Royals Recap: Jeff Francoeur Hits HR For New Hitting Coach George Brett; Losing Streak Over


It was a crazy day for the Kansas City Royals (22-29) in which they welcomed a legend back into the dugout and finally ended their 8-game losing streak by beating their in-state rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals (35-18) in come back fashion by a score of 4-2. In case you haven’t heard, George Brett is the new hitting coach.

May 1, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals right fielder Jeff Francoeur (21) connects for a two run single in the sixth inning of the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

On the Mound

Jeremy Guthrie struggled mightily in the first 2 innings. He allowed 2 runs and 4 hits in the first. The Cards got him for 2 more hits in the second and Guthrie walked another, but he got out of the inning without further damage. He would only allow 4 more hits in the final 4 frames of this outing, keeping his team close. Tim Collins, Louis Coleman, and Greg Holland pitched 3 hitless frames to close out the game. Holland’s inning came after a 5-hour rain delay and it was his first save since May 1.

At the Plate

Don’t get too excited and think that Brett was able to just turn things around immediately. The Royals 4 runs were scored on 4 hits. In the 9th, Jeff Francoeur tied the game by hitting a home run to start the inning. Alex Gordon walked, Alcides Escobar was hit in the hand, David Lough reached on a fielder’s choice throwing error by the pitcher, and Eric Hosmer hit a high chopping ground ball that bounced over a drawn in first baseman. There’s no complaining though. This is how the Royals have been losing games and it was nice to see them win one for change.

This and That

Today, this will be the George Brett section.

While the hiring of George Brett as interim (so he can’t be fired) hitting coach ( along with Pedro Grifol), reeks a tad bit of desperation, the Royals ARE  desperate. They fired Kevin Seitzer after last season because his hitters weren’t slugging enough homers and the guys brought in to fix the problem, Jack Maloof and Andre David, haven’t been able to fix any thing.

Twitter was almost broken yesterday when Brett made a comment during his press conference about home runs being rally killers (totally paraphrasing). Many people seemed upset by that comment but it probably refers to one of Brett’s hitting philosophies about never trying to hit home runs because it seldom works. Swinging for the fences in an effort to hit a home run results in outs much more ofter than home runs and THAT is how they kill rallies. In my opinion, this is what I thikg George Brett meant by his comments, not that he thought home runs were literally rally killers. Common sense should rule here.

It seems strange that Brett would even agree to take this coaching position, even on an interim basis. At his press conference, it seems as if he has just become fed up with losing and under achieving hitters. I am sure he has an opinion on all of the Royals’ hitters and some of their habits. Brett has a very specific sense on how baseball should be played – all out hustle. It would not surprise me in the least if we start seeing more effort out of the batters box. I wouldn’t surprise me if we see an end to these silly little hand gestures to the dugout after rare hits, in games the Royals are behind in, and while immersed in 8-game losing streaks. I believe that Brett IS tired of all the losing, so maybe he can change their mentality as well as their hitting approaches.

Ultimately, Brett needs to fix Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas. Let’s face it – this is what he has to do. Hopefully, they will listen to him and can incorporate what he has to teach them and turn their careers around. For the sake of those players, the whole origination, and all of the fans, let’s hope so.

KC Kingdom Player of the Game

For all the grief he takes, Francoeur deserves a little pat on the back for doing something good. Tying a game against the Cardinals in St. Louis, in the 9th inning, and generating the momentum that led to victory was a good thing. Frenchy is the POG!

The Cardinals

Rookie starting pitcher Michael Wacha made his major league debut last night and looked very good. Of course, it was against the Royals. Wacha went 7 terrific innings, allowing only 2 hits, and 1 run. He didn’t walked a batter (again, it was the Royals) and he struck out 6. The Cardinals look to have another stalwart starter to add to their rotation. How come they are able to develop starting pitchers?

Up Next

The Royals now get to play the best team in the American League. Wade Davis (3-4, 5.71 ERA) will face Derek Holland (4-2, 297 ERA) and the Texas Rangers (33-20) tonight at 7:05. Hopefully, the Royals late night won’t hurt them too bad.

AL Central Notes

Detroit Tigers (29-23): For the 2nd time in 3 games, the Tigers were shutout for 11 innings by the Pittsburg Pirates, who beat Detroit 1-0 both Tuesday and Thursday. Doug Fister was the victim last night, going 7 innings, allowing just 4 hits and striking out 12.

Cleveland Indians (29-24 ): Scott Kazmir held the Reds to 1 run on 8 hits through 7 on Thursday. Yan Gomes was 3-4 with a run and a RBI in the 7-1 win.

Chicago White Sox (24-27): Jake Peavy got beat around a bit by the Cubs in a 8-3 defeat Thursday. Peavy surrendered 6 runs on 8 hits in just 4 innings.

Minnesota Twins (23-28): The Twins stayed in the 4th place in the AL Central with a 8-6 victory over the Brewers. Brian Dozier, Joe Mauer, Ryan Doumit, and Chris Parmelee all homed for the Twins.