Thursday, February 28, 2008

ST Game #1

Rangers 6, Royals 1

That was hardly the performance that Royals fans were hoping for to start Spring Training. The Royals play an intrasquad game today and Hillman is saying: "We're setting it up just like a real game. I've got a lineup card. We've got two teams on each side, and we'll play to win. I've got a good feeling for the Royals. I'm betting they're going to win." I'm hoping that this is just a display of a good sense of humor and not a sign of someone who makes a joke out of losing.

The Good

Billy Butler was 1-for-1 with a walk. And he didn't make any errors at first base.

Tony Pena was 1-for-2 with an RBI--the Royals only run.

John Bale looked decent to start the game, striking out the side in the first, but he gave up a run in the second inning. 

Luke Hochevar followed Bale and tossed two perfect innings even though he was sick.

The Bad

Ron Mahay's debut was far from impressive. He gave up an earned run on two hits and a walk in one inning of work.

Yasuhiko Yabuta's debut was even worse. He gave up two earned runs on three hits and a walk in one inning of work.

The Ugly

Can somebody please tell me why Angel Berroa is in camp? I know we're paying the guy a ton of money and that Spring Training is a chance to start anew, but we've seen everything Angel Berroa has to offer, and it isn't good. Jason Botts scored from second base while Berroa "inattentively" (as the Star puts it) held onto the ball. When he finally realized what was happening, he bounced the throw to home. Sounds like Berroa is in mid-season form. I don't know what it would take to make this guy actually be "attentive" while playing the game, but I am really not interested in finding out while he's in Royal blue.

Esteban German had a ground ball go right through his legs.

Justin Huber, who was playing left field, misjudged a ball, resulting in a two-run double by Josh Hamilton. The game was tied 1-1 before the mishap.

The Truth

With the exception of Berroa, none of this stuff really matters. Both teams played a ton of guys. Some are learning new positions. This was the first game action that anybody has seen. And Hillman sounds like he is more concerned with working on the fundamentals this spring than he is with winning. Here's how he phrased it a couple of days ago: "We need to find out some things. Obviously, I'd love to win these ballgames simply to get that winning feeling going into the season but, ultimately, the primary objection is answering questions and getting guys conditioned and ready to play the season."

I don't think that getting questions answered and getting guys ready to play the season is a bad thing. In fact, the Royals have won trophies in Spring Training in the recent past and it hasn't carried over to the regular season. So, I like Hillman's approach. Let's use these games during the spring to be prepared to play more fundamentally sound in the regular season.

If you want to follow the Royals this spring, here's a link to their Cactus League page that contains their schedule.


KMartin said...

I agree with Undying Royalty, Hochevar did so well that the loss seemed like a win! I hope that he continues to do well and win that #4 spot in the starting rotation. But I have one big bone to pick with him. This attitude with young players who feel compelled to play through illness or injury. How many times have you heard that a pitcher felt a "twinge" in his oblique during pregame warm ups, or funny tightness in the shoulder or elbow and didn't say anything to anyone. He continued to pitch and won nothing except a spot on the 60-day DL. Now please don't misunderstand me. I realize he's a competitor trying to win a spot on the rotation. And, nausea is not as severe as bone chips. But if he wins that spot, I hope he is throughly schooled on the conventional wisdom of "listening to your body". "Use the force LUKE and TELL SOMEONE if something doesn't feel right".

Lee Warren said...

Yeah, it was encouraging to see how well Hochevar pitched. And I wouldn't worry about him listening to his body. He just had the flu.

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