Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Royals Two-hit by a Rookie

Game Date: June 3, 2009
Kansas City @ Tampa Bay
Rays 9, Royals 0 / Box Score
WP: Niemann (5-4), LP: Bannister (4-3)
KC Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 23-29 / Record in June 0-2

Okay, I admit it. This feels a lot like the same old Royals. On paper, I don’t see how it’s possible. But on the field, they look just as lost as previous versions of the Royals’ roster. It’s not possible to make excuses for them at this point. They are just plain awful in every aspect of the game right now. So all of those fair-weathered fans who were waiting for the collapse, it’s here—maybe we’ll see you around next year if the Royals get off to a hot start. Or maybe we’ll see you in 2011. I don’t know.

I started this blog in 2004. The Royals were atrocious that season, going 58-104. I kept blogging in 2005 when they were even worse (56-106). And I was still blogging in 2006 when they showed a little improvement (62-100), and in 2007 when they showed more improvement (69-93). Then last year, they went 75-87, finishing the season on fire, and most of us who have been around for a while were starting to believe that the Royals could be .500 in 2009. That doesn’t look like it’s going to happen, but you know what? I’m not going anywhere.

I do wish I had some idea about why this team is playing so poorly, but I don’t. The starting rotation should be better than it’s been in a long time, but other than Zack Greinke and a handful of starts from Brian Bannister and Gil Meche, it hasn’t been good. We added more punch to the lineup in Mike Jacobs, but it hardly looks like enough. Our bullpen was supposed to be solid, but it has been terrible. We overpaid for Kyle Farnsworth and Horacio Ramirez and guys like Juan Cruz, John Bale, and Ron Mahay have performed worse than most of us imagined.

Our defensive woes don’t surprise me all that much. We have multiple guys playing out of position. Throw in an injury to Alex Gordon, which moved Mark Teahen to third base, and the right side of the infield resembles something you might see on a Double- or Triple-A field. Yeah, Butler has been better, but he still doesn’t look like he’s completely engaged over there and Alberto Callaspo has been a huge disappointment.

The Royals have lost 18 of their last 23 games, including six straight. When will the losing streak end? Who knows.

Tomorrow afternoon Gil Meche (2-5, 4.33) will go up against James Shields (4-4, 3.53). Meche is 2-4 in his career against the Rays with a 4.72 ERA in 55.1 IP. Shields is 4-0 against the Royals with a 2.57 ERA in 28.0 IP.

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