Thursday, July 09, 2009

A Lack of Offense, Again

Game Date: July 8, 2009
Kansas City @ Detroit
Tigers 3, Royals 1 / Box Score
WP: French (1-0), LP: Greinke (10-5), SV: Rodney (19)
KC Home Runs: Callaspo (6)
Royals Record: 36-48 / Record in July 3-5

I continue to be baffled by Kansas City outfielders who refuse to throw to second base when the situation warrants it. David DeJesus did it again last night in the first inning when he threw the ball to the middle of the infield, allowing Placido Polanco to take second. Polanco came around to score.

DeJesus has done this more than once this season. So has Coco Crisp. So has Jose Guillen. So, what gives? It can’t be pinned on poor minor league instruction since Crisp and Guillen didn’t come up through our system. And we know that guys like Frank White, George Brett, and Willie Wilson have been part of the instruction, at least during Spring Training, for a while now—so surely guys are hearing fundamentals preached. If that’s true, then what’s the problem? Why does a team like the Twins always play the game the right way while we don’t?

Maybe the answer can be found in an organization’s toleration of obstinate players. Can you see a outfielder in the Twins’ organization making the same mistake over and over again without paying the price with his job? I can’t. Can you see a .220 hitter for the Twins taking a huge rip at the ball on every swing while keeping his spot on the roster? Me either. So why does Dayton Moore and Trey Hillman tolerate such things?

I’m not saying that heads should role every time a mistake is made. But when a player shows a consistent pattern of not being willing to play the game the right way, you’ve eventually got to cut him lose and find somebody who will. When Dayton Moore became the GM of the Royals he said that he wanted to change the atmosphere. There would be no better way than to start targeting obstinate players for replacement.

Ultimately, DeJesus’ mistake didn’t cost the Royals the game because they only managed to score one run, but having an anemic offense is all the more reason we need players to throw the ball to the correct base.

Enough about that.

Zack Greinke settled down after the first inning and pitched pretty well. Just not well enough. I remain relatively unconcerned about his recent outings. His ERA is still barely over 2.00. And even if you are look at his seven starts in June and July, his ERA during those starts is 3.97. The one statistic that is alarming is BAA. In April it was 1.88, in May it was .229, in June it was .290, and now in July it is .320. His career BAA is .269.

The Royals begin a new series tonight in Boston. Luke Hochevar (4-3, 5.08) will go up against Brad Penny (6-3, 4.67). Hochevar is 0-2 in his career against the Red Sox with a 6.94 ERA in 11.2 IP. Penny is 0-1 against the Royals with a 3.86 ERA in 7.0 IP.

If you get a chance, check out the article I wrote about the Omaha Royals’ loss in New Orleans last night during which Scott Thorman hit his 17th home run of the season.

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