By Nate Bukaty
1) 3:00 on Saturday? Who are the scheduling wizards who came up with this idea? Look, there’s no question where I’ll be on Saturday. I’ll be in the Cauldron, screaming my head off with the rest of the crazed Sporting fans. Having been a fully converted Sporting fan going on seven years, there’s no way I’d miss this match. But for the more casual observers, this match is scheduled at a horrible time: in the middle of the day, on College Football Championship Saturday. There are college games with possible National Title implications all over the place. The general consciousness of the sports population in America will be zeroed in on the college gridiron all day. Meanwhile, the Championship match of the MLS, a league that is still trying to get a foothold with the average American sports fan, will be “buried” on ESPN. Again, this isn’t a problem for your die-hard soccer fans, or particularly your die-hard Sporting KC fans. But what if you’re a huge Sporting fan, but you also happen to be a Missouri alumnus? Your football team is playing in possibly the biggest game in school history, while your soccer team is playing in the biggest match in its history. I realize that the MLS cannot plan their Championship match based on potential conflicts with the local universities of every MLS franchise. But they sure as heck can figure out that playing a game up against a slew of college football championship games is a TV ratings loser. So, why did they do it? The simple answer is that ESPN told them to. Friday night would have been the better date for MLS to hold this match. Think about it. MLS could have owned that day on the American sports scene. The only competition is a couple of regular season NBA games. The World Cup Draw is that morning. If the MLS could find the right TV partner, the entire day could be a celebration of American soccer. But ESPN has the NBA on Friday night. Conversely, they’ve got a hole in their programming on Saturday, while the SEC Championship game is on. So, they wanted the MLS game on Saturday afternoon, and they got it. The MLS is growing, as evidenced by its upcoming franchise expansion. The League has done a lot of things right, but they still have a long way to go when it comes to scheduling.
2) Two model franchises: Enough of me complaining about the schedule. What’s done is done. Heck, it’d do me as much good to moan about the weather (it’s going to be brutally cold, if you haven’t heard.) Let’s talk about what a fantastic match this figures to be. Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City are truly two of the model franchises in the MLS. They’ve got fantastic player development systems, and they’ve both maintained a level of success for a sustained period. Sporting KC have qualified for the playoffs in every season (three) since they’ve opened the new stadium. Salt Lake are participating in their sixth straight MLS playoff. Each franchise has hoisted the MLS Cup once before. Sporting did it when they were called the Wizards, back in 2000. Real Salt Lake won their trophy in 2009.
3) These Clubs Have a History Together: According to Real Salt Lake coaches and players, their dislike for the Sporting KC franchise goes back to a preseason match in 2011. Earlier this week, RSL Manager Jason Kreis recounted the story of a “very, very physical affair” in which the match was canceled when the Real Salt Lake team walked off the field, because the physical play was out of control.
I asked Sporting KC Defender Matt Besler for his reaction to Kreis’s characterization of the preseason match from two years ago. He says the Sporting players are using the comments as motivation: “We’re fully aware of the comments that have been made, and we’re kind of keeping that in our back pocket. We’re going to use that stuff up on the bulletin board.” What about the allegations that the Sporting players got too rough in this preseason match? “I don’t see what’s wrong with getting a little physical,” Matt responded. “I think everyone is kind of looking at this matchup and they’re saying that Salt Lake is the finesse team and the possession team, and we’re just a bunch of big brutes and physical guys who don’t like to play soccer. I think we all know that’s not true.” Sounds like there’s no love lost between these two sides.
4) Possession is Nine Tenths of the Law: While these two squads have very different styles of play, one thing they have in common is an uncanny ability to keep the ball. RSL and SKC are the top two teams in MLS when it comes to possession. Salt Lake have possessed the ball 56.5% of the time in their matches this season, while Sporting KC have controlled the ball for 55% of the time. So, this match might not come down so much as to who has the ball the most, but rather how they have it. Devin Pleuler from MLSsoccer.com gives a nice breakdown of exactly what this means:
5) Not such a Little Blue Box: Speaking of that beautiful trophy, we at The Border Patrol got an up close look at The MLS Cup on Wednesday morning. Any woman who fancies jewelry (are there any that don’t) knows, if she gets that trademark “little blue box” for a present, there’s quite an expensive gift inside. Of course, it’s Tiffany & Co. that trademarked the Blue Box. And it’s Tiffany & Co. who makes the MLS Cup every year, out of 21 pounds of pure sterling silver. Now, the Cup itself is priceless to any player earns the honor of lifting it. But, if you’re curious as to the cost of purchasing such a cup from Tiffany & Co. yourself, you’re looking at a cost of a cool $100,000. Engraved around the base of the cut are the names of each franchise that has won the Cup, along with the year they won it. I find it cool that the “Kansas City Wizards – 2000” appears front and center as you look at the Cup. Hopefully, Sporting Kansas City will be adding its name within a couple of days.
By Nate Bukaty
Here’s a little primer for tonight’s matchup between KU and Duke. Let’s go position by position:
PG – Quin Cook (6-2, 180, Jr.) vs. Naadir Tharpe (5’11, 170, Jr.) – Even though both players are Juniors, the experience factor in this particular matchup is squarely on the side of Duke. Cook averaged almost 34 minutes per game last season, while Tharpe logged just over 19 minutes per game as a backup. Cook showed his experience in Duke’s opener against Davidson, as he posted eight assists without a single turnover in 34 minutes. Tharpe, meanwhile, will be making his debut as the Jayhawks’ starting Point Guard, as he was suspended for the season opener. Tharpe is eager to prove that he’s ready to take the reigns of the Jayhawks’ offense. Tonight will provide quite the opportunity for him to do just that.
SG – Tyler Thornton (6’2, 190, Sr.) vs. Wayne Selden (6’5, 230, Fr.) This is a matchup of experience vs. talent. Selden is the future NBA player of the two. He’s got size and athleticism over Thornton. The one thing Thornton has over Selden is experience. He’s logged over 1,800 minutes of college basketball, compared to just 28 for Selden.
SF – Rodney Hood (6’8, 215, R-So.) vs. Andrew Wiggins (6’8, 200, Fr.) Hood went for 22 points, on nine of 10 shooting, and nine rebounds against Davidson. Hood originally went to Mississippi State as the 16th ranked player in the nation, according to rivals, coming out of high school. He averaged 10 points and five boards with the Bulldogs, before transferring to Duke. After sitting out due to transfer rules, Hood is expected to make a big impact for the Devils this season. I don’t need to tell you about the hype surrounding Wiggins. This will be a good challenge for the KU freshman, an opponent with similar size and lankiness. Both players can step outside and shoot. Hood was two-for-two from downtown against Davidson, while Wiggins was two-for-four against Louisiana Monroe. But both players want to use their length and leaping ability to get most of their points closer to the basket.
PF – Jabari Parker (6-8, 235, FR.) vs. Perry Ellis (6’8, 225, So.) In this case, the Jayhawks have the experience factor on their side, while Duke has the edge in upside. With one full season under his belt, Perry Ellis almost seems like a wily veteran on this young KU team. Ellis has logged about 500 minutes of playing time more than Jabari Parker, but Parker was the number four rated player by rivals in this year’s class. Not that Perry Ellis was chopped liver. After all, the Wichita native was a McDonald’s All American, and the 24th rated player in his class. Parker had a heckuva debut with Duke, hitting all three of his three point attempts on his way to 22 points against Davidson. Parker has more range than Ellis, but don’t sleep on Perry’s ability to shoot from the mid-range. This should be another fantastic matchup.
C – Amile Jefferson (6-9, 210, So.) vs. Tarik Black (6’9, 260, Sr.) Jefferson was “only” the 36th rated player per rivals in his class. He scored 10 points in just 11 minutes against Davidson. As a Freshman, Jefferson averaged just 4 points and 3 rebounds, in just under 13 minutes of playing time per game. Meanwhile, Tarik Black brings some much needed experience and physicality to this young Jayhawk team. Black had 8 points and 7 rebounds in his Kansas debut. Black has size on his side, as Jefferson is giving away 50 pounds to the Memphis transfer. Neither of these guys will be the focus of his team’s offense.
Bench: The Blue Devils’ best weapon off the bench is Sophomore Guard Rahseed Sulaimon. He went for 20 points in 25 minutes against Davidson, and averaged 11.6 per game last year. Duke doesn’t have the size that Kansas does, but they’ll rotate a couple of 6’8’’ guys, Alex Murphy and Josh Hairston to supplement their inside game. Conversely, Kansas can rotate in the uber-talented seven-footer Joel Embiid as well as the long and athletic energy guy, Jamari Traylor. What the Jayhawks lack for in outside shooting from their starting lineup, they make up with sharp shooters Andrew White, Brannen Greene, and Conner Frankamp.
By Nate Bukaty
There is power in a moustache. This is something I’m learning for the first time in my life. Deep down, I’ve probably always known it, but until now, I’ve always hidden behind those snarky remarks that most of us make about people with beautiful strips of hair on their upper lips. Those days are over.
In two days, the month of MOvember begins. And in preparation, for the past 5 days, I’ve been growing out my first ever stand-alone moustache. See, with the slow rate at which my facial hair grows, I needed to get a bit of a head start.
Why am I choosing to rock a sweet ‘stache this month? Because, cancer sucks. If you listen to Sports Radio 810 with any regularity, you probably know by now that I lost one of my best friends to cancer in September of 2012. Sean Biggs was 37 years old, married, with two beautiful young children. His death shook me to the core. Ever since then, I’ll do whatever I can to join in on the fight against the murderous disease.
What does a moustache have to do with cancer? Here’s a brief explanation from us.movember.com:
“As an official global charity, Movember’s vision is to have an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health. During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of millions of moustaches on men's faces around the world. Through the power of the Mo, vital funds and awareness are raised to combat prostate and testicular cancer and mental health challenges.”
So, I’ve joined a team for Movember, called “The Fellowship of the Mobros.” If you listen to Sports Radio 810 with any regularity, you might also know that our Technical Producer on the Border Batrol, Jake Gutierrez, lost both of his parents to cancer. Therefore, Jakes brother, Derek, has founded this team of mustachioed men to raise money in the fight against cancer. You can join our team, or make a donation at:
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been working on this moustache for the past 5 days. Already, I’m noticing the amazing powers of having a moustache. It commands respect. It brings instant credibility. It magically gives one a sense of swagger. Now I realize why great Americans like Eddie Murphy, Dr. Phil, Tony Muser, and Danny Clinkscale have chosen to rock a ‘stache at one time or another.
So, I’m asking you to join in. Start working on your moustache, or at least donate and support our team. I’m literally putting my money where my mouth is on this one, and I’m asking you to do the same.
Since my facial hair grows at a glacial pace, I’ll be taking a selfie every day from here to the end of MOvember, so that we can put a good time lapse video together of the growth of my manly moustache. Here’s what I’ve got so far:
Now that you see how creeped out my poor wife is going to be over the next month, the least you could do is kick in some money, so this isn’t all just a waste of time for me!
By Nate Bukaty
Five games into year Number Two of the Charlie Weis Era at Kansas, here are five observations about the state of the KU football program…
1. Can Weis recreate his Quarterback Magic? When Charlie Weis took over the Kansas program, he recognized immediately that he needed to address the absolute vacuum that existed at the quarterback position. Capitalizing on former connections, and on his reputation as a quarterback guru, Weis secured the transfers of two once highly touted gunslingers: Dane Crist from Notre Dame and Jake Heaps from BYU. Crist, as a senior grad-school transfer, would be the immediate stop-gap. Heaps, after red-shirting for a year, would be the longer-term answer. We already know how the first QB panned out, as Crist was benched halfway through the sixth game last season. The early returns on Heaps are not much better. Through five games, Heaps has completed just 53% of his passes, throwing for only five touchdowns and six interceptions. To be fair to Heaps, he hasn’t had much help. The line hasn’t given him much time to throw, and the receivers haven’t been able to get open consistently. On top of that, when the receivers have gotten some separation, they have tended to drop passes that have been thrown right on the money. But Heaps is also not without blame for the Jayhawks’ struggling offense. This has prompted some to call for true Freshman Montel Cozart, from Bishop Miege High School, to start getting some snaps. Weis is apparently on the same page, as he has added Cozart to the depth chart this week, for the first time all season. Weis said on Tuesday that he wouldn’t be listing Cozart on the depth chart if there weren’t a legitimate chance of him playing on Saturday against the Sooners. Stay tuned.
2. The Jayhawks Have Gotten Defensive: If you’re looking for areas where Charlie Weis and Co. have immediately improved the Kansas program, your best bet is to look on the defensive side of the ball. This might be a tad ironic, as Weis clearly is a guy who focuses most of his personal attention on the offensive side of the ball. When you look at the Big 12 statistics, the Jayhawks currently rank two spots higher than they did a year ago in both scoring and total defense. I don’t believe these stats even do justice to how much the KU defense has improved. Last season, the KU Defense was bolstered by the fact that the Jayhawks had one of the best rushing attacks in the Big 12, which kept opposing defenses off the field. This season, the Jayhawk offense has basically been a “3 and out” machine, which has put the defense in an unfavorable position more often than not. Last week, the KU Defense forced seven punts and four turnovers against TCU. If they could get any help from the offense whatsoever, I think this defense could prove to be a real strength.
3. Special Teams have turned around: The other obvious area where the Jayhawks have made a sudden improvement has been on Special Teams. This is also a bit ironic, as Charlie Weis decided not to go with a specific Special Teams Coach this season. But, for the Jayhawks, it wasn’t so much about coaching. This was simply all about finding new kickers. Last year, the Jayhawks had no sufficient options at punter, kickoff specialist, or place kicker. Weis and his staff looked under every rock from here to Hawaii, in search of kickers, until they finally found what they needed. Trevor Pardula has done a fine job as both the Punter and Kickoff specialist (his decision on the infamous fake punt against Texas Tech notwithstanding.) Pardula has recorded 13 touchbacks on kickoffs already this season, which is something that was completely unheard of a year ago. He’s also received Special Teams Player of the Week honors once this year. When it comes to place kicker, the Jayhawks have been boosted by the unlikely story of Matt Wyman. A walk-on who was sitting in the stands watching last year’s games, Wyman has now given Charlie Weis the confidence to try field goals as far as 52 yards out. A year ago, the Jayhawks were forced to go for it on any fourth down situations within field goal range, no matter how close they were, because they simply had no confidence that anyone on the team could make a kick.
4. O-Line Must Be a Focus: Those who were expecting the Jayhawks to recreate last year’s success in the ground game were overlooking one crucial thing: that rushing take came largely behind the three red-shirt seniors, who occupied the center spot (Trevor Marrongelli), Left Guard (Duane Zlatnik) and Left Tackle (Tanner Hawkinson.) All three of those guys were recruited to Kansas by Mark Mangino’s staff, and it seems that the regime between Mangino and Weis did little to address the position in their two years on campus. Weis has tried to immediately plug those holes with Juco transfers, and the result has been a line that has struggled for cohesion all season long. There’s no doubt that Weis and his staff must continue to address this part of the team in the coming recruiting classes.
5. Ch-Ch-Ch-Cha-Changes: Say this for Charlie Weis: he’s not afraid to shake things up. Some coaches are either so head strong, or so sure of themselves, that they will refuse to make changes, even when it’s painfully obvious that changes are needed. That’s not the case with KU’s football coach. Before the season, Weis decided to overhaul the coaching responsibility for his defensive staff. That move seems to have paid dividends. Just last week, Weis decided to almost completely restructure the depth chart along the struggling offensive line. It is still to be determined whether or not those moves will pan out. This week, Weis even pointed the winds of change in his own direction, as he announced that he was scrapping the power structure of his offensive coaching staff. Now Jeff Blasko will coordinate the run game, and Ron Powlus will coordinate the pass game. Weis says he’ll spend more time coaching the skill position players, since he has spent time coaching each of those positions at some point during his career. Weis says he isn’t going to let his ego get in the way of doing whatever he can to improve the offense. So changes are being made again.
By Nate Bukaty
Well, the Royals made it interesting. They’d remained mathematically alive all the way into the final week of this 2013 season. But, now that our dreams of a Blue October are officially over, it’s time to look to next year. For our Final “3 Up, 3 Down” of the year, here are three reasons to believe that 2014 will be special, and three questions that must be answered this off season.
1) From Finish to Start: Let’s face it: for most Royals fans, there has to be at least a little fear that there will be a repeat of the 2003-2004 Royals. In other words, everyone will get their hopes up after a winning season (but third place finish) only to have them completely and utterly dashed in the following year. So, we’re looking for differences. Why is this 2013 team “legit” compared to the fluke that was the 2003 team? The first thing I point to is the way the two teams finished. That 2003 team limped across the finish line, playing .457 baseball after the All Star Break. They went 13 and 15 in both August and September. Conversely, this year’s team has played it’s best baseball down the stretch. The Royals have played .606 baseball since the break. For reference, that pace would be good enough for the best record in the AL, if maintained for a season. (NOTE: this is not to suggest that the Royals could or would maintain that pace. It is just to show exactly how good that pace is.) Even after losing the last two ball games, the Royals have posted their best winning percentage of the season in September. The point is, the Royals are trending in the right direction, unlike in 2003.
2) The Return of Big Game James: Whether you like “The Trade” or not, there can be little argument that James Shields almost immediately stabilized what had easily been the Royals’ most glaring weakness over the past decade and a half: the starting rotation. With one more start to go, Shields has already gobbled up over 221 innings on the season. That’s 10 more than even Ervin Santana (we’ll get to him later.) There’s no doubt that Shields’s consistent production had a trickle-down effect on the rest of the rotation and especially on the bullpen. Moreover, Shields does this every year. In fact, this year marks the 7th straight in which Shields has pitched over 200 innings. There aren’t many sure things in baseball, but Shields seems to be about as close to one as there is. And he is back next year.
3) Players in their Prime: Dayton Moore likes to talk about players in their “Championship Years.” When it comes to the bulk of the Royals’ position players, almost all of them are either in, or entering, those prime years of their career. Alex Gordon is the “elder statesman” of the group, as he will have turned 30 right before spring training opens. Billy Butler will turn 28 during the first month of the season, so he should be right in the middle of his prime. Mike Moustakas just turned 25. Hosmer turns 24 next month. Alcides Escobar is 26. Salvador Perez is 23. Now, we can’t just assume that all of these guys will be better next year simply because they are a year older. But, the general trends for players their ages are encouraging. This teamshould take a step forward, just from internal growth, not to mention the valuable experience they all received from playing meaningful games this September.
1) Oye A Donde Va? The famous song by Santana, “Oye Como Va?” basically translates to “Hey, how’s it going?” I would answer that question with a question of my own, directed at the Royals’ Santana: “Oye A Donde Va?” For those who aren’t well versed in Spanish, that translates to “Hey, where are you going?” The consensus around baseball is that the Royals don’t stand much of a chance in signing Santana after this season. He’s due for a big payday, perhaps the largest of any pitcher on the upcoming market. Who knows, maybe the Royals will surprise us. But let’s assume that the consensus is reality, and Santana walks. That’s over 200 innings the Royals will need to replace in their rotation. Yes, Shields has been terrific, and he has been the anchor. But Santana’s production has been very close to as crucial to the Royals’ progress this season as Shields’. If the Royals can’t sign Santana, they will need to find someone to fill that void. The Royals simply cannot count on Duffy or Ventura to immediately become innings eaters. Neither guy has shown the ability to get deep into games, even at the minor league level. I’d love to see those two young fireballers take the 4th and 5th spots in this rotation, where the pressure to eat innings will be less intense.
2) Can the Offense be Improved, and at What Cost? When it comes to upgrading the Royals’ sometimes anemic offense, the questions are a little more complex than they immediately seem. Sure, it’s easy to identify where the Royals could stand to improve (3rd base, Shortstop, 2nd base, Right Field, Centerfield.) But one of the biggest strengths for this team has also been it’s defense. The Royals are well above average defensively at each one of those positions I just listed. The impact this defense had on the Royals’ ability to win should not be underestimated. The advanced studies suggest this Royals defense saved upwards of 90 runs this year. If the Royals upgrade the offense, how much better does the incoming player need to be offensively to offset the potential drop in defense? This is not to suggest that the Royals should simply not look to add, it’s just to point out that the question is a little more complex that it looks.
3) Can Yost Push the Right Buttons? Now that it appears evident that Ned Yost will be back to skipper this team in 2014 (the right move, in my opinion) the question becomes, will he learn from the missteps of 2013? This season has reminded us, for the first time in a long time, how every game counts when you are in a playoff chase. A couple of decisions can make the difference between playing in October and going home. Would the Royals still be alive had they pulled the plug on Jeff Francouer before that disastrous May? Would they still have a pulse if Guthrie hadn’t been left in a game too long? Every manager makes mistakes. But which managers learn from those mistakes? Those are the ones who continue to make better decisions over time. Hopefully, the Royals will be in a position again next year where we are dissecting every move Yost makes.
By Nate Bukaty
1) The playoff picture: On Saturday, August 24th, The Royals lost to the Washington Nationals by a score of seven to two. It was their seventh straight loss, and the Royals’ playoff hopes appeared to be fading into oblivion. They were eight games back in the Wild Card race, and facing the prospect of falling below .500. Since then, the ever resilient Royals have gone 13 and five, and have pulled themselves to within two games of a playoff spot, heading into Thursday’s action. Even the most cynical of Royals fans are beginning to buy in. Who knows what will happen over these last 16 games? Not me. But the ride will certainly be worth watching.
2) The Bonifacio Bonus: Has any team more tangibly improved itself for the playoff chase than the Royals did with their acquisition of Emily Bonifacio? The trade with the Blue Jays might not have made many waves outside of Kansas City at the time, but look at the production the Royals have gotten from the bouncy Bonifacio. In 117 plate appearances with KC, Bonifacio is getting on base at a .374 clip. He’s locked down the number two spot in the order, which has been a vacuum for most of the season. This has also allowed Hosmer to slide naturally back into the three-hole. Bonifacio has also added even more speed to the already athletic Royals lineup. In his short time in Kansas City, he’s swiped 13 bags, while getting thrown out just once. By making himself a fixture at 2nd base and in the two-hole, Bonifacio has addressed the two biggest issues in the Royals’ lineup.
3) The 200 Inning Club: Dayton Moore has long said that he is looking for 1,000 innings out of his starting rotation. In years past, the Royals have not been able to sniff such a goal. Four teams in all of baseball actually pulled off the feat last year: The Phillies, Reds Mariners, and Yankees. The Royals, conversely, were third to last in all of baseball with just 890 innings out of their starters in 2012. What a difference a year makes. Or, more to the point, what a difference Shields, Santana, and Guthrie make. This year, Royals starters have already worked 888 1/3 innings, still with 16 games to go. This ranks fourth in all of baseball for 2013. Almost all of that credit goes to the Royals’ three big money pitchers. Shields is already over 200 innings for the season. Santana and Guthrie are both over 190, still with at least a couple more starts to make. In order for the rotation to reach the 1,000-inning plateau, they’ll need to average seven innings the rest of the way. With they way they’ve worked so far this year, who’s to say it won’t happen?
1) The Tribe’s Upcoming Schedule: The good news for the Royals as they look at their competitors in the wildcard race is that all of the teams in the East will be beating up on one another over these last two and a half weeks. The bad news is, The Royals are the only team with a winning record who will have the chance to beat up on the Indians the rest of the way. The Tribe open a four game series with the White Sox, who have the second worst record in the AL, tonight. Then, after visiting KC for three games, the Indians will face the gauntlet of Houston, Chicago, and Minnesota. Yep, the three worst teams in the American League. The Royals will need some help from unlikely sources.
2) As the Crow Flies: While the Royals have been trending upward over the past month, Aaron Crow has flown in the exact opposite direction. Over his last nine appearances, the former All Star has a bloated ERA of 7.36. Four of the six homers Crow has given up have come during that stretch, including a couple of particularly painful ones. Crow was the victim of Miguel Cabrera’s unforgettable ninth inning heroics in the Tigers’ six-to-five win over the Royals on August 17th. And Kendrys Morales got the best of Crow for a two-run shot in the top of the ninth, sending Kansas City to a heartbreaking six-four loss on September 4th. Fortunately for the Royals, other relievers like Luke Hochevar have stepped forward to pick up the slack for Crow. But there’s no doubt the Royals would love to see Crow learn to fly again (see what I did there?)
3) Pena Putting it in Play: Obviously, this is largely in reference to Carlos Pena’s maddening six-pitch plate appearance against the Indians on Monday night. Had Pena simply been able to make some decent contact that night, the Royals might well be just a game out of the playoffs right now. Alas, Pena stared at six straight pitches, before walking back to the dugout. But the idea of Pena “putting it in play” isn’t just in reference to that one particular plate appearance. Since joining the Royals, Pena has walked up to the plate three times. And each of those three plate appearances have resulted in him turning around and walking right back to the dugout. Yes, Pena is zero for three with three strikeouts as a Royal. I’m no math expert, but I think that’s a strikeout rate of like 100%. That’s even worse that his rate for the season, which is an eye-popping 28%.