August Preliminary Report: Royals

KC - primary
• July was the Royals’ best month of the SP78 season, a month which saw them finish 17-11, with an overall batting average of .288 and a team ERA of 2.69. Currently, they’re in second place in the AL West, five games behind the dark-horse Rangers.

• Third baseman George Brett, catcher Darrell Porter, and reliever Al Hrabosky are all out with injuries, but with 17 out of 28 victories last month, the Royals are surviving the setback, and are proving just how deep their bench goes. Jerry Terrell has filled in ably at third, while John Wathan and recent recall Art Kusnyer have picked up the slack behind the plate.

• KC has a solid 4-man starting rotation that will not be tampered with by manager Whitey Herzog: Dennis Leonard, Paul Splittorff, Larry Gura, and Rich Gale, all of whom are PB 2-7 pitchers, and had a combined 12 complete games and a 2.52 ERA for July.

• With the return of Al Hrabosky from the disabled list on August 14th, the KC bullpen will include four PB 2-7 relievers.

• The Royals will go with the same starting lineup for both LH and RH opposing pitchers, with outfielder Willie Wilson back on a full-time basis and batting lead-off, while John Wathan and Pete LaCock will alternate between the 2nd and 6th spots in the batting order, depending on the opponent.

• Relief pitcher Steve Foucault, who quietly saw his career come to a close on August 29th of the actual 1978 season, is currently 0-1 with no saves after 17 SP78 appearances, and is the only pitcher on the KC staff without a win or save. With that in mind, he will not be considered for demotion, at any point over the next two months, unless he’s won or saved at least one game.

• While glancing through a 1978 Royals playoff program recently, I noticed that Steve Braun was listed on their roster, which caught my attention only because he’s currently playing with the Mariners in my SP78 season, as a ‘fringe’ player originally assigned to the Seattle minor league system by Avalon Hill. A check of Braun’s career transactions showed that he was traded on June 1st of the actual ’78 season to the Royals, in exchange for pitcher Jim Colborn…who Avalon Hill smartly chose to place on the Mariners as well. Thanks again, AH!

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