Thursday, April 16, 2009

Poor Hitting and Great Pitching to Begin Season

Nine games into the season, the Royals have won two out of three series. Surprisingly, the season is off to the type of start that many Royals fans were hoping for and expecting.

The offense is short on power, especially with Jose Guillen being out of the lineup. We knew that. The Royals’ seven home runs in the first nine games puts them tied for eleventh in the American League. Take the back up catcher out of the equation and the Royals would have just four home runs. David DeJesus, Mike Aviles, Mark Teahen, Billy Butler, Miguel Olivo, Jose and Guillen are still looking for their first home run of the season.

The Royals are also tied for last in the AL with RBI and runs scored. They are dead last in OBP.

But what the Royals lack in power and ability to score runs, the pitching has made up for—especially the starting pitching. Gil Meche has a 3.21 ERA after two starts. Zack Greinke hasn’t given up a single run in his two starts. Kyle Davies is at 2.13. Sidney Ponson has been adequate with a 4.50 ERA. Horacio Ramirez has been the only problem with a 11.57 ERA.

Out of the pen, Juan Cruz, Jamey Wright, Robinson Tejeda, and Doug Waechter have not allowed a single earned run. Ron Mahay has struggled but I expect him to turn things around. Kyle Farnsworth has been a disaster with a 16.20 ERA in 3.1 IP. And Joakim Soria hasn’t quite been himself, but he still has a 2.25 ERA with four saves.

Overall, the Royals are second in American League with a 3.26 ERA. And second with BAA of .237.

John Buck has been a pleasant surprise and if he continues to be hot, he’ll probably see quite a few ABs—either as the catcher or DH.

Beyond Farnsworth, the disappointments have been Alex Gordon (hitting just .095), Teahen (0 HR, 2 RBI), and Butler (just 4-for-26, 0 HR and 1 RBI). You could also throw in Aviles (0 HR, 2 RBI, .235 AVG). Nine games into the season is too early to panic, or to even come to any real conclusions, but getting off to such a slow start can’t help their confidence.

The Royals are off today. They open a new series in Texas tomorrow night.

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