Saturday, May 03, 2008

Game 29: Kansas City @ Cleveland

Game Date: May 3, 2008
Royals 4, Indians 2 / Box Score
WP: Hochevar (2-1), LP: Sabathia (1-5), SV: Soria (7)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 13-16

This game reminded me of the days when Jeff Suppan was on the mound for the Royals. He'd give up a home run or two, but then buckle down and keep the opponents from blowing the game open and once in a while, the Royals would find a way to come back in the middle to late innings.

Of course, this analogy breaks down when you consider that Luke Hochevar probably already has better stuff than Suppy ever did, but still--after Grady Sizemore hit a home run in the fifth inning to put the Tribe up 2-0, most Royals fans were probably thinking that this one was over. Hochevar hung in there, got through the sixth inning without giving up any more runs, and the Royals went nuts at the plate in the seventh inning as they scored four runs, and the bullpen took it from there.

But let's not gloss over what the bullpen did. Ron Mahay pitched another scoreless inning and dropped his ERA to 1.88. Ramon Ramirez pitched another scoreless inning and dropped his ERA to 0.66. And Joakim Soria threw an 11-pitch scoreless ninth inning to keep his ERA at 0.00. Yikes. Is that a 1-2-3 punch at the back end or what?

And it sounds like the Royals are finally about to replace Yasuhiko Yabuta in the pen with John Bale when Bale comes off the DL. Hillman flat out says that Joel Peralta is better than Yabuta "right now" so Peralta probably won't be going anywhere, even though he has options remaining.

The Royals will play one more in Cleveland tomorrow afternoon before returning home to open a new series against the Angels. Gil Meche (1-4, 7.22) will go up against Aaron Laffey (0-1, 6.35). Meche is 2-7 in his career against the Indians with a 6.10 ERA. Laffey is 2-1 against the Royals with a 3.63 ERA.

I'm headed to Kansas City tomorrow afternoon. I'll be interviewing several players from the Royals and Angels during the Monday- Wednesday series for a newspaper association that I work for. Should be interesting to see what the clubhouse atmosphere is like without Mike Sweeney. This will be the first time I've been in there since Sweeney signed with the A's during the offseason.

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