Friday, August 31, 2007

Tigers Salvage Final Game

Game Date: August 30, 2007
Tigers 6, Royals 1 / Box Score
WP: Bonderman (11-7), LP: Nunez (2-2)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 59-73

Leo Nunez seemed to be cruising along yesterday when the Tigers erupted for four runs against him in the fifth inning. Bell said that he fell in love with his change up that inning because he couldn't locate his fastball, so he threw the change too often. Whatever the case, it's all the run support that Jeremy Bonderman needed for the Tigers to salvage the final game of the series.

Billy Buckner pitched 2.2 innings in scoreless relief. Bell is considering giving him a couple of starts in September to see how he responds, but he seems to be leaning more toward protecting him in middle relief for the remainder of the season, which might not be a bad idea. If he comes into Spring Training with a lot of confidence, it may be all he needs to nail down a starting job.

We're poised to see the rosters expand to 40 men soon. But Ryan Shealy won't be one of them. He has just been placed on the 60-day DL with a left hamstring strain. So his disappointing season is over. You have to wonder what's next for Shealy. If the Royals resign Sweeney and Buckner works out at first, Shealy becomes expendable. Who would have thought that?

The Royals are going to play a double-header today in Minnesota. Kyle Davies (1-3, 7.48) will start game one this afternoon against Matt Garza (3-4, 3.16). Davies is 1-1 in his career against the Twins with a 4.35 ERA. Garza is 0-2 against the Royals with a 1.88 ERA. In game two, Gil Meche (7-11, 3.85) is matched up against Scott Baker (7-6, 4.42) tonight. Meche is 5-2 against the Twins in his career with a 4.22 ERA. Baker is 1-2 against the Royals with a 3.33 ERA.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Royals Rough Up Miller

Game Date: August 29, 2007
Royals 5, Tigers 0 / Box Score
WP: Braun (2-0), LP: Miller (5-5), SV: Riske (4) 
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 59-72

This one was over early.

The Royals pummeled Andrew Miller and he wasn't even able to escape the first inning. Miller started the game by hitting David DeJesus with a pitch. Esteban German followed him with a triple. Mark Grudzielanek reached on an infield single, scoring German. Billy Butler was hit by a pitch. Emil Brown singled to left. Still no outs by the way. Alex Gordon singled to right, scoring Grud and Butler. Tony Pena singled in Butler and Brown. And for some reason, Bell started playing small ball in a five-run inning, and he had Joey Gathright bunting to move Gordon to third. Gathright struck out and Gordon was picked off second. Who knows how many we would have scored in the first inning otherwise?

Unfortunately, Zack Greinke is still on a limited pitch count, so he didn't get the win, even though he pitched well (no runs in four innings). He threw 71 pitches and Ryan Braun relieved him, picking up the win. The bullpen didn't allow any runs and David Riske picked up a rare save.

Oddly this was the Royals fifth shutout of the season and Jason LaRue has been behind the plate for all five of them. Not sure what that means.

This afternoon Leo Nunez (2-1, 3.00) will go against Jeremy Bonderman (10-7, 4.87). Nunez is 0-0 against the Tigers in his career with a 4.91 ERA. Bonderman is 8-5 against the Royals with a 3.98 ERA.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Bannister Wins Third Straight

Game Date: August 28, 2007
Royals 6, Tigers 3 / Box Score
WP: Bannister (11-7), LP: Robertson (7-11) 
Royal Home Runs: Butler (6)
Royals Record: 58-72

Brian Bannister, Alex Gordon, and Billy Butler. Three rookies who played big roles in the win last night. Bannister wasn't as sharp as we've seen him in the past, but he found a way to battle for six innings, only giving up two runs on eleven hits in the process. Alex Gordon was 1-for-3, but the one was big. It was a bases clearing three-run double in the fourth inning that gave the Royals 3-0 lead in the fourth inning. And with the Royals up 4-1 in the fifth inning, Billy Butler hit a two-run home run to give the Royals a comfortable 6-1 lead and they held on for the win.

Tonight will be an interesting pitching match up. Zack Greinke (5-5, 4.25) will go against Andrew Miller (5-4, 4.97), the guy who the Royals passed on in the draft last year so they could take Luke Hochevar, who is 1-3 with a 6.14 ERA in Omaha right now. He was 3-6 with a 4.69 ERA in Wichita before making the jump to Triple-A. Greinke is 6-3 in his career against the Tigers with a 3.67 ERA. Miller is 0-0 against the Royals with a 9.82 ERA in 3.2 innings of work.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Indians Win in Eleven

Game Date: August 26, 2007
Indians 5, Royals 3 / Box Score
WP: Betancourt (3-0), LP: Peralta (1-3), SV: Borowski (37) 
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 57-72

The Kansas City Star is tracking Gil Meche's "winless streak" and after last night, he's up to seven straight starts without a win. Granted, his ERA during that stretch is 4.58 while his ERA for the season is 3.85, but who among us didn't expect Meche to be in the mid-4's anyway? Meche has three quality starts during his past seven starts and he was one out shy of picking up another one. I'm thinking that this is really a non-story.

Meche pitched well yesterday, giving up two earned runs on seven hits in 6.0 innings and he left the game with a 3-2 lead. But Joakim Soria gave up a bloop-double with two outs in the ninth. Then he gave up a game-tying single. The Indians broke through for two runs in the top of the eleventh against Joel Peralta and John Bale and that was the game.

Did you see the batting order for this one? Gathright hit lead off, which is fine. Esteban German hit second, okay. David DeJesus hit third, which seems a bit odd. Ross Gload hit clean up, which is really odd for a guy who doesn't even play every day. Alex Gordon was fifth. Emil Brown, the DH, was sixth. And Jason Smith was seventh.

The Royals are off today. They begin a new series at home against Detroit on Tuesday. Brian Bannister (10-7, 3.28) will go against Nate Robertson (7-10, 4.80). Bannister is 1-1 against the Tigers in his career with a 2.31 ERA. Robertson is 4-4 against the Royals with a 4.75 ERA.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Davies Shelled by Indians

Game Date: August 25, 2007
Indians 9, Royals 4 / Box Score
WP: Laffey (2-1), LP: Davies (1-3) 
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 57-71

This version of Kyle Davies has been worse than the Atlanta version. He was shelled for seven runs last night in just two innings and saw his ERA climb to 7.48. He's made five starts with the Royals, and with one exception on August 9 against Minnesota, he hasn't been good. He's lost three starts in a row and has only worked past five innings once.

Billy Buckner on the other hand, looked solid in his major league debut. He gave up just one earned run on seven hits in five innings of relief work. Too bad the game was over by the time he got the ball.

The Royals got their hits. Emil Brown as 4-for-4 with one misplayed ball in the outfield. Mark Grudzielanek was 2-for-5 with an RBI. David DeJesus was 2-for-3 with 2 RBI and a walk. But none of it was enough to overcome the deficit the Royals found themselves in after Davies exited.

This afternoon, Gil Meche (7-11, 3.88) will go against Fausto Carmona (14-8, 3.11). Meche is 2-6 in his career against the Indians with a 5.83 ERA. Carmona is 2-0 against the Royals with a 3.57 ERA.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Royals Win a Close One

Game Date: August 24, 2007
Royals 2, Indians 1 / Box Score
WP: Bale (1-1), LP: Sabathia (14-7), SV: Soria (14)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 57-70

The Royals won a low scoring one-run game with Zack Greinke starting for the first time since early in the season. The evil Yankees lost on a walk-off home run in Detroit at 3:30 AM. Boston won both games of a double-header to expand their lead to 6.5 games over the evil-Yankees in the East. The evil Yankees also find themselves in a bit of controversy since a new Era cap bearing their insignia also contains gang-related logos and colors. How funny is that? Mike Sweeney may be wearing Royal blue again next year. Billy Buckner is set to make his debut soon. And yes, everything seems right with the world.

Alright, that might be a bit of a stretch. But not by much.

As Joe Posnanski pointed out in his column this morning, the Royals are 18-16 in one-run games this year. They have two potential rookie of the year candidates in Brian Bannister and Joakim Soria. And they've been playing .500 ball for the last three months. Not bad for a team that was the butt of jokes just one season ago.

Zack Greinke looked dominant last night, giving up just one hit in three innings. Unfortunately, he was on a 50-pitch limit, so he didn't get to go back out for the fourth inning. John Bale pitched well in relief, giving up just two hits in three innings, and striking out five. Jimmy Gobble gave up a run, but still has a 3.48 ERA. Joel Peralta gave up a hit in a third of an inning, but his ERA is 3.89. David Riske pitched one scoreless inning to lower his ERA to 2.48. And Joakim Soria closed the door on the Indians and lowered his ERA to 2.44. Look at those ERAs again. It's hard to believe how good the bullpen has been this season.

Billy Butler, hitting in the five hole, was 2-for-4. Emil Brown was 1-for-4 with an RBI. And Esteban German hit what turned out to be the game-winning sacrifice fly to center field in the fifth to score Tony Pena. Joey Gathright was 0-for-2 but he's still hitting .353. If he had enough at bats (he's far short with 139--he'd need at least 394 at this stage of the season), he'd be in third place for the AL batting title, and just one point behind Ichiro Suzuki for second.

Tonight, Kyle Davies (1-2, 5.03) will go up against Aaron Laffey (1-1, 5.73). Davies is 0-1 in his career against the Indians with a 5.06 ERA. Laffey has never faced the Royals.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Royals Salvage Final Game of Series

Game Date: August 22, 2007
Royals 7, White Sox 6 / Box Score
WP: Bannister (10-7), LP: Contreras (6-16)
Royal Home Runs: Butler (5)
Royals Record: 56-70

Brian Bannister won his tenth game of the season last night and Jose Contreras lost his ninth straight start. Bannister threw 101 pitches in 6.2 innings, giving up just two earned runs on five hits. He said that he watched tapes of himself after the first inning, in which he gave up both runs, and made an adjustment. He said that he discovered that he was flying open with his shoulder and landing on his heel. He came back out and retired 18 of the next 21 batters.

The Royals scored two runs in the first inning as well with their revamped batting order. Joey Gathright led off with a ground out. Mark Grudzielanek was hit on the helmet with a pitch. David DeJesus singled. And Billy Butler drove in Grud with a sacrifice fly. DeJesus stole second and scored when Ross Gload singled to center. The Royals scored twice more in the second. Billy Butler homered to right in the seventh. And Emil Brown scored the seventh run of the night when Toby Hall made a throwing error. It's a good thing the Royals kept plugging away at the plate and on the bases because Josh Fields hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth to pull the White Sox within one run. But their comeback fell short and the Royals salvaged the third game of the series.

The Royals return home for a series against the Indians this weekend. Tomorrow night, Zack Greinke (5-5, 4.40) will go against C.C. Sabathia (14-6, 3.43).

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Royals Notes

I've been gone for a few days. Unfortunately, in my absence the Royals have lost three games in a row and fell back into the cellar in the AL Central. We've got lots of news to catch up on: 

Mark Teahen may be headed for the DL. He hyperextended his left elbow in Oakland the other night and he's going to undergo tests today to see how bad the injury is. This will presumably give Emil Brown more playing time, which might not be a bad thing if the guy actually played the game the right way. His lack of hustle makes it hard for me to get behind the guy, even though he does hit the occasional home run.

Odalis Perez is walking with a limp and he may miss the rest of the season with a strained knee ligament. I'm not sure that our rotation will take much of a hit by losing a guy who is 8-11 with a 5.57 ERA, but he has pitched well enough to earn two straight victories as of late. Zack Greinke is going to move into the rotation after putting up solid numbers in relief this season (4-1, 3.54 ERA, and a .226 BAA in 38 games). I hope that this Greinke experiment doesn't turn into another Jeremy Affeldt-type situation where we never leave him in one position long enough to excel. 

Sounds like Bell is planning to go with a six-man rotation in September. He'll probably have both Brandon Duckworth and Jorge De La Rosa back by the time September call ups occur.

Mark Grudzielanek and the Royals mutually agreed on his option for next season for $4.5 million. Some may disagree, but I like this signing. Grud is one of the best fielding second basemen in the game, he handles the bat well, and he's a much needed veteran in the clubhouse.

Mike Sweeney is headed to Omaha tomorrow for a rehab assignment and may be back with the Royals by next week.

This afternoon in Chicago, the Royals will try to avoid the sweep by sending Brian Bannister (9-7, 3.31) to the mound against Jose Contreras (6-15, 6.18). Bannister is 1-0 against the White Sox in his career with a 3.38 ERA. Contreras is 7-3 against the Royals with a 3.42 ERA.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Smith Homers Twice in Win

Game Date: August 18, 2007
Royals 7, A's 3 / Box Score
WP: Perez (8-11), LP: Gaudin (9-9)
Royal Home Runs: Smith 2 (4), Gload (5)
Royals Record: 55-67

Odalis Perez had another five inning start and another five inning win--thanks largely to Jason Smith who hit two two-run home runs. Ross Gload also homered. The Royals pounded out 14 hits, 10 of which came against Chad Gaudin.

Joel Peralta stumbled a bit in his relief appearance, giving up three earned runs, but David Riske, Zack Greinke, and Joakim Soria only allowed one hit total over the final 3.1 innings.

This was the third win in a row for the Royals and that puts them at 3-2 on this road trip. They are 17-17 since the All-Star break--which includes seven games against the evil Yankees and three against the Red Sox. And they also passed the White Sox yesterday to take over fourth place in the AL Central.

This afternoon, Kyle Davies (1-1, 5.52) will go up against Lenny DeNardo (7-6, 3.29). Davies is 0-0 in his career against the A's with a 6.35 ERA in 5.2 innings of work. DiNardo is 1-0 against the Royals with a 4.50 ERA in 4.0 innings of work.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Bannister Goes the Distance

Game Date: August 17, 2007
Royals 9, A's 2 / Box Score
WP: Bannister (9-7), LP: Meyer (0-1)
Royal Home Runs: Brown (5)
Royals Record: 54-67

The Royals haven't had a complete game from a starter since August 29, 2006 when Mark Redman shut out the Twins 2-0. Brian Bannister finally ended the streak last night in convincing fashion. The Royals jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning (thanks to an error and a two-run home run by Emil Brown) and Bannister cruised from there. He threw 111 pitches and gave up just two earned runs on four hits.

If you look at Bannister's stats this season (9-7, 3.31 ERA, 1.14 WHIP), he's having a better season than Gil Meche (7-11, 3.90 ERA, 1.33 WHIP). And going into the game last night Bannister had the worst run support of any regular starter in the American League this season. If Kyle Davies can just be decent, we're finally looking at the possibility of having an adequate starting rotation.

Mark Grudzielanek, hitting in the three hole, had another big night, going 2-for-5 with 2 RBI. Billy Butler continues to drive in runs. He was 2-for-4 with 2 RBI and a walk. Every starting position player had at least one hit.

The Royals have caught the White Sox again for fourth place in the AL Central. If the Royals stay on their current pace, they'll win 72 games and I don't think anybody in Kansas City will be disappointed with that. I've been most impressed by the Royals road record this season (26-33) compared to what it was this time last season (17-46).

Tonight, Odalis Perez (7-11, 5.78) will go up against Chad Gaudin (9-8, 4.12). Perez is 0-0 in his career against the A's with a 0.00 ERA in 10.0 innings pitched. Gaudin is 2-1 against the Royals with a 2.22 ERA.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Royals Sign Moustakas

You've heard by now that the Royals signed their first round draft pick, Mike Moustakas yesterday. He'll get a $4 million signing bonus, but he will not get a spot on the 40-man roster, and I'm glad to hear that. I can't understand why any team would agree to place a draftee on the 40-man roster before he proves that he can hit minor league pitching. 

According to an article on the Royals website, Scott Boras is saying that Moustakas is "the best power-hitting high school middle infielder since Alex Rodriguez." What in the world do you say about a comment like that? If that's true, how about we add a clause to Moustakas' contract that guarantees 25+ home runs per season for the next 15 seasons? I know that's a ridiculous statement to make, but no more so than Boras' statement.

I eventually get pumped up and support our high draft picks, but it takes me a while. I know that this is a business, but the arrogance of some of these players and agents is a little more than I can stomach sometimes.

Royals Salvage Final Game

Game Date: August 16, 2007
Royals 6, Rangers 2 / Box Score
WP: Braun (1-0), LP: Eyre (4-6)
Royal Home Runs: Gordon (11)
Royals Record: 53-67

What can you say about a bullpen that pitches the final six innings of a game, picking up an injured starter in the process, and only gives up one earned run? Ryan Braun got his first major league victory and the Royals avoided a three game sweep in Arlington.

The Royals were down 2-1 in the seventh inning when Alex Gordon hit a solo home run to tie it. Mark Teahen broke the tie in the eighth with a fielder's choice that got Mark Grudzielanek in. And John Buck blew the game open with a bases loaded double that drove in three runs.

I liked the way the line up looked last night. Since a lefty was on the mound, Bell had German hit leadoff and moved DeJesus to the two hole. Grud isn't exactly a prototypical number three, but he handles the bat well and you always get the feeling that he's going to come through in the clutch. He was 3-for-5 last night. Billy Butler looks good in the clean up spot. And Teahen probably feels less pressure hitting number five. If you look at the line up it went, R-L-R-R-L-R-L-R-R.

Leo Nunez has been bit by the injury bug again. This time it's a blister. He says that he'll be okay for his next start. Hopefully that's the case.

Tonight, the Royals will be in Oakland to begin a four-game wrap around series. Brian Bannister (8-7, 3.41) will go against Dan Meyer (0-0, 0.00).

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Rangers Take Game One

Game Date: August 14, 2007
Rangers 5, Royals 3 / Box Score
WP: Millwood (8-9), LP: Davies (1-1), Wilson (5) 
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 52-66

Kyle Davies wasn't Cy Young last night, but he wasn't horrible either. He threw too many pitches (98) in five innings, but he was able to keep the Rangers at bay until the sixth inning when he gave up a lead off double to Marlon Byrd, followed by a single by Jason Botts, followed by another single by Nelson Cruz. David Riske came in with two guys on and no outs and 3-2 lead. He was expecting a bunt and Gerald Laird initially showed bunt on the first pitch, but then Laird hit a three-run home run on the second pitch to give the Rangers a 5-3 lead.

Billy Butler continued to hit well, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a walk. Mark Grudzielanek was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a walk. But that was it for the Royals offense. Nobody else had a hit. The other two runs came on Ranger errors.

Tonight, Gil Meche (7-10, 3.95) goes up against Vicente Padilla (3-8, 6.69). Meche is 4-7 against the Rangers in his career with a 7.09 ERA. Padilla is 0-1 against the Royals with a 17.18 ERA.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Royals Split the Series

Game Date: August 13, 2007
Royals 6, Blue Jays 2 / Box Score
WP: Perez (7-11), LP: Litsch (4-5), 
Royal Home Runs: Teahen (6)
Royals Record: 52-65

The way that Odalis Perez wins games doesn't seem like it should ever work. He gives up too many hits, too many runs, and he doesn't pitch deeply enough into games, but once in a while something like last night happens and the offense carries him to a win.

Perez wasn't horrible last night. He pitched five innings and gave up two earned runs on eight hits and he lowered his ERA to 5.78. He did strike out Frank Thomas with the bases loaded to end the fifth inning, so I guess that's something.

The bullpen was spectacular again. Joel Peralta, Jimmy Gobble, Zack Greinke, and Joakim Soria completed the final four innings by only allowing one hit and one walk. According to this article, over the past 17.2 innings, the bullpen has given up just one earned run, which is good for a 0.51 ERA.

But the night belonged to Mark Teahen, who finally hit his six home run. He's been stuck on number five since May 29. What I liked about his home run was the fact that he didn't put a home run swing on the ball. When he first hit it I thought it was going to be a line drive and it was, sort of; the ball just kept carrying until it disappeared over the wall. Teahen also made a great sliding catch on the right field line in the second inning.

Billy Butler drove in two runs and so did Ross Gload. Before the season, who would have ever thought that Butler and Gload would be playing first base while Ryan Shealy played in Omaha? Truth be told, both Butler and Gload are doing a good job over there. And to be fair, Shealy is hitting .308 over his last 10 games in Omaha and he has three home runs during that stretch, so maybe he's finding his stroke again.

The Royals begin a 9-game road trip tonight in Arlington. Kyle Davies (1-0, 4.66) will go up against Kevin Millwood (7-9, 5.90). Davies is 0-1 in his career against the Rangers with a 23.14 ERA (that's not a typo). Millwood is 3-3 against the Royals with a 4.46 ERA.

NOTE: You may have noticed that I haven't posted about every game lately. That'll probably continue for the next week or two and then I'll be back on my regular posting schedule.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Nunez to the Rescue

Game Date: August 11, 2007
Royals 4, Blue Jays 1 / Box Score
WP: Nunez (2-0), LP: McGowan (8-6), SV: Soria (13)
Royal Home Runs: Gordon (9)
Royals Record: 51-64

Leo Nunez isn't supposed to be in the starting rotation. He only has two pitches, he's small, and the Royals see him as more back of the pen sort of guy because he does throw hard. But every time we've given him the ball and asked him to start this season, he's pitched well. Last night was no exception. He gave up just one earned run in six innings and he put the Royals in a position to win.

Meanwhile Alex Gordon went nuts--going 3-for-3 with a home run, two RBI, and one SB. He also fell just shy of hitting for the cycle (he was missing the double). Joey Gathright had a nice night as well, going 2-for-3 with an RBI. And Mark Teahen was 2-for-4.

Tonight, Brian Bannister (8-6, 3.32) goes up against A.J. Burnett (5-6, 4.31). Bannister has never faced the Blue Jays. Burnett is 1-1 against the Royals in his career with a 4.58 ERA.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Marcum Takes No-Hitter into Seventh

Game Date: August 10, 2007
Blue Jays 2, Royals 1 / Box Score
WP: Marcum (9-4), LP: Meche (7-10), SV: Accardo (21)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 50-64

The Blue Jays $386,100-man beat our $7,400,000-man. That's right, Shaun Marcum is making less than half a million dollars and he nearly no-hit us. And to make matters worse, he was born in Kansas City. But his 9-4 record and solid ERA (3.43) are an indication that he's better than his pay indicates.

Marcum took a no-hitter into the seventh inning last night. He started to cramp up in the fifth inning and he tried to gut it out, but eventually the cramps got the best of him and the Royals got a hit before he was lifted from the game. He'd only thrown 81 pitches up to that point, but it was still an impressive performance.

Gil Meche wasn't bad either, but he threw too many pitches (101) and he ran out of gas before recording an out in the sixth inning. He gave up two runs and that was all the Blue Jays needed. The Royals only scored once, in the eighth inning, when Joey Gathright singled to left, driving in Alex Gordon. Mark Teahen gave a ball a bit of a charge in the bottom of the ninth but it was caught by Reed Johnston at the wall.

Tonight, Leo Nunez (1-0, 1.93) will go against Dustin McGowan (8-5, 4.11). Nunez is 0-0 against the Blue Jays in his career with a 0.00 ERA (in 4.2 innings of work). McGowan is 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA against the Royals (in 1.1 innings of work).

Friday, August 10, 2007

Royals Win Series Against Twins

Game Date: August 9, 2007
Royals 1, Twins 0 / Box Score
WP: Davies (1-0), LP: Garza (1-3), SV: Soria (12)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 50-63

So that's the Kyle Davies that Dayton Moore was thinking about when he traded for him. We'll take it. The Twins' offense doesn't exactly strike fear in opposing pitchers (they've actually scored fewer runs than we have this season), but Davies was outstanding against them last night, going 6.2 innings without giving up any earned runs. At one point he retired 14 Twins in a row.

The Royals only run came in the third inning when Tony Pena led off with a double. Joey Gathright got him to third with a sacrifice bunt. And Jason LaRue got him home on a sacrifice fly. It's nice to see guys making productive outs.

The bullpen was outstanding again. The combination of Zack Greinke, Jimmy Gobble, and Joakim Soria completed the shut out. Royals' pitchers only gave up four hits and they had seven strikeouts.

The Star pointed out that this was Buddy Bell's 500th career victory, and of course, it was our 50th victory this season. The Royals didn't win their 50th game last season until September 1 in a game against the White Sox. That seems like ions ago. Runelvys Hernandez got the win and Joe Nelson got the save in that game. And Mark Teahen hit a three-run home run, which turned out to be his 18th and final home run of the season.

The Royals begin a new series tonight at home against the Blue Jays. Gil Meche (7-9, 3.96) will go up against Shaun Marcum (8-4, 3.63). Meche is 4-3 in his career against the Blue Jays with a 5.29 ERA. Marcum is 1-0 against the Royals with a 0.75 ERA.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Bannister Continues to Impress

Game Date: August 7, 2007
Royals 5, Twins 1 / Box Score
WP: Bannister (8-6), LP: Bonser (5-8)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 49-62

How nice is it to be out of New York? Unfortunately we have one more series against the evil Yankees in September.

We're starting to get into the stretch of the season in which RSTN doesn't televise as many games. I'm sure their schedule is designed that way since Royals fans usually lose interest in the team around May 1, but I still enjoy listening to games on the radio, so I don't mind it. I listened last night and after I heard about the great catch that Joey Gathright made in left field, I checked the Royals website for the video and it was there. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out.

Brian Bannister was outstanding again, going seven innings and giving up just one earned run on six hits and a walk. He lowered his ERA to 3.32 and improved his record to 8-6. In watching the highlights of the game, he kept the ball down, and he jammed several hitters. The thing that really impressed me about him though is that he knew that the Twins were looking for his slider against their lefties because he was so effective with it in Minnesota last week. So, going up against five lefties last night, he switched to his curve ball and Twins hitters clearly weren't ready for it.

At the plate, Ross Gload got the Royals going with an RBI double in the first inning. After Torii Hunter tied the game in the second with an RBI double, Mark Grudzielanek hit a sacrifice fly in the third to drive in David DeJesus. DeJesus doubled in Gathright in the fifth. Mark Teahen doubled in DeJesus during the same inning (Teahen was 4-for-4). And John Buck picked up an RBI when he walked with the bases loaded in the eighth.

Tonight, Odalis Perez (6-10, 5.79) goes up against Johan Santana (11-9, 2.98). Perez is 2-1 against the Twins in his career with a 6.84 ERA. Santana is 11-3 against the Royals with a 3.63 ERA.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Blowout in New York

Game Date: August 4, 2007
Yankees 16, Royals 8 / Box Score
WP: Myers (3-0), LP: Bale (0-1)
Royal Home Runs: DeJesus (6)
Royals Record: 48-61

Blowouts happen.

I wish this particular one had happened since it was against the evil Yankees, but it did. Especially since it was Kyle Davies' debut in Royal blue. He looked bad, but then again, five of our seven pitchers ended up giving up runs, so I'm not going to be too quick to deem the trade for Davies a failure. It's way too early for that. The Royals are going with a four-man rotation right now because of the multiple off days, which means Davies should pitch the last game of the Twins series at home next week. Let's see how he does then.

Did you get a chance to see Alex Rodriguez standing at the plate for what seemed like an eternity to watch his 500th career home run fly out of the park? That moment is indicative of everything I hate about the Yankees. If A-Rod had pulled that stunt ten or fifteen years ago, he would have had a fastball planted in his ribcage during his next at bat. I wouldn't have minded seeing it happen yesterday either. But for some reason, the game has changed and it's acceptable to watch home runs now.

This afternoon, Gil Meche (7-8, 3.70) will attempt to stop the sweep. He'll go up against Mike Mussina (6-7, 4.75). Meche is 3-3 in his career against the evil Yankees with a 4.18 ERA. Mussina is 16-7 against the Royals with a 2.98 ERA.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Possible Managerial Successors

This AP story is raising a question about three possible replacements for Buddy Bell:

Joe Girardi: He led the Florida Marlins to a 78-84 season in 2006 on a mere $15 million payroll and was named the National League manager of the year before being fired because he didn't get along with the team's owner. He's only managed one season, but many people in the game don't seem to think his success in 2006 was a fluke. He isn't saying whether he would be interested in the Royals' job, but he did turn down a managerial position with the Baltimore Orioles, so he might be tough to get. But it might be fun to see what he could do in Kansas City though considering what he did in Florida.

Terry Pendleton: He's currently the hitting coach in Atlanta. He doesn't have any managerial experience, but obviously Moore knows him well. Pendleton says that nobody in the Atlanta front office has even suggested that he take the job. And he says that he hasn't been contacted (presumably by the Royals). It's hard to argue with the Braves success over the years, but how many Atlanta guys is Moore going to bring over here? Moore has several former Atlanta front office guys on his staff. He's brought in Tony Pena, John Thompson, Matt Wright, and Kyle Davies. And I'm probably missing one or two, but it seems that Moore looks to Atlanta first when he has a need and I can't help but wonder if he doesn't have a bit of a blind spot regarding the talent pool.

Frank White: Every time the Royal's managerial position has come open in recent years, White has been listed as a candidate. This time around might be the best fit for him, given that he managed many of the current players as they came through Wichita. He's been saying for years that he wants to be the Royals manager and his response in the AP article pretty much says that he is still interested: “I'm just hanging loose. I'm going to respect the fact that Buddy, who is a good man and a good friend, will be running the team for the next two months. I'm just going to be neutral for a while and let things play out.” The question I always have when White is being considered is--how do you fire Frank White two years from now if he turns out out to be the wrong guy? His number is enshrined on the scoreboard. He has a statue outside of the stadium. And unbelievably, when he was working construction during the 70's, he actually help to build the stadium.

Moore has a lot of time to choose a successor to Bell and he probably won't do so until after the post season since many of the candidates he may consider are with other teams right now.

Wang Shuts Down the Royals

Game Date: August 3, 2007
Yankees 7, Royals 1 / Box Score
WP: Wang (13-5), LP: Perez (6-10)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 48-60

What do you get when a 12-game winner goes up against Odalis Perez in early August in Yankee Stadium where the Royals are 3-25 since 2000? Answer: another loss to the evil Yankees. We still have one three-game series (at home) against them in September which will be the third straight month we've played them. For some reason, we become a different when we step into their stadium. They are Goliath and we don't seem to know where to find the slingshot and stones.

There's not much to say about this particular game. Odalis Perez didn't pitch well (4 ER, 8 H, 3 BB, 0 K in 5.0 IP) and neither did Ryan Braun (2 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 0 K in 3.0 IP). On the positive side, Mark Grudzielanek went 2-for-3 with a walk. Ross Gload drove in the Royals only run the third inning with a single to center. It looks odd to see Gload hitting in the three hole. Mike Sweeney is due back in mid-August, so if Bell can figure out who to get both Sweeney and Billy Butler into the line up, the heart of the order will have a little more thunder.

This afternoon, Kyle Davies (0-0, 0.00) goes up against Phil Hughes (1-1, 3.38). Davies has never faced the evil Yankees and Hughes has never faced the Royals.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Gordon's Two-Run Shot Lifts Royals

Game Date: August 1, 2007
Royals 5, Twins 3

I'm writing this post from my Blackberry so it won't look like other game posts, but how could I not write about this game?

Just hours after learning that Buddy Bell was stepping down at the end of the season, Alex Gordon hit a two-run home run in the tenth inning to lift the Royals to victory.

Brian Bannister made a gutty performance and Zack Greinke was downright nasty in relief. I thought that the Royals might give this one away though after Joey Gathright misplayed a second line drive in the middle innings, but they found a way to overcome it.

The game was overshadowed by a bridge that collapsed outisde of the Metrodome. I haven't heard any details yet but the video I saw didn't look good. Thoughts and prayers go out to those involved in the accident.

The game tomorrow afternoon was cancelled as a result and it'll be made up later in the season.

Buddy Bell Resigning After the Season

Buddy Bell made the announcement this afternoon that he is stepping down as the Royals' manager at the end of the 2007 season. He said he wants to spend more time with his family, which is understandable, given his cancer scare last season. Family certainly trumps baseball and Bell spoke during his press conference about regretting the lack of time he's spent with his family in the past.

Bell will become a special assistant to GM Dayton Moore after the season. Moore has a lot of time to pick a successor.

Let the speculation begin.

But for now, hats off to Buddy for making a great decision.

Comparing Davies to Smoltz, Glavine

Here's an interesting quote from Dayton Moore that appears in the Star today regarding the recent acquisition of Kyle Davies:

“He’s a young pitcher who is trying to establish himself in the major leagues,” Moore said. “For young pitchers, I’ve never looked a lot at their numbers. If you did, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine and many others would never have gotten off the ground.”

In spite of Moore's distrust of numbers, let's look at some numbers anyway and do a comparison. Here are the combined stats for each respective pitcher's first three seasons:





















Neither Smoltz nor Glavine had Cy Young-like numbers in their first three seasons, but who among us wouldn't insert those youngsters into our rotation today? And Davies clearly is off to a worse start. That being said, he is young (23) and Moore certainly is familiar with him. And so far, Moore hasn't given us a reason to distrust him, so let's see what Davies does.

Royals Roster Moves

Joakim Soria will resume the closer's role now that Octavio Dotel is off to greener Atlanta pastures. As I said in the comments section yesterday, I think this is a good move, given Soria's previous success and experience in that role. Zack Greinke will remain a set up man. Ryan Braun has been called up to take Dotel's spot on the roster which is a good indication that Leo Nunez is headed back to Omaha after Kyle Davies is inserted into the rotation.

Reggie Sanders wasn't dealt away before the trading deadline because he tore another muscle in his left hamstring. He'll be out four to six weeks again. I have to admit that I was wrong about Sanders. While I knew that he would spend some time on the DL after the Royals acquired him, I still thought he would be a great sign for the Royals. Before the Royals signed him he was still hitting for power and stealing bases. He hasn't done much of either since coming to Kansas City. I like Reggie. He's a nice guy. He works hard. And we need to have a few veterans around to keep the younger guys in line, but this signing hasn't worked out for the Royals.

Joey Gathright will probably get the call to replace Reggie Sanders on the roster. Gathright was fun to watch before being sent down when Sanders came back the last time. I get the feeling that Gathright will be around for a while this time.

An Ugly Loss

Game Date: July 31, 2007
Twins 5, Royals 3 / Box Score
WP: Silva (9-11), LP: De La Rosa (8-11), SV: Nathan (24)
Royal Home Runs: LaRue (4), Smith (2), Grudzielanek (5)
Royals Record: 47-59

The Royals have come into this series looking rather lethargic, which is hard to understand given their success on their last homestand. Officially, they committed two errors last night. But in reality, they made more. In one instance Mark Teahen missed a hit and run sign and that left Mark Grudzielanek hanging out to dry at second. And on two other occasions, runners were thrown out trying to steal second. Toss in the two errors that counted and we didn't give ourselves much of a chance.

Jason LaRue, Jason Smith, and Mark Grudzielanek all hit solo home runs, but the Royals couldn't get any rallies going in which they didn't shoot themselves in the foot. Mark Teahen looked lost, striking out three times. He's hitting .280, but you have to admit, he's hardly been the hitter you were expecting as the season began. In fact, he's had the same amount of at bats (393) he had last year and his power numbers are considerably worse. In 2006, he hit 18 HR and drove in 69 runs. In 2007, he has 5 HR and he's driven in just 45 runs. Buddy Bell is planning to drop him in the line up, but admits that he doesn't have a legitimate number three guy to put in his place.

De La Rosa wasn't good (5 ER on 8 H in 6.0 IP) last night, but that may have had more to do with the sloppy Royals defense than it did anything else. John Bale is putting together a nice season. He pitched two perfect innings in relief last night and lowered his ERA to 1.42.

Tonight, Brian Bannister (7-6, 3.42) will try to get the Royal back on track. He'll go up against Boof Bonser (5-7, 4.73). Bannister has never faced the Twins. Bonser is 1-2 against the Royals in his career with a 3.96 ERA.

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