Thursday, April 03, 2008

Game 3

Game Date: April 3, 2008
Royals 4, Tigers 1 / Box Score
WP: Greinke (1-0), LP: Bonderman (0-1), SV: Soria (2)
Royal Home Runs: Gordon (2), Teahen (1)
Royals Record: 3-0

Down goes Frazier.

In rather stunning fashion, the Royals have swept the Tigers in Detroit to start the season, and I still can't believe it. The last time the Royals opened the season with a sweep on the road was 1977, in Detroit.

If you line up some studs at the top of your pitching rotation, you can win baseball games, even if you have an offense that nobody fears. Zack Greinke threw 99 pitches this afternoon and gave up just one earned run on six hits and two walks in seven innings. He wasn't as good as Brian Bannister was yesterday, but he didn't need to be.

Meanwhile, Mark Grudzielanek continued to set the pace for the offense, going 2-for-5, including a single to lead off the fourth inning, followed by a towering two-run home run to left center by Alex Gordon. The Tigers have been pitching Gordon away all series, something that Gordon surely knew, and when Bonderman hung an 83 mph change up on the outside portion of the plate, Gordon didn't miss it. He hit is so far that it cleared the Tigers' bullpen.

With the Royals up 2-0 going into the sixth inning, Mark Teahen got a 1-1 fastball on the inside portion of the plate and he came as close as possible to knocking the cover off the ball--sending it way over the right field wall to give the Royals a 3-0 lead.

The Royals fourth run came in the seventh inning. Joey Gathright stole second base with two outs and Jose Guillen drove him in with a single on the next pitch.

Ramon Ramirez came in for the eighth inning. Gary Sheffield hit a sky high pop fly to left field that dropped in front of Teahen. Teahen, for the second time in the game, started back on a ball before realizing it was way in front of him, but he threw Sheffield out at second base from his knees. That turned out to be a big play because later in the inning Carlos Guillen doubled.

During the broadcast, Ryan Levebvre was talking about a pitch that Ramirez throws that the Royals are calling a "power change up." Talk about a mind-melt. It's a cross between a change up and splitter and he was throwing it in the 88-89 mph range, which makes little sense to me, given that it isn't much slower than his fastball, but it does have movement, so maybe it works more like a cutter works for guys who also throw four-seam fastballs. I don't know. I'll have to see the pitch more times to form an opinion about it. At any rate, Ramirez got out of the eighth unscathed after giving up two hits.

Joakim Soria sat the Tigers down in order in the ninth and the sweep was complete.

One interesting thing about this series is, it gave us an indication about how Hillman might choose to play his starters. The word is often. John Buck caught all three games even though the Royals faced two righties and and a lefty. Ross Gload played all three games at first base. Mark Grudzielanek played all three games at second base. And right now, only 11 Royals have official at bats, and one of them, Joey Gathright, might only have them because of an injury. Esteban German has just one AB. Alberto Callaspo has none. And I already mentioned that Olivo hasn't seen any action yet. That's old school managing right there. And it comes with the expectation that the reserves keep themselves sharp.

The Royals begin a new series in Minnesota tomorrow night. John Bale will go up against Scott Baker. And somewhere, ghosts of Royals past are shouting, "Believe!"

UPDATE @ 5:00 PM: Paul pointed out that Olivo is suspened, which is why he hasn't seen action yet, and of course he's right. Matt Tupman is currently the back up for Buck, and he has yet to see any action. Thanks Paul!


Paul J. said...

Olivo hasn't seen any action yet because he's suspended. You might want to edit that to "Tupman".

Lee Warren said...

Paul, you are right, of course. Thanks for the correction.

RickMcKc said...

I have had the luxury of watching all three games. It seems like some of these younger guys are starting to mature and that's the difference. Our pitching was amazing.

It's a great time to be a Royals fan!

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