Kansas City finished 12th in the 14-team American League in runs scored this season and today the Royals fired hitting coach Kevin Seitzer.
Seitzer was hired as hitting coach before the 2009 season and the Royals have ranked 12th, 6th, 10th, and 13th among AL teams in scoring during those four years.
Eric Hosmer regressing after a very strong rookie season and Mike Moustakas failing to take a big step forward no doubt played a part in Seitzer being let go, although under his tutelage Alex Gordon turned his career around, Billy Butler emerged as an elite bat, and this season young hitters Salvador Perez Alcides Escobar fared well.
Aside from firing Seitzer the rest of manager Ned Yost’s coaching staff will remain intact for 2013.
Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.
Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.
Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.
Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.