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  1. Is the Royals’ offense this bad?

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    The Kansas City Royals are 34-25. They are in first place in the American League Central. And their offense, for the better part of the past month, has been a train wreck.

    In the past 30 days, the only regular starters hitting over .235 are Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez and Eric Hosmer. That’s a far-cry from the Royals that had a .306 team batting average for the first month of the season.

    Batting Average: On-Base Percentage: Slugging Percentage: Batting Average on
    Balls in Play:
    March/April: .306 .362 .450 .346
    May: .253 .297 .392 .282
    June: .209 .254 .316 .241

     

    What does this all mean? The Royals were pretty lucky the first month of the season, they have been pretty unlucky in June, and May is probably somewhere around what we should expect from the Kansas City offense over the course of the season.

    Alex Gordon, Alcides Escobar and Kendrys Morales are all hitting under .200 in the first two weeks of June. That’s obviously not sustainable. Eventually those three players will raise their averages above .250 and the offense will begin to level out to something that resembles its May numbers.

    The real issue on the Royals hands is what they have in right field and at 2nd base.

    Alex Rios and Omar Infante look lost at the plate. Infante has 6 hits, 1 walk and 14 strikeouts in his past 67 plate appearances. Alex Rios has 4 hits, 2 walks and 9 strikeouts in his 40 plate appearances since coming back from injury. What’s worse is that Rios and Infante make a combined $19.5 million in 2015. As much as we would all like to say money doesn’t matter, it’s simply not true. On this team and in this market, money matters a great deal and the Royals can not afford to have Rios and Infante out there looking like the worst everyday players at their respective positions.

    So, is the Royals’ offense this bad? No. It’s not. But Alex Rios and Omar Infante need to get back on track, and at least play like capable major league players.

    The expectations have changed for Kansas City. It’s no longer about going .500. For this season, it’s about making a run for a championship. And that can not and will not happen with Alex Rios and Omar Infante performing at this level.

  2. BK’s Daily Grind: Royals offense stalls, top basketball prospect works at shaved ice stand & a deadly bacteria reaches Florida beaches

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    KANSAS CITY ROYALS:

    The Kansas City Royals lost two of three against the Cardinals over the weekend. Unfortunately for the Royals, it was more like two of two, considering Sunday’s game between the Royals and Cards was rained out. June has been an odd month for the Royals. They’re 5-6, boast the AL’s best team ERA, and have the worst batting average in the league in the first two weeks of the month. And the worst of the bunch has been Omar Infante. He now has a “slash” line of .204/.213/.239. He boasts the worst on-base percentage of any MLB player with more than 180 plate appearances. The Royals are hopeful to get back on track this week against the Milwaukee Brewers. Milwaukee has struggled with its pitching for much of the year. Unfortunately for Kansas City, the Brewers have the 3rd best team ERA in the majors over the past two weeks. We’ll see if that keeps up over this four-game set.

    ST. LOUIS CARDINALS:

    As bad as June has been for the Royals, it’s been that impressive for the Cardinals. They’ve started the third month of the season 8-3, doing so without Matt Adams, Matt Holliday or Adam Wainwright. And now they’ll have to continue doing so without Lance Lynn. Much of the Red Birds’ success has been due to its pitching. The Cardinals boast the 2nd best team ERA in June. They’ve allowed 2 runs or less in 7 of the team’s past 9 games. Next up is another interleague series, this one coming against the slumping Twins. St. Louis has a nice opportunity to build up a lead in the division before taking on the Cubs on July 26-28. The next three series are against the Twins, Phillies and Marlins; three teams that are a combined 14-24 in June.

    KANSAS CITY CHIEFS & ST. LOUIS RAMS:

    The “Roast of Jamaal Charles” was a rousing success, according to Vahe Gregorian of the Kansas City Star.

    Speaking of Charles, NFL.com released its annual “backfield rankings”, which essentially ranks each team based on its running backs. The Chiefs came in 9th in this ranking. The Rams were no. 19.

    If you ask me (you didn’t), the Rams should do everything they can in order to land recently-released offensive lineman Evan Mathis.

    Pete Prisco of CBS Sports says the Chiefs and Rams both have issues along the offensive line.

    MIZZOU ATHLETICS:

    Mizzou picked up yet another commitment over the weekend, this one coming from offensive tackle Royce Newman. Newman is a 6’7, 255-pound prospect out of Nashville, Illinois. He was originally unranked, but has since been assigned a 4-star rating by 247 Sports. His HUDL film is impressive.

    This is an interesting look at returning players from Phil Steele. According to his ranking system, Missouri will be the “most experienced” team in the SEC East in 2015.

    It’s been known for quite some time, but Kim English makes it official: he’ll be joining Frank Haith’s staff at the University of Tulsa.

    video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

    Mizzou 2017 basketball recruiting target and Columbia resident, Michael Porter Jr., is the no. 2 overall player in the 2017 class. He also works at his family’s shaved ice stand in the summer. Great story by friend of the show, Austin Kim, of ABC 17.

    OTHER SPORTS:

    LeBron James with an honest answer to a simple question. I wish we got more of this from athletes. (ESPN)

    NON-SPORTS:

    A rare, potentially deadly bacteria that lives in warm seawater has infected seven people and killed two so far this year in Florida. (CBS News)

    The girlfriend of the world’s first successful penis transplant recipient is reportedly pregnant. (CNN)

    This is the best thing you’ll watch today.

  3. Should the Chiefs number two receiver be a concern?

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    Much has been made about the Kansas City Chiefs’ woes at wide receiver. At this point everyone and their mother knows the Chiefs finished the 2014 season without a wide receiver catching a touchdown pass. Since then, the Chiefs released Dwayne Bowe and signed former Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin.

    Despite upgrading their number one wide receiver, many are still wondering who will be the Chiefs number two wide receiver. In fact, Gregg Rosenthal over at NFL.com still believes the Chiefs have the worst wide receivers in the NFL.

    But how much does all of this matter, ultimately? This is the question I asked myself this morning. Even if I grant you the Chiefs will go into the 2015 season with a question mark, or worse, a bad player, as their number two receiver; does it matter?

    The reason I ask is simple. The Chiefs have one of the best tight ends in the NFL in Travis Kelce. Jeremy Maclin, even if you believe he is best suited as a number two, is a solid number one receiver and should be able to add at least 800 receiving yards in 2015. And Jamaal Charles has finished with at least 230 receiving yards every year of his career. Kansas City has, at the very least, above-average pass catchers at running back, tight end and at their number one wide receiver.

    With that in mind, I went through every team from 2014 to see what they got from their number three pass catcher. This could be a tight end or a wide receiver, but I excluded running backs in order to keep the list more accurate. Here’s how the teams ranked in 2014.

    Team: Player: Receptions: Receiving Yards: Touchdowns:
    Patriots Brandon LaFell 74 953 7
    Saints Jimmy Graham 85 889 10
    Chargers Keenan Allen 77 783 4
    Colts Coby Fleener 51 774 8
    Bears Brandon Marshall 61 721 8
    Eagles Zach Ertz 58 702 3
    Cardinals John Brown 48 696 5
    Titans Nate Washington 40 647 2
    Steelers Markus Wheaton 53 644 2
    Giants Larry Donnell 63 623 6
    Cowboys Terrence Williams 37 621 8
    Dolphins Charles Clay 58 605 3
    Panthers Jerricho Cotchery 48 580 1
    Browns Miles Austin 47 568 2
    Falcons Harry Douglas 51 556 2
    Texans Allen Robinson 48 548 2
    Raiders Mychal Rivera 58 534 4
    Ravens Owen Daniels 48 537 4
    Redskins Niles Paul 39 507 1
    Bills Scott Chandler 47 497 3
    Broncos Julius Thomas 43 489 12
    Vikings Charles Johnson 31 475 2
    Bengals Jermaine Gresham 62 460 5
    49ers Stevie Johnson 35 435 3
    Rams Stedman Bailey 30 435 1
    Packers Davante Adams 38 427 4
    Buccaneers Louis Murphy 31 380 2
    Seahawks Luke Wilson 22 362 3
    Jets Percy Harvin 29 350 1
    Lions Jeremy Ross 24 314 1
    Chiefs Albert Wilson 16 260  0

     

    What does all of this data mean? It mans that all the Chiefs need to get out of their number two wide receiver, in order to be league average, is roughly 50 receptions and 500 yards. And I’m not even sure if that is necessary.

    The Lions, Seahawks, Packers, Bengals, Broncos and Ravens each made it 2014 NFL Playoffs despite ranking in the bottom half of the NFL in yards contributed by their number three pass catcher. For the Chiefs offense to succeed, it will not come down to their number two wide receiver, whomever that may be. Their offensive success, or lack thereof, will come down to Alex Smith, Jamaal Charles, Travis Kelce and Jeremy Maclin. If those four play to their career averages, there is no reason why the Chiefs can’t have, at the very least, a league average offense.

    With the amount of talent on the Chiefs’ defense, an average offense might be all it takes for Kansas City to make a trip to the playoffs in 2015.

  4. BK’s Daily Grind: Royals sweep Twins, Recruit takes down 5 pound reuben & truck carrying live sharks crashes

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    KANSAS CITY ROYALS

    The Kansas City Royals completed a three-game sweep against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday. According to ESPN, this is the first time the Royals have swept a three-game series against a team that entered the series with the best record in the league since they swept the Yankees in June of 1994.

     

    Torii Hunter disrobed last night.

    The Cards & Royals play in St. Louis this weekend. Matt and BK from KTGR will be in attendance on Friday night. Fun shall be had.

    SB Nation writer Catherine Slonksnis says fan vote should not determine the All Star Game starters. I think the MLB has two choices here. 1) Continue to make the game count for something, and have the starters determined based on merit. How they would go about that is up for debate, but the starters should be based on merit. Or 2) Stop making the game matter, make it into a true exhibition & allow the fans to vote for the starters and let the cards fall where they may. Either option is fine with me, but having one foot in either door is not the way to go.

    ST. LOUIS CARDINALS:

    Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Matt Holliday’s injury is not as severe as initially believed.

    Should the Cardinals consider calling up Tommy Pham? Viva El Birdos says yes. 

    MIZZOU ATHLETICS:

    Bill Connelly of SB Nation takes us back five years ago today, when conference realignment became a reality. It’s fun to look back at how dire things looked for the Tigers.

    Stewart Mandel of Fox Sports ranked the winners & losers of conference re-alignment. He says Mizzou is one of the biggest winners for joining the SEC.

    “4) Texas A&M and Missouri: Neither seemed like natural fits upon joining the SEC, but fans of the existing teams embraced them. For A&M, a perfect storm in 2012 of Kevin Sumlin’s arrival, Johnny Manziel’s ascendance and beating Alabama greatly emboldened the Aggies’ fan base. The school approved an expansive renovation of Kyle Field the next year. And while Mizzou won two Big 12 division titles under Gary Pinkel, its consecutive SEC East crowns garnered newfound respect nationally.”

    It’s not Mizzou sports, but the Mizzou quad will get a face lift this summer.

    KANSAS CITY CHIEFS & ST. LOUIS RAMS:

    Danny Kelly is a great NFL writer over at SB Nation. He wrote about what Jeremy Maclin could bring to the Chiefs. I think Chiefs fans will enjoy this.

    Yesterday we mentioned the Pro Football Focus roster rankings. Adam Teicher of ESPN.com writes today that the Chiefs deserve better than the 19th overall ranking.

    Bleacher Report broke down each NFL quarterback based on how they throw the deep ball. Alex Smith, not surprisingly, didn’t rank particularly well. Nick Foles, on the other hand, is pretty impressive on the deep ball.

    I’m really starting to wonder if Phillip Gaines is going to break out in 2015. Stories like this one, from Adam Teicher, have not been difficult to find this offseason. If Gaines develops into a nice no. 2 cornerback, if Sean Smith plays as expected and if Marcus Peters is simply average in his rookie year, the Chiefs have some incredible potential in their pass defense.

    Do the Kansas City Chiefs have a starting-caliber no. 2 wide receiver? Sports On Earth believes that’s the top question facing the Chiefs in 2015.

    “The question is whether Kansas City has a wideout capable of diverting attention away from Maclin. De’Anthony Thomas is an explosive gadget player, but his size will limit him. Third-round pick Chris Conley possesses ideal size and speed, but he projects as a long-term solution at receiver, not a rookie contributor. The other receivers fall into the reserve-only category.”

    The Rams are really, really young.

    OTHER SPORTS:

    Great read from Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com on how the Cleveland Cavaliers are winning the time of possession in the NBA Finals. We talked about this yesterday in The Daily Grind. The Cavs are keeping the total possessions low in order to muck up the series… And it’s working.

    Does anyone believe that Malcolm Butler has been held out of OTA workouts for three weeks because he missed his flight?

    https://youtu.be/xVHLcGPwxAc

    This Notre Dame commit attempted to eat a five-pound reuben sandwich. It didn’t go well.

    There’s a whole lot of money in sports.

    NON-SPORTS:

    A truck carrying multiple sharks crashed in Florida. Save the sharks!

    This 10-year-old has done more with her life than I will at any point during my life. That’s slightly depressing.

    High school student in a wheelchair is “overlooked” at her high school graduation. What an embarrassment.

    There may be some issues with the shrimp we all enjoy eating so much.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhD1eaqNnh4

    Well, it moved. I guess that’s a start.

  5. BK’s Daily Grind: Royals fans anger Internet,LeBron takes over & Shakespeares no more

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    KANSAS CITY ROYALS:

    The Royals beat the Minnesota Twins 2-0 last night at Target Field. Chris Young was outstanding once again, throwing 6 1/3 innings of 1-hit baseball. Salvador Perez hit his 9th home run of the season. He’s on pace to hit 26 home runs this season. The Royals once again have the best record in the American League, and they go for the sweep tonight in Minneapolis. Edinson Volquez (4-4, 3.26 ERA) gets the start for the Royals, he’ll take on Kyle Gibson (4-3, 3.00 ERA) of the Twins.

    Jayson Stark of ESPN.com argues it’s time for the MLB to allow teams to trade draft picks. I think this would be good for teams like the Kansas City Royals.

    People are really, really mad at Royals fans for their insane voting numbers.

    ST. LOUIS CARDINALS:

    The Cardinals took a 2-0 lead in the top of the 6th, but the Rockies came roaring back, and pick up a win over the Red Birds 4-3 last night in Denver. The Red Birds’ offense couldn’t get much going, and that’s been the theme for the Cardinals for quite some time now. Matt Carpenter has 3 hits in his last 25 at bats. Jon Jay has 2 hits in his past 24 at bats. Thank God for Jhonny Peralta and Kolten Wong, because the rest of the offense has gone stagnant without Holliday in the lineup.

    Lance Lynn is back in St. Louis to receive tests on his forearm. The Cardinals don’t expect to address the situation until Friday. We will certainly be watching the situation closely, because the Cardinals can’t lose another front-end starter.

    The St. Louis Cardinals have the best run differential in baseball (+61). The next best is the Dodgers (+54). Rounding out the top 5 are the Blue Jays (+54), Royals (+45) and Pirates (+40)

    MIZZOU ATHLETICS:

    Mizzou baseball closer Breckin Williams was selected in the fourth round of the MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Starter Peter Fairbanks was taken in the ninth round by the Texas Rangers.

    Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated writes that Mizzou vs. Georgia is one of the major pivot-points in the NCAA football season.

    Rock M Nation asks an interesting question: Who will be the Mizzou football newcomer that comes in and makes an immediate impact? My nomination: Marcell Frazier. He’s going to be asked to come in and start at defensive end from day one.

    KANSAS CITY CHIEFS & ST. LOUIS RAMS:

    Matt Miller continued his offseason NFL 1000 project on Wednesday. Today’s category was the top 16 fullbacks in the NFL. Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman was rated his top overall fullback in the NFL. 

    Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus & ESPN.com ranked each NFL team based on the overall quality of each teams starting players. The Kansas City Chiefs ended up at no. 19 overall. Pro Football Focus has Justin Houston, Dontari Poe, Jamaal Charles, Derrick Johnson and Travis Kelce as the Chiefs’ five best players. They also say James Michael-Johnson, Eric Fisher, Zach Fulton, Donald Stephenson and Jason Avant should be upgraded.

    The Rams finished at no. 22 overall in the PFF rankings. Their top 5 players are Aaron Donald, Robert Quinn, Chris Long, William Hayes and Nick Fairley. PFF says the four starters that could be upgraded are Alec Ogletree, Greg Robinson, Tavon Austin and Nick Foles.

    OTHER SPORTS:

    LeBron James is really good at basketball, and he is willing the Cleveland Cavaliers to victory.

    This series has gone exactly as I expected (except not at all, actually). How has it happened? The Cavs are mucking everything up. They’re draining the shot clock on offense, they’re making every shot difficult for the Warriors, and they’re slowing down the game in a huge way. All of this plays into the “worse” team’s hands. In this case, that team is the Cavs. Case in point: An MLB team has to be really good to make the playoffs after a 162-game sample size. But once a team gets in, the Wild Card game can be hugely random because it’s a 1-game sample. That’s what we’re seeing in this series. The Cavs are lowering the sample sizes of every game by draining the shot clock & grinding out defensive possessions.

    Dwyane Wade interviewing LeBron James after the Cavs’ game 3 victory made for some really great television.

    https://youtu.be/WXElioOOY_s

    NON-SPORTS:

    You will be missed, Shakespeares.

    Is this supposed to comfort me?

    Road rage is bad, folks.

    https://youtu.be/RjKVcmsoylw

  6. CoMo Caller Stirs Up Finebaum

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    You never know just what will get the Paul Finebaum Show buzzing on KTGR. Today, it was a Mid-Missouri listener. (more…)

  7. Kyle Neddenriep breaks down the Royals’ draft picks

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    BK caught up with Kyle Neddenriep of the Indianapolis Star to get some insight on the Royals’ first round picks, Ashe Russell and Nolan Watson. Both Ashe & Nolan are from the Indianapolis area, and Kyle has covered both on the Indy Star’s prep sports beat.

  8. Does college football need improving

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    College football has changed in huge ways over the past decade when it comes to off-field changes, ranging from conference realignment to third tier media rights to recruiting tactics like satellite camps and beyond.

    With that said, the on-field product has changed very little in the past 10 years. What we watched in 2005 largely looked a lot like what we are watching today. And, to be honest, I think that’s a good thing. The NFL has done a lot of tinkering with its rules to make the game “safer” and the end result has amounted to a game that I, personally, don’t enjoy watching as much as I enjoyed watching the NFL back in the mid-2000s.

    With all of that said, CBS Sports asked their college football writers for ideas to improve the college football fan-viewing experience. These were my three favorite ideas:

    Dennis Dodd: Get rid of kickoffs

    “There were 1,226 kickoffs last season in the NFL. Six of them were returned for touchdowns. That’s a success rate of 0.4 percent. At the highest level of college football, the number is slightly higher at 0.6 percent. Bored yet? This is the future of not only NFL and college football, all of organized football. It’s going to happen.”

    Jon Solomon: Use a running clock after 1st downs

    “A running clock could be a healthy compromise between up-tempo and pro-style. Up-tempo coaches could still snap the ball quickly; pro-style coaches could benefit with fewer overall plays. Most importantly, unpaid “amateur” players, who can’t collectively bargain for their rights, could see less wear and tear on their bodies.”

    Tom Fornelli: Get rid of extra points

    “Of the 128 FBS teams in 2014, only seven failed to convert them at least 90 percent of the time… If you score a touchdown, you have to go for two. It will save us all from the boredom of watching a team line up for the extra point and will instead give us another fun play to watch.”

    All of these ideas make a ton of sense to me. The kickoff and extra points will surely be eliminated within the next 10 years. The running clock after first downs would prevent drama in some games, but it would add drama in others.

    Overall, what I found from this exercise by CBS Sports is that college football is in a good place right now. There is very little that needs to be “changed.” The sport is as lucrative as ever, and the on-field product is easy and enjoyable for fans to watch.

  9. Hundreds of piglets escape after semitrailer crash

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    About 2,200 pigs were in a semitrailer that overturned near Dayton, Ohio, and hundreds were set free in the crash, according to WLWT news in Cincinnati, Ohio.

    “The semitrailer hauling the piglets somehow went over an embankment. WLWT News 5’s Jackie Congedo said a fire chief told her between 300-500 piglets were killed in the crash. Another 300-400 were loose from the crashed truck.”

    “There’s quite a few pigs that got out and ran from the accident. They’re in the woods. I don’t think we’ll ever get all of them, I really, really don’t. We’ll try as hard as we can to retrieve all of them, but we probably won’t retrieve all of them,” Xenia Township Fire Chief Dean Fox said.

    The piglets were described as feeder pigs. They were being taken from South Carolina to a farm in Indiana, crews told Congedo.

    According to the report, some of the piglets will have to be euthanized due to severe injuries suffered during the crash. The roughly 1,500 surviving piglets will be taken to the Greene County Fairgrounds.

  10. Dunkin’ Donuts new advertising campaign includes Gronk & Big Papi

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    The fine people over at Dunkin’ Donuts are considering adding an option for delivery. I would approve of that decision. But I only bring that up in order to have an excuse to show you this video of Big Papi & Rob Gronkowski singing in the latest Dunkin’ Donuts advertisement.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pV7-cwgRjL0