Found May 30, 2013 on
Fox Sports Kansas City:
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
St. Louis Cardinals
Tampa Bay Rays
New York Yankees
Los Angeles Angels
Ben Frederickson is an award-winning writer for FOX Sports Midwest. His work has appeared in the Columbia Missourian, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the New York Times, the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Casper Star-Tribune.
ST. LOUIS Greg Holland sat with a folded newspaper in his hand, filling out the day's sudoku with a ballpoint pen. He set both down on a clubhouse table as he explained the more complicated mind game he's been playing lately.
"It's a fine line," Holland said Wednesday afternoon. "You can go for a week, and all of a sudden, you're like, 'Man, I need a day off.' But I would rather be out there throwing than not throwing, because I know if I'm throwing, then we are in some ballgames."
So goes the life of a Major League closer. You either pitch too often, or not enough. But when you're the closer on a team that's lost eight games in a row, and you've only had two save opportunities this month, and that month is now on its 29th day, it's the latter drastically.
"It's the nature of the beast," Holland said. "You kind of get used to it. You know what your body needs to do to stay sharp in those times when you're not throwing a lot."
Things haven't always been this way.
The first week of May saw Holland notch his seventh save of the season in a 9-8 win against the Tampa Bay Rays, claim his first win of the year in a 6-5 extra-innings contest against the Chicago White Sox and blow a save in a 2-1 extra-innings loss to that same Chicago team.
In less than seven days, Holland had stepped onto the mound with a one-run lead three times. Those are the situations closers are made for. Those are the situations Holland and his Royals have not had much of since.
Kansas City had lost 17 of its last 21 games entering Wednesday night's game against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Holland had appeared in just four of those games. None were a save opportunity.
"It's tough," Royals manager Ned Yost said in a dugout Wednesday afternoon "And it gets tougher on the road. He's being going four days, then he'll pitch. Then five days, then he'll pitch."
In order to stay active, Holland had thrown the ninth inning of the following four games: a 4-2 loss to the New York Yankees on May 12; a 9-5 win against the Los Angeles Angels on May 15; A 7-3 win against the Houston Astros on May 21; and a 7-0 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on May 25.
It was work, yes. But not the kind of work closers specialize in. As a result, Holland has logged extra practice sessions on the mound and done an increased amount of flat-land work as well. When he does come into games without a chance of it turning into a save, he does the same thing any closer in the situation does trick your brain into believing your arm is throwing for a save.
"You have to go out there and try to make your pitches, try to be aggressive like a save situation," Cardinals closer Edward Mujica said. "When you go out there in a no-save situation, it might be that your body doesn't have much energy. But you have to be the same in every situation."
Easier said than done.
"Those guys, they're a special breed that really excel in that situation," Yost said. "There's not much you can do to replicate save situations. We've just got to have a couple leads, and let him get back into regular work."
It looked like it was going to happen Wednesday. But then Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran smashed an Aaron Crow pitch 420 feet for a solo home run over the right field wall in the bottom of the eighth inning, and the Royals 3-1 lead was whittled to one. Then David Freese singled to score Allen Craig, and Daniel Descalso singled to score Yadier Molina and Freese.
The Cardinals won 5-3, handing the Royals their eighth loss in a row. Another much-needed save opportunity for Holland had gone up in smoke, like the post-victory fireworks that lit up the St. Louis sky.
Follow Ben Frederickson on Twitter (@Ben_Fred), or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Kansas City Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie helped the grounds crew get the field ready during a long rain delay in the ninth inning of Thursday night's game at Busch Stadium against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Guthrie started the game and pitched six innings, giving up only two runs, but was still in position to take the loss after eight innings until the Royals took him off the...
[PINE TAR REFERENCE]
The Royals announced on Thursday that George Brett will return to the team's bench for the first time since he retired in 1993.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. Frustrations are mounting for the Royals as the team dropped its seventh straight game overall, and its 10th straight at home, tying a club record it set in April 2012.
As Royals manager Ned Yost was finishing his postgame press conference following a dismal 4-1 loss to St. Louis, he was asked how he was going to hold his struggling offense accountable for another...
KANSAS CITY, Mo. Near the top of the frustration list for Kansas City Royals fans is the complete lack of power from the team's lineup over the last two years.
The Royals finished tied for last in 2012 in home runs with just 131, and perhaps not coincidentally, they were 12th in runs scored.
So, manager Ned Yost decided a switch in hitting philosophy was in order. Out went...
Your browser does not support iframes.The Royals and Cardinals were up "burning the midnight oil" Thursday night.The intrastate rivals played deep into the early morning hours of Friday after a pair of lengthy rain delays pushed the game's ending to around three o'clock local time. The game itself took just 2 hours and 27 minutes while the two delays combined to...
And so it goes when a team is cemented in a funk: Instead of a new hero each night who secures a victory, there is virtually a new culprit instead who contributes heavily toward a defeat.
Wednesday night it was right-hander Aaron Crow, who entered the eighth inning with a somewhat comfortable 3-1 against St. Louis. But Crow spit back the lead quickly and thoroughly...
credit: getty images
The Kansas City Royals have a new hitting coach. George Brett spent all 21 of his major league seasons with the Kansas City Royals and finished his career with a .305/.369/.487 line. Brett retired with 3,154 hits and 317 home runs in 2,707 games.
Brett will be tasked to turn around a team which began the season with high expectations but has struggled of late...
Hall of Famer George Brett has been appointed the Kansas City Royals' interim hitting coach as part of a shakeup aimed at pulling the struggling team out of its skid.
The team announced the move before Thursday night's game in St. Louis.
Brett has helped the Royals in spring training for years, but has turned down full-time job offers - including opportunities to manage...
My poor Kansas City Royals. They are in historically bad slump – which as any Royals fan in the last 25+ years will tell you, is really saying something. They have lost eight in a row, and 19 of their last 23. After spending most of April in first place, they are now in last. The post Top Ten Ways to Help the Royals Win Again appeared first on No Coast Bias.
According to Bob Dutton of Royals Report, the Pittsburgh Pirates have acquired Atahualpa Severino from the Kansas City Royals for cash considerations.
#Royals trade AAA Omaha Atahualpa Severino to Pittsburgh for cash considerations. Will be assigned to AAA Indianapolis.
— Bob Dutton (@Royals_Report) May 31, 2013
Severino is a left-handed pitcher who has pitched 4.2 innings in...
ST. LOUIS (AP) Jeff Francoeur and Eric Hosmer combined for three RBIs in the ninth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals' bullpen and the Kansas City Royals spoiled Michael Wacha's almost spotless debut, snapping an eight-game losing streak with a rain-delayed 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night.
Hall of Famer George Brett's debut as interim batting...
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Carlos Beltran hit a two-run homer against his former team, rookie Tyler Lyons made another dazzling start and the St. Louis Cardinals beat Kansas City 4-1 on Tuesday night for the Royals' 10th consecutive home defeat.
The only two hits that Lyons allowed over seven innings were to Billy Butler -- a two-out RBI double in the first inning and a bloop...
ARLINGTON, Tex. (AP) -- The Texas Rangers' offense got in gear and they ended their longest losing streak of the season.
After much delay, so did the Kansas City Royals, who still need to improve their offense under interim hitting coach George Brett.
The AL West-leading Rangers and Royals meet for the first time this season Friday night in Arlington.
Losers of three straight...
Stats from May 29th vs Royals
- the Cardinals won their 6th straight against the Royals their longest streak against the Royals is 7 (2003-2005)
- the Cardinals 6 straight interleague wins are tied for 2nd most in franchise history
CARDINALS LONGEST INTERLEAGUE WIN STREAKS
2004-2005 12 STRAIGHT
- Matt Adams was in a 1-for-18...