Know Your Foe #29: Last Place Royals Looking to Conjure Up Images of 2007 vs. Struggling Rockies

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 17: Jeff Francoeur #21 of the Kansas City Royals is congratulated by Alcides Escobar #2 after scoring during the game against the Seattle Mariners on April 17, 2011 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Kansas City Royals (33-48, 5th in the AL Central)

Last Series vs. Rockies: May 21-23, 2010 (L 1-2 at Kauffman Stadium)

Last year's series in Kansas City was, luckily for Colorado, nothing like when the two teams last faced each other at Coors Field (a series in which the Rockies reached their low point during the '07 campaign by dropping two of three to the lowly Royals). Despite being blown out of the first game, the Rox ended up taking two of three from the home team.

Brian Bannister defeated Jason Hammel in game one 9-2. Hammel didn't pitch all that badly, striking six and allowing just six hits in 6.2 innings, but he was victimized by Jose Guillen for two big home runs, and the offense was unable to dig out of the hole against Bannister, who allowed two runs on seven hits in 7.1 innings - the only blemish being a Clint Barmes two-run homer in the eighth inning.

Game two saw the Rockies bounce back and win 3-0 behind current Royal Jeff Francis, as he picked up his first win of 2010 by going 6.1 innings and allowing just five hits. Seth Smith and Miguel Olivo each had two hits for Colorado, and Troy Tulowitzki homered.

The Rox took the finale 11-7, evening their record at .500 for the season. Tulowitzki homered for the second straight game, and Jason Giambi hit a big three-run shot off of Zack Greinke that gave the Rockies a lead that they, as much as they tried, would not relinquish. Colroado pounded Greinke to the tune of eight runs on nine hits in 3.1 innings, jumping out to an 8-0 lead that ended up not being easy to hold on to. Billy Butler and Mitch Maier are the only remaining Royals that did anything of note in this series, and both such performances came in this game as Butler was 4-for-5 with an RBI at the plate while Maier went 3-for-5 with two runs driven in.

Latest Series Results: W 2-1 vs. Chicago (NL), L 0-3 at San Diego

Despite holding their ground in last place in American League's Central division, the Royals aren't a terrible offensive ballclub. They boast four above-average regulars (counting Billy Butler, who may or may not be a starter in this series), and another couple on the bench. In addition, they have a couple of highly-touted young players who at least project to possess very good bats in the near future in Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas.


Alex Gordon

#4 / Left Field / Kansas City Royals

6-2

220

L

R

Feb 10, 1984


AVG OBP SLG
2011 - Alex Gordon .293 .363 .479


The best thing the Royals have going for them offensively is the breakout of Alex Gordon, who prior to this season appeared as if he was going to crash and burn at the major league level. Instead, he has used a permanent transition to the outfield to as an opportunity to improve offensively, and he has done just that, accumulating a 3.1 WAR and 130 wRC+ thus far in 2011.

Meanwhile, Jeff Francoeur leads the team in home runs (though, predictably, NOT in on-base percentage) and Billy Butler continues to get on at a superb clip and has walked far more times (46) than he has struck out (37). Royals manager Ned Yost will have to find a way to get him into the lineup, but it won't be without consequence; Butler has posted a -14.2 UZR/150 in just 86 innings at first base this season. The gamble may be worth it though, as Hosmer (-9.5) has not been much better.

Pitching-wise, the Royals have had all sorts of problems. Their rotation, outside of Bruce Chen (111 ERA+ in nine starts) and Felipe Paulino (120 ERA+ in six starts), has been dreadful. To make matters worse, they recently decided to go with a six-man rotation, meaning they'll trot out four below-average starters instead of just three. On top of that, closer Joakim Soria has pitched like a shell of his former self (although the rest of the bullpen has been nails). His ERA+ in 2011 is 100 points lower than his career mark, and about 95 points lower than his previous career low (which was his rookie season). Plus, he has already blown five saves, which is more than he has blown in any full season in his career.

Friday through Sunday: 3-game series at Coors Field

Expected Pitching Matchups
Friday, July 1, 2011 @ 6:10 PM MT

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Danny Duffy 1-2 8 8 0 0 0 0 41.0 48 21 21 7 23 31 4.61 1.73


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Juan Nicasio 2-1 6 6 0 0 0 0 33.2 39 20 19 6 8 26 5.08 1.40


Saturday, July 2, 2011 @ 6:10 PM MT

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Kyle Davies 1-6 9 9 0 0 0 0 41.0 57 35 34 6 17 29 7.46 1.80


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Jhoulys Chacin 8-5 17 16 1 1 0 0 104.2 77 39 36 14 43 92 3.10 1.15


Sunday, July 3, 2011 @ 1:10 PM MT

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Luke Hochevar 5-8 17 17 0 0 0 0 110.2 112 65 61 15 32 53 4.96 1.30


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Jason Hammel 4-7 16 16 0 0 0 0 100.2 100 51 45 9 38 51 4.02 1.37

 

Expected Lineup

Name Position AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ HR RBI
Melky Cabrera CF .277 .316 .428 .330 105 9 43
Chris Getz 2B .270 .332 .308 .298 84 0 18
Billy Butler
1B/DH/PH .297 .396 .428 .360 127 6 34
Alex Gordon LF .293 .363 .479 .365 130 9 44
Jeff Francoeur RF .261 .308 .442 .333 107 11 47
Mike Moustakas 3B .263 .354 .316 .310 92 1 1
Brayan Pena C .243 .295 .383 .297 83 3 20
Alcides Escobar SS .246 .286 .312 .270 64 1 21

 

Bench

Name Position AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ HR RBI
Matt Treanor C .216 .354 .304 .306 89 3 15
Wilson Betemit Util .285 .341 .404 .322 100 2 24
Jarrod Dyson OF .179 .303 .179 .310 92 0 0
Mitch Maier OF .302 .423 .419 .385 143 0 3
Eric Hosmer
1B/PH
.268 .316 .404 .314 95 5 27

Closer

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Joakim Soria 4-3 33 0 0 0 13 5 34.0 31 17 16 4 12 31 4.24 1.26

 

Injuries


Kansas City Royals Injuries

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Kyle Davies trapezius 05/17/2011
Sean O`Sullivan biceps 06/03/2011

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