The KC Royals went 5-1 last week and increased their American League Central lead to 5.5 games over Minnesota at 44-28. Their lead is the largest in the AL. The Royals continue their West Coast trip, as they moved to Houston for three games beginning tonight.
It was also a weekend of milestones for the Royals. On Friday night, Edinson Volquez recorded his 1,000th strikeout when he struck out Brett Lawrie of Oakland in the 6th inning. Jeremy Guthrie recorded his 1,000th strikeout on Sunday when he struck out Ike Davis in the 2nd inning. Later in that same game, Salvador Perez recorded his 500th career hit, a two-run home run.
The injury bug also hit. Eric Hosmer and Alcides Escobar hurt their fingers, while Lorenzo Cain injured his hamstring stealing bases. All three are day-to-day.
Triple-A Omaha went 2-4 last week to drop back into third place in the American Northern Division of the Pacific Coast League at 40-36 (9.5 games back). The Storm Chasers finish their home series with Round Rock this afternoon with rehabber Kris Medlen on the mound.
Speaking of rehabbers, Yordano Ventura made his first start on Friday night, taking the loss: 4+IP, 3H, 3R, 3BB, 5K. Two of the runs scored after he exited the game.
Double-A NW Arkansas went 2-5 last week and are in last place in the North Division of the Texas League at the start of the second half. At Tuesday night’s TL All-Star Game, the Naturals will have seven representatives: starters Angel Franco, Jorge Bonifacio, and Balbino Fuenmayor, along with Terrance Gore, Raul Mondesi, Alex Liddi, and JC Sulbaran (though Franco has not played a game since June 2nd). Bonifacio and Fuenmayor will participate in the HR Derby.
Carolina League All-Star Cody Reed made his Double-A debut on Sunday afternoon. Over six innings, he allowed one run on four hits while striking out five. On the negative side, he walked a season-high three.
After the All-Star break, where the four High-A Wilmington players represented well at the All-Star Game in California, the Blue Rocks went 2-1 to start the second half (first place in the CL Northern Division). The Blue Rocks continue their short trip in Frederick tonight with Sean Manaea on the mound.
South Atlantic League All-Star outfielder Alfredo Escalera made his Blue Rocks debut on Friday night. In two games, he went 2-for-7 with a run scored.
Low-A Lexington returned from the All-Star break and went 2-0 (first place in the Southern Division of the South Atlantic League). Rain has forced them out of two games already and the Legends play a DH tonight.
Now to the awards…
Royals Hitter of the Week: Shortstop Alcides Escobar went 10-for-27 (.370) with a double, two RBIs, and four runs scored.
Royals Pitcher of the Week: I already mentioned that Edinson Volquez reached the 1,000 strikeout plateau. In his one start in Oakland last week, Volquez allowed one run on three hits and a walk over seven innings. He struck out three.
Minor League Hitter of the Week: Omaha infielder Dusty Coleman went 8-for-20 (.400) with two doubles, a run scored, and an RBI.
Minor League Pitcher of the Week: Naturals reliever Mark Peterson pitched in two games last week. Over three innings, he did not allow a run, hit, or walk while striking out two. Peterson threw 33 pitches, 23 for strikes.