm

By Chad Rader

Not all good things last forever, and a few things were likely to end:

1) Johnny Cueto wasn't going to repeat his ALDS Game 5 performance again

2) Kansas City couldn't silence Toronto forever

3) The Royals nine-game ALCS win streak

A return home to Skydome Rogers Centre and Cueto reverting back to the Cueto of Aug-Sept was just what the doctor ordered for the Blue Jays.

The good news? No matter had Toronto won, 20-4, Kansas City still stands up, 2-1, in the ALCS.

But hate to say, Game 4 feels like a must win for Kansas City. Otherwise, if Toronto can win the Slow Pitch Softball game, otherwise known as Chris Young vs R.A. Dickey, the Jays sit at 2-2.

The biggest bronze medal of Game 3 was Kris Medlen's outing, eating up 5 innings and not leading Game 3 into a carousel of pitchers being burned off.

Kansas City surely will sneak out a win either Tuesday or Wednesday, but it sure is scary to see Toronto win Game 4, then if the Jays win Game 5, they sit with David Price in Game 6. Yeah, he's 0-6 in postseason starts, but do you really want to go against him in an elimination game?

As for Cueto, well, you figured the pendulum would swing back. And would it surprise, if in a Game 7, he came out with another stellar outing? And think of this, you'd rather have the great effort in Game 5 of the ALDS and the turd in Game 3 than the alternative - KC wouldn't be playing now.

The key for Kansas City is to somehow keep Joey Bautista down, but feel like he's going to break loose at some point. And keep either Tulowitzki and Donaldson within limits. With the Toronto bats awakened, the Royals are going to have to win a wild slugfest in Toronto. And KC still hung 8 on the board and made the Jays get out their closer on Monday night.

It'll take quite an outing from Chris Young in Game 4 to pull it off, but with Kansas City, its a new day and can expect the unexpected.

And oh by the way, its still Kansas City up 2-1.

KC's Big Pickups Big Heroes in ALDS

Oct 14, 2015 -- 9:54pm

By Chad Rader

Could Kansas City fans have drawn up Game 5 of the ALDS any better? Only a no-hitter by Johnny Cueto could've topped his two-hit lockdown effort in an exciting, but fun, 7-2 clincher on Wednesday night.

All day, everyone talked if Kansas City could grab the lead, the Royals would close it down. With Cueto locked in, and a few weapons in the bullpen, that certainly was the case when KC took the lead in the fifth. And if the ball stayed in the park, the Royals defense would clamp it to maybe a run - tops. Sure enough, Alex Gordon makes a sliding snag on a foul ball. Ben Zobrist snared a leaping grab at second base. All kept any baserunner from getting on base to even think of warming up a pitcher or taking out Cueto.

Meanwhile, Cueto was simply locked in. He retired his last 19 batters in a row - the most in an AL postseason game since Don Larsen's perfect gaem in 1956 - and really only made one bad pitch - if even that. Ned Yost commented during the broadcast that the pitch was a good one and yes, it happens, hitters can smack good pitches out of the park.

It was good to see Yost send Cueto out in the eighth, as he wanted Cueto to keep the swagger and get him "unlocked" for many big games ahead. If KC runs out deep into the next rounds, Cueto still could get three, maybe four starts. But none bigger than tonight - so far.

And this start makes everyone forget about the previous two months. Or had Cueto fired seven no-hitters in August and September, but got torched in Game 5 in the ALDS, fans would be livid. Instead, we can play the Johnny Cueto song repeatedly on-air - and want to turn it up.

---

Usually an unsuspecting player in the lineup can be the postseason hero and with all his troubles in 2015, Alex Rios capped a run of four straight at-bats with hits, including the go-ahead two-run double in the three-run fifth inning. Which was capped by a sacrifice bunt and a fly ball by Zobrist to give KC the cushion they needed.

The inning capped Kansas City's battling at the plate. After swing at pitches early in the game, the Royals started working longer counts by the fourth inning and chased Collin McHugh before the end of the fifth.

Finally, let's look at Dayton Moore's pickups this year:

Kendrys Morales: HR, 3 RBI (3 HR, 6 RBI in series)
Johnny Cueto: W, 8 IP, 2 H, 8 SO
Alex Rios: 2-for-3, 2 RBI
Ben Zobrist: sac fly, .333 in ALDS

And last, but not least. All we heard about giving up so much in Wil Myers in the James Shields trade, but after the last two years and the 2015 ALDS, it should be forever remembered as the Wade Davis trade. Is there any pitcher better in the league right now?

So now Kansas City enters the ALCS with its ace unlocked, its bats busted out with 16 runs in the last two games and its swagger back. It'll need all of it against Toronto, but hey, it'll be another exciting ride ahead!

Not Pretty, But in End, Good Weekend for Area

Sep 21, 2015 -- 9:59am

By Chad Rader

The weekend finished on highs for area college football and the Royals.

First, the Royals notched  a win in Detroit and showed signs of life with better pitching, hitting and late-inning rallies that appear Kansas City is ready to take the roller coaster back upwards. Obviously a team will hit highs and lows during the season – though current Royals fans who suddenly realize there’s regular-season baseball and expect the Royals to win every game or every series. When in fact, if you win 100 games and are the best team in baseball, you still lose 62.

So the Royals have hit a major dip – if the Royals win their next game, it’ll mark the first time Kansas City has won back-to-back games in nearly three weeks! But I’d rather KC hit a funk, get a few things back on track and hit the playoffs on the way upwards than having come off a hot streak into the playoffs.

I don’t know how many times a school has won its conference tournament in basketball and flopped in the NCAAs. Heck, there used to be a number in the early ‘00s that a team who won its conference tourney hadn’t won the NCAA Tournament in over 20 years. It since has happened, but the point is there. Just because you’re hot in September doesn’t mean it’ll carry over into October. Last year, San Francisco was 13-12 in September.

In 1985, Kansas City lost 9 of 13 after September 16, including streaks of losing four (4) and three (3) in a row. Yet we know how that turned out.

Obviously the biggest note of the weekend, aside from Kendrys Morales almost making MLB history with nearly four homers in one game, was the pitching of Johnny Cueto. It’s hard to say he’s 100% back, but another start like that and KC will feel much better about its rotation of Cueto-Ventura-Volzquez-Medlen into the postseason.

As for the closer role, as Nate Bukaty mentioned on The Border Patrol on Monday morning, it was better for Greg Holland to have such an incident now than in October, and you couldn’t make the move on what you believed would happen. Now, there’s a concrete case that Greg Holland isn’t Greg Holland, and Ned Yost can make the move.

For me, and as discussed by Nate and Steven St. John with the Kansas City Star’s Sam Mellinger, to go into the postseason and use Greg Holland in the final innings is chancy. The quartet of Luke Hochevar (6th), Ryan Madson (7th), Kelvin Herrera (8th) and Wade Davis (9th) is still dynamite and less risky. Plus Danny Duffy could be in the mix, with either a Chris Young or Duffy in long-relief in the event a starter is getting rocked or injured, and in any playoff run, there is that one game that you have to pull a pitcher after 2 or 3 innings, whether you like it or not, and don’t want to exhaust the entire bullpen.

So to emerge out of the weekend with the bats warming up, Cueto looking like he’s returning back to Cueto and getting resolution to the bullpen’s inevitable dilemma, we’ll call it a good weekend!

---

As for K-State, a win is a win. The ‘Cats always endure one game that’s to the wire with a non-power conference opponent. And its good to win a game late and needing the late dramatics. Will K-State win the conference? Doubtful. Will KSU enjoy a 7- or 8-win season in just a “normal” year? Very likely.

As for Mizzou, well, see K-State on the annual “just-get-out-with-a-win” game. The 9-6 win wasn’t pretty by any means. Defensively, it was great. The late interception on the fake field goal was stupendous. But offensively, just a bunch of stalling out. Maty Mauk’s numbers weren’t bad, but 9 points is atrocious. Drew Lock came into the game late, and aside from swing passes, didn’t connect downfield and avoided a potential interception (which in hindsight, would’ve been a great punt inside the UConn 10). It’s early in the year, and MU also will grab its mandatory 7-8 wins for the year. To get to 10 wins and another SEC conference crown may be a bit more challenging than ever. But never know…

And a great weekend for Kansas – the Jayhawks didn’t lose!

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KANSAS CITY CALENDAR

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