Sunday, March 18, 2007

More Aggressive?

Game Date: March 17, 2007
Diamondbacks 6, Royals 3 / Box Score
Royals Spring Training Record: 8-10

Gil Meche struggled yesterday in his three plus innings of work. He gave up four earned runs on six hits and three walks. Buddy Bell doesn’t seem at all concerned about Meche though. Oddly, he’s frustrated with the bats. In fact, he called the Royals offense “awful” this spring.

Huh?

The Royals are hitting .309 this spring and they’ve scored 104 runs in 18 games—good for an average of 5.77 runs per game. Last season, the Royals ranked 20th in MLB with 757 runs scored, or 4.67 runs per game. In fact, the evil Yankees led the MLB in scoring with 930 runs scored—5.74 runs per game.

Bell didn’t say that he’s bothered by the number of runs the Royals are scoring, but instead he’s bothered by the fact that hitters aren’t being aggressive enough. Given what we’ve seen over the past few years, that almost doesn’t even seem possible, but here’s what he said:


“I think we can be better,” Bell said. “I just think we need to get better. I think we need to be more aggressive early in the count. I just think we are capable of doing a lot more offensively than we have up to this point. I understand that you kind of go through ups and downs in Spring Training, whether it is pitching or offense.”

The Royals did strike out 13 times yesterday, and according to Bell, seven or eight of those strikeouts were hitters who were caught looking, so maybe he was just blowing off steam. But I’d be shocked if one of the problems the Royals have this season is a lack of aggressiveness at the plate.

Three Royals had two hits apiece yesterday; Esteban German, Ross Gload, and Jason LaRue—who continues to have a great spring by the way. Gload stole his second base of the spring and so did LaRue.

Odalis Perez will get the start against the Giants this afternoon.

2 comments:

bizz22 said...

Meche worked three strong innings yesterday (3 strikeouts, no hits, no runs). Not exactly a bad day halfway through Spring Training, but not exactly what you're looking for from a guy you've determined to be a key to your rotation.

The thing Bell is pissed about is the way that the perceived lack of aggressiveness affected the game yesterday. Having the bases loaded and nobody out and getting A run across with the inning ending with Shealy watching a third strike, runners at the corners and no outs and only one run again. He wants to see improvement in the timing department this season (something they severely lacked last year), and he sees it as becoming somewhat of a problem again. Hitting .309 as a team is great, but when you can't string a few together when you need them, or waste a couple with timidity it doesn't mean much.

I have high hopes, and Buddy does also. He is trying to avoid the problems they had in the '06 season that produced their third 100 loss season in a row, and is seeing them come to the surface again.

Lee Warren said...

Meche had three strong innings, but he allowed six guys to reach base in the fourth. Not what we're looking for from him, that's for sure.

I understand what Bell was upset about, I just thought he expressed it in an odd fashion (calling the offense "awful"). I would have liked to see him express his frustrations a little more specifically. But we may be talking semantics.

 
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