Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Dotel Traded to the Braves

MLB.com is reporting that the Royals have traded Octavio Dotel for Kyle Davies. Dayton Moore knows the Atlanta Braves well. Let's just hope he sees something that we don't regarding Davies.

Octavio Dotel Trade Rumors

The trading deadline is at 3:00 PM this afternoon and rumors are still flying regarding where Octavio Dotel might go. Here's a brief rundown of the possibilities: 

To Atlanta for right-handed starting pitcher Kyle Davies (age 23). I don't really understand this one. Davies is 14-21 with a 6.15 ERA in his career with a 1.71 WHIP. Opponents have hit .292 against him. He's having another bad season this year. If this is all we can get for Dotel, I say keep him.

To Seattle for outfielder Wladimir Balentien (age 23). Balentien, a slugger who has played in the 2006 and 2007 Futures Game, has put up impressive numbers at the minor league level. This season at Tacoma he has 23 HR, 74 RBI, 14 SB and he's hitting .306 with a .933 OPS. He draws a lot of walks but he also strikes out a lot (160 times in 2005), however his strikeouts do seem to be dropping. Who knows whether all of this success would translate to the major league level, but this deal makes more sense than the one for Davies in my opinion.

To the Dodgers for Chin-Lung Hu (age 23), a minor league shortstop who hits for average (.300 in five seasons), has a good career OBP (.348), and who steals the occasional base (72 in his career). He played in the 2007 Futures Game and ever since he was promoted to Las Vegas this season he's been on fire, hitting .382. He makes more errors than I'd like to see (22 in 116 games in 2005 while playing A-ball at Vero Beach) and at this point, I'm not all that sure that he's up upgrade over Tony Pena, but if one of them could move to second base, he may be worth trading for.

To Cleveland for outfielder Franklin Gutierrez (age 24) or possibly outfielder Ben Francisco (age 25). Gutierrez has shown a little pop in 48 games with Cleveland this season (7 HR, 16 RBI). Frankly his minor league stats don't impress me much, but maybe he's just starting to come into his own. Francisco has shown a little power at the minor league level (17 HR, 59 RBI in 2006 for Buffalo), but I don't think he's worth trading for Dotel.

Baker Outduels Meche

Game Date: July 30, 2007
Twins 3, Royals 1 / Box Score
WP: Baker (5-4), LP: Meche (7-8), SV: Nathan (23)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 47-58

Gil Meche pitched well last night (7 IP, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K), but Scott Baker pitched better, giving up just one earned run in eight innings. The game moved along at lightening speed (2 hours, 18 minutes), and the Royals couldn't find a way to break through. They only managed to get two hits for the evening. Mark Grudzielanek drove in the only run of the game for the Royals in the fourth inning.

Tonight, Jorge De La Rosa (8-10, 5.35) will go up against Carlos Silva (8-11, 4.76). De La Rosa is 1-3 in his career against the Twins with a 4.74 ERA. Silva is 3-2 against the Royals with a 4.18 ERA.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Royals Sweep the Rangers

Game Date: July 29, 2007
Royals 10, Rangers 0 / Box Score
WP: Nunez (1-0), LP: Loe (5-9), SV: Peralta (1)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 47-57

What in the world has happened to Leo Nunez? The guy with a 6.19 career ERA has a 0.90 ERA this season in two starts. In the past, he's appeared to be a frail, injury-prone prospect with a good fastball but little ability to get guys out. Yesterday he threw six shutout innings and opponents are hitting just .243 against him so far this season. If he can just be in the neighborhood of being this good from here on out, our rotation would look much better.

And how about the sticks yesterday? The Royals scored early and often. Mark Teahen led things off with an RBI double in the second inning. Then Tony Pena doubled in Teahen and Reggie Sanders during the same inning. Another double, this time by David DeJesus, put the Royals up 4-0 in the second inning. Ross Gload was 3-for-5 with an RBI. Teahen ended up with three hits. And Pena finished with two.

So, the Royals won four straight games to complete the homestand with a winning record. They are 13-10 in July, which means they are guaranteed of having two straight winning months. They have a better record than seven other teams. And they are now just 10 games under .500. If they string a couple of more winning months together, who knows...maybe they could even chase .500.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves too much. Let's be happy about the progress we are seeing and enjoy each win as they come.

Tonight, the Royals begin a new series in Minnesota. Gil Meche (7-7, 3.76) goes against Scott Baker (4-4, 5.30). Meche is 0-0 in his career against the Twins with a 7.71 ERA. Baker is 0-2 against the Royals with a 4.26 ERA.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Royals Win Third Straight

Game Date: July 28, 2007
Royals 6, Rangers 5 / Box Score
WP: Perez (6-9), LP: Millwood (7-9), SV: Dotel (11)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 46-57

It wasn't pretty, but it's a win. And it was the type of game the Royals would have lost in seasons past. They got out to 6-2 lead after three innings and then watched Octavio Dotel almost give up the lead in ninth. But he found a way to stop the bleeding and to preserve the win.

Odalis Perez gave up three earned runs in six innings--which is about the best we can hope from him. David Riske and Zack Greinke pitched two scoreless innings in relief. And Dotel got the save.

Several Royal hitters had big days at the plate. Billy Butler was 2-for-4. Emil Brown was 3-for-4. John Buck was 3-for-3 with 2 RBI. And Tony Pena was 2-for-3 with 2 RBI. Brown, Buck, and Pena were the bottom of the order, so it was nice to see some production from that portion of the line up.

This afternoon, Leo Nunez (0-0, 2.25) goes up against Kameron Loe (5-8, 5.59). If the Royals win, they will have a winning homestand, and a four-game winning streak.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Denny Matthews

Here's a couple of links to articles about Denny Matthews going into the Hall of Fame this weekend:

Missouri pair take similar paths to Hall

Knowledge, presentation earn Matthews Hall of Fame recognition

Here's a link to an audio interview with Matthews about the Hall of Fame on WJBC in Bloomington, IL.


Apparently Shawn Peters over on ESPN.com either hasn't been paying attention to the Royals or he thinks the past two months have been a fluke. Here's a little of what he said in this article: Grand Theft Roto: A bad time to deal:

"Royals' reliever Octavio Dotel is probably the most likely player in the majors to actually move at the deadline; as Kansas City realizes having a proven closer on that team is about as necessary as having a tanning salon for Goths. Someone will bring in Dotel to set up or even close in a pinch, and K.C. will have to choose another reliever to close the door on the rare occasions when it actually wins."

The Royals are 26-22 since June 1 and 7-7 since the All-Star break. So wins aren't exactly "rare" these days.

More Teams Interested in Greinke

Sounds like Dayton Moore's phone is ringing off the hook regarding Zack Greinke. A week or so ago, the Cubs were believed to be interested in him. Now, the Diamondbacks, the Dodgers, the Braves, and the Cubs are interested. One Yahoo! story quotes a "rival executive" as saying that the Royals would be crazy to trade Greinke. I agree, and I just don't see it happening.

Butler's Blast Leads Royals to Win

Game Date: July 27, 2007
Royals 6, Rangers 1 / Box Score
WP: Bannister (7-6), LP: Wright (3-3)
Royal Home Runs: Butler (4)
Royals Record: 45-57

Brian Bannister continued his solid season last night, pitching seven shutout innings--giving up just four hits. He lowered his ERA to 3.42 and he's only allowed one earned run in his last 14 innings of work. And finally, the opposing manager was praising our starting pitcher after the game rather than the other way around. Here's what Ron Washington said, "Bannister didn't give us much. We had a couple of opportunities, but he did not give in to it." 

Bannister got an early lead when Billy Butler hit a three-run home run in the first inning. He got into some trouble in the early innings, but he found a way to keep the Rangers from scoring. The Royals on the other hand kept crossing the dish. Ross Gload hit a sacrifice fly in the third to score Mark Teahen. Mark Grudzielanek singled in John Buck in the seventh. And Alex Gordon doubled in Gload in the eighth.

And so, after a slight stumble against the evil Yankees, the Royals seem to be back on track. Unfortunately, our starting pitching is still on shaky ground. Tonight, Odalis Perez (5-9, 5.80) goes against Kevin Millwood (7-8, 5.56). Perez has never pitched against the Rangers. Millwood is 3-2 against the Royals in his career with a 3.13 ERA.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Dotel Wants to Stay in KC

It seems that Octavio Dotel has fallen in love with Kansas City. So much so that he wants to remain in Royal blue rather than be traded to a playoff contender.

“I like it here,” Dotel is quoted as saying in the KC Star today, “because we can win here. I like how I see this club is trying to put together a group of players that can win in the future. I want to be part of that. I want to be in that group.

“You’ve got to be patient. You can’t expect everything from these players right away. It takes time, but it’s like we’re building a house. And after we have the house, I’m telling you, we’re going to have a party.”

Dotel wants a multi-year contract, somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 million for three years. The Royals can certainly afford that type of contract and it might make sense if it allowed Joakim Soria to join the rotation next season.

But Dotel is 33 years old and I can't help but wonder if we shouldn't sell high. The problem with that is, most teams don't seem all that willing to give up anything in return. And if that's the case, I'd rather hold on to Dotel because it might just allow us to strengthen our rotation as well as give us a solid closer--assuming he can stay healthy.

Royals Stop the Yankees

Game Date: July 26, 2007
Royals 7, Yankees 0 / Box Score
WP: De La Rosa (8-10), LP: Igawa (2-3)
Royal Home Runs: Gordon (7)
Royals Record: 44-57

Maybe this team finally has turned a corner. After the Royals lost the first three games of the series to the evil Yankees, Alex Gordon said that the team was upset because it was the first time they'd lost three in a row since June. And even after the Royals win last night, Gordon said that the Royals weren't happy with winning just one game in the series. I like to hear that.

Starting pitching cost us dearly in this series, but Scott Elarton is gone now. Leo Nunez will probably take his place in the rotation. Brandon Duckworth is getting closer to returning. And Billy Buckner was at least a consideration to replace Elarton. So, it would seem we might have a couple of options regarding the rotation.

Jorge De La Rosa pitched out of trouble often last night, but he always seemed to make the right pitch and the right time to wiggle off the hook. Zack Greinke was outstanding in relief, going 2.2 innings and not even allowing a hit. Joakim Soria threw a perfect ninth to close the game out.

The line up looked a bit odd. Ross Gload hit second. David De Jesus hit third. And in Frank White-like fashion, Mark Grudzielanek hit clean up. The odd order seemed to work. The Royals pounded out seven runs on ten hits and four walks. Alex Gordon had three hits, including a home run, and he has his average up to .245.

The Royals begin a new series at home tonight against the Rangers. Brian Bannister (6-6, 3.68) will go up against Jamey Wright (3-2, 4.15). Bannister has never pitched against the Rangers. Wright is 2-0 against the Royals with a 1.88 ERA.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Affeldt Trade

Anybody noticing what Jeremy Affeldt is doing over in Colorado this season? He's got a 2.90 ERA with a 1.26 WHIP in 48 appearances. And opponents are hitting just .215 against him.

It's still way too early to say that we got the short end of the stick regarding the trade that sent Affeldt and Denny Bautista to the Rockies for Ryan Shealy and Scott Dohmann, but Dohmann was terrible for the Royals last season and ended up being designated for assignment. He's getting knocked around right now in Tampa Bay. Ryan Shealy can't stay healthy, and even when he does, he hasn't been impressive. He's hitting just .221 this season in 52 games. Denny Bautista has been even worse than Scott Dohmann was since the trade. He has a 19.06 ERA in seven games with the Rockies this season.

Right now, the only player involved in the trade who is doing anything at the major league level is Jeremy Affeldt.

Royals Lose Third Straight

Game Date: July 25, 2007
Yankees 7, Royals 1 / Box Score
WP: Mussina (5-7), LP: Meche (7-7)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 43-57

I know that our bullpen needed a break, but did we really need to run Gil Meche out for the eighth inning tonight and did we really need him to throw 120 pitches--especially given the fact that he has struggled with endurance recently?

It just seems odd to me. He had a good game going until the eighth when Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run home run to stretch out the evil Yankees lead. But I guess it didn't matter in the long run. We still only scored one run and Meche gave up three even before the Rodriguez home run.

Tomorrow, Jorge De La Rosa (7-10, 5.61) will try to play the role of stopper. He'll go up against Kei Igawa (2-2, 6.67). De La Rosa is 1-0 against the evil Yankees in his career with a 2.57 ERA. Igawa has never faced the Royals. Neither pitcher is pitching well right now. Let's hope against all hope that the Royals can find a way to avoid the sweep.

Scott Elarton Waived

Scott Elarton seems like a guy who has the type of attitude you want players to have, but attitude can only go so far. He's been dreadful this season and today the Royals waived him. Sounds like Leo Nunez will fill his spot on the roster. Nunez doesn't really seem to have the stamina to be a starter and he's only started four times in Omaha this season, but we are desperate for starting pitching, so let's see how he does.

Royals Trade Rumors

Bob Dutton is reporting that the Mets are believed to be interested in Mark Grudzielanek since Jose Valentin broke his right tibia last Friday. Right now, the Mets are planning to platoon former Royal Ruben Gotay and Anderson Hernandez.

This would give Esteban German a chance to be the regular second baseman, but it would limit Buddy Bell's flexible line ups somewhat since presumably Jason Smith would become the utility man and he's primarily an infielder.

No word yet on what the Royals might be seeking from the Mets in return for Grudzielanek.

The Elarton Debacle

Game Date: July 24, 2007
Yankees 9, Royals 4 / Box Score
WP: Wang (11-5), LP: Elarton (2-4)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 43-56

Let's be honest. Scott Elarton was bad last season (4-9, 5.34 ERA). He's been worse this season. Is there anybody in Kansas City who didn't see this train wreck coming? Seven earned runs in 1.2 innings of work took the Royals out of this one by the second inning.

Given how poorly Jorge De La Rosa and Odalis Perez are pitching, we only have two good starters right now in Gil Meche and Brian Bannister. I'm hoping that we see changes in this rotation by the time it makes it's way back around to Elarton's spot again. Matt Wright is putting up impressive numbers in Omaha (6-3, 3.82). And he's 25. Maybe it's time to give him a shot.

At least tonight we have Gil Meche (7-6, 3.63) on the mound. He'll go up against Mike Mussina (4-7, 4.97). Meche is 3-2 against the evil Yankees in his career with a 3.88 ERA. Mussina is 15-7 against the Royals with a 3.02 ERA.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Mike Coolbaugh Donations

In case you missed the comments in my previous post about Mike Coolbaugh's death, here are a couple of addresses for banks that are accepting donations:

Mike Coolbaugh Family Fund
c/o Frost National Bank
1250 N.E. Loop 410
San Antonio, TX 78209

Mike Coolbaugh Memorial Fund
c/o Spirit Bank
1800 S. Baltimore Avenue
Tulsa, OK 74119

I called both banks this morning and both funds are up and running. 

Monday, July 23, 2007

Mike Coolbaugh Killed in Freak Accident

Former Omaha Royal Mike Coolbaugh was killed last night while coaching first base for the Tulsa Drillers. The 35 year-old was was hit in the head by a line drive during the ninth inning of a game against the Arkansas Travelers. What a horrible situation.

He was teammates with Ryan Braun in Omaha last season which was Coolbaugh's last season as a player. Here's what Braun had to say about Coolbaugh: "He was a family guy. I remember his wife being around with the kids. It's hard to process it. It's such a freak occurrence."

Coolbaugh played 16 years in the minor leagues with two brief stints at the major league level. He played 39 games with Milwaukee in 2001 and 30 games with St. Louis in 2002. He was a little like a real life Crash Davis. He hit 256 home runs in the minor leagues and drove in 991 runs. He also had 1,575 hits.

I saw Coolbaugh play in Omaha last August. Here's a link to a post I wrote about the game. Unfortunately he didn't play very well that day. But in honor of Coolbaugh, here's a photo I took of the scoreboard that day that shows him in the clean up spot:

Thoughts and prayers go out to the Coolbaugh family.

Royals Struggle Against Clemens

Game Date: July 23, 2007
Yankees 9, Royals 2 / Box Score
WP: Clemens (3-4), LP: Perez (5-9)
Royal Home Runs: Gload (3)
Royals Record: 43-55

Fresh from a winning road trip, the Royals came home to 30,000+ fans and battled to stay in the game, even after falling behind 4-0 in the second inning. But the wheels came off in the ninth when the evil Yankees scored five runs. The Royals made three errors. Tony Pena made a throwing error. Emil Brown made a throwing error. And Mark Grudzielanek dropped a pop up.

It looked like Odalis Perez was going to have to make another early exit. He gave up four runs in the first two innings, but then he settled down and kept the Royals in the game. He wasn't good, or even good enough, but he was better than I thought he would be tonight.

Clemens, on the other hand, was more than good enough, giving up just two earned runs in seven innings, but the Royals gave him some help. So did the umpires. At one point in the middle innings, Perez was getting squeezed by home plate umpire Doug Eddings. After giving Jorge Posada a forth and maybe even a fifth strike, he singled. None of that really mattered though since the evil Yankees scored five runs in the ninth.

Now we have to hope that Scott Elarton (2-3, 9.17) is better than he's been all season when he takes the ball tomorrow night. He's been awful so far. He'll go up against Chien-Ming Wang (10-5, 3.44). Elarton is 3-0 in his career against the evil Yankees with a 4.85 ERA. Wang is 1-0 against the Royals with a 5.79 ERA.

More on Dotel

Here's Ken Rosenthal's take on the Octavio Dotel situation.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

More Royals Trade Rumors

Starting pitching is at such a premium as we near the trading deadline that Mariners GM Bill Bavasi is thought to be considering a move for Odalis Perez. He's also presumably considering Jose Contreras and Matt Morris. Odalis Perez is 5-8 with an ERA near 6.00. Bavasi would probably be doing the Royals a favor if he pulled the trigger on this one.

Royals Win Series in Detroit

Game Date: July 22, 2007
Royals 5, Tigers 2 / Box Score
WP: Bannister (6-6), LP: Robertson (6-7)
Royal Home Runs: German (3)
Royals Record: 43-54

A 5-4 road trip with stops in Cleveland, Boston, and Detroit ought to make the average Royals fan ecstatic. Those three teams are a combined 57 games over .500 right now and with the big win in Detroit today, the Royals have caught the Chicago White Sox for fourth place in the AL Central. It's hard to get excited about fourth place, but who would have thought we even had a chance before the season started?

Brian Bannister pitched a great game today, going seven innings and giving up just one earned run on four hits and a walk. This was just what the bullpen needed. David Riske and Octavio Dotel finished off the Tigers--although the Tigers made things interesting against Dotel in the bottom of the ninth.

The Royals fell behind early when Craig Monroe hit a solo home run in the third, but they came back in the fourth--scraping three runs together on an infield single by Reggie Sanders and two sacrifice flies by Tony Pena and Emil Brown. Esteban German hit a solo home run in the seventh and David DeJesus singled in Mark Teahen during that same inning to give the Royals a 5-1 lead.

Mark Grudzielanek continued his hot streak, going 4-for-5 and raising his average to .300. German had two hits. So did David DeJesus.

The Royals return home to begin a four game series tomorrow night against the evil Yankees. Odalis Perez (5-8, 5.84) goes up against Roger Clemens (2-4, 4.88). Perez is 0-1 in his career against the evil Yankees with a 15.43 ERA. Clemens is 20-6 against the Royals with a 2.15 ERA.

Inge Hits Walk-off HR

Game Date: July 21, 2007
Tigers 10, Royals 8 / Box Score
WP: Durbin (7-3), LP: Soria (1-3)
Royal Home Runs: Buck (16)
Royals Record: 42-54

Even though the Tigers found a way to pull this one out with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the tenth inning by Brandon Inge, surely they know by now that this isn't the same Kansas City Royals team they faced over the past few years. The Tigers are tough. Arguably, they are the best team in baseball, so it's nice to see the guys in blue competing against them.

What wasn't so nice to see was another horrible outing by Jorge De La Rosa. He gave up seven earned runs (including two home runs) in just 4.1 innings. His ERA in his four July starts is 6.64. He wasn't much better in June. He had a 6.41 ERA in six starts. For that matter, he wasn't good in May either. He had a 6.09 ERA in six starts. His only decent month was April (3.82 ERA in five starts), but that seems like a distant memory right now.

The Royals didn't have any problems getting their hits against Justin Verlander and company yesterday. Mark Teahen was 2-for-5. Billy Butler was 2-for-4 with an RBI. John Buck was 2-for-4 with a home run. And Tony Pena was 3-for-4 with two runs scored.

The Royals fell behind, but scored two in the top of the ninth to tie the game 8-8. The game came down to Joakim Soria against Brandon Inge with one out and one on in the bottom of the tenth. Inge got the best of him this time. It was the first home run Soria has ever given up.

This afternoon, Brian Bannister (5-6, 3.87) goes against Nate Robertson (6-6, 4.53) in Detroit. Bannister is 0-1 in his career against the Tigers with a 3.86 ERA. Robertson is 4-3 against the Royals with a 4.60 ERA.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Octavio Dotel

Looks like you can add the evil Yankees to the Octavio Dotel sweepstakes. If he gets traded, I hope he goes to anywhere except New York. The Tigers and Braves are in as well.

On the Royals Improvement

Have you had a chance to read John Donovan's article about the Royals over at SI.com? If not, here's a link:

Holding all the cards: Royals GM has valuable pieces to deal at deadline

Here's a little taste to whet your appetite: "The reason the Royals are in this position [to trade several sought after players] in the first place is that they are a better team, from top to bottom, from the front office to the dugout. They're probably much better than anyone could have guessed. Certainly, they're much better than anyone could have envisioned six weeks ago."

Royals Trounce Tigers

Game Date: July 20, 2007
Royals 10, Tigers, 2 / Box Score
WP: Meche (7-6), LP: Rogers (3-2)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 42-53

With the win tonight, the Royals improved their record to 23-18 since June 1. Billy Butler hasn't been here for that entire time, but ever since he came back from Omaha on June 19, he's been right in the middle of the Royals offensive attack. He was 4-for-5 tonight with 4 RBI and he's driven in 19 runs since his return. His success seems to be contagious.

Mark Grudzielanek was hitting .361 going into tonight for the month of July and he picked up four more hits. Esteban German was hitting .452 in July before the game started. He was 2-for-5 in the win tonight.

Before the season started, the buzz was about Alex Gordon, but Billy Butler has stolen the show. That's not to say that Gordon hasn't improved and contributed because he has. But Butler didn't need any time of adjustment to major league pitching. He did only hit .243 in May when he was in Kansas City, if you want to call that an adjustment period, but he's all over the ball right now.

Gil Meche made some adjustments in between starts in an attempt to increase his stamina. He threw seven strong innings tonight, giving up two earned runs on five hits and he picked up his fourth win in his last seven starts. As great as our bullpen has been, it's nice to see them get a break tonight.

Unfortunately, the rest of our rotation is having some problems--so much so that Scott Elarton is going to start on Tuesday in Kansas City against the Yankees. Elarton was shelled for six earned runs in 5.2 innings in Omaha on Wednesday, but he convinced Bell that he felt "as good as he has in a long time" so he got the nod. John Thompson and Brandon Duckworth remain on the DL. Luke Hudson is done for the year.

So, we really only have four starters right now: Gil Meche, Jorge De La Rosa, Odalis Perez, and Brian Bannister. Both De La Rosa and Perez have struggled. Toss in a struggling Elarton and I'm not all that comfortable with a rotation in which three of the five guys aren't pitching well. Let's hope that at least one of them gets things going soon.

Tomorrow night, Jorge De La Rosa (7-10, 5.25) goes up against Justin Verlander (11-3, 3.26). De La Rosa is 1-0 in his career against the Tigers with a 3.46 ERA. Verlander has dominated the Royals in his career with a 5-0 record and a 1.58 ERA.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Royals Trade Rumors

The Cubs are reportedly interested in Zack Greinke. I can't see Moore trading Greinke. He's finally found his niche and he's playing a major role out of the Royals bullpen right now.

The Red Sox are said to be interested in Reggie Sanders. And Sanders would be quite happy to go there.

The Dodgers are interested in Octavio Dotel. So are the Tigers. The Rockies also expressed an interest in him last month. He's certainly worth something, hopefully another good young starting arm, and Joakim Soria or Zack Greinke would probably be able to fill his shoes nicely.

Royals Win Series in Boston

Game Date: July 18, 2007
Royals 6, Red Sox 5 / Box Score
WP: Perez (5-8), LP: Tavarez (5-8), SV: Dotel (10)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 41-53

Are you starting to believe that the Royals have finally reached the point of being competitive? After winning the series in Boston tonight, I'm not sure how you could conclude otherwise. The Royals have won 12 of their last 19 games. Some of their young hitters are finding their way. Our bullpen continues to be outstanding. And our starters, as much as they are struggling, are finding ways to keep us in ball games.

The bullpen got the job done again tonight after Odalis Perez had to leave after just five innings. The Royals were up 6-5 at the time and that turned out to be the final score as the combination of David Riske, Jimmy Gobble, Joakim Soria, and Octavio Dotel shut down the Red Sox potent offense.

Billy Butler continued to swing the bat like a healthy Mike Sweeney. He was 2-for-3 tonight with two RBI and one BB to bring his average to .311. Nobody has ever questioned whether the guy was going to hit at the major league level, but tonight he even got the job done with the glove. He played first base and made a nice pick in the hole and then tossed the runner out.

Alex Gordon was 2-for-4 with 2 RBI, brining his average to .240. Mark Grudzielanek continues to contribute. Tonight he was 2-for-4 with an RBI. He also made a nice leaping catch on a line drive hit over his head.

The Royals are off tomorrow. They head to Detroit where they will open a new series on Friday night. Gil Meche (6-6, 3.69) will go up against Kenny Rogers. Meche is 5-4 against the Tigers in his career with a 3.89 ERA. Rogers is 20-14 against the Royals with a 3.82 ERA.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Royals Pound Wakefield

Game Date: July 17, 2007
Royals 9, Red Sox 3 / Box Score
WP: Gobble (4-1), LP: Wakefield (10-9)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 40-53

The Royals reached their 40th win last season on August 9. They played the Red Sox in Kansas City and beat them 5-4 in thrilling fashion. Mike Sweeney hit a two-out single to left field in the bottom of the ninth to produce the first walk-off win for the Royals last season.

Fast forward a season. The Royals picked up their 40th win of this season against the Red Sox, but they did it three weeks earlier than last season. While they've certainly got a long way to go, the Royals currently have a better record than Tampa Bay, Washington, Cincinnati, Houston, and San Francisco. They're tied with Pittsburgh and closing in on Texas and the White Sox. Considering all of the comparisons to the 1899 Cleveland Spiders last season, you've got to be happy with the progress.

Leo Nunez pitched better than anybody could have expected tonight. He pitched into the fifth inning (which is about what the Royals were hoping), giving up just one earned run on six hits. Jimmy Gobble, Zack Greinke, Joel Peralta, and Joakim Soria closed the door on the Red Sox--giving up just two earned runs over the final five innings.

The Royals had no problem scoring against Tim Wakefield. They pounded him for six earned runs on nine hits in 6.1 innings. Billy Butler got the ball rolling in the fourth inning with a two-run double to left. Tony Pena doubled in Alex Gordon in the fifth. The Red Sox got a run in the fifth, but in the seventh, the Royals went nuts scoring five times on hits by John Buck, Mark Grudzielanek, Ross Gload, and Pena. The score was 8-1 Royals by the time the seventh inning was over.

Tomorrow night, the Royals will try to win the series by sending Odalis Perez (4-8, 5.68) against Julian Tavarez (5-7, 5.15). Perez is 0-2 with a 4.07 ERA against the Red Sox in his career. Tavarez is 3-1 against the Royals with a 5.76 ERA.

Gabbard Shines in Shutout

Game Date: July 16, 2007
Red Sox 4, Royals 0 / Box Score
WP: Gabbard (3-0), LP: Bannister (5-6)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 39-53

Brian Bannister was pumped about his first start in Fenway Park. The Red Sox looked equally excited to see him. They hit three home runs against him in six innings and that was all they needed. Their own rookie, Kason Gabbard, threw a three-hit shutout. Emil Brown got two of the hits and Reggie Sanders, just back from the DL, got the other one in a pinch-hitting role. Not much else to say about this one.

The Dodgers are reportedly interested in obtaining Octavio Dotel as a set up man for Takashi Saito. They also want Dotel in case Saito stumbles. The Royals are asking for outfielder Matt Kemp or first baseman James Loney. Kemp is hitting .375 with 4 HR and 17 RBI for the Dodgers this season in 37 games. Kemp is just 22 and the Dodgers aren't showing a lot of interest in moving him. Loney, who is 23, is hitting .383 with 3 HR and 17 RBI in just 28 games, and the Dodgers probably won't give him up either.

Reggie Sanders is on the market and he knows it.

Out starting rotation took another blow when John Thompson was placed on the 15-day DL. Leo Nunez will take his place in the rotation. Let's hope that Nunez finds more success in the rotation than he has out of the pen. His career ERA is 6.99 with a 1.66 WHIP and .324 BAA in 48 appearances for the Royals.

Luke Hochevar got hit hard on Sunday while playing for Omaha. He gave up five runs, including three home runs, in five innings.

Tonight, Leo Nunez will make the first start of his career. He'll go up against Tim Wakefield (10-8, 4.47) who is 10-5 with a 3.66 ERA in his career against the Royals.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Carmona Too Tough

Game Date: July 15, 2007
Indians 5, Royals 3 / Box Score
WP: Carmona (11-4), LP: De La Rosa (7-10), SV: Borowski (26)
Royal Home Runs: Smith (1)
Royals Record: 39-52

The Royals fell behind early in this one when Travis Hafner crushed a home run on an inside fastball from Jorge De La Rosa in the first inning with a man on to give the Indians a 2-0 lead. De La Rosa ended up giving up three earned runs on six walks, two hits, and two home runs before he left in the fourth with a bruise on his left thumb. No word how it got there or how long he'll be out, but for a rotation that is already in need of some help, this isn't good news.

Fausto Carmona wasn't dazzling, but when you look at his line score (7.0 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K), it's easy to see how he's won eleven games while keeping his ERA under 4.00. Wouldn't you like to see such a nice surprise appear one day in Royal blue? You might have to go back to Kevin Appier's early days to find such an example.

After falling behind early, the Royals attempted a comeback. Billy Butler doubled in Mark Teahen in the fifth inning to make it 3-1 Cleveland. Then Ross Gload singled in Butler to make it 3-2. But the Royals didn't score again until Jason Smith hit his first home run of the season. By then, the Indians had already score twice more. By the way, did you see the over-the-shoulder catch that Smith made at shortstop early in the game? He ran way out into left center to make the snag. Impressive range.

John Bale made his first appearance for the Royals this season after being signed to a $1.8 million contract in the off season. He was expected to be a big part of the Royals bullpen but he's been battling injuries all season. He pitched two scoreless innings and might give Bell more options from the left side if he needs a situational lefty. Jimmy Gobble has been the only lefty in the pen up until now.

Tonight, the Royals open a new series in Boston. Brian Bannister (5-5, 3.71) goes up against Kason Gabbard (2-0, 4.87). Bannister has never pitched against the Red Sox. Gabbard has never pitched against the Royals.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Royals Hold on for Win

Game Date: July 14, 2007
Royals 6, Indians 5, / Box Score
WP: Meche (6-6), LP: Sabathia (12-4), SV: Dotel (9)
Royal Home Runs: Brown (4)
Royals Record: 39-51

Gil Meche hardly looked like an All-Star last night, but he was just good enough for five innings to keep the Royals in the game long enough to hand things off to one of the best bullpens this organization has ever had. The knock against Meche before he came over was that he walked too many guys and threw too many pitches in the process. He only walked one guy last night, but he did throw 100 pitches in just five innings and he was admittedly tired. Hopefully, he get things figured out before his next start.

The combination of Zack Greinke, Jimmy Gobble, Joakim Soria, and Octavio Dotel allowed just one run over the final four innings and they closed the door on another Indian comeback. It was another exciting finish though. Dotel allowed a out-out double to Grady Sizemore in the ninth with the Royals clinging to a one-run lead. He got the next two guys out though, including Victor Martinez to end the game. Trade talk is beginning to swirl about Dotel, who has shown that he can close games. The Royals probably see him as expendable since Joakim Soria was so good in the closer's role earlier this season and he still has a 2.11 ERA.

Billy Butler had a big two-run double in the first inning and he ended up 3-for-5 for the night. Bell also moved him up to the clean up spot and he looked right at home. If Sweeney's days are numbered in Royal blue, Billy Butler might not ever see the minor leagues again. And with Sweeney on the shelf, it's much easier to accept that fact that we have a 21 year-old designated hitter on the roster.

Emil Brown finally showed a little punch last night, hitting a three-run home run in the third inning to put the Royals out in front 5-0 at the time.

Jorge De La Rosa (7-9, 5.16) goes against Fausto Carmona (10-4, 3.85) tonight. De La Rosa is 1-2 against the Indians in his career with a 7.62 ERA. Carmona is 1-0 against the Royals with a 4.02 ERA.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Royals Lose a Close One

Game Date: July 13, 2007
Indians 5, Royals 4 / Box Score
WP: Borowski (2-3), LP: Greinke (4-5)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 38-51

Well, a walk off loss wasn't what I had in mind when I sat down to watch the game last night, but that's what happened when Ryan Garko singled up the middle in the bottom of the ninth to drive in Mike Rouse (who was pinch-running for Travis Hafner).

The Royals certainly had their chances. They had the bases loaded in the second inning and only managed to score one run. And they loaded the bases again in the third (with no outs) and only managed two runs. Buddy Bell continues to say that the offense refuses to be aggressive.

I think he's referring to situations where they have runners in scoring position, but the odd thing about that is, he's also been stressing situational baseball since he got here--which I agree with. We don't have many big sticks in the line up that can swing for the fences when the bags are full. And I cringe when I see guys like Tony Pena taking huge swings. I'd rather see them playing small ball than hitting into double plays and losing any chance of scoring.

Regarding Odalis Perez's short outing (4.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K)--I know we don't have a lot of options right now, but we've got to do something. Perez is killing our bullpen with his 5.1 innings per outing average. His ERA (5.68) and WHIP (1.64) are way too high for this stage of the season. And he doesn't appear to be getting any better.

If Billy Buckner is ready, I'd like to see what he could do at the big league level. He's 7-4 in Omaha with a 4.04 ERA. He's just about to turn 24. He's been in our system since 2004 (we drafted him in the second round in 2004). But he's been working out of the pen as of late, so maybe he isn't an option for the rotation in KC. I don't know. But I'm hoping that Perez's days are numbered.

Tonight, Gil Meche (5-6, 3.54) goes against C.C. Sabathia (12-3, 3.58) in what should be a classic pitchers duel. But Meche has never performed well against the Indians. He's 1-6 with a 5.69 ERA in his career against them. Sabathia is 12-6 with a 3.14 ERA against the Royals.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Lack of Posts

I've edited this post for privacy reasons. I'll be back soon.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Winning Streak Ends

Game Date: June 30, 2007
White Sox 3, Royals 1 / Box Score
WP: Bukvich (1-0), LP: Dotel (0-1), SV: Jenks (21)
Royal Home Runs: Brown (3)
Royals Record: 34-47

So, we've reached the halfway point in the season with a record of 34-47. We have seven more wins than we did at this point last season. It would have been nice to see a win last night though. After Emil Brown hit a solo home run in the seventh, it looked like we might be able to pull this one out.

Odalis Perez had turned in a nice performance (1 ER, 3 H, 3 K, in 7.0 IP) and the game was left in the hands of the bullpen with the hopes that our offense could find a way to scrape together some runs. Jimmy Gobble and Joakim Soria pitched well (neither allowed a run in their inning of work), but things didn't work out so well for Octavio Dotel.

With the game tied 1-1 going into the 10th, Dotel gave up a lead off single to A.J. Pierzynski. Then he hit Scott Podsednik. After getting an out, he threw a wild pitch and runners were in scoring position. An intentional walk later, Tadahito Iguchi singled to give the White Sox a 3-1 lead, and it held up.

This afternoon, John Thompson (1-0, 2.57) goes up against Jon Garland (5-5, 3.36). Thompson is 1-1 against the White Sox in his career with a 3.86 ERA. Garland is 14-5 against the Royals with a 3.86 ERA.

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