I was holding off writing a column about the Royals and Mike Moustakas until he was traded.
I was thinking with Tuesday, July 31 being the deadline, he would for sure be a former Royal by then and my thinking was correct. He became a former Royal late last week when he was traded to Milwaukee.
Moose is now one of six former Royals on the Milwaukee roster, joining former favorites Lorenzo Cain and Joakim Soria — the first time with the Royals, not his second tour.
As a person, I’m happy for Moose. He goes from a team that is awful and going nowhere anytime soon to a team that is in the hunt for the playoffs, a stage where he has excelled.
I have been a Royals fan forever and I really liked what Moose brought to the team. When it became obvious last year we were going to lose a lot of key players, I went to a lot of games. I was rather surprised when the Royals were able to resign him and I will say I got excited thinking that maybe a different version of the championship team could still do pretty well. I was obviously wrong. I didn’t take into account that Jason Hammel and Ian Kennedy would give up 8 runs each start or that half the batting order would hit less than the 225 I weigh.
Almost 90 percent of the 2015 championship team is now gone. Moose played a big role in each of the American League pennants and he was also a standup guy in the locker room. I was lucky enough to attend quite a few games as a media member during the ‘14-15 run and he was there to talk after each game no matter the outcome.
It seemed just like yesterday he was a much-talked-about prospect that made the Royals move Alex Gordon from third base to left field.
The ‘gas can’
I love baseball because of the nicknames involved. The Splendid Splinter, The Big Hurt, The Kid, Joltin’ Joe, Stan The Man, the Commerce Comet, Shoeless Joe and Oil Can. The list can go on and on.
I think a new one that needs to become a thing is Brandon ‘The Gas Can’ Maurer.
No matter what this Royals hurler does, he makes it worse.
Acquired last year from San Diego when the Royals were making a playoff push, Maurer had 33 saves between 2016 and 2018. He became a Royal and suddenly got worse. Last year, from May to July, he gave up 35 hits as a Padre. In two months with the Royals last year, he yielded 31 hits and 15 extra base hits. He gave up 14 in five months with San Diego.
This year, the hurler making $2.9 million is an utter disaster most times he pitches.
Last Monday, against the Tigers he entered with a 4-2 lead and promptly blew the game and kept Heath Fillmeyer from earning his first MLB win.
As my buddy Jerry Lutz said, ‘Even a blind guy could see Maurer entering was going to be bad.’
Maurer has four blown saves as a Royal this year and the team is a robust 2-16 in games he has pitched wearing the white and blue.
Maurer has allowed a base runner in all but 16 of his 18 appearances this season. His ERA went to 14.25 after the blown save against Detroit and shockingly enough, that is only his fourth highest ERA of the season. Other marks this year were 22.50 and 16.20 and 15.00.
Here are two things to put the Gas Can’s pitching in perspective.
His ERA as a Royal in 43 games is 10.09. Catcher Drew Butera’s ERA as a pitcher with the Royals is 8.31.
When it comes to the history of Royals, Maurer is currently in No. 1 for highest career ERA with at least 30 innings pitched. Of the six other contenders for that dubious honor, Maurer is the only one with an ERA above 10. The next highest is Victor Marte at 9.30, while Tim Byrdak is at 8.27. The next three in the standings all had ERAs in the 7s — which includes one of my all-time hated Royals, Jonathan Sanchez. A guy who could somehow throw a no-hitter with the Giants, but when he becomes a Royal, he can’t pitch more than 2 innings without giving his team a 10-run deficit.
He was sent to the minors earlier this season, but somehow he got a chance to pitch in KC again. I think it is time we just cut our losses and get rid of him. It is a lost season or two coming up. Why make it worse? About every time he trots in from the bullpen, I can only imagine the excitement in the eyes of the opposing team. I mean, who doesn’t like having batting practice against a guy that opponents are hitting better than .400 off of.
West Platte happenings
This past Friday, July 27, was the Nate Danneman Football Camp at West Platte High School in Weston.
While the start of high school football is still a few weeks ago, this was a chance for teams to get a little bit of work in before the start of fall practices on Monday, Aug. 6 — the first allowable day for practice for teams across Missouri.
West Platte, North Platte and Mid-Buchanan were the local teams there, joining Versailles, Higginsville (Lafayette County) and Oak Park.
I was a little confused why Oak Park, a Class 5 school, would be there but once I got on the field, it made a lot of sense. One of the Northmen coaches had a shirt with the likeness of the late West Platte coach Nate Danneman on it. That coach was his brother, Jacob.
Also, that same day, the West Platte girls track and field team did a ‘Fund Run’ to help collect donations to help cover the cost of state championship rings. For each $5 raised, the girls ran one lap around the track.
Last month, the team held a fundraiser at the Platte City Price Chopper as well, with a goal of raising enough money to offset the cost of the rings by half for each of the girls on the Class 1 championship team.
Each time I go to downtown — which is much harder do without southbound 169, but I digress — it seems like there is always a new business popping up or something else to do.
One of my favorite things to do is ride the KC Streetcar and that is something I am not alone in liking to do. Earlier this month, the streetcar had 78,998 riders the first week of month and on July 6, there were 19,818 riders. That number is almost 2,000 more than the previous high of 17,267 on May 6, 2017.
The summer months have, statistically, been the best for riders in the KC Streetcar. The highest number to date came in July 2016 with 233,683. Last year, 230,925 rides were given in July.
The streetcar is a great addition to downtown KC and I’m glad to see it extend over to UMKC. In my dream world, it would come all the way to the airport.