Jun 28, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar (2) makes a throw to first after forcing out Los Angeles Angels base runner Kole Calhoun (56) at second during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Around the Kingdom: Alcides Escobar, Butler, Bowe, Joe Delaney and Besler

The Royals could not continue the momentum generated by James Shields strong start on Monday, despite a solid outing from Jason Vargas–who only allowed 2 runs in 5.2 innings pitched. The problem, as it has been all season, was an anemic offense that managed only 3 runs.

While the Royals did stage a 2-run 9th inning rally to pull within 1 run, the game was lost when Francisley Bueno surrendered 2 runs in the 8th. Sigh. The Royals seem to lose just when they are building momentum.

Sporting KC is still trying to deal with the aftermath of the World Cup, where both Graham Zusi and Matt Besler performed well enough to draw international interest. While their strong play helps raise the profile of Sporting KC’s club and brand, the extra attention might cause them to be lured away by more pay from a bigger international club team. This is part of a larger process about the MLS becoming a respectable soccer league—the ability to retain quality performers.

Meanwhile, NBA summer league action is giving marginal players a chance to get the attention of NBA teams. KU’s Tarik Black helped his case by grabbing 10 rebounds in a summer league game.

KANSAS CITY ROYALS

Billy his having a career worst season hitting .266/.321/.342 with 2 HR 34 RBI. He is still just 28 and has a career line of .296/.361/.450, but there is no doubt he is trending downward since his career best season in 2012. ZIPS still projects Billy to hit .282/.352/.413 the rest of the way, but every day we get more evidence that Billy just isn’t right this year. With a $12.5 million club option for next year the Royals will almost certainly decline, Billy’s days in Kansas City could be numbered.

However, Escobar, despite his .291/.330/.402 batting line, and despite being second in the American League amongst those shortstops that qualify for the batting title, was left off the All-Star roster. Derek Jeter, in his final season, was voted in as the starting shortstop for the American League, which certainly was not a surprise. Jeter, however, is playing at a barely above replacement level, posting a 0.6 WAR this season. Yet, his presence was to be expected

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

There is hope though. If Bowe and Smith have bonded there could be some great things in store for both of those key offensive players. Then throw in the leagues most dangerous running back in Jamaal Charles and the Chiefs offense could once again be firing on all cylinders and truly become a threat in the AFC West.

Mike Clay of Pro Football Focus and Rotoworld has done some cool work on how often teams throw the ball vs. rushing it. He found that last season the Chiefs had an expected pass rate of 58 percent based on what other teams had done in similar situations. The Chiefs actual pass rate was 62 percent. (Note that these are counting called pass plays, so a quarterback scramble would be a pass.)’

SPORTING KC

  • Kansas City Star – Ownership meets with team captain Matt Besler about his future:

Besler is under contract with Sporting KC through the 2015 season, but his recent play in the World Cup has ignited transfer opportunities to play in the English Premier League or Bundesliga in Germany

KANSAS JAYHAWKS

  • KUSports.com – Former KU big man Tarik Black grabs 10 rebounds in summer league game for the Houston Rockets

There you have it KC fans—the news Around the Kingdom.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/sports/mls/sporting-kc/article691689.html#storylink=cpy

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Tags: Alcides Escobar Billy Butler Dwayne Bowe Joe Delaney Kansas City Chiefs Kansas City Royals Kansas Jayhawks Matt Besler Sporting Kansas City Tarik Black