Sunday, July 20, 2008

Game 98: Kansas City @ Chicago

Game Date: July 19, 2008
Royals 9, White Sox 1 / Box Score
WP: Meche (7-9), LP: Floyd (10-6)
Royal Home Runs: Buck (6), Butler (4)
Royals Record: 44-54

Who would have thought that it would take Billy Butler 98 games to hit his fourth home run of the season? At least he's hit one in back to back games. But the story of this game wasn't the offense; it was Gil Meche and the bullpen—they combined to limit the White Sox to just one run on two hits. Meche limited his pitch count and got into the seventh inning, and Ron Mahay, Ramon Ramirez, and Horacio Ramirez took it from there. The bullpen was so good that they didn't even allow one hit in the final 2.2 innings.

Meche is slowly beginning to redeem a poor start to the season. After his performance last night, he lowered his ERA to 4.55 and he's inching toward a .500 record. I expected his ERA to be over 4.00 this season; I was just hoping he'd approach 15 wins. At 7-9, he still has a shot. Before the season started, I predicted that he'd win 15 games and have a 4.48 ERA. We'll see how that turns out.

Since I missed so many games over the last week, I don't really know if the lineup has looked as odd as it did last night. Either way, I can't help but comment about it now. Mark Teahen is a great baserunner, but I'm not sure what he was doing hitting leadoff. Maybe somebody can clue me in. Mike Aviles seems like a good fit for the two hole. And I don't mind seeing David DeJesus in the three spot—especially since he's hit so well with RISP this season. Billy Butler is fine in the cleanup spot. Mark Grudzielanek looks out of place at number five. Alex Gordon, Ross Gload, and John Buck, seem to be in the right place. And having Gathright hit ninth gives the Royals a second lead-off hitter of sorts. Even though a couple of guys look like they aren't in the right spot, the Royals won and that is all that matters.

The Royals will look to win the series this afternoon. Brian Bannister (7-8, 5.24) will go up against John Danks (7-4, 2.67). Bannister is 2-1 in his career against the White Sox with a 6.67 ERA in 29.2 IP. Danks is 0-0 against the Royals with a 1.98 ERA 13.2 IP.

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