Thursday, May 31, 2007

Royals Lose Seventh Straight

Game Date: May 30, 2007
Orioles 3, Royals 0 / Box Score
WP: Bedard (4-3), LP: Meche (3-4), SV: Ray (12)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 19-35

We needed our stopper. He showed up and only allowed one earned run in 7.1 innings. Unfortunately, the Royals couldn't even find a way to score once. No matter how good your stopper is, you still need to score to have a chance to win.

Erik Bedard is a good pitcher. But after losing seven straight games, during which the Royals have been outscored 55-13, I really didn't want to hear Buddy Bell tell us how good Bedard is. I didn't want to hear that we just couldn't do anything against him. But he did it anyway.

“We can’t keep giving credit to the other pitcher,” Bell said right before giving credit to the other pitcher. “But tonight was a little different. Bedard was outstanding.”

How about pointing out that we had runners at the corners in the third inning with one out and we failed to score a run? How about mentioning the fact that Mark Grudzielanek got doubled up at first in the fourth inning on a Mike Sweeney line drive that was caught in center field?

When Doug Mientkiewicz was here last year he said something that applies to our current situation. He said that whenever the Royals won a series, especially at home, the clubhouse was downright giddy afterward. He said that shouldn't be the case. We should expect to win series--especially at home.

We had an 8-2 road trip that nobody expected. Our guys were brimming with confidence, maybe to the point of giddiness. Now they've lost seven games in a row and everybody is searching for answers. The highs are too high and the lows are too low and somehow both extremes seem to have negative effects on the field.

Thankfully, the Royals are off today, and thankfully the homestand is over. On Friday, the Royals begin a new series at Tampa Bay. Brian Bannister (0-3, 4.54) goes against Scott Kazmir (3-2, 3.95). Bannister has never faced the Devil Rays. Kazmir is 1-0 against the Royals in his career with a 6.35 ERA.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Oh, for a Stopper

Game Date: May 29, 2007
Orioles 6, Royals 2 / Box Score
WP: Guthrie (3-1), LP: De La Rosa (4-5)
Royal Home Runs: Teahen (5)
Royals Record: 19-34

Well, at least we weren't blown out early.

Yeah, that doesn't bring me any consolation either.

Royals hitters held a team meeting before the game last night, presumably to talk about working the count, moving runners, going with the pitch, and all of the other things that major league hitters should inherently know, but sometimes forget.

Buddy Bell "shook up" the line up hoping it would generate a little more offense. He moved David DeJesus to the five hole and Shane Costa hit lead off. He finally moved up John Buck to the six hole, but he waited until he cooled down to do so (he's 4-for-his-last-20). And Bell gave Pena the day off, allowing Angel Berroa to start at short. Why can't we just give up on this guy?

Neither the team meeting nor the shake up in the line up did any good. Royals hitters ended up with just three hits for the entire evening with one walk.

At least we didn't have to hear Bell telling us how great Jeremy Guthrie is. He's having a good year, but let's be honest, if we can't hit Guthrie right now, who are we going to hit?

And what has happened to our starting pitching staff? Jorge De La Rosa was awful, giving up eight hits, five earned runs, three walks, and a home run in just five innings. He was seen slamming things into a trash can afterward.

Gil Meche (3-3, 3.18) gets to play the role of stopper tonight. He'll go up against Erik Bedard (3-3, 4.10). Meche is 4-2 against the Orioles in his career with a 3.07 ERA. Bedard is 2-1 against the Royals with a 3.09 ERA.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Losing Streak Reaches Five

Game Date: May 28, 2007
Orioles 9, Royals 1 / Box Score
WP: Trachsel (4-3), LP: Elarton (1-1)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 19-33

Buddy Bell hinted after the game last night that the Royals poor play over the past five games has been a team effort, and I think he's right. The Royals are struggling in nearly every aspect of the game--with defense probably being the exception.

To have Steve Trachsel pitch a five-hit complete game against you says everything you need to know about our hitting. And just a quick glance at Scott Elarton's numbers yesterday (7 ER, 6 H, 4 BB, 5 K, in 5.0 IP) will tell you what you need to know about our pitching.

We did get a bit of good news. Gil Meche is expected to make his next start on Wednesday against Baltimore. Let's hope that he's able to give it 100%.

And Jason LaRue is back from the DL. Bell is planning to use a rotation of catchers. LaRue will be the catcher when Scott Elarton and Brian Bannister are on the mound. John Buck will catch for Gil Meche, Jorge De La Rosa, and Odalis Perez.

Tonight, Jorge De La Rosa (4-4, 4.65) goes against Jeremy Guthrie (2-1, 3.09). De La Rosa has never faced the Orioles. Guthrie is 0-0 in his career against the Royals with a 6.10 ERA (in 10.1 innings of work).

Monday, May 28, 2007

Royals Lose Four Straight

Game Date: May 27, 2007
Mariners 7, Royals 4 / Box Score
WP: Washburn (5-4), LP: Perez (2-5)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 19-32

I'm not sure what anybody can say to analyze the stretch the Royals are in right now. They aren't pitching or hitting well.

From the pitching standpoint, our starters are being jumped all over in the early innings (they've given up 25 runs in the first five innings over the past four games). So the first couple of times through the line up, either one of two things is at work. Either our scouts are doing a poor job of detecting the hitting tendencies of the guys we're facing or our pitchers are doing a poor job of executing the game plan that has been developed around our scouting reports.

I'm inclined to believe it's the latter because our starting pitching was so good until this recent homestand. If the problem really is poor execution, I'm hoping that Bob McClure is putting in a little overtime right now during the pitcher's meetings to get the guys back on track.

It was nice to see the Royals make a small run at the Mariners in the late innings yesterday. At least we're not seeing signs that they've given up. Hopefully the recent winning streak boosted their confidence enough to help them see that this is a baseball team that can compete. But competing is no longer good enough. We need to be seeing gradual increases each season in the W column.

The Royals are on pace to win just 60 games this year, which would be two games worse than their record last season. I'm still convinced that this team is better than the 2006 version, but the only true test will be in wins and losses, and the jury is still out on whether the 2007 Royals will have a better record than the 2006 Royals.

The Royals begin a new series at home tonight against the Orioles. Scott Elarton (1-0, 6.00) goes against Steve Trachsel (3-3, 3.77). Elarton is 0-0 in his career against the Orioles with a 1.29 ERA (in seven innings of work). Trachsel is 0-3 against the Royals with a 5.51 ERA.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Another Drubbing

Game Date: May 26, 2007
Mariners 9, Royals 1 / Box Score
WP: Baek (2-2), LP: Bannister (0-3)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 19-31

If you needed a reminder about how difficult it is to win with poor pitching, these last three games ought to do the trick. Throw in poor hitting and you have a combined 29-6 rout.

Brian Bannister did last seven innings, which has been a rarity for a Royals starter in recent days. In fact, he's the first guy to do it in the past ten games. But the Royals just couldn't get the bats going. 

Only two Royals hitters had hits last night. Mark Grudzielanek had two and Tony Pena had three. We only had one walk. And we struck out ten times. And at this stage of his career, Cha Seung Baek is hardly an ace.

Let's hope that things change this afternoon in Kauffman Stadium. Odalis Perez (2-4, 5.20) goes up against Jarrod Washburn (4-4, 3.15). Perez is 1-0 in his career against the Mariners with a 9.00 ERA. Washburn is 6-4 against the Royals with a 3.68 ERA.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Meche Hit Hard by M's

Game Date: May 25, 2007
Mariners 10, Royals 2 / Box Score
WP: Meche (3-3), LP: Hernandez (3-2)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 19-30

Two blowouts in a row after a successful road trip. That's not good. And neither is the fact that Gil Meche strained a muscle in his lower back and he kept trying to pitch through it. He said that he felt something in the second inning, but apparently it's an injury that he's had before, so he thought he could "battle through it." As a result, he left a lot of pitches up in the zone and he got hammered for seven earned runs in 4.1 innings.

We were never really in this game. Ichiro hit the second pitch of the game for a home run and the Mariners never looked back. It didn't hurt the Mariners cause to have Felix Hernandez on the mound. He didn't pitch his best game, but he didn't need to. The Mariners were up 7-0 after the fifth inning.

Let's hope that Meche's injury isn't serious. After the game he told reporters, "I'll be fine in two days, for my bullpen." 

Tonight, Brian Bannister (0-2, 4.39) goes up against Cha Seung Baek (1-2, 5.50). Bannister is 0-1 against the Mariners in his career with a 4.05 ERA. Baek is 1-0 against the Royals with a 1.08 ERA.

Friday, May 25, 2007

A Night to Forget

Game Date: May 24, 2007
Indians 10, Royals 3 / Box Score
WP: Sowers (1-4), LP: De La Rosa (4-4)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 19-29

Greg Gibson, the home plate umpire last night, had an extremely small strike zone for Jorge De La Rosa and De La Rosa was visibly upset after not getting a couple of calls in the first inning. John Buck tried to calm him down, but it didn't work. De La Rosa gave up five runs in the first inning, including a three run home run by Jason Michaels.

After De La Rosa lost his focus, he really became wild. He walked seven guys in 4.1 innings and he threw 98 pitches. Nine earned runs were tacked onto to his season totals, and I'm guessing that it's a night he'll try to forget. That probably won't be an easy thing to do.

The Royals looked like they might strike back in the first inning, but a horrible call at first base by umpire Tony Randazzo stunted the possibility. He punched out David DeJesus at first for a double play even though he was easily safe.

That's the way things go some nights. You pick up and move on.

I do question a couple of moves made by Bell last night though. He pinch hit for Mark Grudzielanek with Angel Berroa. Granted, the game was turning into a blow out at the time, but baring an injury, I can think of no other scenario in which I want to see Angel Berroa hitting in the three hole. For the record, he struck out twice and looked absolutely horrible doing so.

And Bell stuck John Buck in the eight hole again, behind Alex Gordon who is hitting .191 and Ryan Shealy who is hitting .222. Both Gordon and Shealy are swinging the bat much better than they were earlier in the season, but Alex Gordon doesn't provide a bit of protection behind Sweeney. He might some day, but not yet.

The Royals begin a new series at home tonight against Seattle. Gil Meche (3-2, 2.44) will go against Felix Hernandez (2-2, 2.77). Meche is 1-0 against Seattle in his career with a 0.00 ERA. Hernandez is 1-0 against the Royals with a 1.13 ERA.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Royals Blast Their Way to Another W

Game Date: May 23, 2007
Royals 11, Indians 7 / Box Score
WP: Duckworth (2-3), LP: Lee (2-1)
Royal Home Runs: Grudzielanek (2), Sweeney (6), Gordon (3), Buck (8)
Royals Record: 19-28

Things are going so well for the Royals right now that Alex Gordon, who is hitting .195, is confident. He's talking about the team being on a roll and during a post game interview last night, confidence oozed out of him.

Justifiably so.

The Royals have won eight of their last ten games. They just won their third straight series. With last night being the exception, their starting pitching is keeping them in ball games, and the bullpen is getting the job done. Just last night, after Brandon Duckworth replaced a struggling Scott Elarton, he retired nine straight hitters.

And guys like John Buck are on the verge of career years. Buck has eight home runs now, which ties him with A.J. Pierzynski for the most dingers by catchers in the Major Leagues. He also has a .630 slugging percentage which is better than any other catcher in baseball. All of this begs the question--why is Buck hitting eighth in the line up?

The Royals go for the sweep tonight against the Indians. Jorge De La Rosa (4-3, 3.59) goes against Jeremy Sowers (0-4, 7.13). De La Rosa is 1-0 against the Indians in his career with a 7.53 ERA. Sowers is 1-1 against the Royals with a 3.27 ERA.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Sweeney Behind the Dish?

Mike Sweeney, who is in the final year of his contract, is already thinking about ways that he can stay in Royal blue. He knows that Ryan Shealy is the first baseman of the future and that Billy Butler will probably end up backing up Shealy when he's not DH'ing full time. So, Sweeney is saying that he's willing to go back to playing catcher again if it means staying with the Royals. Of course, the way John Buck is swinging the bat right now, that position doesn't appear to be up for grabs either. But you've got to admire a guy who wants to finish with the Royals.

I'm not usually one who thinks that teams owe players favors late in their careers. But Mike Sweeney might be the exception. He stayed in Kansas City when he could have easily signed elsewhere. He's endured the sometimes awful personnel that Allard Baird placed around him. He remained faithful to some terrible managers (Tony Pena comes to mind). He's changed his off-season workout routines nearly every season since he started getting hurt--looking for anything that would help him stay healthy so he could contribute again. And he's suffered through the boos from fans who don't seem to have a clue.

Now he's even willing to become a catcher again if it means staying in a Royals uniform. I'm guessing that nobody can see him lasting more than five or six games behind the dish because of his history of injuries. And I have no idea what such a move would mean for John Buck. And frankly, the idea seems a little out there to me, but how can you not respect a player who is willing to go to such lengths just to stay with a team that has been as bad as we've been over the past decade?

Royals Do it Again

Game Date: May 22, 2007
Royals 4, Indians 3 / Box Score
WP: Greinke (2-4), LP: Mastny (3-2), SV: Soria (10)
Royal Home Runs: Sweeney (5)
Royals Record: 18-28

If you look at Odalis Perez's overall numbers this year, you'll see the epitome of mediocrity. But over his last six starts, he's found a way to keep the Royals in the game for at least six innings, and while I'd like to see more from a guy who is making $7 million+, I'm happy that he's showing signs of improvement and just giving us a chance to win.

With the Royals down 3-1 in the sixth, Mike Sweeney launched another come from behind home run, this time a two-run shot, to tie the game 3-3. Then in the seventh, Mark Teahen drew a bases loaded walk and the combination of David Riske, Jimmy Gobble, Zack Greinke, and Joakim Soria took it from there, only giving up one hit over the final three innings.

The Royals have now won seven of their last nine games and finally appear to be showing signs of shaking off their 100-loss season persona. One can only hope.

Tonight, Scott Elarton (1-0, 5.23) goes against Cliff Lee (2-0, 4.15). Elarton is 2-0 in his career against the Indians with a 5.40 ERA. Lee is 7-3 against the Royals with a 4.70 ERA.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Royals Win Series with Rockies

Game Date: May 20, 2007
Royals 10, Rockies 5 / Box Score
WP: Peralta (1-2), LP: Ramirez (1-1)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 17-28

I didn't get to see either game this weekend, but I was glad to see that that the Royals bounced back today and took the series in Denver. They finished this 10-game road trip with a 6-4 record, which certainly is better than anybody could have realistically hoped for, and are now set to begin a nine game stretch of games at home against Cleveland, Seattle, and Baltimore.

The Indians are obviously off to a great start, and they are also 6-4 in their last ten games. Seattle is around .500 and are 4-6 in their last ten games. And Baltimore is below .500 and is 4-6 in their last ten games. Let's hope that our starting pitching continues to hold up through this home stand so we can turn our record around at home (currently 7-14).

The Royals are off tomorrow. Tuesday night Odalis Perez (2-4, 5.29) is scheduled to go against Fausto Carmona (5-1, 2.55). Perez is 1-0 in his career against the Indians with a 3.32 ERA. Carmona is 0-0 against the Royals with a 10.13 ERA.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Royals Win Third Straight

Game Date: May 18, 2007
Royals 5, Rockies 2 / Box Score
WP: Duckworth (1-3), LP: Corpas (0-2), SV: Soria (9)
Royal Home Runs: Brown (1)
Royals Record: 16-27

Another good outing from a starter and another come from behind win in a close ball game. Could this finally be the team we were convinced was going to be better this year?

It sure seems that way.

We even overcame a baserunning blunder by Angel Berroa (what's new?) in the seventh. The Royals exploded for five runs in the eighth that included a three run home run by Emil Brown (who stood and watched it as it eeked over the left field wall and into the first row of seats).

Run Emil. Run!

The Royals had 13 hits on the night, and the bullpen had another good night as well as Brandon Duckworth and Joakim Soria finished off the Rockies over the final 2.2 innings.

Tonight, the Royals are looking to extend their winning streak to four games. Gil Meche (3-1, 1.91) goes against Taylor Buchholz (1-2, 7.52). Meche has never faced the Rockies. Buchholz is 1-0 in his career against the Royals with a 3.00 ERA.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Royals Keep Rolling

Game Date: May 17, 2007
Royals 7, A's 4 / Box Score
WP: Elarton (1-0), LP: Braden (1-3), SV: Soria (8)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 15-27

Scott Elarton was solid until the sixth inning yesterday. His command started to falter at that point, and he walked a couple of guys. He only threw 80 pitches, but given how long he's been out of the game, it's nice to see him making it into the sixth.

Zack Greinke struggled in relief (allowing all three inherited runners to score), but Jimmy Gobble, David Riske, and Joakim Soria shut the door on the A's the final 2.2 innings.

How nice is it to see the middle of the line up producing like they did yesterday? Mark Grudzielanek was 2-for-5 in the three hole. Mark Teahen was 2-for-4 with an RBI hitting clean up. And Mike Sweeney was 2-for-3 with an RBI and two walks in the five hole. Paul Phillips had a nice day, going 1-for-3 with 2 RBI and a walk.

A combination of good pitching and timely hitting got the job done and the Royals won their first road series this season.

Royals starters are putting together an impressive road trip. They are 2-1 with a 2.28 ERA and a BAA against of just .212. And amazingly, the starting staff now ranks fifth in the American League with a 3.97 ERA. How about that?

Now if we could just play a little better defensively and get some more timely hitting, perhaps we could gain a level of respectability. After 42 games last season, the Royals were 10-32. They are 15-27 this season after 42 games. Neither record is much to get excited over, but at least we can see a little improvement from one season to the next.

Tonight, the Royals begin interleague play in Denver. Jorge De La Rosa (4-3, 3.68) will go against Jeff Francis (2-4, 5.08). De La Rosa is 0-0 in his career against the Rockies with a 0.00 ERA. He's only had one inning of work against them. Francis is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA against the Royals.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Shealy Delivers RBI for Win

Game Date: May 16, 2007
Royals 4, A's 3 / Box Score
WP: Gobble (3-1), LP: Calero (0-3), SV: Riske (3)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 14-27

Don't look now, but Odalis Perez has put together a nice string of outings. Here are the numbers from his last five starts:

He's putting in at least six innings. He's minimizing the walks and hits he's allowing. And his ERA is dropping steadily. When I watch him pitch, I can't figure out why he's so hard to hit, especially for a team as disciplined as the A's are at the plate, but whatever he's doing, I hope he keeps it up.

Last night he gave up just one hit. He threw his change up down out of the strike zone and many of the A's hitters laid off it, but he found a way to sneak a few fastballs in on their hands when they must have been looking for something else.

Even though Joe Blanton was sitting our guys down (20 in a row at one point), Perez found a way to keep us in the game, and that's what this team has been sorely lacking in years past. In fact, if you look at the first six games of this road trip, the starting staff has a 1.66 ERA with a .199 BAA. And even though we're still struggling at the plate, we're 3-3 on this trip--thanks largely to our starters.

I was glad to see Ryan Shealy activated before the game. Billy Butler was optioned back to Omaha. This allowed us to go back to our normal defensive alignment, which isn't great, but it's better than what we've been putting out there the past week.

Unfortunately, with the Royals leading 2-0 in the seventh inning, Mark Grudzielanek thought that Mark Teahen was going to field a ball in short right field and when he didn't, Grud made an attempt and couldn't make the play. Jason Kendall singled later in the inning to tie the game 2-2.

When the A's took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth, things didn't look good, but Esteban German drew a walk to lead off the Royals half of the ninth and he immediately stole second on Jason Kendall, who hasn't thrown anybody out this year. John Buck doubled German in to tie the game and Ryan Shealy shortened up his swing with two strikes and hit an RBI single to recapture the lead.

David Riske, who's also pitching well right now, came in and closed the door on the A's for his third save of the season.

This afternoon, Scott Elarton (0-0, 3.60) goes against Dallas Braden (1-2, 5.65). Elarton is 1-1 in his career against the A's with a 5.60 ERA. Braden has never faced the Royals.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Royals Lose in 11

Game Date: May 15, 2007
A's 5, Royals 4 / Box Score
WP: DiNardo (1-1), LP: Soria (1-2)
Royal Home Runs: Buck (7)
Royals Record: 13-27

A couple of bad calls were costly for the Royals last night. The first came in the fourth inning when Brian Bannister threw a breaking ball to Bobby Crosby over the outside corner for strike three, but it was called a ball. Crosby lined the next pitch into center for a two run single and that put the A's up 2-0.

Then, in the bottom of the eleventh, Shannon Stewart tagged up on a sacrifice fly to center by Dan Johnson and tried to score. DeJesus made a good throw that one-hopped to Paul Phillips, who applied the tag on Stewart's thigh. It was close, but he was out. The umpire called him safe. I would have liked to have seen Phillips block the plate more than he did so the umpire wouldn't have had a chance to make a bad call, but that's the way this season has been going.

That's not to say that we didn't make some major blunders. In the fifth inning, Alex Gordon, who was playing first base again, nearly whiffed on a throw from Tony Pena and Gordon picked up another error. Then John Buck made a bad throw attempting to throw the runner out, but it's still a ball that Tony Pena should have caught at second. He didn't and the runner ended up at third. Bannister fought through the comedy of errors and didn't allow the A's to score that inning.

The Royals found a way to score three runs in the ninth to tie the game 4-4--the big hit coming off the bat of Tony Pena who got an assist from Nick Swisher who allowed the ball to bounce over his head and two runs to score. That looked like something that we would do.

We should have one this one in the 10th when we had the bases loaded with one out and Paul Phillips at the plate. But he hit a chopper to third and Chavez was able to get the force at home. I had a feeling then that we were going to lose.

And of course, we did.

Brian Bannister pitched well to start the game (2 ER, 5 H, 3 BB, 3 K in 6.0 IP). I liked the fact that he worked out of a couple of jams and really should have been out of the jam in the fourth if the umpire makes the right call.

Tonight, Odalis Perez (2-4, 6.05) goes against Joe Blanton (4-1, 3.48). Perez is 0-0 in his career against the A's with a 0-00 ERA in four innings of work. Blanton is 3-1 against the Royals with a 1.64 ERA.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Meche's ERA Dips Below 2.00

Game Date: May 14, 2007
Royals 2, A's 1 / Box Score
WP: Gobble (2-1), LP: Duchscherer (3-3), SV: Soria (7)
Royal Home Runs: Buck (6)
Royals Record: 13-26

Kevin Appier won 169 games in his career and he had a career 3.74 ERA. For those of you who are too young to remember, Apes was nearly as dominant as Gil Meche has been so far this season. But with the possible exception of Paul Byrd's 17-11 season in 2002 with the Royals, we haven't seen a starter around here like Meche since Apes. Of course, Appier did it for nearly a decade, and who knows whether Meche can keep this up, but for now it feels good to have a legitimate ace, doesn't it? 

He tossed seven innings yesterday against Haren and didn't give up an earned run--lowering his ERA to 1.91. He got out of trouble in the first (after giving up a lead off triple), second (he got a ground ball double play to end the inning), and seventh (after Mark Teahen misplayed a ball and Mark Ellis ended up a third--then Teahen threw him out at home) and he kept us in the game.

During the offseason, I kept saying that I hoped the Royals would sign a couple of innings eaters--guys like Jeff Suppan. Those are the types of guys who keep you in ball games and give you a chance to win--even against a top notch starter like Dan Haren. That's exactly what happened last night. Meche kept us in the game long enough for John Buck to hit a two run home run, and give us a 2-0 lead in the top of the ninth.

Brandon Duckworth, Jimmy Gobble, and Joakim Soria did their part. Well, actually Duckworth struggled and he walked the first two guys he faced, but Gobble picked him up. And Soria found a way to shut the door on the A's, even though he gave up a run.

We missed some opportunities to score early. The first one came when Shane Costa struck out with the bases loaded and one out in the first inning. In fact, he struck three times last night. I like Costa. I think he plays the game the right way. He hustles, he doesn't over-swing, and he accepts his role on the team. But why in the world did Bell have him hitting fifth, behind Sweeney? The way John Buck is swinging the bat right now, he'd be a better fit there. Even Esteban German would be a better fit there.

We missed another scoring opportunity in the seventh when we had runners at the corner with one out. John Buck hit a ball to Eric Chavez who threw out German at home. Buck needs to find a way to get the ball in the air, deep enough to score the run in that situation. But again, the advantage to having Meche on the mound was that he kept us in the game long enough to give us another chance to score. And we did.

Tonight, Brian Bannister (0-2, 4.60) will go against Joe Kennedy (1-2, 2.83). Bannister has never faced the A's. Kennedy is 3-0 against the Royals with a 4.33 ERA.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Angel Berroa: He's Back

This is a day I was hoping we wouldn't have to deal with. Angel Berroa has been recalled by Kansas City. Now we have two shortstops who don't hit for average or get on base often, and who commit too many errors in the field. But Pena is younger, has much better range, and I'd much rather see him playing short nearly every day as opposed to seeing Berroa there.

Perhaps Berroa will fill in at second and or third since he's been logging time at both positions in Omaha this season. I don't know, but I do know that our defense took another hit when Ross Gload went on the DL and Bell announced that Sweeney and Gordon are planning to split time at first base until Ryan Shealy returns. On the days that Gordon is playing first, Esteban German will probably play third, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Berroa get a start or two there as well.

Imagine the possibility of this infield some Sunday afternoon:

1B--Alex Gordon
2B--Angel Berroa
SS--Tony Pena
3B--Esteban German

Throw Billy Butler in left field and we've got ourselves an adventure.

Bats Finally Catch Fire

Game Date: May 13, 2007
Royals 11, White Sox 1 / Box Score
WP: De La Rosa (4-3), LP: Vazquez (2-2)
Royal Home Runs: Teahen (4)
Royals Record: 12-26

When the top of your line up goes 7-for-12 with 6 RBI, 5 BB, and 6 runs scored, you know you're in for a pretty good day. That's what DeJesus, German, and Teahen did yesterday. Throw in another great outing from Jorge De La Rosa and you have yourself a W. Finally. It's their first victory against the White Sox this season and just their seventh in thirty-two tries at U.S. Cellular Field.

Mark Teahen gave the Royals a 4-1 lead in the fifth inning when he hit a three run home run. De La Rosa kept White Sox hitters in check for seven innings and David Riske and Joel Peralta finally had good appearances. Riske pitched a scoreless eighth and Peralta finished the game with a scoreless ninth.

Tonight should be an interesting game in Oakland. Gil Meche (3-1, 2.15) goes against Dan Haren (3-2, 1.89). Meche is 2-7 in his career against the A's with a 4.34 ERA. Haren is 2-1 with a 2.60 ERA.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Another One Gets Away

Game Date: May 12, 2007
White Sox 5, Royals 4 / Box Score
WP: MacDougal (1-0), LP: Duckworth (0-3)
Royal Home Runs: Buck (5)
Royals Record: 11-26

Many of the names have changed, but the song remains the same in Kansas City. This was yet another game that shouldn't have slipped through our fingers. But, it did. More about that in a minute.

Scott Elarton didn't look as sharp as you like, but it's understandable, given that this was his first start since July of last year. He gave up two earned runs on six hits and two walks in five innings of work. He gave up a solo home run in the first inning to Juan Uribe on a high fastball. But he found a way to keep the Royals in the game.

The Royals had a chance to score first, but blew it. With a runner on third and one out, Mark Teahen, who was batting clean up, struck out. A throwing error in the second inning by Mark Grudzielanek led to a second White Sox run and they were up 2-0 early.

The Royals had a big fourth inning though against Mark Buehrle. Mike Sweeney hit an RBI double to make it 2-1, Chicago. Billy Butler hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game 2-2. And John Buck hit a two run home run with two outs to give the Royals a 4-2 lead.

But, Esteban German, who was playing shortstop for the first time in his career, booted a ball and the White Sox ended up scoring a run in the fifth inning to make it 4-3. The Royals held the lead all the way into the ninth. They had a chance to add some insurance when they loaded the bases with two outs, but Mark Teahen struck out again. Juan Uribe hit an RBI double in the bottom of the ninth with two outs off Joakim Soria to tie the game and send it into extra innings.

Again, it looked like the Royals might win after Emil Brown drew a walk in the tenth inning against Mike MacDougal and then ended up at third after MacDougal uncorked two pitches that were hard to handle. But with the go-ahead run on third and one out, Billy Butler hit a weak chopper to second, failing to get the run home. Alex Gordon struck out.

And you know the rest of the story. Jermaine Dye drove in the winning run in the bottom of the tenth.

Jorge De La Rosa (3-3, 4.06) goes against Javier Vazquez (2-1, 3.52) this afternoon. De La Rosa has never pitched against the White Sox. Vazquez is 4-1 against the Royals in his career with a 2.57 ERA.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

2007 Royals Salaries

A number of people have been googling the salaries for various different Royals' players and finding Royal Reflections, so I thought I'd list them all here for you. This information comes from the USA Today. You can make the chart bigger by clicking on it.

Garland Outduels Perez

Game Date: May 11, 2007
White Sox 2, Royals 1 / Box Score
WP: Garland (2-2), LP: Perez (2-4), SV: Jenks (12)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 11-25

Well, I wasn't crazy about this pitching match up, but Perez pitched far better than I expected. He gave up just two earned runs on five hits in seven innings. Unfortunately, Jon Garland was just a tad better, giving up just one earned run on four hits in 8.1 innings.

The stage was set for the Royals to sneak back into this one in their half of the ninth when Bobby Jenks came in with two outs and a runner on base to face Mike Sweeney. Sweeney blistered a ball toward Joe Crede and Crede made a nice catch to preserve the win for the White Sox.

Tonight, Scott Elarton will make his first start of the season for the Royals. He'll go against Mark Buehrle (2-1, 3.22). Elarton is 2-4 in his career against the White Sox with a 3.73 ERA. Buehrle is 16-6 against the Royals with a 3.28 ERA.

Friday, May 11, 2007

A's Stomp the Royals

Game Date: May 10, 2007
A's 17, Royals 3 / Box Score
WP: Kennedy (1-2), LP: Hudson (0-1)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 11-24

Seventeen runs on eighteen hits--including six home runs. Are you kidding me?

Analysis of this game probably isn't even possible. But let's attempt to at least recap this nightmare. Luke Hudson had a horrendous start. He completely lost the strike zone in the second inning and couldn't make it out of the third. Todd Wellemeyer was nearly as bad giving up four earned runs on seven hits in 2.2 innings. He's off to Omaha, which is probably a good thing. Joel Peralta was hit hard, giving up two earned runs in 1.1 innings. Neal Musser (what is this guy doing in the major leagues?) gave up three home runs in one inning. Zack Greinke was hit hard, giving up a run on three hits in one inning. The only Royals pitcher to escape unscathed was Brandon Duckworth who pitched a scoreless inning. The A's were probably grateful. They had to be tired from running around the bases so often.

I know this next point probably seems minor to some people, but I can't get over the fact that Mike Sweeney, an injury prone, below average first baseman who can still hit is playing first base to make room for a 21 year-old out of shape designated hitter who can't play the field well enough for Bell to be comfortable playing him out there--even after naming him the starting left fielder. Sure enough, Sweeney made an error yesterday and all I could do was shake my head and wonder what he's even doing out there to begin with. Especially since the Royals made such a big deal during Spring Training about not wanting Butler to be a just a DH at such a young age. Maybe we've realized since then that Butler really is just a DH. If that's true, then why can't he wait his turn until Sweeney is done or injured?

One of the glorious things about the game of baseball is that most of the time you get to play a game the next day and hopefully move on from disasters like yesterday. However, I'm not real confident about tonight's game when I look at the pitching match up. Odalis Perez (2-3, 6.75) goes against Jon Garland (1-2, 3.92). Perez is 0-3 in his career against the White Sox with a 6.65 ERA. Garland is 13-5 against the Royals with a 4.00 ERA.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Sweeney's Blast Lifts Royals

Game Date: May 9, 2007
Royals 3, A's 2 / Box Score
WP: Gobble (1-1), LP: Duchscherer (3-2), SV: Soria (6)
Royal Home Runs: Sweeney (4)
Royals Record: 11-23

This is the first game I can remember this season where the Royals didn't play well, but found a way to win. They certainly got another good start out of Gil Meche (1 ER, 3 H, 4 BB, 7 K in 6 IP), but in the late innings the Royals made numerous mistakes--from Alex Gordon failing to get a bunt down, to Sweeney and Gordon not advancing runners, to Gordon dropping a pop foul.

The Royals got a break in the seventh when Mark Teahen threw out Jason Kendall at home. The ball beat Kendall by a mile, but Buck dropped the ball and replays showed that he didn't get the tag down in time after he picked up the ball. That would have given the A's a 3-2 lead.

Mike Sweeney gave the Royals a huge lift in the eighth inning. Mark Teahen doubled with one outs and the scored tied 2-2, but he was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple. Mike Sweeney got a fast ball up in the zone from Justin Duchscherer and he hammered it over the left field wall to give the Royals a 3-2 lead.

Joakim Soria came in a saved his sixth game.

Before the game, the Royals announced that Luke Hudson and Scott Elarton would join the rotation. Hudson will start tomorrow afternoon. He'll take over Brian Bannister's spot and Bannister will be sent to Omaha. Elarton will take Zack Greinke's spot and start on Saturday against the White Sox.

Hudson will go up against Joe Kennedy (0-2, 2.48). Kennedy is 2-0 in his career against the Royals with a 4.29 ERA.

Royals Lose Fourth Straight

Game Date: May 8, 2007
A's 6, Royals 1 / Box Score
WP: Gaudin (2-1), LP: De La Rosa (3-3)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 10-23

10-23. It's the same record the Royals had last season after 33 games. I don't think anybody predicted that the Royals would be as bad as they were last year. But so far, they are. And it might not change any time soon. The next nine games on the Royals schedule consists of games against the A's and White Sox.

I'm not even sure where to start in discussing last night's game. The Royals had just one hit after the fourth inning. Billy Butler flat dropped a ball. De La Rosa was hit hard (5 ER, 10 H, 2 BB, 1 K, in 4.1 IP). Bell seemed dumbfounded after the game. And it felt a lot like 2006.

If you're looking for bright spots, the bullpen didn't allow any runs in 4.2 innings. And Mark Teahen went 3-for-3. But that's about it as far as positives go.

Tonight, Gil Meche (3-1, 2.23) goes against Dan Haren (3-2, 1.75). Meche is 2-7 in his career against the A's with a 4.56 ERA. Haren is 2-1 with a 2.49 ERA against the Royals.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Greinke Rocked by Tigers

Game Date: May 6, 2007
Tigers 13, Royals 4 / Box Score
WP: Durbin (2-1), LP: Greinke (1-4)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 10-22

The irony of it all.

Chad Durbin, a former starter for the Royals who never showed a lot of promise, got the start for the Tigers and beat Zack Greinke, the guy who has shown a lot of promise, but can't seem to figure out how to transition from promising young starter to a legitimate number two or three guy.

Early on this season, I was convinced that Greinke had it figured out. His first two starts against Boston and Toronto were phenomenal. He gave up just two earned runs in 13 innings of work. But then he got hit hard by Detroit on April 16, and with the exception of a good start in Minnesota on April 26, it's been down hill ever since.

He really struggling with his control. He's not walking a ton of guys, but he's missing out over the plate and he's paying the price. Bell said that Greinke is "wild in the strike zone." That sounds too crazy to be true, but actually I think it is true in Greinke's case.

Yesterday, he gave up three two-run home runs in the second inning without walking anybody. He only lasted four innings and he saw his ERA go up by just over a full point to 5.71. As soon as Scott Elarton or Luke Hudson are ready, Greinke will probably move to the bullpen.

The only real positive in this game was the fact that the Royals were down 13-0 going into their half of the eighth inning and they didn't quit. They scored two in the bottom of the eighth and two more in the bottom of the ninth. It's a small consolation, but a consolation nonetheless.  

The Royals are off today. Tomorrow they'll begin a new series at home against Oakland. Jorge De La Rosa (3-2, 3.38) goes against Chad Gaudin (1-1, 2.70) on Tuesday night. De La Rosa is 0-0 in his career against the A's with a 1.80 ERA. Gaudin is 1-1 with a 2.76 ERA against the Royals.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Home Run Trot Blues

Game Date: May 5, 2007
Tigers 7, Royals 5 / Box Score
WP: Mesa (1-1), LP: Duckworth (0-1), SV: Jones (12)
Royal Home Runs: Sweeney (3), German (2), LaRue (1)
Royals Record: 10-21

The wheels came off in the late innings again. This time, I think the blame can be placed on Emil Brown. With the Royals up 5-4 to start the seventh inning, Emil Brown smoked a line drive to center field. And he stood at home plate at watched it thinking he'd hit a home run. Then he went into his home run trot. Problem was, the ball hit the wall and he was thrown out at second. You could feel the air leave the stadium.

As a Royals fan, I've tolerated a lot over the years. Bad managers, bad players, bad personnel moves by ownership, bad trades, poor planning, and several 100-loss seasons. I tolerate them because that's the reality of a small market team that hasn't drafted well (until recently, arguably) and hasn't had the cash to sign or keep top notch players. I haven't liked it, but it's just the way it is. What I cannot tolerate is a player who doesn't hustle. I'll stop there before I say more than I should.

The very next inning, the Tigers got to Duckworth and Soria. How bizarre was the wild pitch that Duckworth threw that allowed Polanco to take second and third base? And what took Ross Gload so long to retrieve the ball after it bounced off the back stop towards first base?

Soria came in at that point and Ordonez doubled on another bizarre play. Emil Brown was playing way off the line in left field. Apparently the charts say that Ordonez doesn't pull the ball down the left field line. If that's true, then the charts were wrong. After an intentional walk to Carlos Guillen, Craig Monroe singled in two runs and the Tigers were up 7-5. The Royals went down in order the final two innings.

Tomorrow Zack Greinke (1-3, 4.70) goes against Chad Durbin (1-1, 6.39). Greinke is 6-2 in his career against the Tigers with a 2.86 ERA. Durbin is 1-1 against the Royals with a 6.53 ERA.

Defensive Lapses Costly

Game Date: May 4, 2007
Tigers 6, Royals 3 / Box Score
WP: Verlander (2-1), LP: Bannister (0-2), SV: Jones (11)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 10-20

I watched the game last night with a friend. And as soon as Alex Gordon made an error in the first inning, I told him, "I can't remember the last time we gave a team four outs and it didn't cost us." Then Billy Butler couldn't get to a foul ball down the left field line (could he be any slower?), and in essence, we gave the Tigers five outs in the first inning. And of course, they ended up scoring two runs when Carlos Guillen doubled.

Being down early by two runs against Justin Verlander isn't a good place to be. The Royals eventually got to him for two runs in the eighth, but that only made it 6-3 Tigers, which turned out to be the final score.

A few things stood out in the game:

  • Alex Gordon continues to struggle in the field (and at the plate). He made his sixth error last night. Only Mike Lowell has more at third base in the American League. Gordon doesn't appear to be relaxed and he has hands of stone. I suspect that'll get better over time, but you hate to see it contributing to losses right now.
  • Billy Butler is one of the slowest human beings I've ever seen. He was out early yesterday afternoon taking fly balls in left and not only did he misread many of them, but he was just so unbelievably slow in the process. Sure enough, last night his lack of speed cost us when he couldn't get to a foul ball. I know that the Royals don't want him to be a 21 year-old DH, but that's what he is. The guy can hit. That's his thing. But I'd rather see him doing it in Omaha until we need a DH in Kansas City.
  • Brian Bannister hasn't impressed me much. I especially don't like his attitude. After the game last night, he dumped on Gordon for costing him a quality start. Here's what he said: "That cost me a chance to go for a 'quality start,' I wound up throwing 17 pitches to Ordonez and Guillen. That's an inning right there. It's tough to start out with a 25-pitch inning. You know who you're up against." How about showing a little class by picking up your teammate rather than running him down, huh Brian?
  • Todd Wellemeyer has been a huge disappointment so far this season. Wellemeyer gave up two more runs last night without recording an out and saw his ERA climb to 9.00.
  • And enough with the bases loaded walks already. Both Wellemeyer and Neal Musser did it last night.

Tonight, Odalis Perez (2-3, 6.91) goes against Mike Maroth (2-0, 4.82). Perez is 0-0 in his career against the Tigers with an 18.00 ERA. Maroth is 10-8 against the Royals with a 4.37 ERA.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Sanders Placed on DL

Reggie Sanders is headed for the DL with a torn hamstring. That doesn't sound good. Shane Costa will take his place on the roster.

Meche Dominant in Royals Win

Game Date: May 3, 2007
Royals 5, Angels 2 / Box Score
WP: Meche (3-1), LP: Weaver (1-3), SV: Soria (5)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 10-19

How much fun is it to watch a guy on the mound who knows what he's doing? Gil Meche had yet another great outing this afternoon at Kauffman Stadium. He was almost unhittable. Vladimir Guerrero hit a screaming line drive over the left field wall in the first inning for a two-run home run, but after that he settled in and shut down the Angels. At one point he retired 17 straight. He hit his spots, his curve ball was nasty, and you could tell that he was confident. Gary Matthews even commented about it after the game. The Angels managed just two hits off Meche.

Of course, none of that would have mattered if we hadn't figured out a way to score some runs--a task we've been struggling with mightily as of late. But our offense did some good things today. John Buck hit a sacrifice fly in the second inning to drive in the first Royals run of the day. Ross Gload (who was 4-for-4 with 2 RBI), hit an RBI single in the fourth to drive in Mike Sweeney. Alex Gordon got down a good sacrifice bunt in the same inning to move runners to second and third. Tony Pena had a two-out RBI hit in the sixth to put the Royals in front. And in the seventh, Gload doubled with two outs to drive in Teahen, and Billy Butler singled in Gload for his first major league RBI.

Brandon Duckworth looked good again out of the pen (no hits or runs in an inning of work). And Joakim Soria, while he struggled, nailed down his fifth save of the season.

So the Royals ended up splitting the series with the Angels and now get set to begin a new series against the Tigers this weekend. Brian Bannister (0-1, 4.91) will go up against Justin Verlander (1-1, 2.79) tomorrow night. Bannister has never pitched against the Tigers. Verlander is 4-0 with a 1.36 ERA against the Royals in his career.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

German's HR Lifts the Royals

Game Date: May 2, 2007
Royals 3, Angels 1 / Box Score
WP: De La Rosa (3-2), LP: Santana (2-4), SV: Soria (4)
Royal Home Runs: German (1)
Royals Record: 9-19

This one had all the makings of another game that would slip through the Royals fingers.

A bad call (Tony Pena was safe at second during an attempted steal in the third inning, but was called out...David DeJesus tripled right after him and the Royals didn't score), coupled with missed opportunities (the Royals failing to get the big hit with two outs, again...and Jason LaRue not getting a bunt down with two strikes to advance a runner--what in the world was Bell thinking?), seemed to be working against the Royals, even though they got another good start--this time from Jorge De La Rosa (1 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 2 K, 7 IP).

But then Esteban German stepped up in the seventh inning and hit a three-run home run as rain poured down from the heavens, and gave the Royals a 3-1 lead. Brandon Duckworth held the lead in the eighth and Joakim Soria got the Angels in order in the ninth for his fourth save.

Tomorrow afternoon, Gil Meche (2-1, 2.18) goes against Jered Weaver (1-2, 5.40). Meche is 5-2 against the Angels in his career with a 5.38 ERA. Weaver is 2-0 against the Royals with a 0.66 ERA.

Royals Drop Another One

Game Date: May 1, 2007
Angels 7, Royals 5 / Box Score
WP: Colon (3-0), LP: Greinke (1-3), SV: Rodriguez (10)
Royal Home Runs: Teahen (3)
Royals Record: 8-19

What an ugly pitching performance from two guys you expect more from. The Royals got to Bartolo Colon for five runs on nine hits in just five innings. Zack Greinke nearly didn't survive the first inning after giving up a grand slam to Vladimir Guerrero. He ended up giving up six earned runs on ten hits in five innings.

Even though the Angels jumped out to a big lead, Mark Teahen brought the Royals right back with a three-run home run in the third. But the Royals bats went cold after the fourth inning and the Angels' bullpen finished the game off only giving up one hit in the final four innings.

Billy Butler made his major league debut and went 2-for-4. Nice to see him off to a good start at the plate. He wasn't as good in the field. Hopefully that'll improve with experience.

With Scott Elarton and Luke Hudson nearing their respective returns to Kansas City, there's talk of moving Greinke to the bullpen since he's struggling so much right now. He still has a better ERA than Odalis Perez and I'd much rather see Greinke stay in the rotation that Perez, but we seldom seem to leave young pitchers in their roles when they are struggling. And Perez would probably throw a hissy-fit if he got moved to the pen.

Tonight, Jorge De La Rosa (2-2, 3.82) is matched up against Ervin Santana (2-3, 5.79). De La Rosa is 0-1 in his career against the Angels with a 5.40 ERA. Santana is 1-0 against the Royals with a 5.73 ERA.

More on Billy Butler

Just one month ago, Kansas City fans were downright giddy over the idea of Alex Gordon playing every day at the major league level. But it's hard to stay that stoked when you look at his .167 batting average. I'm surprised that he hasn't performed at a higher level, and I think he'll turn things around, but shouldn't we be a little more cautious about bringing guys up before we planned to?

Yesterday I said that Moore's move to bring up Billy Butler was a reach for the panic button. Maybe Butler figured out how to play the outfield adequately in one month, I don't know. But I saw him play it in Omaha last Saturday night and he looked a little shaky to me. He got turned around on a ball and looked downright out of his comfort zone.

Then I read this quote in the Star this morning: “It’s not a panic move,” general manager Dayton Moore insisted. “We’re 8-18, and we need to get some offense in here...We believe Billy can add a spark and give us some punch in the lineup right now.”

Nobody doubts that he can hit. But that isn't the point. The plan was to keep him in Omaha to work on his defense. We only need to go back to March 18, to an article on the Royals website that said this: "The Royals want Butler to begin the season with Triple-A Omaha and work on his outfield defense. His bat looks as if it already is Major League ready."

Our current roster has six outfielders, including Ross Gload (who will be playing first base for a while until Ryan Shealy returns from the DL). Butler has been named the starting left fielder, which means that Emil Brown and Reggie Sanders have been relegated to pinch-hitting duties. Reggie Sanders is hitting .348. Couldn't he provide the offensive spark that Moore wants? Especially given that we are admitting that Billy Butler isn't really ready in the outfield yet?

Don't get me wrong. I'm rooting for Billy Butler every bit as much as the next guy and I'm anxious to see what he can do at the plate. But this move still doesn't make sense to me. Maybe we're on the verge of trading Brown or Sanders. If so, that would make more sense. If not, then I just don't get it.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Hudson Battling Control Problems

Luke Hudson had control problems last night while pitching for the Omaha Royals. In his four innings of work against Memphis, he gave up four runs (only two were earned), 4 BB, 4 H and 1 HR. He did have 7 strike outs, but he left several pitches up in the strike zone and he's not sure why.

Here's Tom Bergmeier's (Omaha's pitching coach) assessment of Hudson's performance: "His fastball command wasn't what it should be, but his stuff was good. (His) curveball was real sharp, (he) got four or five strikeouts on that. When you're ahead in the count and have a curveball like that, a lot of them are going to swing and miss. But a couple of times he'd throw the curve (early in the count), then throw a couple of fastballs and end up walking guys."

After the game, Hudson was watching his performance on video trying to fix his delivery. Here's a link to an article in the Omaha World Herald about Hudson's outing.

Roster Moves

The Royals made several roster moves before the game today:

  • Ryan Shealy was placed on the DL.

  • Billy Butler was called up and got the start in left field. I don't really understand this move. Surely, the Royals offense has been anemic, but between Emil Brown and Reggie Sanders, they have left field covered. And Butler was supposed to be in Omaha to get his defense up to par. Was he able to do that in one month? Seems to me like Moore is hitting the panic button to get the offense jump-started at the major league level. I'm guessing that Butler won't have a problem in the plate, but I'm not so confident regarding his fielding.
  • Ryan Braun was optioned to Omaha.
  • Neal Musser was called up to Kansas City.

Offense a No-Show Again

Game Date: April 30, 2007
Angels 3, Royals 1 / Box Score
WP: Lackey (4-2), LP: Perez (2-3), SV: Rodriguez (9)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 8-18

The Royals had a runner in scoring position ten times last night. They only got two hits. That's been the story of the 2007 season for the Royals thus far. They got a decent start from Odalis Perez (3 ER, 10 H, 1 BB, 4 K, 6.0 IP) and he kept them in the game, but in the end the offense couldn't get it going.

Perez recently started throwing a sinker that breaks toward the first-base side of home plate. So he's throwing his cutter in on the hands of right-handers and his sinker inside to left-handers. He added it four starts ago after getting hit hard in Toronto on April 9. He's 2-1 since then with a 5.72 ERA--which is certainly better than his overall numbers: 2-3, 6.91. But I'm hoping that the days of the Royals keeping a guy with a 5.72 ERA in the rotation are done. We'll see.

Bob Dutton points out that the Royals focused on improving their rotation during the off-season thinking that if they could get their rotation turned around, then maybe they could turn the entire team around. And for the most part, our starting pitching has been good. Dutton points out that the Royals are 7-7 when they get a quality start this season and just 1-11 when they don't. Imagine how much better their quality start record would be if the offense could actually hit with runners in scoring position?

Tonight, Zack Greinke (1-2, 3.51) goes against Bartolo Colon (2-0, 1.93). Greinke is 0-1 in his career against the Angeles with a 9.00 ERA. Colon is 13-7 against the Royals with a 4.74 ERA.

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