Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Kansas City Royals HiV LOB, Most of July and August

I made a trip to the renovated Arrowhead Stadium Saturday evening, and it poured, and the Chiefs lost to the flippin' Houston Texans. And that's fine with me because it means baseball season is almost over. I say that with a taste of expectations on the tongue, not for my 2009 football team, but for those I once had for this Royals campaign. In sum, great start, which was really great because the Royals typically play awful baseball in April. But, in early May, they were still in first place in the A.L. Central, and then everything went to complete shit. Portions of the best rotation this club had seen in 15 years ailed and crumbled. The usual injury bug bit off its fair share, and then Dayton Moore, the General Manager who was supposed to be taking KC ball back to the post-season, started making bizarre moves, today's Alex Gordon demotion merely the most recent.

There're two aspects to the move: 1) The Royals need 21 days of Gordon-free service to buy themselves another year before he can become a free agent, and 2) the fact that The Professor is the guy coming up in is place. Regarding part one, the author of this fine blog said today on the SportsTalk Radios that the Royals were "Wal-Marting Gordon," or making a cheap, disgraceful move, that one might expect of a lowest-tier, pathetic ball club. He added that "baseball folks everywhere are laughing at the Royals." Ouch, and ouch. Now, Gordon's once Crown-Vision-high expectations have floated down to Dri-Duck-seat level, and frankly, I wouldn't know what to do with him at this point either. If Moore wants to buy some time, a la his move with Luke Hochevar a few months ago, I'm all for it. It basically implies that the tools for success, the need to "believe in the process," as he frequently says, are all down in the minors, and likely not even Triple-A Omaha. The second part is just simply the fact that the exchange was Gordon for Farnsworth, which is just a damn embarassing headline.

I digressed before I even began. The purpose of the HiV LOB -- Hits vs Left On Base -- was meant to explore how these Royals, back when the expectations were high, could move from wildcard status to legitimate division contender in, say, late August and September of this year. That is, I envisioned stranding fewer base runners to be the key to getting those few missed-out-on wins that would become crucial to the post-season push. A 46-72 record, however, means that stranding base runners doesn't matter; there's a much larger piece missing to this pie of success. We will continue, nonetheless, to, at minimum, post the numbers of the feature, and likely never take on such a grueling, meaningless project, ever again.

Early, Middle, and Late July

7/6 @ DET: 3-4 (W); nine hits, seven left aboard
7/7 @ DET: 5-8 (L); 10 hits, six stranded
7/8 @ DET: 5-8 (L); 10 hits, eight left on
7/9 @ BOS: 8-6 (W); 13 hits, seven unscored
7/10 @ BOS: 0-1 (L); four hits, five stranded
7/11 @ BOS: 9-15 (L); 13 hits, nine left on
7/12 @ BOS: 0-6 (L); three hits, three left
7/17 vs TAM: 8-7 (L); 13 hits, seven stranded
7/18 vs TAM: 4-2 (L); five hits, seven left aboard
7/19 vs TAM: 4-3 (L); 11 hits, 13 left hangin'
7/21 vs LAA: 8-5 (L); nine hits, eight unscored
7/21 vs LAA: 2-10 (L); six hits, seven stranded
7/22 vs LAA: 9-6 (L); 11 hits, seven stranded
7/24 vs TEX: 2-0 (L); five hits, six left on
7/25 vs TEX: 3-6 (W); 11 hits, eight stranded
7/26 vs TEX: 7-2 (L); four hits, six left on
7/27 @ BAL: 5-3 (W); 14 hits, 12 abandoned
7/28 @ BAL: 4-3 (W); 10 hits, seven left on base
7/29 @ BAL: 3-7 (L); nine hits, five stranded
7/30 @ TAM: 3-7 (L); 10 hits, nine unscored
7/31 @ TAM: 0-2 (L); five hits, six left on

Totals for this period: 198 hits, 86 runs scored, 153 runners stranded, which means nothing, since we've not looked at groups this large so far this season.

Early-Mid August

8/1 @ TAM: 1-7 (L); five hits, three stranded
8/2 @ TAM: 4-1 (W); five hits, five left
8/3 @ TAM: 4-10 (L); 10 hits, seven unscored
8/4 vs SEA: 7-6 (L); 11 hits, nine abandoned
8/5 vs SEA: 11-6 (L); 12 hits, 11 runners left
8/6 vs SEA: 2-8 (W); nine hits, four left
8/7 vs OAK: 9-4 (L); 14 hits, 12 stranded
8/8 vs OAK: 5-12 (W); 17 hits, seven left on
8/9 vs OAK: 6-3 (L); nine hits, six abandoned
8/11 @ MIN: 14-6 (W); 18 hits, 11 left on base
8/12 @ MIN: 1-7 (L); four hits, four left
8/13 @ MIN: 5-4 (W); eight hits, five stranded
8/14 @ DET: 0-1 (L); three hits, four abandoned
8/15 @ DET: 3-10 (L); nine hits, six left aboard
8/16 @ DET: 3-2 (W); five hits, eight forgotten
8/17 @ CWS: 7-8 (L); 10 hits, five stranded

Totals for this period: 121 hits, 81 runs scored, 107 runners left on base, which also means nothing as far as this chunk of a month.

On the season, however, are numbers look like this: 998 hits, 500 runs scored, and 930 runners left on base. (Editor's Note: Major League Baseball disagrees with these numbers; they show 1,017 hits for and 477 runs scored by the Royals, which shows two things: 1) I'm terrible at math, but that's nothing new. 2) The point of this season-long examination is slightly worse than I had miscalculated. That is, the official stats show that KC has more hits than I'd tallied, as well as fewer runs scored than my abacus revealed. And in case that doesn't spell it out for you: The Royals score even fewer of their base runners than my numbers intended to accidentally lie about.)

Truth of the matter, however, is that Kansas City is, through last night's game, seven runs ahead of Oakland for plating the fewest in the American League. Their hit total leaves them in dead last, four fewer than second-to-last-place Detroit (?). Then there are walks. I show them with 327 BBs; MLB says 326. Tomato, toe-mah-tow. Guess where that lands them: nine more than last-place Seattle.

There's really nothing more to say about the team or the numbers. I'm just excited to be nearing the home stretch of this torturous feature. Good day.

(Update: Rany Jazayerli, arguably Moore's biggest critic, has weighed in on the Gordon move. And he likes it.)