Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The worst Royals team ever?

Game Date: August 24, 2009
Cleveland @ Kansas City
Indians 10, Royals 6 / Box Score
WP: Sowers (5-9), LP: Soria (3-2)
KC Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 47-77 / Record in August 7-15

According to the Associated Press, Joakim Soria “does not usually come in before the ninth” inning. You have to wonder if the writer has even been watching the Royals play recently because Soria has pitched in the eighth inning in four of his last ten appearances. But really, who could blame him if he hasn’t been paying attention?

Joe Posnanski is calling this team “the worst Kansas City Royals team I have ever seen.” That’s hard to believe because we’ve had some terrible baseball teams in the past 15 years. One wonders what Buck O’Neil might say about this team if he were still alive. Would he still be sitting in the seats every night with that big smile of his? I tend to believe that his personality transcended bad baseball because he’d seen so many worse things in his life—that indeed he probably would still be there every night, but you just wonder what he would think about this mess.

The Royals have lost five games in a row. The last two games, their pitching staff has given up 20 runs. The Royals are 7-15 in August. And another 100 loss season is looking more and more possible. As Sam Mellinger and others have pointed out recently, the Royals don’t really appear to be playing for next year. They seem to recognize that another 100 loss season is going to lead to a lot of grumbling this winter. That’s one of the reasons Soria is being used in the eighth and ninth innings. And it’s why Brayan Pena isn’t starting quite as many games as Hillman said he would. I really don’t blame Moore or Hillman for treating the final month like a pennant run. Their jobs may hinge on a mediocre or better finish.

Moore re-arranged a couple of chairs on the Titanic yesterday by designating Ron Mahay for assignment to clear a spot on the roster for Yasuhiko Yabuta. I’ve seen Yabuta pitch in a few times in Omaha this season and he was mediocre. He does have a 3.55 ERA in 26 appearances in Omaha, but I’m not so sure that’ll translate well to the big leagues for him, but it really doesn’t matter much in the big picture. At least the Royals will be out from under his contract after the season.

Wondering how things are going with Yuniesky Betancourt since the trade? His numbers are brutal. In 36 games, he’s 25-for-121 (.207) with 2 HR and 14 RBI. His OBP since coming to KC is .240.

So, what’s your take on Soria’s numbers in August? His ERA is 5.00 for the month and he’s given up three long balls in seven appearances. Are the two-inning outings wearing him down? I don’t see how they could be since he usually gets a number of days off in between. He was pitching on four days rest last night. Something sure doesn’t look right though. In July, Soria posted a 0.82 ERA and had seven saves. You can’t expect that from him every month, but his numbers this month have been surprisingly poor.

At least we get to see Zack Greinke pitch tonight. As bad as the Royals are, you never know when you might get to see something special when Greinke is on the mound.

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