The original "Master of Disaster," Apollo Creed, has nothing on the 2006 Kansas City Royals. Creed destroyed his opponents—thus earning the title. The Royals destroy themselves. After a masterful performance by Bobby Keppel for 8.0 innings, Burgos threw it all away when he allowed a single to the first guy he faced, then he hit Kevin Mench two hitters later, and after a sacrifice fly by Ian Kinsler, he gave up a game-tying single to the number nine hitter, Rod Barajas.
Burgos was horrible. No other word will do.
Elmer Dessens wasn't much better in relief of Burgos. Gary Matthews was the first hitter he faced and Matthews doubled in two runs to make it 4-2 Rangers. For a team that is supposed to have such a good bullpen, they blow a lot of games.
But on to the feel-good story of the night—Bobby Keppel, who was unbelievably good tonight. He was good because he threw strikes. Several guys hit balls hard against him, but he seemed quite content to let his defense do their job. And do their job they did. Berroa made a great play covering second base in the sixth inning on a 1-6-3 double play ball when Keppel made a high throw to the second base bag. Berroa stayed on the bag and turned the double play. Mientkiewicz made a great play to stay on the first base bag on another occasion when Teahen air-mailed a throw. Reggie Sanders made a good catch against a ball that Teixeira hit a ton to right field—driving Sanders up against the wall.
By my count, Keppel only went to ball three four times during the game—and during one stretch, from the fourth to the eighth inning, he never went to ball three. The guy simply threw strikes and he reaped the benefits—going eight shutout innings before being yanked in the ninth after giving up a hit to Blalock to lead off the inning. Bell heard plenty of boo-birds for his decision, but in his defense, under normal circumstances, removing Keppel would be the right thing to do. But this team is anything but normal—and therefore, probably not subject to conventional baseball wisdom.
Royals lose 4-2.
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