Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Game 51: Kansas City @ Toronto

Game Date: May 26, 2008
Blue Jays 7, Royals 2 / Box Score
WP: Marcum (5-3), LP: Tomko (2-6)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 21-30

Well, the Royals scored twice yesterday. That's more runs than they've scored in a game since last Thursday in Boston. But getting swept in two successive four-game series on the road has to be the bottom, doesn't it? It's never happened in Royals history until now. During the eight game losing streak, the Royals hit just .205 as a team.

Brett Tomko continues to struggle in the rotation. He gave up six more earned runs yesterday in six innings of work and his ERA is now 6.11. At some point soon, I expect Kyle Davies (who is 6-2 with a 2.06 ERA in 10 starts in Omaha) or somebody else to get a shot at Tomko's spot in the rotation.

Speaking of replacements, Trey Hillman has no plans to replace Tony Pena at shortstop, even though he is hitting just .162 (the lowest batting average among all active regular players in the Major Leagues) and he has an anemic OBP of .204. According to Hillman, Pena isn't the problem.

"If the guys who are supposed to be hitting will just hit, then he's not the issue. The issue is the other guys in the lineup who are hitting one through six on any given day."

As true as that is, you still can't have a starting player hitting .162 in the lineup. You just can't. Because when the other guys aren't hitting, you at least want some semblance of a chance that one of the guys at the bottom of the order might pick them up. Pena is as close to a sure out as anybody in baseball. 

The Royals return home to begin a new series tonight against the Twins. Brian Bannister (4-6, 4.94) will attempt to play the role of stopper. He'll go up against Nick Blackburn (4-3, 3.55). Bannister is 3-0 in his career against the Twins with a 1.45 ERA in 31.0 IP. Blackburn is 0-0 against the Royals with a 0.00 ERA in 2.2 IP.

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