Monday, August 04, 2008

Game 112: Chicago @ Kansas City

Game Date: August 3, 2008
Royals 14, White Sox 3 / Box Score
WP: Greinke (9-7), LP: Richard (0-2), 
Royal Home Runs: Aviles (7), Guillen (16)
Royals Record: 52-60

If you listen to John Kruk, the fight that took place in this game occurred between a "last place team" and a "first place team" and that Carrasco had no reason to throw at Olivo. 

Well, not so fast. First off, Kruk needs to look at the standings. The Royals are not in last place--nor have they been for a while. Second, he needs to look at the evidence.

The Royals scored 25 runs during this three games series. And after embarrassing Buehrle last night, and getting into their pen, the Royals did more of the same against Richard and company this afternoon. And the normally thunderless lineup of the Royals hit five home runs over the last two days. After Carrasco hit Olivo, the Royals were up 7-0 and the game was virtually over. So, why wouldn't the White Sox be susceptible to take out a little frustration? Did I mention that the once first place White Sox have lost two straight series to the Royals in the last two weeks?

And is Kruk's memory so bad that he can't remember what happened on June 4 when Octavio Dotel hit Jose Guillen and Olivo? And does he not know that the Royals hit five White Sox players a couple of weeks ago? So, there's bad blood between the two teams. Why is it so hard to believe that Carrasco might have hit Olivo on purpose?

And then you have to consider what happened in 2007. The Royals were hit by 89 pitches--second only to Philadelphia (90). By contrast, they only hit 41 guys (29th lowest in MLB)--second to last behind the Dodgers with 38. Clearly, our pitchers didn't go out of the way last season to protect our hitters. That fact was mentioned more than once during Spring Training and it seemed like the pitchers on staff this season were willing to do a little more than they did last season.

This season, we've had 35 guys HBP. And we've hit 26 guys. I'd like to see it a little more even (because we're still ranked near the bottom in hitting guys) just to put teams on notice that we cannot be pushed around.

So, did Carrasco hit Olivo on purpose? I wouldn't be surprised. And even if he didn't, by coming way up and in three times in one at bat, he should have expected Olivo to come after him.

Watching Ozzie Guillen throw a tirade was both irritating and comical. He makes Lou Pinella look like Mr. Rogers.

After the dust settled, five guys were rejected: Carrasco, Olivo, Ozzie Guillen, Trey Hillman, and Zack Greinke. Zack did what he had to do in retaliation. I'm just glad he did it the way he did--waiting until the 7th, after his pitch count neared 90...and then hitting Nick Swisher in the hip. Zack didn't go head-hunting.

Suspensions will surely follow. Hopefully Ozzie's will be an extra game or two for making this remark:

"This time they kicked our [rears]," Guillen said. "But be ready for the warning because I signed a five-year deal with this club, and we're going to play Kansas City a lot. I don't say be careful. They played with fire, and I respect everyone on the pro level. But enough is enough."

Is Ozzie's "warning" enough for Kruk to believe that the next incident might just be intentional? We'll find out soon enough. We play the White Sox again next week in Chicago.

You hate to have such an incident overshadow what the Royals did on the field. Mike Aviles was 4-for-4 with 3 RBI and raised his average to .340. Jose Guillen was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Billy Butler was 3-for-5 with 2 RBI. Alex Gordon was 2-for-4. Mitch Maier was 3-for-5 with an RBI. And Olivo was 1-for-2 with 3 RBI.

Zack Greinke pitched well. He gave up just two earned runs on six hits in 6.1 innings. After he was ejected, Robinson Tejeda pitched the final 2.2 innings to finish off the Sox.

The Royals will begin a new series at home tomorrow night against the Red Sox. Gil Meche (9-9, 4.22) will go up against Clay Buchholz (2-6, 5.94). Meche is 4-2 in his career against the Red Sox with a 3.69 ERA. Buchholz has never faced the Royals.

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