Saturday, May 10, 2008

Game 35: Baltimore @ Kansas City

Game Date: May 9, 2008
Orioles 7, Royals 4 / Box Score
WP: Trachsel (2-4), LP: Meche (2-5), SV: Sherrill (12)
Royal Home Runs: Gordon (5)
Royals Record: 15-20

So the Royals dropped their eleventh game in a row to the Orioles last night. What is it about them? The answer is probably the same one we've been hearing all season: a lethargic offense by the Royals and good pitching by the Orioles.

Look at the seven game scores against the Orioles from last season--all of which Baltimore won, obviously:

Date Score Winning Pitcher Losing Pitcher
4/12/2007 2-1 (10 inn.) Ray Standridge
4/13/2007 8-1 Bedard Duckworth
4/14/2007 6-4 Williamson Peralta
5/28/2007 9-1 Trachsel Elarton
5/29/2007 6-2 Guthrie De La Rosa
5/30/2007 3-0 Bedard Meche
9/24/2007 3-2 Walker Meche

The Royals were outscored 37-11 by the Orioles in 2007. Scoring 1.5 runs per game isn't going to win many season series. In fact, in shouldn't win any season series.

Alex Gordon's first inning two-run home run last night looked like it might finally turn the tide in the Royals favor. But Melvin Mora came right back in the third inning with a two-run home run of his own. And then in the fifth, the game changed. Trey Hillman chose to intentionally walk Nick Markakis to pitch to Aubrey Huff, the clean up hitter, with two guys on base and two outs.

Of course, Markakis just hit a three-run bomb against the Royals in the previous game and that's what Hillman was thinking about when he had Meche walk him. Unfortunately, Huff made him pay with a three-run home run of his own. The Royals came back to score single runs in the seventh and eighth inning, but by then Meche had been chased from the game and Ron Mahay had given up two more runs.

Here's what Hillman said after the game about his decision to pitch to Huff:

"It was because I think Aubrey Huff is less dangerous at this point in time than Nick Markakis. Just last night, Nick took a changeup that was up and over the plate and deposited it over the center-field fence.

"Gil was going to his changeup some tonight, and Nick's more dangerous on all pitches, in my opinion, from studying his statistics. I went with what I thought was right, and it didn't work out."

The Royals will try again tonight to break the Orioles winning streak against them. Brett Tomko (1-3, 4.98) will go up against Garrett Olson (1-0, 2.08). Tomko is 0-0 in his career against the Orioles with a 7.11 ERA. Olson has never faced the Royals.

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