Thursday, September 18, 2008

Game 152: Seattle @ Kansas City

Game Date: September 17, 2008
Royals 5, Mariners 2 / Box Score
WP: Meche (12-11), LP: Corcoran (5-2), SV: Soria (40)
Royal Home Runs: Shealy (6)
Royals Record: 68-84

Do you remember how all of us felt before the Royals collapsed last season in September? Their record was awful, but they played .500 ball for three months and we thought that we might finally be on the road back to respectability. Here's a blurb from a post I wrote after the Royals beat C.C. Sabathia and the Indians 2-1 last August 24:

As Joe Posnanski pointed out in his column this morning, the Royals are 18-16 in one-run games this year. They have two potential rookie of the year candidates in Brian Bannister and Joakim Soria. And they've been playing .500 ball for the last three months. Not bad for a team that was the butt of jokes just one season ago.

Then the Royals went 9-19 in September and it pretty much killed any momentum we had built.

The opposite seems to be happening this year. We've had a roller coaster season, but the Royals won just seven times in August, and an even bigger collapse than last season seemed to be in progress. Then September hit and the Royals are 11-5. They've won six games in a row. Ryan Shealy has returned from the dead. Hitters are playing situational baseball. Pitchers are finding a way to keep opponents off balance. And if the Royals can find a way to keep this up for another ten games, fans might go digging for their optimism by the time the 2009 season rolls around.

We're several players short of being a real threat, but wouldn't it be nice to just play .500 ball for a season?

I was impressed with Gil Meche yesterday. He gave up two runs in the first inning and you had to wonder if he was even going to be able to get out of the inning. But he weathered the storm and got through seven innings. The Royals struck for three runs in the bottom half of the seventh to give Meche the win. 

Ryan Shealy hit yet another home run...this time to left field. He says that he's never experienced such a power surge before.

And Jose Guillen was back from his mystery day off. He did what he often does--he drove in runs--two of them in seventh inning and it turned out to be the game-winning hit. That's what you get with Guillen; lots of controversy, a bad attitude, and lots of RBI. Is it worth it? Before the season I thought it probably was, now I don't.

Joakim Soria picked up his 40th save of the season and he's quickly climbing the charts as one of the best closers in the history of the franchise. In fact, his 57 career saves puts him fourth on the all-time saves list for the Royals and he's just one save shy of tying Doug Bird who had 58 career saves from 1973-1978. He won't catch Dan Quisenberry (238 saves) or Jeff Montgomery (304 saves) any time soon, but he's off to a great start.

This afternoon, Zack Greinke (11-10, 3.73) will go up against Ryan Feierabend (1-3, 5.79). Greinke is 1-0 in his career against the Mariners with a 3.26 ERA in 30.1 IP. Feierabend is 0-1 against the Royals with a 16.88 ERA in 5.1 IP.

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