Another brutal loss by the Royals tonight. Even after the pitching staff took things into their own hands (Kansas City starter Luis Mendoza hit an RBI single after the two batters before him failed to get a man on third home with no outs), the bullpen blew it in the eighth.
This makes eight losses in a row by the once-promising Royals. Thoughts of contention are far off and most fans would be happy if we could get back to the .500 mark by the end of the year, which was probably the realistic expectation at the beginning.
I for one am going to hold out hope for the Plexiglas Principle to take effect mid-season, because it's only now the end of May and I have nothing else to hang onto.
What follows is a tandem post with Cool, Dense Air.
I'm going to use some dubious math skills and a couple of really fancy charts* to point out what is so blatantly obvious about the Kansas City Royals struggles the past few weeks: they have no power.
"No power" isn't some hyperbolic term here, either. Since May 15, the team has hit exactly two home runs. Before we get to that, though, how about a look at their runs scored and runs allowed over a rolling ten games for the season so far.
I like to use numbers from a rolling ten games so you can even out some of the outliers. In this case, a very bad trend presents itself over the last ten games. The Royals pitching, while not as good as in the beginning of the year, is not nearly as bad as the offense has been recently.
A closer look at the offensive numbers gives a little insight into where the problem lies.
As you can see, walks and hits have ebbed and flowed so far, but the power has taken a massive dump since the middle of may, causing the overall drop in run production.
So, who's to blame? Well, pretty much everybody. Here is a look at the most common hitters for the Royals and their Home Run percentage this year compared to their career averages and the league as a whole.
The lineup is ordered by career Home Run Percentage, so we can see who should be expected to provide the most pop this season. I have highlighted a few areas.
Green goes to the overachievers. Unfortunately, the two guys who are hitting more homers than they normally do are the two guys you care least about hitting for power.
Yellow goes to Mr. Consistency, Billy Butler. He's off his pace a bit this year, but not terribly so, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him near his career averages soon enough. The same can be said for Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas, though Moose has many other failings this season, while A1 is sadly wasting his prime for another Royals team that appears to be headed nowhere.
Finally, we come to the problem children: Frenchy, Hosmer and Sal.
The thing with Jeff Francoeur is that everybody knows he can't hit anymore. But, still, you'd expect him to get a hold of one every now and then. He hasn't even been able to manage that this season.
Salvador Perez is hitting for a nice average so far and plays stellar defense behind the plate, so you cut him a little slack when the power numbers are down. But, even he needs to step it up and get back on track.
Finally, there's Eric Hosmer. He is looking like another can't miss prospect that the Royals whiffed on just by having the audacity to bring him up to the major leagues.
I don't know what the answer is for Kansas City. At this point, praying for regression to the mean is about the only hope left.
Please, science. Help some sluggers out.