Saturday, September 30, 2006

Royals Win in 11

Game Date: September 29, 2006
Game Score: Royals 9, Tigers 7 / Box Score
WP: Greinke (1-0), LP: Walker (0-1), SV: Peralta (1)
Royal Home Runs: Brown (15), Phillips (1), Keppinger (2)
Royals Record: 60-100

Things didn't look good for the Royals early on yesterday. Curtis Granderson hit two home runs off of Runelvys Hernandez in the first three innings, and the Royals were down 5-3 after seven innings. David DeJesus made it 5-4 Detroit in the eighth with an RBI triple. And Shane Costa tied the game in the ninth with an RBI single.

In the bottom of the ninth, with Zack Greinke on the mound, Joey Gathright threw Brent Clevlen out at home when he tried to score after tagging up on fly ball to center field. After a scoreless tenth, the Royals erupted in the eleventh inning by hitting three home runs. Emil Brown led off the inning with a solo shot. Then Paul Phillips hit one. And with two outs in the inning, Jeff Keppinger hit a two-run home run to give the Royals a 9-5 lead. Good thing they scored so many runs because the Tigers scored two in the bottom of the eleventh.

A few nice things to note about the game:

  • David DeJesus was 3-for-6 with a walk and an RBI.
  • Esteban German was 2-for-6 with an RBI.
  • Mike Sweeney was 3-for-5 with an RBI.
  • Paul Phillips, hitting fifth (huh?), was 2-for-6 with his first home run of the season.
  • John Buck was 2-for-6 and has his average up to .245.
  • Joey Gathright was 3-for-6 and made the aforementioned good play to save the game in the bottom of the ninth.
  • Jeff Keppinger was 2-for-5 with a home run and 2 RBI.
  • Andrew Sisco went 1.2 innings without giving up a run.
  • Zack Greinke pitched three innings, and while he was far from perfect, he didn't allow any runs.
  • Joel Peralta picked up his first save of the season.

Tonight, Ambiorix Burgos (4-5, 5.60) will get the spot start, which will be his first start of the season. Zach Miner (7-5, 4.37) will get the start for the Tigers. Burgos has a 5.40 ERA against the Tigers this season in 13.1 innings. Miner is 0-1 with a 7.94 ERA against the Royals.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

100 Losses and Counting

Game Date: September 28, 2006
Game Score: Twins 2, Royals 1 / Box Score
WP: Nathan (7-0), LP: Dohmann (1-3)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 59-100

You just had to know that loss number 100 would be a heartbreaker. Such games are indicative of the entire 2006 season for the Royals. Blown saves, botched plays in the field, balls lost in the twilight--all just standard fare for us this season. Tonight, Joe Nelson blew a 1-0 lead in the top of the ninth when Justin Morneau hit a solo home run. It was Nelson's first blown save of the season.

Scott Dohmann came into the game for the tenth inning and just looking at the guy's ERA (7.83) tells you that he gives up an earned run nearly every inning he pitches. He did so again tonight and unfortunately, Luke Hudson didn't get a win that he deserved. He pitched seven strong innings and gave up no earned runs on four hits. It would have been nice if we could have provided a little more offense, especially since we were in the Twins' bullpen so early (the sixth inning), but it didn't happen.

In the big scheme of things, this loss wasn't the end of the world. This season was a wash anyway, but something about losing 100 games makes it look so much worse. And now we are off to Detroit where we'll end the season with a three game series. I don't expect things to get any easier there.

Tomorrow night, Runelvys Hernandez (6-10, 6.38) will go against Wilfredo Ledezma (3-3, 3.58). Hernandez is 4-3 in his career against Detroit with a 3.20 ERA. Ledezma is 2-1 against the Royals with a 4.95 ERA.

Brett is KC's "Hometown Hero"

This won't be a big surprise to Royals' fans, but George Brett won the Hometown Heroes award for Kansas City. The fans of each major league team had the chance to pick one player from the team's past or present "whose combination of on-field contributions, character and leadership make him stand out from the rest."

To read more about it, click here.

Congrats to George!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Redman Solid in Royals Win

Game Date: September 27, 2006
Game Score: Royals 6, Twins 4 / Box Score
WP: Redman (11-10), LP: Silva (10-15), SV: Nelson (9)
Royal Home Runs: DeJesus (8), Sweeney (7)
Royals Record: 59-99

Well, we found a way to put off loss number 100 for another day. Redman was lights out again in the Metrodome. You'll probably remember that the last time he pitched there in August, he threw a complete game shut out. He changed speeds well again last tonight, and he hit his spots. He gave up three earned runs, and struck out four in eight innings. Joe Nelson finished out the game for his ninth save of the season.

With the score tied 1-1 going into the fourth inning, Mike Sweeney got things going for the Royals in the bottom half of the inning by leading off with a line drive home run over the left field wall. After Emil Brown made an out, Shane Costa doubled to left, and then John Buck doubled him in. Paul Phillips continued the hit parade with a single to left, Angel Berroa singled to center to score Buck, and Angel Sanchez hit a sacrifice fly to score Paul Phillips. The Royals didn't look back after that.

Although I did get a little nervous in the ninth after Nelson came in with a three run lead. Michael Cuddyer led off the inning with a home run. Two batters later, Shane Costa simply dropped a line drive to allow Jason Tyner to reach base--the tying run. But Nelson worked around it.

Tomorrow night, Luke Hudson (7-6, 5.49) will go up against Brad Radke (12-9, 4.46). Hudson is 1-1 in his career against the Twins with a 4.32 ERA. Radke is 12-10 against the Royals with a 4.20 ERA.

Royals Lose Eighth Straight

Game Date: September 26, 2006
Game Score: Twins 3, Royals 2 / Box Score
WP: Santana (19–6), LP: Peralta (1–3), SV: Nathan (36)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 58-99

The way we lose games sometimes is mystifying, isn’t it? With the game tied 2–2 last night going into the bottom of the eighth inning, Justin Morneau hit a ground ball to Jeff Keppinger, who was playing first base. A relatively easy play if Joel Peralta covers the bag. Problem was, half of Morneau’s bat was flying at him, so Peralta stopped and ducked for cover. Morneau beat Keppinger to the bag, and you just knew it was going to come back to bite us. It did.

Torii Hunter singled, Paul Phillips allowed a passed ball, and then another ball got away—but Phillips was able to threw out Morneau at home. Hunter ended up on third and Luis Rodriguez lifted a sacrifice fly to center field and the Twins took the lead 3–2. Obviously the score held up and the Royals lost their eighth game in a row. They now need to win their remaining five games to avoid another 100 loss season. I’m not any more confident about such an outcome than I was yesterday.

The line up that Billy Doran put on the field last night was pretty close to atrocious. But he seemed to have very few options. Ryan Shealy broke out with hives, so he couldn’t play. That put Keppinger at first base—and in the number two hole (a .190 hitter). So German had to move to third base. No harm there. But moving German to third meant that Angel Sanchez had to play second base, and he held his own (even getting two hits). But Angel Berroa hit sixth, which should never happen. Predictably, he went 0-for4 with two strike outs. Paul Phillips hit seventh (Buck is still on the shelf), which isn’t ideal. Joey Gathright hit eighth—he should never be higher than ninth. And Sanchez hit ninth. It’s a miracle that we stayed in the game with Johan Santana on the mound.

Tonight Mark Redman (10–10, 5.83) goes against Carlos Silva (10–14). Redman is 1–3 in his career against the Twins with a 4.94 ERA. Silva is 3–1 against the Royals with a 3.63 ERA.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

RR Poll Results

Here are the final results of the RR poll that asked this question: Should Ambiorix Burgos be the closer of the future for Kansas City?

  • No: 54% (20 votes)
  • Yes: 24% (9 votes)
  • Maybe: 22% (8 votes)

A new poll will be up shortly.

Blanco's Injury Update

Andres Blanco may be headed for surgery. He injured his subluxation in his left shoulder and he has some labrum cartilage damage according to this article. If he does need to have surgery, he’ll be out for six months and won’t be ready until the end of Spring Training.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Bell Resting at Home

The Royals received good news about Buddy Bell yesterday. Here’s a link to the story.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Bonser Shuts Down Royals

Game Date: September 25, 2006
Game Score: Twins 8, Royals 1 / Box Score
WP: Bonser (7–5), LP: De La Rosa (3–4)
Royal Home Runs: Berroa (9)
Royals Record: 58-98

Well, I hate to say it, but you know it’s true. We’re going to lose 100 games again this season. I didn’t think that would be the case a couple of weeks ago—even though I knew we had a difficult schedule down the stretch, but we’re getting mowed down by playoff contenders like extras in an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. The Royals need to win five of the remaining six games against the Twins and Tigers. Not likely.

Last night was the Twins turn to celebrate a playoff spot after playing the Royals. The Royals were in the game early, but couldn’t get the pitching they needed. De La Rosa only went 4.2 innings, giving up two earned runs and walking six guys. Six. Zack Greinke gave up three earned runs in what may turn out to be a horrible experiment. And Jimmy Gobble gave up three more earned runs to see his ERA soar to 5.29. Boof Bonser on the other hand was outstanding and he shut us down for 6.2 innings—giving up just one earned run.

Tonight, Odalis Perez (2–4, 5.28) goes against Johan Santana (18–6, 2.79). Perez is 0–1 in his career against the Twins with a 10.61 ERA. Santana is 10–3 against the Royals with a 3.71 ERA.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Monday, September 25, 2006

Detroit Drubbing

I was out of town over the weekend, but I followed the Royals and wow, what a disaster the Detroit series turned out to be, huh? We were outscored 33–11, and put up little fight against the Tigers, who not only swept the Royals, but also clinched a playoff spot. Congrats to the Tigers. It’s nice to see a team turn things around so quickly.

And it was nice to see Matt Stairs back at Kauffman Stadium. The Rangers waived him and the Tigers picked him up recently. Stairs crushed a 436–foot home run to right field yesterday against Ryan Braun in the sixth inning. I’m glad that Matt is getting a chance to play for a team headed to the playoffs in what might be his last season.

Unfortunately, the Royals now need to win five of their last seven games to avoid another 100 loss season. We open a new four-game series in Minnesota tonight and then we travel to Detroit to finish the year. If we are going to avoid 100 losses, we’re going to have to do so against two very good teams.

Tonight, Jorge De La Rosa (3–3, 5.32) goes against Boof Bonser (6–5, 4.36). De La Rosa is 0–2 in his career against the Twins with an 8.25 ERA. Bonser is 0–2 against the Royals with a 7.56 ERA.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Bell Takes Leave of Absence

Buddy Bell has taken a leave of absence that will likely keep him away from his managerial position for the rest of the season. He has a growth near his left tonsil and he’s flying to Phoenix today to have it examined more thoroughly at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale. Bell notified his players before the game last night. You can check out this article for their reactions.

Bench coach Billy Doran will be the interim manager until Bell returns.

RR wishes Buddy well in his treatment.

Royals Go Quietly

Game Date: September 20, 2006
Game Score: Angels 3, Royals 0 / Box Score
WP: Escobar (11–13), LP: Perez (2–4), SV: Rodriguez (44)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 58-94

Kelvim Escobar looked like a pitcher with one of the best ERAs in the American League last night. He was fourth in the league before the night began, and he lowered his ERA even more after shutting out the Royals on four hits over seven innings. Odalis Perez pitched well—only giving up one run on six hits over seven innings—but not well enough.

The Royals mounted a comeback attempt in the bottom of the ninth by loading the bases with one out, but Jeff Keppinger fouled out to first and Joey Gathright struck out to end the game. Wouldn’t you have liked to see Matt Stairs given stride to the plate as a pinch hitter for Joey Gathright? Yeah, I know, he’s gone. But still…

The Royals are off today. The start a new series against the Tigers on Friday night in Kansas City. It’s the last home series of the year. Luke Hudson (7–5, 5.46) will take the mound for the Royals. Wilfredo Ledezma (2–3, 3.81) will pitch for the Tigers. Hudson is 0–0 in his career against the Tigers with a 0.00 ERA (in 1.2 innings of work). Ledezma is 1–1 against the Royals with a 5.58 ERA (in 30.2 innings of work).

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Greinke Called Up

Zack Greinke was called up yesterday and the Royals plan to use him in long relief for the rest of the season. He was 8-3 with a 4.34 ERA in Wichita this season. He got a taste of winning while he was there. Wichita made it all the way to the Texas League championship. Now let’s hope that he has a couple of good outings before the season is finished so he’ll feel confident heading into spring training.

 Technorati Tags: , ,

Grudzielanek Done for Season

Mark Grudzielanek is the latest to join the list of Royals who are out for the rest of the season. He strained his right groin while running the basepaths last night. We’ll probably see Esteban German play second for the rest of the season, which will open third base for Jeff Keppinger every night.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Too Many Left on Base

Game Date: September 19, 2006
Game Score: Angels 5, Royals 2 / Box Score
WP: Saunders (6–3), LP: De La Rosa (3–3), SV: Rodriguez (43)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 58-93

The Royals couldn’t get it done at the plate last night when they got guys on base. They left 12 guys on base. In the fifth inning, with the score tied 1–1, the bases were loaded with one out. Emil Brown struck out, and then Ryan Shealy struck out. No runs. Then, in the bottom of the ninth, with two outs and the bases loaded, Emil Brown struck out again.

Buddy Bell said that Jorge De La Rosa had “good command with his fastball, which set up his changeup.” And he called De La Rosa’s change up “outstanding.” If all of that were true, he wouldn’t have walked four guys and given up two home runs in 6.2 innings.

Let’s hope the Royals bounce back tonight. They send Odalis Perez (2–3, 5.82) against Kelvim Escobar (10–13, 3.54). Perez is 1–2 in his career against the Angels with a 4.68 ERA. Escobar is 8–2 against the Royals with a 2.84 ERA.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Monday, September 18, 2006

Poor Pitching Leads to Loss

Game Date: September 17, 2006
Game Score: Mariners 10, Royals 5 / Box Score
WP: Meche (11–8), LP: Gobble (3–6)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 58-92

The Mariners scored 33 runs in the four game series that just concluded with the Royals. Thankfully we were able to score 30 runs (11 of which were driven in by Ryan Shealy) and split the series anyway. The game yesterday was another pitching debacle for the Royals. Runelvys Hernandez gave up four earned runs in 4.2 innings. Wellemeyer gave up an earned run in 1.1 innings. Gobble gave up an earned run in 0.1 innings. Peralta gave up two earned runs in 0.2 innings. Diaz gave up two earned runs in 1.0 innings. Mysteriously, Sisco was the only Royals pitcher to not give up any runs.

The Royals jumped out to a 4–1 lead, led in part by Ryan Shealy, who hit a two-run double in the first inning, but Runelvys Hernandez faltered in the fifth by hitting two guys (one of which forced in a run) and giving up a two-run single to Richie Sexson with two outs. After that, the aforementioned flood-gates were opened by our bullpen and the game got out of hand.

With 12 games remaining, the Royals need to go at least 5–7 to avoid another 100–loss season. We have an off day today. On Tuesday, we’ll begin a short, two-game series against the Angels. Jorge De La Rosa (3–2, 5.30 ERA) goes against Joe Saunders (5–3, 4.66 ERA). Neither pitcher has ever pitched against the opposing team.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Redman Hits Double Digits

Game Date: September 16, 2006
Game Score: Royals 7, Mariners 4 / Box Score
WP: Redman (10–9), LP: Pineiro (8–12), SV: Nelson (8) 
Royal Home Runs: Gathright (1)
Royals Record: 58-91

You know things are going our way when Angel Berroa draws a walk in the same inning that Joey Gathright hits an opposite field home run. That’s what happened in the third inning last night. The Royals actually tracked down the ball for Gathright so he could remember the home run. Maybe they should have done the same thing for Berroa with ball four since his walks are just about as rare as Gathright’s home runs.

Mark Redman nearly pitched a complete game. He got within an out of doing so. But he’d thrown 126 pitches and Joe Nelson is not Ambiorix Burgos. He doesn’t blow many save opportunities. In fact, he hasn’t blown one yet this season. He’s 8-for-8. Redman left to a standing ovation after giving up four earned runs and two walks. He became the first Royals pitcher to win 10 games since Darrell May in 2003. That’s how bad our pitching has been over the past few season. But you already knew that.

After Gathright’s home run in the third, the Royals erupted for five runs in the fourth. Shane Costa tripled in Mike Sweeney and Ryan Shealy with out out. Angel Berroa singled in Shane Costa with two outs. And David DeJesus doubled in Berroa and Gathright.

With the win, the Royals passed Tampa Bay and we no longer have the worst record in baseball. After the game, Ryan Shealy admitted that he’s been watching scores. “I think we’re watching what other teams do, too,” Shealy is quoted as saying in an article in the Star this morning. “I know I am. We’re trying to catch the Cubs and catch the Devil Rays. We’re not in the pennant race, so all we can do is keep moving up and finish with the best record we can.” 

Let’s just hope they can stay ahead of Tampa Bay.

This afternoon, Runelvys Hernandez (6–9, 6.34) goes against Gil Meche (10–8, 4.28). Hernandez is 1–2 in his career against Seattle with a 3.60 ERA. Meche is 3–3 in this career against Kansas City with a 4.66 ERA.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Mariners Out-Slug the Royals

Game Date: September 15, 2006
Game Score: Mariners 11, Royals 8 / Box Score
WP: Woods (5–3), LP: Braun (0–1) 
Royal Home Runs: Shealy (7)
Royals Record: 57-91

Did I mention that our pitching staff is in dire need of revamping? Luke Hudson hardly pitched well last night (5 ER, 6 H, 4 BB, 3 K in 5.0 IP), but he left the game with a two-run lead. The next five relief pitchers that Bell used had a hand in the Royals loss. Sisco allowed an inherited runner to score. Braun got bombed for three runs in two-thirds of an inning. Burgos gave up two hits, two walks an an unearned run in one inning. Gobble gave up an earned run in a third of an inning. And Dohmann gave up an earned run in an inning.

At one point, the Royals were ahead 6–0. Ryan Shealy continued his tear by hitting a grand slam home run in the first inning. It was his seventh home run of the season. Who would have thought that Ryan Shealy would end up with more home runs than Mike Sweeney (who has six)? Looks like it might happen. Esteban German continued his hot streak by going 3-for-5 with two RBI. He’s hitting .342 now.

Unfortunately, when you get into slugfests, sometimes you get out-slugged.

The series continues tonight. Mark Redman (9–9, 5.40) goes against Joel Pineiro (8–11, 6.02). Redman is 3–5 in his career against the Mariners with a 4.27 ERA. Pineiro is 4–0 against the Royals with a 1.50 ERA.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Friday, September 15, 2006

Shealy, German to the Rescue

Game Date: September 14, 2006
Game Score: Royals 10, Mariners 8 / Box Score
WP: Perez (2–3), LP: Washburn (8–14)
Royal Home Runs: Shealy 2 (6)
Royals Record: 57-90

Odalis Perez didn’t pitch well last night. In fact, his performance was awful. He gave up five earned runs, ten hits, and a home run in five innings. But he still won the game. Partially because the bullpen did a good job after he left the game, partially because Ryan Shealy blasted two home runs, and partially because the top of the line up (consisting of DeJesus, German, and Grudzielanek) was 10-for-15 with three RBI. German’s two-run triple in the eighth inning was especially important because it gave the Royals a 10–6 lead. Joe Nelson gave up two runs in the top of the ninth, but we had enough insurance that it didn’t matter.

The Royals have won ten of their last fifteen games. And they just surpassed their win total for last season. The magic number is now six. If the Royals can win just six of their remaining fifteen games, they’ll avoid another 100–loss season. That sounds quite pathetic. But I don’t think anybody believes that this current roster is anything close to the roster we started the season with. And Dayton Moore is not Allard Baird. I love the way Moore is keeping our good you talent together in the minor leagues—letting them gel together as teammates.

This was victory number 100 for Buddy Bell since he took over after Tony Pena quit (thankfully) last season. He’s handled the job better than I would have expected. Especially during the days when guys were forgetting sunglasses, and then losing the ball in the sun. Or when we went on monumental losing streaks and were being compared to the 1899 Cleveland Spiders or the 1960 New York Mets. Bell shook his head, said he’d never seen anything like it, but then said our guys would learn and get better. Frankly, I’m not so sure it would’ve happened if Baird had remained the GM, but with Moore’s philosophy firmly in place, you can see it starting to take place.

We still need a better pitching staff. Winning 10–8 isn’t going to be a common occurrence. But hopefully help will be on the way in 2007 via free agency and our minor league system.

The Royals play the second of a four game series tonight against the Mariners. Luke Hudson (7–5, 5.25 ERA) goes against Francisco Cruceta (0–0, 6.75).

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Royals Sweep Indians

Game Date: September 13, 2006
Game Score: Royals 6, Indians 2 / Box Score
WP: De La Rosa (3–2), LP: Westbrook (12–10)
Royal Home Runs: Brown (14)
Royals Record: 56-90

The Indians threatened to blow this game open in the bottom of the third tonight against Jorge De La Rosa—who was stretched as far as he could go with out breaking. With one out in the bottom of the third, he gave up a solo home run to Grady Sizemore that hit the right field foul pole. Jason Michaels singled, then stole second. Victor Martinez walked. And Michaels stole third before Ryan Garko walked. At that point I though De La Rosa was done, but he gave up a sacrifice fly to Casey Blake that made the score 2–0 Indians, and then he got Jhonny Peralta to fly out.

De La Rosa didn’t give up any hits after that, but he left after five innings—probably because he’d thrown 93 pitches. Not a bad outing for a guy who is still learning how to pitch. He kept us in the game until the Royals got their own hit parade going in the fourth inning. Brown singled to lead off the inning. Then Shane Costa singled. Ryan Shealy singled in Brown. And Bako got a sacrifice bunt down. Joey Gathright singled to score Costa and the score was tied 2–2. Esteban German’s one-run double in the fifth inning broke the tie. The Royals tacked on a run in the sixth inning and Emil Brown hit a two-run home run in the seventh and this game was over.

Ambiorix Burgos, Andrew Sisco, and Ryan Bruan shut down the Indians over the final four innings—giving up no runs on four hits. And with the win, the Royals swept the short two-game series with the Indians, and they ended up 4–1 on the road trip through Boston and Cleveand. The fly home now to start a new four-game series against the Mariners.

Tomorrow night, the Royals send Odalis Perez (1–3, 5.48) against Jarrod Washburn (8–13, 4.39). Perez has never pitched against the Mariners. Washburn is 6–3 with a 3.13 ERA against the Royals in his career.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Gordon Named Minor League Player of the Year

Alex Gordon was named the Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year today. Baseball America likes this guy. Two seasons ago, they named him the College Player of the Year. Can’t wait to see him at the major league level.

Greinke Hit Hard; Wranglers Win Game Two

The good news about the Wichita Wranglers is that they are playing in the Texas League championship right now. The bad news is, Zack Greinke got hammered in Game One. He gave up six runs on twelve hits in six innings. In true Greinke-like fashion, he said this after the game: “I was a little bit over the plate. I’m not good enough to hit the corner every time, and that’s why I think they just did a really good job.”

The Wranglers lost Game One, but the won 2–1 tonight to even the best of three series. The series moves to Corpus Christi on Thursday. Go Wrangers!

Glass Increases Payroll for 2007

According to this article in the Star, David Glass has agreed to increase the 2007 payroll to $50–55 million. That’s up from $47.3 million this season. And, it sounds like he’s willing to go higher if that right deal comes along: “If we played really well and have the opportunity to significantly improve ourselves,” Glass said, “I’m always willing to do something more. But I’ve told Dayton $50-55 million. In that range.”

We’re already on the hook for $30.95 million next season with seven guys. And somewhere between five and seven guys are eligible for arbitration. But if you look at some of the guys—guys like Runelvys Hernandez and Jimmy Gobble, surely, they won’t have much of a case if the Royals offer them fair market value or slightly less (what exactly is fair market value for a starting pitcher who is under .500 with a 6.34 ERA—or how about a reliever who is also under .500 with a 5.00 ERA?).

Seeing how all of this plays out over the winter will be quite interesting. 

Game Date: September 12, 2006
Game Score: Royals 5, Indians 3 / Box Score
WP: Hernandez (6–9), LP: Sowers (7–4), SV: Nelson (7)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 55-90

The Royals jumped on Jeremy Sowers in the first inning tonight and they didn’t look back. Esteban German doubled to lead off the game. Mark Grudzielanek singled to center to drive in German and the Royals were up 1–0. Then David DeJesus walked. Emil Brown and Ryan Shealy followed with strikeouts, but John Buck got a big two-out single that drove in Grudzielanek. 

Cleveland scored a run in the bottom of the second. And then, in a rather bizzare sight, after Runelvys struck out Ryan Garko to end the third inning, he pointed at John Buck in the dugout and then threw a punch at him. Before it turned into an all-out brawl, Angel Berroa and other players broke it up. No report yet on what happened, but you have to assume that Buck either said something to Hernandez or that he kept calling pitches that Hernandez didn’t feel comfortable throwing. If Buck said something, then the altercation is between the two of them. But if Hernandez simply got upset with the game that Buck was calling, his actions were outrageous. I suspect we’ll find out more tomorrow.

The Royals scored two more runs in the top of the fourth inning, and oddly, Hernandez and Buck both came back out for the bottom of the fourth inning. The Indians picked up another run that inning to make it 4–2 Royals. Both teams scored one more run before it was over. The bullpen got it done tonight for the Royals. Hernandez only made it five innings (he threw 95 pitches, giving up three earned runs, eight hits, three walks, and had one strike out). Dohmann, Gobble, Peralta, and Nelson pitched the final four innings and gave up only two hits and runs. Nelson picked up his seventh save.

The magic number is now eight. If the Royals can win eight of their remaining seventeen games, they’ll avoid a one hundred loss season. And while that’s hardly anything to brag about, one hundred losses looked like a certainty earlier this season.

Tomorrow night, Jorge De La Rosa (2–2, 5.57) goes against Jake Westbrook (12–9, 4.22). De La Rosa is 0–0 in his career against the Indians with a 9.64 ERA. Westbrook is 5–2 against the Royals with a 2.14 ERA.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Red Sox Win Final Game of Series

Game Date: September 10, 2006
Game Score: Red Sox 9, Royals 3 / Box Score
WP: Tavarez (3–4), LP: Redman (9–9)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 54-90

Mark Redman said that he felt rusty yesterday. His numbers bore that out—five earned runs, three walks, and nine hits in 4.2 innings. The Red Sox moved a sign on the center field wall that supposedly gave them problems picking up Redman’s delivery the last time he faced them in Boston (July 19: during which he gave up just one earned run in eight innings). Apparently it helped.

But the Royals were still in the game, down 6–3 going into the bottom of the sixth inning, when Joey Gathright dropped a ball and allowed Kevin Youkilis to reach base with one out. Enter Andrew Sisco who promptly gave up a two-run home run to David Ortiz to put this game out of reach. Gathright hardly seems like the defensive outfielder we were led to believe we were getting. He hasn’t made many errors, but he has misplayed too many balls, and I doubt that he has made any plays that David DeJesus couldn’t have made. And Sisco, well what more can be said about his awful season?

We’ve still got to feel good though about winning two out of three in Boston. With 18 games remaining, the Royals need to go 9–9 to prevent another 100 loss season. The Royals are off today. They’ll open a new series in Cleveland tomorrow. Runelvys Hernandez (5–9, 6.39) will go against Jeremy Sowers (7–3, 3.35). Hernandez is 3–2 in his career against the Indians with a 4.80 ERA. Sowers is 1–0 against the Royals with a 0.00 ERA.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Keppinger's Blow Wins the Game

Game Date: September 9, 2006
Game Score: Royals 10, Red Sox 4 / Box Score
WP: Nelson (1–1), LP: Breslow (0–1)
Royal Home Runs: Keppinger (1)
Royals Record: 54-89

Nice to see that our pitching staff isn’t the only one having problems. For the second straight night, the Royals scored ten runs against the Red Sox staff. The big blow came in the top of the twelfth inning when Manny Delcarmen came into the game after David DeJesus doubled to lead off the inning.

After getting Esteban German to pop out, the Red Sox intentionally walked Mark Grudzielanek—and the Royals made them pay by pulling off a successful double steal. Jeff Keppinger tried to hit a fly ball deep enough to score DeJesus from third, but the ball drifted out of the ball park down the right field line to give the Royals a 7–4 lead. Later in the inning, Andres Blanco doubled in three runs to blow the game open.

Luke Hudson wasn’t exactly sharp—he gave up four runs and five walks in 6. 1 innings, but he kept the Royals in the game and gave us a chance to win. That’s all we can really ask for. Then, with the exception of Ryan Braun, our bullpen finally did the job for Hudson. Joel Peralta, Andrew Sisco, Joe Nelson, and Ambiorix Burgos held the Sox scoreless (although Burgos made things “interesting” again by giving up two hits in the bottom of the twelfth).

This afternoon, the Royals have a chance to sweep the Red Sox again. Mark Redman (9–8, 5.26) will go against Julian Tavarez (2–4, 4.72). Redman is 1–8 against the Red Sox in his career with a 8.00 ERA. Tavarez is 2–1 against the Royals with a 5.95 ERA.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Royals Win Ugly

Game Date: September 8, 2006
Game Score: Royals 10, Red Sox 9 / Box Score
WP: Burgos (4–5), LP: Timlin (6–5), SV: Nelson (6)
Royal Home Runs: Sweeney (6)
Royals Record: 53-89

The Royals finally won an ugly game—even after their bullpen tried to give another one away by giving up six runs in the eight inning. Can someone please tell me what Scott Dohmann is doing in the major leagues with an 8.40 ERA? He was one of the relief pitchers who gave up three runs in the eight. Joel Peralta came in behind him and did the same thing. And the Royals went from leading 8–3, to being behind 9–8.

The Red Sox brought in Mike Timlin to save the game in the ninth. Emil Brown singled to lead off the inning. Ryan Shealy was hit by a pitch. And Andres Blanco got down a sacrifice bunt with two strikes. Not the best bunt in the world, but it moved both runners. Unfortunately, Shane Costa struck out and that put the pressure on, of all people, Joey Gathright to get a two-out hit. He came through and doubled to right field. Brown and Shealy scored to recapture the lead, 10–9. Joe Nelson did his job and the Royals beat the Red Sox again.

To Gathright’s credit, he saw that Timlin was throwing cutters to Costa and he was expecting more of the same in his at bat. He swung at the first pitch and won the ball game. Besides Gathright (who was 3-for-5 with 2 RBI), several other Royals’ hitters had big nights. Esteban German was 2-for-5 with an RBI. Mark Grudzielanek was 2-for-5 with an RBI. Mike Sweeney was 3-for-5 with a home run and 3 RBI. And Brown and Buck both had two hits.

Angel Berroa had two more errors to give him 18 for the season. I think that pretty much locks up the fact that he’s going to have more errors than walks (12) for the season. Throw in his .230 batting average and you probably have the worst all-around starting shortstop in baseball. I’m hoping that we’re giving Blanco a serious look right now because I’d hate to think that Berroa is going to be our starting shortstop in 2007.

Tonight, Luke Hudson (7–5, 5.21) goes against Josh Beckett (14–10, 5.11). Hudson is 1–1 in his career against the Red Sox with a 4.67 ERA. Beckett is 1–0 against the Royals with a 1.29 ERA.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Minor League Players of the Year

The Royals just announced their minor league players of the year.

Triple-A Omaha:

  • Player: Shane Costa (10 HR, 30 RBI, .342 average)
  • Pitcher: Joe Nelson (2–2, 1.97 ERA)

Double-A Wichita:

  • Player: Alex Gordon (29 HR, 100 RBI, .325 average)
  • Pitcher: Zack Greinke (8-3, 4.34 ERA)

Single-A High Desert:

  • Player: Irving Falu (3 HR, 49 RBI, .299 average)
  • Pitcher: Jarod Plummer (11-5, 4.05 ERA)

Single-A Burlington:

  • Player: Mario Lisson (13 HR, 73 RBI, .263 average)
  • Pitcher: Carlos Rosa (8-6, 2.53 ERA)

Idaho Falls:

  • Player: Marc Maddox (3 HR, 38 RBI, .332 average)
  • Pitcher: Rowdy Hardy (5-3, 2.91 ERA)

Rookie Ball (Arizona):

  • Player: Nick Van Stratten (3 HR, 35 RBI, .292 average)
  • Pitcher: Brent Fisher (3-1, 2.11 ERA)

Summer Dominican:

  • Player: Diego Cruz (0 HR, 40 RBI, .330 average)
  • Pitcher: Eduardo Paulino (9-1, 1.55 ERA)
Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Johnson Too Tough

Game Date: September 6, 2006
Game Score: Yankees 8, Royals 3 / Box Score
WP: Johnson (16–10), LP: Hernandez (5–9)
Royal Home Runs: German (3)
Royals Record: 52-89

Randy Johnson turned back the clock last night—or at least he made it look like he did. His slider had the same bite that used to strike fear in hitters. And he threw it often. It was a tad bit slower than it used to be, but the Royals still couldn’t do anything with it, and after six innings Johnson had a no-hitter. David DeJesus stayed with a pitch to lead off the seventh inning and he lined it into left center field for a triple.

Runelvys Hernandez looked the the Hernandez we’re accustomed to—the Hernandez who gives up five earned runs, three walks and a home run in six innings. And unfortunately, Jose Diaz (acquired in the Matt Stairs trade with Texas), looked equally as bad. He made his major league debut in the eighth inning and promptly gave up a double to Andy Phillips, a walk to Alex Rodriguez, a home run to Jorge Posada, and a single to Robinson Cano. Diaz eventually found a way to stop the bleeding.

The Royals didn’t get on the board until the eighth inning with John Buck singled in Shane Costa with one out. Then in the ninth, with the game well out of hand, Esteban German hit a two-run home run with one out.

Jeff Keppinger got the start at third base in Mark Teahen’s absence. Sounds like Keppinger and German will spit time at third for the rest of the season.

The Royals are off today. They’ll begin a new series in Boston tomorrow. Odalis Perez (1–3, 5.85) will go against Kevin Jarvis (0–1, 3.60). Perez is 0–1 in his career against the Red Sox with a 3.46 ERA. Jarvis is 0–1 against the Royals with a 3.00 ERA.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Teahen to Undergo Season-Ending Surgery

News about Mark Teahen needing to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery bummed me out. He has a torn labrum in his right shoulder and will have surgery Friday. According to this article, Alex Gordon will not be called up to take Teahen’s place. If I had to guess, I’d say that Esteban German will probably finish out the season at third base.

Teahen’s turnaround this season has been incredible. He currently leads the Royals with 18 HR and he’s second on the team in RBI (69) and runs scored (70). He’s also hitting .293 and has a .360 on-base percentage. The season only has a few weeks left, but I still wanted to see Mark stay in the line up and play the rest of the season out because he’s been so much fun to watch. But with such an injury, it’s better to get it taken care of now.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Royals Even the Series

Game Date: September 5, 2006
Game Score: Royals 5, Yankees 0 / Box Score
WP: De La Rosa (2–2), LP: Mussina (13–6), SV: Wellemeyer (1)
Royal Home Runs: Brown (13)
Royals Record: 52-88

That’s how you put a horrible loss behind you. You shutout a first place team. De La Rosa was solid for 5.2 innings. He scattered six hits and walked two guys, but he didn’t allow any runs. Unfortunately, he developed a blister on his middle finger on his left hand and he had to be removed from the game. It looked pretty nasty on television. Hopefully he’ll be able to make his next start, but I’m not real confident that will happen.

Todd Wellemeyer earned a save the old fashioned way—by pitching 3.1 innings. And he kept the shutout intact. He stumbled a little in the ninth inning by allowing the evil Yankees to load the bases, but he got out of it, and the Royals tied the series.

The Royals didn’t need a lot of offense to win this one. They took an early lead in the second inning when Mike Sweeney doubled with two outs to drive in Mark Grudzielanek. They had a chance to blow the game open in the fourth inning after the first three guys reached base, but John Buck hit into a double play. Emil Brown scored on the play though and the Royals were up 2–0. Then Andres Blanco singled to score Ryan Shealy and the Royals were up 3–0. Emil Brown hammered a pitch out of the park that Mike Mussina left up and in, and in so doing, he knocked Mussina out of the game.

Hopefully the Royals can find a way to win tonight and take their third straight series from a playoff contending team. Runelvys Hernandez (5–8, 6.31) goes against Randy Johnson (15–10, 4.94). Hernandez is 1–1 in his career against the evil Yankees with a 9.45 ERA. Johnson is 14–7 against the Royals with a 3.04 ERA.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Bullpen Implodes

Game Date: September 4, 2006
Game Score: Yankees 12, Royals 5 / Box Score
WP: Beam (2–0), LP: Dohmann (1–2)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 51-88

So, Luke Hudson shuts down the evil Yankees for seven complete innings—giving up just one earned run, while striking out ten. And he leaves the game with the Royals winning 5–1. But our disaster that is our bullpen gave up ten earned runs in the eighth inning. Ten.

Jimmy Gobble was awful. He gave up four earned runs without getting an out. Scott Dohmann was bad. He gave up a walk and and earned run without recording an out. Andrew Sisco was horrible. He gave up three earned runs, but at least he got two outs. And Ambiorix Burgos was his normal home-run giving self. He gave up three earned runs, including a two run bomb by Jorge Posada.

The evil Yankees added an “insurance” run in the top of the ninth just to make the loss taste even a little more bitter.

Our problems with the bullpen are twofold. First, they are overworked because our starting pitching has been so bad. But it hasn’t been as bad in the past three or four weeks. They ought to be pretty well rested. The other reason isn’t quite so pleasant. With three exceptions, our bullpen is just plain bad. Maybe the worst ever. Peralta (4.36 ERA), Wellemeyer (3.98 ERA), and Joe Nelson (4.13) have all been mediocre. The rest have been beyond horrible:

  • Jimmy Gobble (3–5, 5.00 ERA)
  • Mike Wood (3–3, 5.66 ERA)
  • Andrew Sisco (1–3, 7.71)
  • Scott Dohmann (1–2, 7.24)

Out of the seven guys in our pen (not including Ryan Braun who was recently called up), our best ERA is 3.98. Wow.

Tonight, Jorge De La Rosa (1–2, 6.75) goes against Mike Mussina (13–5, 3.61). De La Rosa is 0–0 with a 13.50 ERA in his career against the evil Yankees. Mussina is 15–6 with a 2.92 ERA against the Royals.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, September 04, 2006

Royals Win Series with White Sox

Game Date: September 3, 2006
Game Score: Royals 7, White Sox 3 / Box Score
WP: Redman (9–8), LP: Garcia (13–9)
Royal Home Runs: Shealy (4), Berroa (8)
Royals Record: 51-87

With the win against the White Sox yesterday, the Royals have won their last two series—both of which where against teams in contention for the playoffs. Don’t look now, but here come the evil Yankees. Wouldn’t it be nice to win that series as well?

Mark Redman showcased his cutter yesterday afternoon and for the second consectutive time, he shut a good team down. This time he gave up just one earned run on four hits in seven innings. He also struck out six and walked four.

The offense did its job as well. Ryan Shealy led the charge by going 2-for-3 with a home run and 3 RBI. And Angel Berroa was 2-for-4 with a home run and 3 RBI.

Tonight, Luke Hudson (7–5, 5.60) goes against Chien-Ming Wang (16–5, 3.66). Hudson is 0–0 against the evil Yankees in his career with a 6.75 ERA. Wang is 1–0 against the Royals with a 6.23 ERA.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Lost Ball Leads to Loss

Game Date: September 2, 2006
Game Score: White Sox 5, Royals 3 / Box Score
WP: Buehrle (12–11), LP: Perez (1–3), SV: Jenks (39)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 50-87

With the score tied 3–3 in the seventh inning, Tadahito Iguchi his a fly ball to center with two outs and a guy on second. Joey Gathright, who was just inserted into the game for “defensive purposes,” lost the ball in the “twilight” and the White Sox scored the winning run. It was sort of symbolic of the way our season has gone.

Odalis Perez wasn't exactly sharp, but he kept the Royals in the game until the mishap by Gathright. Afterward, he said that he didn’t blame his teammates for the loss because they often pick him up. For a guy who has exhibited an attitude problem in the past, this was nice to hear.

The middle of our line up had quite a night. Mark Grudzielanek was 2-for-4, Mark Teahen was 2-for-4. Mike Sweeney was 3-for-4 with an RBI. And Emil Brown was 2-for-4 with an RBI. But it wasn’t enough to put us over the top.

This afternoon, Mark Redman (8–8, 5.47) goes against Freddy Garcia (13–8, 5.05). Redman is 3–4 in his career against the White Sox with a 5.59 ERA. Garcia is 8–8 against the Royals with a 5.61 ERA.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Royals Hold On to Defeat White Sox

Game Date: September 1, 2006
Game Score: Royals 7, White Sox 5 / Box Score
WP: Hernandez (5–8), LP: Contreras (11–7), SV: Nelson (5)
Royal Home Runs: Teahen (18)
Royals Record: 50-86

Fifty wins is hardly a reason to celebrate—unless of course you wanted to show up the many naysayers who thought that your team might not even hit forty earlier in the season. Remember that? The Royals were being compared to the 1962 New York Mets—a team that went 40–162. We’ve hardly turned the corner, but given that we are 11–5 in the last month against teams in playoff contention, maybe we have reason to be optimistic. But, getting better for the long haul still comes down to consistent pitching.

For only the second time in 16 starts, Runelvys Hernandez has strung two good starts back to back. Following up with his shutout in Toronto last Saturday, Hernandez shut down the White Sox last night—giving up one earned run on five hits in six innings. Unfortunately, now that Hernandez appears to be getting on track, Jimmy Gobble is struggling in relief. Last night, after Hernandez left with a 7–1 lead, Gobble gave up three earned runs in 1.1 innings. Joe Nelson didn’t look good either as he attempted to close out the game. He walked three guys before finally nailing down the save. But at least he isn’t continually blowing games like Burgos was.

The Royals took advantage of three errors by the White Sox in the fourth inning and they jumped out to a 7–0 lead. David DeJesus was 2-for-4 with 2 RBI. Mark Teahen was 2-for-4 with a home run and 3 RBI. And Ryan Shealy was 2-for-4.

With only 26 games remaining in the season, many of which are against playoff contending teams, I’d like to see the Royals find a way to get to 60 wins. They’d only have to .384 ball (10–16) the rest of the season to pull it off. They are 19–30 since the break (.387), so 60 wins seems realistic. And 60 doesn’t sound nearly as bad as 58 or 59.

Tonight, Odalis Perez (1–2, 5.73) goes against Mark Buehrle (11–11, 4.71). Perez is 0–2 in his career against the White Sox with a 6.75 ERA. Buehrle is 14–6 with a 3.22 against the Royals.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,
Clicky Web Analytics