Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Game 71: Kansas City @ St. Louis

Game Date: June 17, 2008 
Royals 2, Cardinals 1 / Box Score
WP: Davies (3-0), LP: Villone (1-2), SV: Soria (16) 
Royal Home Runs: Aviles (3)
Royals Record: 29-42

We'll get to Mike Aviles in a minute. But first I want to talk about Kyle Davies. He did not have a good season last year in Kansas City. After he was obtained for Octavio Dotel, the Royals gave him eleven starts and he went 3-7 with a 6.66 ERA. In fact, if you look at his career numbers, they aren't good. Here's what I said last July 31 about the trade: is reporting that the Royals have traded Octavio Dotel for Kyle Davies. Dayton Moore knows the Atlanta Braves well. Let's just hope he sees something that we don't regarding Davies.

It looks like Moore did know something we didn't. Of course, he should since Davies came from the Braves organization. But I like the way that the Royals handled Davies. He wasn't successful at the Major League level and he opened the season in Omaha. In years past, we would have kept running him out there and he might have never gotten over the hump.

It's still too early to say he's established himself, but in four starts this season, including last night, he's allowed just four earned runs in 24.2 innings. His ERA is 1.46 and he's been involved in stopping a couple of losing streaks already. And then last night, he goes into St. Louis and goes seven innings, allowing just one earned run, and he picked up his third win of the season already. That's more wins than Brett Tomko had in ten starts. And it's just one win behind Gil Meche, who is having a disappointing season.

Impressive stuff.

Equally impressive, Mike Aviles hit a solo home run in the eighth inning last night and it turned out to be the game winning run. He's driving the ball all over the ballpark and given the Royals a desperately needed offensive spark that Tony Pena just isn't capable of giving. Pena certainly has a better glove, and that's why we continue to see him come in for the ninth inning in close games (although that wasn't the case last night), but Aviles seems to have cemented his hold on the starting shortstop job.

When is the last time you can remember one of our position players working his way through our Minor League system and then getting a call to the big leagues with the opportunity to take away a starting job from another player and he actually succeeded? You could point to Billy Butler taking away the DH role from Mike Sweeney, but Butler is playing in Omaha right now, and the DH isn't a position player anyway. Alex Gordon took over third base from Mark Teahen, but not because he was a better third baseman. Teahen was said to be a better athlete and therefore could make the transition to the outfield easier. I'm having a hard time remembering the last time it happened. Refresh my memory if you can remember.

Well, the Royals have won four out of their last five and they look to continue their winning ways against the Cardinals tonight. Brian Bannister (5-6, 5.00) will go up against Braden Looper (8-5, 4.34). Banny is 1-0 in his career against the Cardinals with a 0.00 ERA in 7.00 IP. Looper is 0-1 against the Royals with an 8.44 ERA in 5.1 IP.

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