It was another good week for the KC Royals, as they went 5-1 last week to finish out their road trip. The Royals are 56-52 overall, but are still 7.5 games back of first place in the American League Central and 4.5 games back of Cleveland in the Wild Card standings (mainly because Detroit and the Indians keep winning too). The Royals open up a ten-game homestand beginning tonight against Minnesota, who they just swept over three games last week. The Tigers and Indians open up a four game set tonight, so the Royals have a chance to gain ground.
Omaha started out the week with a loss, but have now won six in a row with two more games left in Salt Lake (who is in first place in the Pacific Northern Division). The Storm Chasers are 59-57 and three games up in the Pacific Coast League’s American Northern Division.
NW Arkansas had a rough week, going just 1-6. That record dropped them into second place in the Texas League’s North Division at 22-22, three games back of first place. The Naturals are currently enjoying a long bus trip to Corpus Christi on their day off, which begins a six game road trip on Tuesday night.
Wilmington also had a rough week, going just 2-3 (they had two off days, which is a rarity). The Blue Rocks are 17-24 in the second half, which is good for third place in the Northern Division of the Carolina League (9.5 games back of first half champ Potomac). They begin a three game series tonight in Salem before heading home for six games.
Lexington is still in first place in the South Atlantic League’s Southern Division, despite going just 2-5 last week. The Legends are 25-18 in the second half and are clinging to a 1/2 game lead. They return home tonight to begin a seven game homestand against Asheville and Hagerstown.
Now to the awards…
Hitter of the Week
Majors: Miguel Tejada seems to have found the fountain of youth with the Royals. Over the past week, he went 9-for-22 in six games. Though only one of his hits went for extra bases (a double), he drove in four runs and scored three. Tejada has also been playing pretty good defense between second base and third base, committing just two errors all season.
Minors: Ben Broussard, Omaha. He has been a big part of why the Storm Chasers are in first place. Last week, he went 13-for-28 (.464) with three doubles and a homerun. He scored seven runs and drove in five. Broussard walked five times and struck out five times.
Honorable Mention: Broussard‘s teammate in Omaha, Gorkys Hernandez. One of the newest Royals minor leaguers went 8-for-21 (.381) last week with a double and a triple. He scored five runs and drove in two.
Pitcher of the Week
Majors: Choosing just one pitcher this week is proving to be really tough. Ervin Santana avoided getting traded and won both of his starts. He allowed three runs on nine hits and four walks over 13 innings. He struck out 13. Bruce Chen was once again solid in his lone start (6IP, 4H, R, OBB, 8K). And then the bullpen has been great.
Louis Coleman pitched in three games, totaling four innings. He allowed just one hit while striking out six. Closer Greg Holland pitched in three games and converted both of his save opportunities. He allowed one hit in two innings, while striking out five.
Minors: Greg Billo, Lexington. He has made a solid transition from Tommy John surgery last year. Billo made two starts last week, but went 1-1. Over 11.2 innings, he allowed just one run on five hits and two walks. He struck out nine, as opponents in the SALLY League are only hitting .169 against him. He also has a miniscule 0.42 ERA over four starts.
Honorable Mention: Brian Sanches, Omaha. The veteran has done everything asked of him in his first season back with the Royals. Last week, he made two appearances, including one start. In that start, he allowed five hits and three walks over six shutout innings. He struck out five in picking up the win. He also won in a relief outing on Sunday, as he followed up Yordano Ventura‘s return to the rotation. Sanches allowed two runs on six hits over 3.2 innings. He struck out five.
That improved his overall record to 9-2, while he carries a 3.25 ERA.