Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Game 157: Kansas City @ Detroit

Game Date: September 22, 2008
Royals 6, Tigers 2 / Box Score
WP: Meche (13-11), LP: Miner (8-5)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 71-86

The Royals won their fourteenth game of the month last night (against just seven losses) behind the strong efforts of Gil Meche and David DeJesus.

Meche picked up his thirteenth win of the year, and with only one start to go, put himself in a position in which he's guaranteed to end up over .500 for the year. The questions about whether he was worth the $55 million over five seasons are gone. The doubts that he'll ever develop into a good Major League pitcher are gone as well. The questions and doubts have turned to minor praise for a guy who has been able to go 21-24 with a 3.85 ERA over the past two seasons for a Royals club that has been at or near the bottom of most major offensive statistical categories.

David DeJesus was 4-for-4 last night and fell just a home run shy of hitting for the cycle. He raised his average to .307 in what has been a breakout season for him. He's twenty points over his lifetime batting average. He has three more home runs than he's ever had in a season. He has fifteen more RBI than he's ever had. He's stolen more basis than ever before. His OBP is higher too. And he just seems to have a presence about him this season that I haven't seen before. He looks like he finally believes that he belongs in the Major Leagues and that he has a major role to play on this team.

Mike Aviles also continues to be impressive. He was 2-for-5 with 2 RBI last night and he raised his average to .319. If Alberto Callaspo can keep up his level of play next season (and if he can stay out of trouble), the middle of the infield looks to be quite solid. I certainly wouldn't mind seeing Moore go after another second baseman though--just in case. Or maybe he could land a shortstop and Aviles could move to second, which he seems better suited for.

Ramon Ramirez threw two scoreless innings last night and he picked up his twentieth hold of the season. And John Bale pitched another inning of scoreless ball--that is nine straight appearances in which he hasn't given up a run. The last time he gave up a run was in April, before he punched a door and landed himself of the DL for most of the season.

The Royals are just one game behind Detroit for fourth place in the AL Central. This series could decide who ends up in the basement. Tonight in Detroit, Zack Greinke (12-10, 3.59) will go up against Freddy Garcia (1-0, 0.00). Greinke is 7-4 in his career against the Tigers with a 3.50 ERA in 72.0 IP. Garcia is 8-10 against the Royals with a 6.01 ERA in 127.1 IP.

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