Recently I sat down with kingsofkauffman.com/Royals writer Mike Vamosi to discuss the Dodgers upcoming interleague series with the Kansas City Royals. We discussed the Royals lack of power, the divisional race with the Tigers, and Zack Greinke’s homecoming.
Mike also asked me a series of questions about the Dodgers as well. You can check out our questions and answers below.
LL: So what’s up with the Royal’s lack of power? They’ve only hit 42 home runs this year.
Mike: That’s been the great mystery of the 2014 Kansas City Royals, Billy Butler and Eric Hosmer cannot seem to hit for power which was something that many didn’t see coming. Alex Gordon while a great player shouldn’t be leading the team in home runs and while Mike Moustakas has good power numbers it doesn’t tell the whole story given his average.
LL: Do you think the Royals can keep up with Detroit?
Mike: Yes, Detroit and Kansas City are even in my opinion with how the starters have been so far this season. Where KC has an advantage is in the bullpen, the Tigers need to upgrade this in order to run away with the AL Central. Offensively the Royals don’t seem to match-up but the complete rotation should keep them in this.
LL: How was Greinke received as a Royal by Royal fans?
Mike: Fan favorite, every fifth day was “Greinke Day” and it was a celebration for a team that didn’t have much to look forward to. Even when he left to treat his problems fans still supported him and the one time he came back with Milwaukee fans showed their appreciation which I expect will happen Monday night.
LL: Where do you see the Royals going this year, and what seems to be their biggest weakness going forward?
Mike: Offense, Nori Aoki hasn’t been the player that fans hoped he be at the top of the lineup where Omar Infante when healthy has solidified second base but has been up and down on offense. Hosmer/Butler need to get going to help the lineup as well or else things will go south in a hurry. They’ve got the pitching to stay around however that gets negated if the offense remains inept going forward, they showed flashes during the recent 10-game win streak but over the past four days it’s gone back in hibernation which with Greinke and Clayton Kershaw coming up is scary to think about.
Mike: What’s the best way to sum up the Dodgers to this point?
LL: The best way to sum up the Dodgers in 2014 so far, is probably either disappointment, or under performance. So far the Dodgers have not lived up to their lofty expectations. The club has not been able to win more than three games in a row, or put together any kind of consistent winning streak this season. The injuries, poor relief pitching, sloppy defense, and lack of situational hitting has all contributed to the club’s lack of consistency the first two and a half months. Although things seem to be turning around. The club has been playing better over the last couple of weeks, and they’ve made up 5.5 games in the standings. The division is within their grasp (4 games behind SF as of today). The club has a talented yet poorly constructed roster very capable of going on another incredible winning streak like they did in 2013. All the pieces are in place.
Mike: Zack Greinke won a Cy Young while here in KC but how good has he been with LA?
LL: Greinke has been outstanding with the Dodgers. Greinke is not just a great pitcher, but a great athlete and Baseball player. Not only does he pitch well, but he can hit and field his position. The guy knows how to play Baseball. He studies advanced stats, and uses proper mechanics to be in good position to field his position. He’s def not you’re average ace. So far Greinke is 24-7 with the Dodgers. He’s got a 4-1 strikeout to walk ratio. He;s been worth every cent.
Mike: With ownership finally settled what moves do you think they’ll make at the trade deadline?
LL: It’s too early to say what moves the Dodgers will make. Obviously everyone knows they have four outfielders, and one of them may be available, (not Puig of course). But if the Dodgers are going to do anything at the trade deadline, it’s probably going to be to acquire relief help. The Dodgers could use some help in the bullpen more than anything. The Dodgers don;t have a lot of trade chips though. Most of their players are under huge contracts and would be hard to move. The farm system lacks impact position player prospects, so the club doesnt have a whole lot of roster flexibility.
Mike: Can Los Angeles have the same kind of success they reeled off last season in the second half?
LL: Of course they can. They have a very talented roster. But they have problems too. The bullpen has been a weakness because of lack of control. The relievers walk too many guys. The defense has been poor as well, even though it’s been a bit better of late. The Dodgers have not been a good defensive club at all this season. The bench lacks power, and the club has too many injury prone players. But the Dodgers are unbelievably talented throughout the roster. The starting rotation is the best in the game. I’ll put Kershaw/Greinke/Ryu/Beckett/Haren up against anyone else’s rotation. I’m talking about the pepsi challenge. The lineup is loaded with sluggers like Yasiel Puig, Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp, and lovable portly third baseman Juan Uribe, who seems to have risen to cult level love status with the Dodger fan base. The Dodgers can have the same level of success, but it;s going to take discipline and focus. Sometimes the club seems to be lacking in those areas. The Dodgers should be right there at the end, they’re built for success. Weather they can sustain this kind of success is another question.
Mike: Series predictions?
LL: Well, the Dodgers are one of the better road teams in the majors this year. They’ve been playing pretty well of late, and haven’t had much problems with the American League so far. Their starting pitching has been on quite a roll as you already probably know. Kershaw and Beckett have both pitched no-hitters.I’ll say two out of three sounds reasonable.
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