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Thursday, July 31, 2003

Al Levine is now a Royal. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays sold his contract to KC this afternoon. He has a 2.90 ERA in 49 2/3 innings with 25 Ks and 18 walks for Tampa Bay this season. Levine is a right-handed reliever whose best year was in 2001 for the Anaheim Angels, when he had a 2.38 ERA in 75 2/3 IP. Levine is 35 years old and has a 3.79 career ERA over 8 big league seasons.

Today's News

White Sox 15, Royals 4--KC got pounded yesterday, no doubt about it. Jose Valentin had 3 home runs and Paul Konerko pitched in with a grand slam. The Royals led 4-1 after two innings, but then Runelvys Hernandez got hammered and Jeremy Affeldt, in his first relief appearance, was unable to stem the tide. The win puts Chicago 2 games back in the division standings.
Rob & Rany has been updated. Rob thinks the Royals are done, and Rany says, "I realize that pessimism is ingrained in the very essence of your existence, Rob, but can't you at least wait until we've been knocked out of first place before you string up the White Flag?" Amen, Rany.
Royals Report: Frank White comments on this year's team, Lima Time still on for tomorrow, and the Arizona rainout has been rescheduled for the afternoon of September 4.
Royals Notes: Allaird Baird is still trying to trade for an "impact bat," Mike Sweeney will take live batting practice at Kaufmann this afternoon.
Joe Posnanski's not crying in July. Neither is Tony Pena, who says, "We play again tomorrow."
The Sporting News' Ken Rosenthal is still picking the Twins.
A fun look at the 2003 Royals by Joe Posnanski for TSN. Pena:"It's just one game, boys! Nobody died. We're in first place. Dance a little."
According to Lee Sinins, the KC Star reported that the Royals are interested in picking up Kevin Appier, who was released yesterday by the Angels.
In case you missed it, the trading deadline is today.
Jeffrey Flanagan looks at George Brett's new radio show, and compares the White Sox to...the Raiders!
The Wilmington Blue Rocks are now in first place in the Carolina League.
Until further notice, in-game commentary will be limited to day games.
// posted by Harley @ 2:17 PM

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Today's News

Chicago has won 10 of their last 11, KC has won 3 of their last 8. Game 2 of their series is tonight.
Royals Notes: Graeme Lloyd knows "exactly what they want of me," Kris Wilson will start on Saturday, Gookie Dawkins goes to the minors, and Sweeney is expected to go to the minors for rehab next week.
Jason Whitlock says this is a big series.
Angel Berroa's 14th home run last night put him 6th all-time among rookie shortstops.
No news on Juan Gonzalez.
More on yesterday's trade by the White Sox.
Bryball--a good Devil Rays and general baseball blog--looks at the AL Rookie of the Year contest. He says Berroa edges out Hideki Matsui and Rocco Baldelli.

// posted by Harley @ 10:36 AM

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

In-Game Commentary

Tonight's lineup has Joe Randa batting second, Ken Harvey 4th, Raul Ibanez 5th, Michael Tucker 7th, and Desi Relaford 8th. Without looking at these players' history against Mark Buehrle, I don't think this is the best batting order for our team. Until Randa's fully recovered, there's no reason to put him that high in the lineup. Since it's likely he won't play the full nine, put him lower in the lineup where subbing in Carlos Febles won't hurt as much. Batting Ken Harvey in the cleanup spot over Ibanez is just silly. And with Tucker leading the team in strikeouts, I hate to see him hitting ahead of Relaford, who has matched Tucker in hitting, but with many more productive outs. My lineup: Guiel, Relaford, Beltran, Ibanez, Harvey, Berroa, Tucker, Randa, Mayne. Ah yes, but no one asked me.

Tonight's pitching matchup features two lefties who have been cursed by bad luck and low run support this season. I'm just guessing, but they're probably both 15-game winners with neutral run support.

Darrell May starts Tony Graffanino 3-1, then gives up a single up the middle. Robbie Alomar lays a bunt down the first base line. Harvey bobbles it as he thinks about going to second, then he steps on the bag for the first out. Frank Thomas steps in and May falls behind him 2-0, then Thomas fouls out to Mayne. Magglio Ordonez strikes out on an off-speed pitch.

Aaron Guiel grounds out to second. Joe Randa is a career .354 against Mark Buehrle, so I'll retract my earlier protestation of his slot in the order. Randa strikes out looking, defying the sabermetricians. Carlos Beltran is jammed on an inside fastball--he flies out to center.

Carlos Lee hits a first-pitch flyout to center. May starts Carl Everett 0-2, then gets him on a called strike. Tucker traps a sinking liner off the bat of Paul Konerko, and the Sox have a man on first with 2 out. Joe Crede follows and slaps a single to the opposite field. Konerko moves to third. Sandy Alomar grounds out to short to end the threat.

Buehrle starts Ken Harvey 1-2, then gets him to reach for a changeup and ground out to Crede. Ibanez knocks a flyball to deep right, but the wind knocks it down and Ordonez is there for the grab. Angel Berroa gets a full count, then grounds out to third to end the 2nd.

Baltimore has jumped ahead of the Twins, 3-0 in the 2nd inning.

May falls behind Graffanino again, 3-0, then walks him on a full count. Roberto Alomar bunts, but foul. Alomar takes a 1-2 slider that just misses the corner, then grounds out to Berroa, who steps on second then throws to Harvey for the DP.

Chicago has just announced a trade of Gary Glover to Anaheim for Scott Schoenweiss.

Michael Tucker battles back after falling behind 1-2, and gets a line-drive single. Desi Relaford follows with a single to right and Tucker goes to second. Brent Mayne lays down a nice sacrifice bunt and the runners move up to second and third. Guiel hits a grounder to the right side, and Tucker scores. Relaford goes to third with two outs. Randa gets ahead in the count 3-0, then hits a grounder up the middle. Alomar gets to it, but can't get it out of his glove and Relaford scores. Beltran grounds back to Buehrle to end the frame. Royals 2, White Sox 0.

Maggs leads off the 4th with a ricochet shot off of May's left foot. Harvey gets it but has no play, and it looks like May isn't hurt. Lee flies out to right. Everett pops up into shallow center and Relaford is out to get it. Konerko drives a home run into the KC bullpen. Crede follows with a first-pitch homer down the line. Sandy Alomar bloops a broken-bat hit down the line, but foul. Alomar drives May's 29th pitch of the inning into center field, but right at Beltran. White Sox 3, Royals 2.

Harvey hits a line drive right to third baseman Crede. Raul Ibanez gets a full count, then takes an inside cutter for strike 3. Berroa comes up with a ground ball single. Tucker gets ahead in the count 3-1, as Beuhrle is again throwing a lot of pitches this inning. Tucker lines out to Everett.

Baltimore now leads Minnesota 4-3.

Through 4 innings, May has thrown 78 pitches, Buehrle 72. Graffanino flies out, then Roberto Alomar hits a line drive over Harvey's head for a single. Frank Thomas fouls out to Mayne for the second time tonight. Maggs gets ahold of a pitch and drives a ball over the left-center field fence, landing in the water spectacular. Carlos Lee strikes out looking. White Sox 5, Royals 2.

Relaford hits a single off of Roberto Alomar's glove. Mayne hits into a 4-6-3. Buehrle has now induced 20 double plays this year, to lead the AL. Guiel takes strike 3, and Buehrle has an easy, 6-pitch inning.

Minnesota has tied Baltimore in the 5th inning.

Everett leads off the 6th with a grounder down the third base line. Randa gets to it behind the bag and fires across to Harvey for the out. Konerko knocks a first-pitch drive to deep left-center, but Guiel makes the catch. Crede strikes out, and May gets a much-needed 7-pitch inning.

Randa leads off with a line-drive single to left. Beltran just misses a fastball, fouling it straight back. He hits a line drive into right, but Ordonez has it. And Harvey hits into a 4-6-3 to end the 6th.

Sandy Alomar pops out. Graffanino takes a fastball at the knees, heads to the dugout, then comes back to the plate as the pitch was called a ball. Graffanino takes the gift and parks another pitch in the fountains. May has given up 4 home runs tonight, a career high. D.J. Carrasco is up in the bullpen. Roberto Alomar lines a first-pitch single, and Tony Pena comes to the mound.

D.J. will come out to pitch with a man on first and one out in the 7th. He starts Thomas with a curveball strike. Frank bloops a single out into right field, career hit #1999 for the Big Hurt. Alomar moves to second. The count goes full on Maggs, then he drives a double over Tucker's head, sending Alomar home and Thomas to third. Lee hits a deep fly ball to Beltran, and both runners tag and move up. Everett lines out to Tucker to end the pain. White Sox 8, Royals 2.

Baltimore is back ahead of Minnesota, 5-4, in the 7th.

Aaron Rowand takes over in center for Chicago. Ibanez leads off with a groundball single to right field. Berroa follows with a pop up to shallow right that falls in no-man's land. Runners on first and second with no outs. Buehrle starts Tucker 3-0, then gets him to fly out to left. Relaford comes through with a bloop single to drive home Ibanez. Chicago manager Jerry Manuel will bring in Damaso Marte to face Brent Mayne.

Marte starts Mayne 0-2, then gets him to whiff at a fastball. Guiel falls behind 0-2 as well, then flies out to left to end the 7th. White Sox 8, Royals 3.

Minnesota has tied Baltimore again in the 8th.

Konerko leads off with a single to left. Berroa gets to a grounder from Crede, but he can't get it over to Relaford for the force out. First and second with no outs. Sandy Alomar strikes out chasing a low pitch. Graffanino hits a double to the right-field fence. Konerko scores and Crede stops at third. Carrasco gets Alomar to swing at a good off-speed pitch for strike 3. Frank Thomas grounds out to Randa, stranding 2 in scoring position. White Sox 9, Royals 3.

Now pitching for Chicago, Rick White. Randa pops out to Alomar, and Beltran pops out to Graffanino. Ken Harvey knocks a ground-rule double over Rowand's head. Harvey now leads the team with 23 doubles. Ibanez grounds a change-up to Alomar, and beats the throw. Men on first and third with 2 outs. Angel Berroa hits a 3-run home run, his 14th of season, and Chicago will change pitchers.

Denny's trivia question for tonight: What 3 Hall-of-Famers hit 100 home runs in their first 3 seasons? Answer will appear in the comments below.

Kelly Wunsch comes in to pitch for the White Sox. Tucker bunts the first pitch foul, then Wunsch gets him looking at a curveball. White Sox 9, Royals 6.

The Orioles lead the Twins 6-5 in the 8th.

Nate Field will pitch the 9th for KC. Magglio draws a walk, then Field hangs a breaking ball to Lee, but he pulls it foul. Lee hits a grounder to Berroa, who fumbles but gets it to Relaford for the force-out. Aaron Rowand bats for the first time tonight. New Royal Graeme Lloyd is up in the bullpen. Rowand hits one to the left-field fence, and Guiel gets his glove on it but drops the ball. Rowand goes to 2nd, Lee to 3rd. Konerko will be walked intentionally.

Pena runs out to the mound, but Field will stay in to face Crede. Field strikes out Crede swinging at a high fastball. Sandy Alomar grounds back to the pitcher to end the Chicago threat.

The Twins now trail the Orioles 7-5 in the 9th.

Willie Harris is now in center field for Chicago, and Rowand moves to left. Relaford leads off against Wunsch and gets a 4 pitch walk. Chicago will change pitchers for the 4th time tonight.

Former Royal Tom Gordon will come in for the Sox to face Brent Mayne. Mayne drives a 1-2 pitch to deep center, but Harris makes the play. Gordon starts Guiel 2-0, then gets a 1-6-3 double play to end the game.

White Sox 9, Royals 6.

// posted by Harley @ 6:27 PM
Today's News

More on the Lloyd trade. Sweeney will take batting practice tomorrow, no word yet on who will be sent down, or who will fill the 5th starter's slot--Jamey Wright, perhaps?
The KC Star likes the Lloyd trade, too.
Royals Notes: The team is taking the Chicago series just like every other game, Raul Ibanez is expected to be back tonight, and GM Allard Baird says "it would be a disservice" to bring Jimmy Gobble up to fill the 5th starter slot. It's a little creepy to be agreeing with everything Baird says these days.
MLB's public relations department is already preparing for playoff games in Kansas City.
Bob Dutton looks at the cost of Carlos. Hey, we can afford Beltran's contract if every fan buys 13 more orders of Gates' baked beans at every game!
Joe Posnanski says there is no chance of us signing Beltran long-term. And he just might turn into a Raul Mondesi or a Mo Vaughn.
Q & A with Jose Lima: "When I found out that the Royals picked me up, I almost wanted to cry." I hope that's a good sort of cry, Jose.
Ryan Baerlocher, Jason Gilfillan, and Bobby Jones combined on the Omaha Royals' first shutout of the season.
Bid on an autographed Mike Sweeney Bobblehead.
Player appearances on Saturday, August 2. Berroa and Harvey at Cingular Wireless in Independence, Affeldt and MacDougal at Dick's Sporting Goods in Olathe.

// posted by Harley @ 10:13 AM

Monday, July 28, 2003

Royals acquire Graeme Lloyd

Trade: KC sent AAA pitcher Jeremy Hill to the Mets in exchange for Graeme Lloyd today. The Royals will pick up the remainder of Lloyd's $650,000 contract.

Lloyd's a veteran southpaw reliever, with a little postseason experience: 13 games, 8 IP, 6 K, 2 H, 0 R, in 7 series for the 1996-98 Yankees. The 36-year old journeyman threw 70+ innings for the Blue Jays in 1999 and the Expos in 2001 with a 3.62 and 4.35 ERA, respectively. In 2002, he split time between Montreal and Florida, pitching a total of 57 innings with a 5.21 ERA. His numbers have improved this year: he has a 3.31 ERA in 35.3 innings, allowing 39 hits, 7 walks, and striking out 17.

Righty Jeremy Hill played briefly for the Royals earlier in the season, pitching one inning and allowing one hit and no runs. For AAA Omaha, the 25-year old has a 7.81 ERA and a 1-3 record. In 2002, he had a 3.86 ERA in 9.3 innings for KC, with 7 strikeouts and 8 walks.

At first glance, this looks like a good deal for both teams. The Royals add depth and experience to their bullpen, and the Mets pick up a possible prospect. KC stands to gain in the short-term, with New York hoping for a long-term payoff. With Jeremy Affeldt moving to the bullpen, KC now has added two left-handed relievers in the past two days. Something tells me they may both be seeing action against Chicago. Hopefully this will put an end to the "bring up Gobble and Greinke" talk.

// posted by Harley @ 4:14 PM
Stats Report

These numbers come from Lee Sinins. For an explanation of RCAA and other stats, visit this stat glossary


Runs Created Against Average (RCAA)
Carlos Beltran 20
Mike Sweeney 20
Aaron Guiel 6
Raul Ibanez 2
Gookie Dawkins 0
Angel Berroa -2
Dee Brown -6
Mike DiFelice -6
Desi Relaford -6
Michael Tucker -8
Brent Mayne -14
Joe Randa -15
Carlos Febles -16
Ken Harvey -17

Runs Saved Against Average (RSAA)
Darrell May 24
Runelvys Hernandez 18
Jose Lima 13
Jeremy Affeldt 7
D.J. Carrasco 6
Nate Field 4
Curtis Leskanic 4
Mike MacDougal 4
Kyle Snyder 4
Jason Grimsley 3
Sean Lowe -1
Kris Wilson -1

AL Leaders
Darrell May is 5th in RSAA, 6th in ERA, 8th in fewest baserunners per 9 innings, 10th in fewest hits per 9 innings, and 4th in neutral percentage.
Carlos Beltran is 1st in stolen bases, 6th in secondary average, 7th in total average, 7th in BPA, and tied for 8th in triples.
Mike MacDougal is tied for 3rd in saves, 2nd in games finished, tied for 7th in games pitched, and tied for 7th in batters beaned.
Angel Berroa is tied for 1st in times hit by pitch, and tied for 3rd in sacrifices.
Raul Ibanez is tied for 6th in sacrifice flies.
Michael Tucker is tied for 7th in sacrifices, tied for 8th in triples, 2nd in most times caught stealing, and tied for 7th in most strikeouts.
Desi Relaford, Carlos Febles, and Joe Randa are tied for 10th in sacrifices.
Chris George is tied for 4th in home runs allowed, tied for 9th in walks, tied for 1st in balks, and tied for 3rd in neutral losses.

// posted by Harley @ 12:07 PM
Weekend News

The White Sox are coming to town. Big big big.
Win Royals tickets! Go to the Official Site and click on "Royals Daily Draw" to win 2 dugout level seats to one of 22 upcoming home games.
For Aaron Gleeman, and Ben Jacobs, it's Lima Time!
Jeremy Affeldt moves to the bullpen.
Raul Ibanez is out with a skin infection. He should return for the White Sox series.
Is Angel Berroa the AL Rookie of the Year?
Royals on Radio's Soren Petro asks "What will the Royals do?" between now and the trading deadline.
Columnist Jeffrey Flanagan points out that KC has done very well in first games of series.
Kurt Caywood looks at "El Otro Carlos."
Judd Choate thinks we should bring up Jimmy Gobble and Zack Greinke for use in the bullpen. He's wrong, but he does make some good points.
Rany Jazayerli looks at the KC bullpen.
Baseball Prospectus says Darrell May is the Royals' MVP.
The Minnesota Twins think the Royals are for real.
The Royals' radio affiliates may change next year.
Zack Grienke gave up 8 runs on 8 hits in 3 2/3 innings for Wichita on Friday.
Mike's Baseball Rants has a nice article on payrolls. Based on a projected 89-73 record, the 2003 Royals are spending less per win than any other team.
Big Bad Baseball's Don Malcolm offers an Allard Baird bobblehead in his Midseason Muselix.
The Royals fall to #8 in ESPN.com's Power Alley.
Basball Nerds.com has a nice new layout, as well as a new AL Central correspondent: me.

// posted by Harley @ 10:01 AM
Game Summaries

Thu--Twins 6, Royals 2: The Twins got 4 runs in the 8th inning off of usually reliable Jason Grimsley to break a 2-2 tie. A key play was Ken Harvey's failure to tag out Shannon Stewart on a bunt up the first base line. Darrell May threw 7 good innings, and Raul Ibanez came up with a solo homer and an RBI triple, but it wasn't enough to keep Minnesota from splitting the 2-game set.
Fri--Royals 8, Tigers 3: Runelvys Hernandez finally got hit 5th win of the year, and the Royals' offense was led with a 3-run homer from Aaron Guiel, and a 2-run single by Ken Harvey. Angel Berroa had three hits and an RBI, and everyone in the lineup got a hit. In the bullpen, Nate Field gave up a solo home run, but Curtis Leskanic threw a scoreless ninth.
Sat--Tigers 5, Royals 1: Jeremy Bonderman gave the Tigers a one-run, eight-plus inning pitching performance for the win. Kyle Snyder had another tough outing, allowing five runs in six innings. Poor defense allowed one of the Tigers' runs to score, when KC made two throwing errors on one play in the 5th. Michael Tucker was the only Royal with an extra base hit, a double, and Aaron Guiel continued to work counts, drawing two walks. Kris Wilson finished the game with 2 scoreless innings.
Sun--Royals 5, Tigers 1: Jose Lima went to 7-0, Mike MacDougal pitched a perfect 9th, and 4 Royals hitters provided RBIs, as KC won the weekend series in Detroit. The Royals scored 2 of their runs on sacrifice flies, and 2 more on solo shots by Angel Berroa and Desi Relaford.

// posted by Harley @ 9:24 AM

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Happy Pine Tar Day!

Today's the 20th anniversary of the infamous "Pine Tar Incident." Brett's kids will be asking, "Daddy, can we watch the crazy-man video?" Brett doesn't mind, though. He says, "What would you rather be known for, pine tar or the guy who had hemorrhoids in the World Series?"

In other news:
The Royals beat the Twins rather convincingly on national television yesterday. This afternoon's game will be carried on ESPN.
Royals Notes: The team is slowly getting healthy, Relaford will stay at 2nd base, Berroa's defense improving.
Royals Report: Mike Sweeney is swinging again.
Royals Farm Watch
Jason Whitlock says Beltran is the man.
The Sporting News says Sweeney is good.
Youth baseball players can enter the Believe Clinic contest.

// posted by Harley @ 11:40 AM

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

In-Game Commentary

Check out the Game Chatter feature at Baseball Primer. It's sort of a multiplayer in-game commentary.
I'm hoping against hope that Bob Carpenter isn't doing the Royals game tonight. I'd even take David Justice over Carpenter at the mic.
In tonight's lineup, Joe Randa is batting second, and Desi Relaford gets bumped down to 7th. Berroa moves up to 8th and DiFelice bats 9th. The bottom of the lineup looks a lot stronger without Febles in there. I'd probably leave Relaford in the 2nd spot, bat Berroa 7th, and Randa 8th until the Joker gets back up to speed, but throwing him right in the middle of everything has its merits too. I like Aaron Guiel staying in the leadoff slot--what he lacks in speed he more than makes up for in hitting a truckload of foul balls. His contribution to the opposing pitchers' fatigue probably gives KC an extra baserunner a game.
Of course, it's easy to make statements like that, which cannot be proven or disproven.
Whew, Gary Thorne's doing the game. He's not bad at all...Jeff Brantley's a bit of a doofus, but tolerable.

Guiel leads off and takes a high fastball for strike 2, then goes down swinging. Randa goes down 0-2, Johan Santana started the game with 5 strikes. Santana starts nibbling, and Randa pops out with a full count. Carlos Beltran smacks a first-pitch double down the left-field line. Santana's not getting the close pitches, and he starts Raul Ibanez 2-0, then throws to second. Ibanez walks on 4 pitches. Harvey lifts a foul ball right of first base that just gets to the seats, then looks foolish swinging at an outside fastball for strike 3. Santana threw 21 pitches in the 1st.

Shannon Stewart leads off and chops a single up the middle. Luis Rivas strikes out swinging at a high heater. Stewart's caught stealing second. Doug Mientkiewicz gives one a ride, but foul, then he knocks a double into the left field gap. Beltran makes a nice running catch of a drive by Torii Hunter to end the inning. Both KC and Minnesota stranded a runner in scoring position in the 1st.

Michael Tucker fouls several 2-strike pitches back, then flies out to Hunter. Hunter makes a spectacular turf-burn diving catch on a sinking liner from Relaford. Berroa lines out to Chris Gomez.

Hunter may have reopened a cut on his chin making that catch on Relaford last inning. A.J. Pierzynski takes a nice changeup to fall behind 0-2, then fouls off several, including being jammed on a high tight fastball--then takes strike 3. DH Matt LeCroy goes to a full count--Affeldt has already thrown quite a few pitches this inning. LeCroy strikes out looking at a nice curve. Jacque Jones shoots a grounder just outside of third base, continuing the foul ball parade. Jones checks his swing on a curve in the dirt, and he walks. Affeldt jumps ahead of Gomez 0-2, and Jones steals second when Harvey can't get Affeldt's throw out of his glove. Now Jones steals third, getting a great jump. The count is full on Gomez, and he strikes out on swinging at an inside pitch. Affeldt's now thrown 51 pitches through 2 innings.

Mike DiFelice leads off the third, and Santana looses the handle on his first pitch, a curve. Brantley's complaining about Affeldt pitching behind hitters...he's been 0-2 on almost everybody. DiFelice strikes out, Guiel pops out, Randa strikes out, and Santana is cruising.

Christian Guzman leads off and grounds out to first. Affeldt hangs a curveball, but gets away with it, as Stewart flies out to Beltran. Relaford makes a nice play on a grounder up the middle by Rivas. He throws across his body to get the out. A much less laborious inning for Affeldt.

No score in the 4th. Beltran gets a 3-0 count, then it goes full, and Beltran launches a homer deep into the left field seats. Beltran has the only 2 hits off Santana tonight. Ibanez fouls back a few fastballs, and the last one doesn't make it to the seats. Harvey flies out to center on the first pitch. Santana walks Tucker on 4 pitches, but Relaford flies out to Hunter to end the inning. Royals 1, Twins 0.

Chicago leads Toronto 4-3 in the 5th. Mientkiewicz gets another full count, then walks. Hunter swings and misses at a nasty curveball. Affeldt has 5 Ks. Mientkiewicz is dead meat on a delayed steal attempt. Pierzynski gets a 2-out single to right, then Affeldt plunks LeCroy on the elbow. Affeldt starts Jones 2-0--his release points have been all over the place this evening. Jacque skies one to left field, Ibanez loses it, but Berroa's right there to make the play. Affeldt has thrown 86 pitches through 4.

Berroa pops out to left, and Jones makes it an adventure before catching it. DiFelice flies out to deep center, Guiel goes just a bit farther, putting a 3-2 pitch just past Hunter's outstretched glove. Randa gets another full count, chops one to Guzman, and the throw just beats him to the bag. Royals 2, Twins 0.

Gomez grounds out to Berroa, and so does Guzman. Stewart grounds out to Relaford. Affeldt gets a much-needed 8 pitch inning.

Beltran hits a first-pitch flyout to right, Ibanez launches a home run to right. Santana starts Harvey 0-2, then walks him. Tucker follows with a ground-rule double into the right-field corner. And Juan Rincon will relieve Santana. Johan threw 5 1/3, gave up 5 hits, 3 walks, and got 4 Ks. Rincon walks Relaford to load the bags. All three runners move up on a wild pitch by Rincon. Berroa pulls a 3-run home run into the left field stands. DiFelice follows with another fly ball, but Stewart catches it at the warning track. Guiel hits another deep fly, but Jones is there. Royals 7, Twins 0.

Chicago is still leading Toronto, 4-3, in the 7th. D.J.Carrasco comes into the game. Affeldt struggled, but he only allowed 3 hits through 5 innings, striking out 5 and walking 2. Rivas leads off with a solo home run. Mientkiewicz walks, and Hunter walks on 4 pitches. Jason Grimsley's up in the pen and Carrasco can't find the strike zone. Pierzynski hits a line drive, but right to Randa. Carrasco goes sidearm to strike out LeCroy. Jones walks and the sacks are juiced. D.J. starts Gomez 0-2, then gets the out himself on a chopper down the third base line. Royals 7, Twins 1.

Toronto has taken a 5-4 lead over Chicago in the 8th. Rincon stays in for the Twins in the 7th, striking out Randa with a fastball looking. Beltran follows with a walk, and then steals his 28th base. Ibanez fouls out to Gomez. Beltran is running again on a foul ball by Harvey. Harvey strikes out to end the inning.

Carrasco stays in for the 7th. Guzman grounds out to Relaford. Stewart follows with a broken-bat single. Rivas flies out to right, Mientkiewicz walks. Hunter grounds out to short.

Tucker leads off with a single to right, Relaford flies out to left. Berroa strikes out, chasing a high fastball. DiFelice hits another deep fly ball, but Stewart is there. We go to the 8th.

Curtis Leskanic comes in for the 8th. He gets Pierzynski to ground out to Harvey. LeCroy chips a grounder just past Berroa, that Ibanez and Beltran both miss as well, and LeCroy goes to 2nd on a single and an error. Relaford dives on a Jones grounder and LeCroy moves to third with 2 outs. Gomez tries to check on a low, outside pitch, but goes around.

Chicago has overtaken Toronto, 7-6 in the 9th. Rincon stays in for the 9th, and Guiel leads off with a monster 422-foot shot to right, his second homer of the night. His OPS is well over 900 for the season, in 135 or so plate appearances. Randa follows with a single to left, and Gookie Dawkins will pinch-run. Beltran rips a single into right and Dawkins goes to 2nd. Ibanez pops out and Joe Mays will relieve Rincon. Harvey singles, and the bases are loaded. Tucker is doubled up, 4-6-3, and the inning is over.

Chicago holds on in Toronto to win their 6th game in a row.
Mike MacDougal comes out in the 9th, trying to get back on track after 2 bad outings. He strikes out Guzman, then walks Stewart. Pinch-hitter Justin Morneau follows with a single to center. MacDougal uncorks a very wild pitch and the runners move up to 2nd and 3rd. Mientkiewicz grounds out to Relaford and one run scores. Mac starts Hunter 3-0, then allows another single up the middle. He goes to 3-0 on Pierzynski, then walks him. Nate Field will come into the game. He gets LeCroy to fly out to left to end the game.
Royals 8, Twins 3.

// posted by Harley @ 5:21 PM
A look ahead

I'm a big believer in taking the season one game at a time, but with only 64 games to go, I think it's worth sneaking a peek at the Royals' future:
13 games vs. Chicago, 7 at home.
9 games vs. Minnesota, 3 at home.
9 games vs. Detroit, 3 at home.
8 games vs. New York, 3 at home.
7 games vs. Tampa Bay, 3 at home.
6 games vs. Cleveland, 3 at home.
6 games vs. Anaheim, 3 at home.
5 games vs. Texas, 3 at home.
1 game vs. Arizona (not rescheduled)
Not including the Arizona game, which will only be played if it affects on the pennant race, the average winning percentage per game (OWPPG) for KC opponents is .450. If those teams continue to win at about the same rate they have so far, the Royals should win 35 of those 63 games. Likewise, if KC continues its .551 winning percentage, we can expect to go about 35-28 from here out, which would put us at 89-72 for the season. Probably a bit higher than I would predict, but attainable nonetheless.
Doing the same exercise for Chicago (.506 OWPPG) and Minnesota(.428 OWPPG), the White Sox also have close numbers comparing opponent's winning percentage with their own--about 31-30. But while Minnesota's opponents' records predict a 35-27 mark, the Twins' own performance predicts 31-31. We'll defer to the higher record, since the Twins seem to be improving. This would put the final standings at:
Royals 89-72
Twins 84-77
White Sox 81-80
What does this exercise show? Not much. It's based on the assumption that teams win at the same rate throughout the season, which usually isn't true. It does show that Chicago's upcoming schedule is about 10% tougher than KC's, and Minnesota's is about 5% weaker than the Royals'.
It also demonstrates just how big of a lead 5 games really is. If the Royals keep doing what they've done all year, Chicago and Minnesota will need to play about 9 games over .500 to catch us, or go roughly 40-22.
Update: "dackle" at TheInsiders.com ran a more complicated version of this idea. He came up with a prediction of 94-68 for KC, with a 95+% chance to win the AL Central. Wow.

// posted by Harley @ 12:52 PM
Today's News

The revolution may not be televised, but tonight's game will be, on ESPN2. It's only the second nationally televised game of the season for the 1st place Royals.
More than a third of KC's remaining 64 games will be against Minnesota and Chicago.
Aaron Gleeman, among others, will be watching tonight's game closely, with Twins starter Johan Santana a frequent topic over at Aaron's Baseball Blog. I also recommend today's column, which looks at the significance of May 27, 1968.
Joe Randa returns to the lineup tonight.
Joe Posnanski is a little quick to defend the Royals, but he still has a pretty good column. Tony Pena for Nobel Prize!
Royals Report: Brad Voyles will be sent down to make room for Randa.
Mark over at Royal Blog takes a look at the Omaha Royals. Did you know they're also in first place? Most people in Omaha don't know either.
Look out Slugerrrr, here comes "Rubble."
Municipal Stadium is named one of the top 10 hitter's parks of all time. My dad always got stuck sitting behind a support column at Municipal.
Rob Neyer agrees that KC needs a big bat in the lineup.
Phil Rogers says we need to keep Beltran for now.
Juan Gonzalez is on the DL.
Follow-up: The Bill James article has led to some very unfortunate player acronyms over at Baseball Primer. My favorite: Luck Is My Ally.
BlogOut's commenting system went down, so the comments are now provided by haloscan.

// posted by Harley @ 11:45 AM

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

In-Game Commentary

The game's inexplicably not on my local radio station today, so the commentary will be brief. I despise the words "selected games."
Gookie Dawkins gets his first start of the season, playing second base and batting 9th.
Kris Wilson gets Terrence Long out on a grounder to start the game. Billy McMillon is up next, and he's hit by a pitch. Erubiel Durazo's up next, and he bangs out a home run to right field. Migeul Tejada is hit by a pitch. Yeesh. Eric Chavez follows with a single, moving Tejada to third, but Chavez is caught off the bag for out #2. Ramon Hernandez strikes out looking. A's 2, Royals 0.
The White Sox are out to a 3-0 lead against Cleveland.
Billy McMillon, who was beaned in the first, left the game with an "undisclosed injury." Adam Piatt enters the game for Oakland.
Two runs may be all the lead Tim Hudson needs. Aaron Guiel leads off with a groundout to second. Desi Relaford strikes out swinging, and Carlos Beltran fouls out.
Kris Wilson goes back to the mound, trying to recover from his 25-pitch 1st inning. Scott Hatteberg strikes out looking, Chris Singleton grounds out to Harvey, and Mark Ellis grounds out to Berroa. Much better.
Raul Ibanez strikes out swinging, Ken Harvey flies out. Michael Tucker gets KC's first hit of the game, a single to right. Berroa grounds out to end the 2nd.
Long grounds out to Dawkins. Piatt is up next, and he hits a home run to right. Durazo follows with another homer, also to right. Tejada flies out, Chavez flies out. A's 4, Royals 0.
3B ump Derryl Cousins has left the game...I'm not sure why. But there's only 3 umpires for the rest of the game.
Brent Mayne, Dawkins, and Guiel strike out, Hudson's 3rd, 4th, and 5th Ks of the game. Four runs looks like plenty of lead for Hudson, who has only faced 10 batters through 3 innings, allowing just the 2-out single to Tucker.
Hernandez leads off the 4th with a solo shot to left, the 4th HR Wilson has allowed today. Scott Hatteberg takes the count full, then hits a double. Wilson tries to pick off Hatteberg, but throws it away, and the runner goes to third. Singleton grounds out to Harvey and Hatteberg scores. Ellis and Long are both retired to end the inning. A's 6, Royals 0.
It's now being reported that Billy McMillon left the game due to precautionary reasons after being beaned in the head.
Relaford grounds out to Ellis, Beltran grounds out to Hatteberg, Ibanez pops out to Chavez, and Hudson has retired 7 straight.
Piatt leads off the 5th and grounds out to Relaford. Durazo walks, then Tejada grounds out and Chavez strikes out.
Harvey grounds out to short. Tucker strikes out on a 3-2 pitch, and Berroa flies out. Hudson has retired 10 straight batters.
Brad Voyles relieves Kris Wilson. Wilson threw 5 innings, gave up 6 runs on 6 hits, including 4 home runs, 1 walk, and struck out 3. Hernandez and Hatteberg both fly out, but Singleton gets a double. Ellis flies out to end the frame.
Hudson's back out in the bottom of the 6th, working on a one-hit shutout. Mayne flies out and Dawkins strikes out. Guiel walks, becoming KC's second baserunner of the day. Both have gotten on with 2 outs. Hudson had retired 12 straight. Relaford is hit by a pitch, and KC has their first runner in scoring position, with Beltran coming up. Beltran fouls out to end the scoring opportunity.
Chicago now leads Cleveland 5-0.
Voyles stays in for the 7th. Long pops out, and Piatt strikes out. Durazo draws a 2-out walk, and Tejada singles him over to second. Chavez gets a double to deep left field, and 2 runs score. Hernandez singles to left, driving in Chavez. Hatteberg lines out for out #3. A's 9, Royals 0.
After the stretch, Ibanez grounds out to Hudson, Harvey strikes out, and Tucker grounds out. Hudson has a one-hitter through 7.
Ump Derryl Cousins, who left the game in the 3rd, has been diagnosed with a torn calf muscle.
Dee Brown enters the game for Carlos Beltran.
Voyles will stay in for the 8th. Singleton grounds out, Ellis grounds out, Long singles. Mark Ellis is the only Oakland batter without a hit today. Piatt doubles and Long goes to 3rd. Durazo grounds out to Dawkins to end the inning.
Chicago's lead over Cleveland is now 5-1.
John Halama relieves Hudson, who had thrown 101 pitches. Berroa goes down on strikes, and Mayne grounds out to Ellis. Dawkins walks--all of the Royals baserunners have reached with 2 outs. Guiel singles and Dawkins goes to 2nd. Halama strikes out Relaford to end the 8th.
Chicago's lead over Cleveland is now 5-2.
Brad Voyles stays in for his 4th inning in relief, and strikes out Tejada. Eric Chavez is up next, and he hits a home run to center. Backup catcher Adam Melhuse walks, and so does Hatteberg. Singleton flies out to left, and the runners hold. Ellis grounds out, and it'll be last chance for the Royals. A's 10, Royals 0.
The White Sox win today at home...Minnesota hosts Seattle later tonight.
Halama stays in for Oakland. Dee Brown pops out, Ibanez grounds out, and Harvey gets a single. Tucker strikes out to end the game.
The Royals lose 2 in a row, and lose their first series since July 10. It's their first time being swept at home since May 28--in a 2-game series with Seattle--and the first time they have been shut out since May 14.
A's 10, Royals 0.

// posted by Harley @ 1:20 PM
Today's News

Royals Notes: Runelvys is feeling fine, Affeldt will start on Wednesday, Randa expected back on Wednesday, and Julius Matos sent to the minors to make room for Kyle Snyder.
Jason Grimsley had umpire problems for the second day in a row.
Will Carlos Beltran stay in KC? He's going to wait until after the season to decide.
Royals move up to #5 in CBS Sportsline's Power Rankings.
The Royals' bullpen had trouble with the walk last night, but they've got nothing on the Royals single-A Burlington Bees, who walked 11 yesterday.
Bill James shared his thoughts on the Royals a while back. Ken Harvey: good. Michael Tucker: bad.

// posted by Harley @ 9:44 AM

Monday, July 21, 2003

In-Game Commentary

In a pregame interview, Kris Wilson calls himself a "staliever." That one might not catch on. Also, Wilson confirmed that he'll be starting tomorrow.
Tony Pena sticks with the same lineup as last night, the only change being Brent Mayne catching tonight instead of Mike DiFelice.
Kyle Snyder is pumped, coming off the DL tonight, and he attacks the Oakland lineup. He works ahead off each hitter, getting an easy 1-2-3 inning.
Rich Harden will begin his first major league start against fellow Canadian Aaron Guiel. Harden gets groundouts from Guiel and Desi Relaford. He takes a bit more time with Carlos Beltran, who spoils several 97-mph fastballs before drawing a walk. The first pitch to Ibanez is low, and Beltran steals second. He's 27 for 28 in steal attempts this season. Ibanez jumps all over a change-up, but pulls it foul down the right-field line. Ibanez works the count full before grounding out to Mark Ellis.
Miguel Tejada lines a double into the left-field corner, just past the glove of Relaford. Tejada may have missed first base, but there's no appeal. Eric Chavez hits a sharp grounder to first, and it gets by Harvey, but Febles scoops it up and throws to Snyder covering for the out. Tejada goes to third. Ramon Hernandez lifts a fly ball to deep left-center. Beltran brings it in, but Tejada tags and scores. Hatteberg grounds out to end the frame. A's 1, Royals 0.
Harden leads off the 2nd by blowing a fastball by Ken Harvey for strike three. Michael Tucker strikes out chasing a high breaking ball. Angel Berroa swings late at another heater, grounding out to first.
Former Royal Dave McCarty leads off the 3rd, striking out on a change-of-pace curveball. Ellis follows with a line drive single to center. Terrence Long hits a roller up the middle, Berroa gets to it behind the bag, flips to Febles, and over to Harvey to end the inning.
Harden starts Mayne 2-0, then gets him to ground out to second. Febles gets a ground ball up the middle, past Tejada for a single. Febles takes off for second, but Guiel fouls off the pitch. Guiel hits a grounder to the right side, which Hatteberg can't get to, having to hold on Febles. Febles goes to third, the throw from Long is offline, and Guiel tries to go to second, but he's thrown out by Chavez. Relaford grounds out to first, stranding the runner in scoring position.
Through 3 innings, Harden is winning the game, but Snyder has been more efficient, throwing 32 pitches compared to Harden's 49.
Eric Byrnes grounds out, and Erubiel Durazo flies out. Tejada is jammed and hits a shallow popup. Snyder is under it, but Harvey dives under him and makes the play. A rather bizarre end to the top of the 4th.
In other games, Minnesota leads Seattle 4-0, and Chicago trails Cleveland 3-1.
Beltran leads off with his 2nd hit of the game, a groundball single to center. Harden immediately nearly picks off Carlos. Ibanez grounds into a 4-6-3 double play. Ken Harvey lifts a fly ball to deep center. Byrnes is under it, but he drops it, and Harvey goes to 3rd base. Ibanez's double play just cost us a run. Poor fielding hurt Oakland in their last series against Minnesota. Harden starts Tucker 3-1, but Tucker grounds out.
In the 5th, Chavez grounds out to Febles, then Hernandez takes 3 balls before grounding out. Hatteberg grounds out to right, and Snyder has a 9-pitch inning. He's thrown 50 pitches through five.
Berroa pulls a breaking ball on the ground to third, and Chavez makes a good play for the first out. Mayne lets a curve go by for strike 3--Harden has 3 Ks tonight. Febles shows bunt, then strikes out on a fastball. Harden shows no signs of tiring--he's thrown 68 pitches.
Chicago has taken a 4-3 lead against the Indians.
Snyder starts McCarty with an inside curveball. It nearly hits him, but there's no warning from ump Derryl Cousins. McCarty grounds out to Febles, and Ellis hits a grounder back to Snyder. Long flies out to Beltran, and Snyder has an 8-pitch inning. He's retired 10 straight.
Pitch counts probably get more attention than they deserve, but Snyder is really doing the KC bullpen a favor. After the extra-inning game last night, and with Kris Wilson expected to start tomorrow afternoon, we can't afford to use 5 or 6 pitchers tonight.
In the 6th, Harden will be tested, with the top of the order coming up. Guiel gets a leadoff walk, and Relaford follows with a line drive into center that drops in front of Byrnes. Men on first and second, no outs. Beltran pops up a bunt and it just falls foul in front of Chavez. Beltran's also bunting on the 1-1 pitch, again it goes foul. Ricardo Rincon is up in the Oakland bullpen. Beltran drives a deep foul ball, curving into the upper deck. Carlos finally hits one fair, but right to second baseman Ellis, who runs to the bag for the force out. Runners at first and third with one out--a double play would end the scoring chance. Ibanez takes a 1-1 splitter in the dirt, and Hernandez makes a great block to save a run. Ibanez lifts a fly ball to deep right field. Long has it. And Guiel comes home, tying the game. With the home crowd chanting "Harvey, Harvey," Harden makes a move to first, and Beltran is picked off. A's 1, Royals 1.
Snyder stays in for the 7th. Byrnes leads off with a line drive to center, but Beltran snags it. Harvey pounces on a grounder by Durazo, and tosses to Snyder for out #2. Tejada hits a line-drive single to right. Snyder starts Chavez 2-0, and there's no activity in the bullpen yet. The next pitch is low and inside. It gets away from Mayne and Tejada goes to second. Chavez will be walked intentionally. There's some light rain on the field now, but the grounds crew isn't moving. Snyder delivers his first pitch to Hernandez without checking the runners, and Febles was out of position for ball 1. Hernandez grounds out to Relaford, and Oakland strands 2 runners.
The Twins are still rolling, leading 4-0. Chicago is also ahead, 4-3.
21-year old Rich Harden stays in for the 7th. Harvey hits a chopper to Tejada, who throws low, but Hatteberg digs it out. Tucker grounds out to first. Berroa grounds a fastball up the middle, but Tejada gets to it.
Curtis Leskanic comes on in the 8th. Snyder threw 75 pitches in 7 innings, gave up 1 run on 3 hits, walked one and struck out one. Hatteberg grounds out to second, McCarty grounds out to short. Ellis tries to check his swing, but goes around on strike 3. Leskanic continues to throw well.
Seattle has scored 2 in Minnesota. The Twins lead 4-2.
Rincon relieves Harden, who had 4 strikeouts and 2 walks in 7 innings, allowing 1 run on 4 hits in his debut. Mayne hits a high fly to Byrnes. Febles shows bunt, then swings away, fouling away several on a full count. Febles--the #9 hitter--walks, then Rincon starts Guiel 3-0. The 26,000 in attendance are letting Rincon have it as he repeatedly throws to first base. On a full count, Guield strikes out swinging, and Febles is caught stealing. It's the second painful DP of the game for the Royals.
In Minnesota, the Mariners now trail 4-3.
Now pitching, Sean Lowe. He falls behind Long 3-0, then comes back to jam him into a groundout. Chris Singleton pinch hits for Byrnes, and he comes up with a single to center. On an outside pitch to Durazo, Singleton steals second. Durazon breaks his bat, but bloops the ball into center. Beltran comes in strong and make the catch. It looks like Lowe will pitch around Tejada, starting him 2-0, and then walking him intentionally. Lowe walks Chavez on 4 pitches to load the bases. Jason Grimsley will relieve Lowe, entering a tie game with the bases full. Ramon Hernandez at the plate, 3 for 5 in his career against Grimsley. Grimsley starts him 3-1, then walks in the go-ahead run. Grimsley comes way outside to Hatteberg, and Mayne saves a wild pitch. Pena and trainer Nick Swartz are now visiting the mound, but Grimsley stays in. Hatteberg takes the count full, then walks.
Seattle and Minnesota are now tied in the 7th.
Nate Field will enter the game for KC, trailing 3-1. Oakland has scored three runs on just four hits, but they've gotten 5 walks. Tony Pena exchanged words with Derryl Cousins about his strike zone, and possibly his mother's footwear, and Tony has been ejected for the second straight game. Billy McMillon pinch hits for McCarty, and gets another full count. McMillon walks, the fifth straight for Oakland, and it forces in another run. Adam Piatt will pinch-run for McMillon. Ellis hits a first-pitch single to center, driving in 2 more runs. Piatt goes to second. Long is up, the 10th batter of the inning. He pops out to Berroa, making the first and last out of the inning.
A's 6, Royals 1.
Keith Foulke comes in for Oakland in the 9th. Relaford hits a squibber up the third base line and Chavez makes another good play. Foulke starts Beltran 0-2, then Beltran takes called strike 3. Cousins is getting an earful from Beltran and the crowd. Ibanez bounces one back to the mound and Foulke makes the play to end the game.
A's 6, Royals 1.
Royals lose, White Sox win, Twins win. A tough night.

// posted by Harley @ 6:59 PM
On Juan

With Juan Gonzalez's injury, the trade likely won't happen, which means it's time for me to weigh in with my opinion. After sitting the fence for the past few weeks, I have come to believe that the Royals do need to pick up a player or two in order to make it to the playoffs. At the beginning of this season, I strongly supported staying the course with development of young talent from within. Chasing a veteran or two was counterproductive. But no one but Tony Pena expected the Royals to be where they are today.
The Royals have captured lightning in a bottle this season. Desi Relaford and Michael Tucker are having career years. Who knows, maybe Ken Harvey and Angel Berroa are, too. I would not be surprised if, next year, Mike MacDougal gets zero saves and Jose Lima doesn't win a single game. And somehow we're leading the league in hitting with runners on base. At some point, Tony Pena's voodoo/hypnotism/optimism pills have to wear off. And when they do, we'll be the team that lost 100 games last year again.
If you put the Royals side-by-side in October with the Yankees, A's, Mariners, or even the Braves, Astros, and Giants...It's a joke. On paper, we'd be flattened. Luckily, baseball games aren't played on paper. This year, most Royals games have been played inside my radio. Hopefully they will be increasingly played inside my television, with the channel tuned to a nationally broadcast station.
Back to Juan Gonzalez. While he only played 70 games in 2002, the 33-year old is off to a solid start this year. In 82 games, he has 24 homers, 70 RBI, and a 901 OPS. KC simply doesn't have a power bat like Igor in their lineup. No Royals player has hit 30 home runs since Jermain Dye in 2000 and Chili Davis in 1997. Another area KC is lacking are players with post-season experience. Michael Tucker: a .243 average in 37 at-bats for Atlanta in 1997 & 1998, Jason Grimsley: 3 innings with the Yankees in 1999-2000, Jose Lima: 0-1 in 7 innings with Houston in 1997 & 1999, Curtis Leskanic: 0-1 in 3 innings for the 1995 Rockies. That's about it. Juan Gone's been to the playoffs 4 times, and although his team lost the series every time, he hit 8 home runs with 15 RBIs and a 1075 OPS in those games.
The trade proposal rumored to be on the table calls for Texas to pick up the rest of Gonzalez's contract, in exchange for 2 mid-level prospects. At the end of the season, Juan would be a free agent. So there would be zero financial cost.
I think we need to play for this year, not for the next, as long as we aren't throwing away our best prospects. We all want to see the Royals playing in October--they just may need a little bit extra to get there. Your thoughts?

// posted by Harley @ 10:17 AM
Today's News

Rich Harden will start for the A's today, who were just swept by the Twins. Harden is a highly touted rookie and he'll be matched up against Kyle Snyder, just returning from the DL. Tomorrow, in the afternoon get-away game, Tim Hudson will start for the A's. With both Lima and Affeldt nursing minor injuries, K.C.'s Tuesday starter is up in the air...Kris Wilson? Or D.J. Carrasco perhaps?
Carlos Beltran's walk-off home run last night was the first one of his career.
More on the Beltran heroics, from the KC Star.
Kris Wilson, another hero from last night's game.
Royals Report: Grimsley says his ejection was just part of "the master plan." KC picks up AAA catcher Tom Prince, Berroa has a 29-game errorless streak.
Juan Gonzalez's calf injury throws a wrench into trade possibilities.
More on Rich Harden from the San Francisco Chronicle.

// posted by Harley @ 8:35 AM

Sunday, July 20, 2003

In-Game Commentary

On the Allard Baird show, the GM says "nothing has changed" with regard to Carlos Beltran.
Today's defensive setup: Tucker is DH, Guiel in RF, Ibanez in LF, Relaford at 3B, and Febles at 2B.
Runelvys Hernandez starts out the game by walking Mike Cameron, who then steals 2nd. Mark McLemore pops out to left, swinging at a bad pitch. Bret Boone flies out to right, moving Cameron to third--had McLemore's out been productive, Seattle would be up 1-0 now. Edgar Martinez flies out to center to end the inning, wasting the runner in scoring position with no outs.
Aaron Guiel leads off with a groundout to first, Jaime Moyer covering. Desi Relaford is hit by a pitch. Moyer is probably one of the least nightmare-inducing guys to get hit by, with his 82-mph fastball. Carlos Beltran fouls off strike 2, spoiling a good jump by Relaford. Now Moyer is making repeated throws to first. Beltran loops an off-speed pitch into center, but Raul Ibanez follows with a double-play grounder to end the inning.
Michael Tucker opens the 2nd with a diving catch of a John Olerud liner. Randy Winn pops a bunt halfway between Ken Harvey and Hernandez for a single. Winn takes off for second on an outside fastball and is caught stealing. John Mabry follows with a walk. Third baseman Willie Bloomquist pops out to short to end the inning. Runelvys' ERA is now below 3.00 for the first time since early May.
Ken Harvey grounds out to short, and then Michael Tucker is beaned by a 79-mph Moyer curveball. Ump Rob Drake just warned both dugouts, even though nobody goes headhunting with breaking balls. Angel Berroa pops out to second base and Mike DeFelice hits a deep flyout to end the 2nd.
Runelvys starts Dan Wilson 3-0, then gets the count full and Wilson pops out to first. Cameron grounds a base hit up the middle, his second hit of the day. McLemore flies out to right. Boone grounds out to Febles. Still no score.
In the early going, the Twins have a 3-run lead and the White Sox have a 2-run lead.
Febles works a walk out of Moyer to lead off the home 3rd. Guiel grounds out to first, sending Febles to second. Relaford drops a single into shallow right and Febles comes around to score. Desi steals second, putting another runner in scoring position. Beltran crushes one down the left field line, but it curves foul, just past the upper deck. Beltran goes down swinging at a changeup. Up comes Raul Ibanez, originally drafted as a catcher in 1992 by Seattle. He goes down swinging as well, but Moyer has to throw 25 pitches in the inning. Royals 1, Mariners 0.
Runelvys gets his first strikeout of the day, on Martinez. Olerud follows with a first-pitch groundout to first, and Winn walks on four pitches. Mabry flies out to right.
Harvey leads off with a first-pitch groundout. He's 0 for 24 against Seattle this year. Tucker grounds out to Boone and Berroa flies out to Winn. On to the 5th.
Bloomquist strikes out swinging at an outside pitch. Berroa makes a nice play to get to a sharp grounder by Wilson and throws him out. Cameron strikes out, also swinging at a pitch out of the strike zone. Hernandez has 3 Ks on the day and has thrown 5 scoreless innings.
Mike DiFelice leads off with a double down the left-field line. Febles bunts him to third. Aaron Guiel flies out to deep right field, and DiFelice tags and scores. Relaford grounds out to Olerud. Denny Mathews says KC is "out-fundamentaling" Seattle. Royals 2, Mariners 0.
The White Sox now lead Detroit 7-0.
The 6th inning will be a test for Runelvys. He's thrown 78 pitches today, and will face McLemore, Boone, and Edgar. Nate Field begins warming in the bullpen as Hernandez goes to work on McLemore. Ken Harvey makes a nice play on a short-hop grounder. Boone hits a first-pitch grounder to short. Edgar chops a grounder left of the mound, and Relaford and Berroa both miss it. Tony Pena comes out of the dugout, and Runelvys is done for the day. He leaves to a standing ovation, having thrown 88 pitches in his 2nd start off the DL. Field comes in with one on and two out. Beltran runs down a deep drive by Olerud for the third out. Runelvys threw 5 2/3, allowing 4 hits and 2 walks, striking out 3. Of his 88 pitches, 50 were strikes. He faced 22 batters, got 5 groundouts and 8 flyouts.
Beltran gets a walk to start the bottom of the 6th. Ibanez is nearly hit by a Moyer fastball, and Beltran steals his 26th base on the next pitch. KC has a runner in scoring position with no outs for the 2nd straight inning, and Ibanez comes through, putting a hanging breaking ball into the gap for an RBI double. Ken Harvey follows with his first hit of the year against Seattle, a double into the right-field corner. Tucker lays a bunt down the first-base line, and Moyer makes a great scoop-throw play to get him out. Harvey goes to third base.
Seattle makes a pitching change, Rafael Soriano comes in. Berroa drives a foul ball right down the line. Harvey was headed home on the play, so Berroa missed the squeeze sign. Berroa flies out to left and Harvey scores. DiFelice goes down whiffing at a 97-mph fastball from Soriano. Royals 5, Mariners 0.
The Twins are still ahead by 3, Chicago is winning 10-1
Randy Winn leads off the 7th with a groundout back to the pitcher. Mabry works the count full before walking. Field gets Bloomquist to strike out on a slider. Wilson drills a fastball over the left field fence. Sean Lowe is now warming in the pen. Cameron strikes out looking on a slider. Royals 5, Mariners 2.
Febles strikes out on another 97-mph heater from Soriano. That must be tough to catch up with after 5+ innings of Slomo Moyer. Soriano was a light-hitting outfielder in the Seattle minors until 1999, when he was converted to a pitcher. Guiel goes down on a fastball, and Relaford grounds out to Olerud.
In the 8th, Sean Lowe comes in to pitch and Julius Matos takes over third base from Relaford, who has been bothered by his wrist injury. Lowe will face McLemore, Boone, and Martinez, who are 1 for 9 today. McLemore gets a single to left field. Boone hits a grounder to Matos, over to Febles who makes a high throw to first. Boone on first base, one out. Edgar flies out to right, moving Boone to second. John Olerud hits a high fly ball that catches enough of a tailwind to get over Tucker's head, and bounces over the fence. Boone comes in to score. Randy Winn comes to the plate as the tying run, but he pops out to end the inning. Royals 5, Mariners 3.
Oakland is finally showing signs of life against Minnesota. The Twins lead is now 6-4.
Beltran grounds out to Boone, as does Ibanez. Ken Harvey comes up with a 2-out double off the right field wall. Tucker grounds out to 2nd to end the 8th inning.
Enter Mac the Ninth, who makes every save an adventure. He gives up a home run to John Mabry to start the inning. Ichiro will pinch hit for Bloomquist, and he hits a first-pitch groundout to 2nd. MacDougal falls behind Wilson 3-0 and then walks him, putting the tying run on base with one out. D.J. Carrasco is up in the bullpen. Luis Ugueto will pinch-run for Wilson. Now MacDougal is having plenty of trouble finding the strike zone, walking Cameron on 4 pitches. Tony Pena has seen enough, and he brings in Carrasco with one out and the go-ahead run on base.
Carrasco throws a pitch in the dirt that squirts away from DiFelice, who nearly throws the ball away trying to get Ugueto at third. Cameron holds a first. Runners on first and third, one out. A flyball would tie it, a grounder could end the game. D.J. gets McLemore to pop up, but the wind pushes the ball past Febles, allowing Ugueto to score. Another pitch in the dirt gets by DiFelice and Cameron goes to third. Carrasco gets ahead of Boone 1-2, sneaks a hanging curve by him, then gets a strikeout on a sidearm breaking ball.
Martinez hits a grounder back to the pitcher, and we'll go to the bottom of the ninth. Royals 5, Mariners 5.
Jeff Nelson comes into the game for Seattle, and Ben Davis takes over behind the plate. He starts Berroa 0-2, then fools him on a curve for the K. DiFelice grounds out to 2nd and Dee Brown will pinch-hit for Febles, having just rejoined the team today. Arthur Rhodes will come in to face Brown.
In Minnesota, Oakland has the tying run on base in the 9th in the person of former Royal Dave McCarty.
Rhodes gets Dee Brown to fly out to right. We're going to extra innings, following Mike MacDougal's 2nd 9th inning meltdown in the past 3 games.
Gookie Dawkins takes over 2nd base from Febles. Olerud leads off with a walk, and Winn hits a hard bunt down the third base line. Matos gets the lead runner, Winn is safe at first. Carrasco walks Ben Davis on 4 pitches, and Pena will bring in Jason Grimsley.
Eddie Guardado pitched out of a jam and the Twins and White Sox both have won today. Minnesota has won four straight, Chicago 3 straight.
Grimsley starts Ichiro 0-2, then beans him in the foot to load the bases. And Grimsley is ejected by ump Rob Drake, a minor league umpire who is filling in today. Ryan Lefebvre calls it "the worst call I've ever seen!" Tony Pena shares his opinion, and Drake sends him to the showers as well.
Kris Wilson enters the game with the bases loaded and one out. He jumps ahead of Jeff Cirillo 0-2. Cirillo lines a 1-2 fastball just foul, then fouls out to Ken Harvey who fires the ball home to keep Olerud at third base. 2 outs and Cameron comes up. Wilson strikes him out looking! Phew.
Guiel strikes out swinging. Matos drops in a bloop single, and Beltran comes up with a chance to win it. He hits it hard, but foul. He hits a 0-2 pitch deep to center. Mike Cameron leaps, but it bounces off his glove and over the fence. Home Run, Game Over!
Royals 7, Mariners 5.

// posted by Harley @ 12:53 PM
Stats Leaders

These numbers come from Lee Sinins. For an explanation of RCAA and other stats, visit this stat glossary

Royals RCAA:
Mike Sweeney 20
Carlos Beltran 15
Aaron Guiel 6
Raul Ibanez 3
Angel Berroa 0
Julius Matos -1
Mike DiFelice -4
Desi Relaford -4
Dee Brown -5
Michael Tucker -5
Brent Mayne -10
Joe Randa -13
Carlos Febles -15
Ken Harvey -16

Royals RSAA:
Darrell May 22
Runelvys Hernandez 14
Jose Lima 13
Mike MacDougal 7
Jason Grimsley 6
D.J. Carrasco 5
Nate Field 5
Jeremy Affeldt 4
Kyle Snyder 3
Curtis Leskanic 2
Sean Lowe 2
Kris Wilson 0
Brad Voyles -5
Chris George -22

Carlos Beltran is tied for 2nd in the league in stolen bases, is 6th in secondary average, and is 10th in total average.
Jason Grimsley is 2nd in the AL in games pitched.
Mike MacDougal leads the league in games finished, is tied for 2nd in saves, and tied for 6th in the AL in games pitched.
Darrell May is tied for 5th in the AL in RSAA, 5th in neutral winning percentage, 10th in ERA, tied for 10th in complete games, 10th in fewest baserunners per 9 innings, 7th in batters hit by pitch.
Raul Ibanez is tied for 9th in the AL in games played, and tied for 9th in sacrifice flies.
Michael Tucker is tied for 8th in triples, tied for 9th in SACs, tied for 2nd in most times caught stealing and tied for 10th in most strikeouts.
Angel Berroa leads the league in times hit by a pitch and is tied for 3rd in SACs.
Joe Randa is tied for 9th in SACs.
Chris George is 2nd in the league in worst RSAA, tied for 1st in balks, tied for 1st in neutral losses, 5th in the league in runs allowed, tied for 3rd in earned runs allowed, tied for 3rd in home runs allowed, 7th in walks.

// posted by Harley @ 12:44 PM
Today's News

Dee Brown rejoins the team. With Guiel, Ibanez, and Tucker, KC has 4 left-handed hitting outfielders. Look for Ibanez to play first base or DH. Other items from Royals Notes: Lima may miss a start, Randa may return on Wednesday.
Kurt Caywood looks at Tony Pena's chances of going to another team.
Judd Choate gripes about KC's All-Star snubbing.
Rany Jazayerli wants KC to pick up Juan Gonzalez. He points to the 1989 Orioles, who picked up Stan Jefferson and Keith Moreland down the stretch, blowing a 7-game lead.
CBS Sportsline takes its turn in looking at why KC is in first.
Dee Brown is happy to be back.
Has Ken Harvey taken Sweeney's spot at first base?
From Around the Majors: "According to the Denver Post, 'The Kansas City Royals not only won't be trading Carlos Beltran, but they have a deal in place to acquire Juan Gonzalez from the Texas Rangers. As usual, the biggest glitch is whether Gonzalez can be convinced it's better to play for a first-place team than one in last.'"
A nice piece from SABR on 100-year old Double Duty Radcliffe throwing out the first pitch at a Royals game earlier this year.
The Des Moines Register looks at Royals fans in Iowa. (thanks Bruce!)

// posted by Harley @ 11:22 AM
Royals 5, Mariners 1

Darrell May continued his run of impressive starts, allowing one run on three hits and four walks in eight innings to get his 5th win. Curtis Leskanic threw a scoreless ninth. Without a doubt, the play of the game was an over-the-wall catch by Carlos Beltran to rob Dan Wilson of a home run. The catch preserved a one-run lead for the Royals. Desi Relaford returned to the lineup, doubled and scored in the sixth. Aaron Guiel went 2 for 4 with a double and two RBIs, and stole his first base of the year. Mariners starter Gil Meche started strong, retiring the first nine of the game, but faltered, and May did not allow a runner to reach second base after struggling through the 2nd inning.
Darrell May has a 1.50 ERA in his past 5 starts, allowing 6 runs in 36 innings. KC is 11-4 in July. A crowd of 39,000 came out for the Saturday night game.

// posted by Harley @ 10:47 AM

Saturday, July 19, 2003

3-day news wrap-up

Rob & Rany has been updated. Juan Gonzalez is "just a simple caveman". Good stuff.
The Official Site has a nice first-half photo gallery up. It requires Java.
Ryan Lefebvre answers "Ask the Royals" questions about the lack of national TV coverage, among other things.
Royals Notes: Randa goes on the DL, Gookie Dawkins is called up, and Tony Pena compares this team to the '87 Cardinals.
A look at the importance of KC's fast start this year.
Second half predictions from Mlb.com. The Royals get a grade of A+, but Chicago is predicted to win the division. Huh?
Royals Notes: the plan for a possible Juan Gonzalez deal is to trade a prospect for him, with Texas picking up the rest of his salary. Gonzalez would become a free agent at the end of the year. Also, Kyle Snyder is still on target to start on Monday against Oakland.
Kurt Caywood of the Topeka Capital-Journal believes. So does Tony Pena, but you knew that.
Rob Neyer points out that the Royals have greatly relied on luck this year.
According to a current ESPN Sportsnation poll, fans think KC has a 66% chance to win the AL Central, and a 4% chance to win the World Series.
More on Jeremy Affeldt's blister from the KC Star. (It's not serious)
Royals Report: Lima ready to return, Mendy Lopez heads to rehab assignment.
A non-story on Juan Gonzalez being "open-minded" about a trade to KC.
Joe Posnanski says the next 8 games are critical. (I think it's safe to say that that will be the case for the rest of the season. The most important game is always the next one.)
An entertaining story by Derek Samson on team slogans. Viva la mojo!
Kyle Snyder threw 5 scoreless innings, striking out 3 and allowing 2 hits for the Wichita Wranglers on Thursday.
Royals on Radio's Soren Petro gives five reasons why the Royals will win the AL Central.
Sean McAdam of ESPN.com offers his view on the Twins' disappointing year. And Peter Gammons and Tony Gwynn predict KC will win the division. Tom Candiotti says we'll be 3rd.

// posted by Harley @ 10:55 AM
Mariners 6, Royals 3

Last night was not Mike MacDougal's night. With a two-run pad and two outs in the ninth, the KC closer allowed five runs to score, including a grand-slam by Ichiro Suzuki. The pitch hit by Ichiro was a fastball that found the fat part of the plate. Besides losing the game, the Royals also temporarily lost starter Jeremy Affeldt, who developed another blister during the game and left in the sixth.
Before MacDougal's blown save, Grimsley, Carrasco, and Field pitched 2 2/3 innings without giving up a run, continuing the bullpen's recent impressive run. Friday night's game drew 30,000+ fans, bringing the season attendance to one million, ten home games sooner than last year. Aaron Guiel and Angel Berroa both homered in the losing effort. Several scoring opportunities were wasted on three double plays and one runner, Michael Tucker, picked off first. Home plate umpire Paul Emmel ejected a player for the second straight game, giving Bret Boone the heave in the third inning.
Both Minnesota and Chicago won, reducing KC's lead to 6.5 games.

// posted by Harley @ 10:37 AM
Royals 7, Mariners 1

Jose Lima left the game hurt, but the Royals won the second-half opener. Angel Berroa and Raul Ibanez both contributed 2 RBIs, Ibanez's coming with 2 outs in the 3rd to give KC the only lead they needed. Unfortunately, only 22,000 fans showed up to cheer on the 1st-place team, a number that I have to think will increase this weekend.
The bullpen, in the form of Grimsley, Leskanic, and Lowe, were again untouched. Thus far, Curtis Leskanic has proven to be a very valuable pickup. Other bits: Angel Berroa is only the 16th shortstop ever to get 10 home runs in his rookie year. The Royals are 32-0 this year when they allow 3 runs or less.

// posted by Harley @ 10:28 AM

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Today's News

Mlb.com reports on the key role Mike Sweeney played in the AL victory.
It's Lima Time!
Sweeney and MacDougal happy to be booed in Chicago
Joe Posnanski believes the Royals will win the AL Central. Only two teams in the past 50 years have blown 7-game leads after the All-Star Break.
The KC Star's evaluation of the Royals at the break.
KC is in 1st place. Tony Pena told us so.
Juan Gonzalez won't be traded anywhere until after Texas GM John Hart meets with his agent today.
Minneapolis columnist Bob Sansevere says the Twins should start rebuilding for next year. He'd like to see them trade off Guardado, Mientkiewicz, Kenny Rogers, and Rick Reed.
Angel Berroa is picked 3rd in AL ROY voting for Baseball Prospectus' Mid-Season Awards.
Now the tough part--a look ahead.
Royals thrive in spite of everything.

// posted by Harley @ 8:45 AM
The 7th game, if necessary, will be played in Kansas City!

Now we just have to get to that 7th game. It's a shame that it wasn't Mac the Ninth closing out the AL win, but only natural for hometown boy Keith Foulke to get the honor. And after all, manager Mike Scioscia had to save a few pitchers in case of a tie. Yes, I'm talking about the All-Star Game. Mike MacDougal shouldn't feel too bad--John Smoltz didn't get into the game either.

// posted by Harley @ 8:06 AM

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Today's News

Bret Saberhagen pitched in the All-Star Celebrity Softball game. Playing for Harold Reynolds' South Side Hitmen, he gave up 2 runs in one inning pitched. He also singled and scored on an Ozzie Smith home run. A little bizarre to see those two on the same team, but then so is the celebrity softball game!
Mike MacDougal talks about his first trip to the All-Star Game: "It's weird. I'm not used to having attention like this. It's pretty odd."
Mike Sweeney is still expecting to return soon, despite Alex Rodriguez's comments to the contrary.
The Associated Press looks at the KC Star's list of Top 15 Players in KC history
The Royals moved up to #7 in both ESPN.com's Power Alley and CBS Sportsline's Power Rankings.
Tony Pena has been named SportsTicker's AL Manager of the First Half, and Mike MacDougal was their pick for AL Rookie of the First Half. Angel Berroa also received consideration, as did MacDougal for 1st Half AL Cy Young.
Jayson Stark named Chris George as the 1st half AL Cy Yuck, and Tony Pena as the AL Manager of the First Half. He gave apologies to Mike MacDougal in the AL ROY category.
Vote for Mike MacDougal for AL ROY in ESPN Sportsnation's first half poll.
Dick Kaegel profiles Mike MacDougal and details how Carlos Beltran helped him become a closer.
Aaron's Baseball Blog predicts the Royals will not win the AL Central.
Baseball Truth is still picking the Twins to win.
Diamond Mind weblog points to the Royals' .301 batting average with runners in scoring position as a factor in their 1st-place status. KC is 2nd in the league in batting average with RISP and 2 outs.

// posted by Harley @ 9:36 AM

Monday, July 14, 2003

Top 10 Royals games of the first half

Before we start thinking about that tough schedule coming up, it's time to sit back and enjoy the thrills our Royals gave us in March, April, May, June, and early July:

10. April 11, Royals 1, Indians 0
18 Royals players had the flu. Closer Mike MacDougal was throwing up in the bullpen. Royals hitters were held to 4 hits. But KC still found a way to win. Runelvys Hernandez continued his amazing April, throwing seven shutout innings to lower his ERA to 0.45. Angel Berroa came through with a two-out single to bring home Dee Brown for the game's only run. And MacDougal managed to pull his head out of a bucket long enough to convert his 6th save opportunity.
Desi Relaford: "We're finding ways to win. That's a characteristic of a good team."

9. May 21, Royals 14, Mariners 5
The Royals hit six home runs to tie a team record, and more importantly, end a four-game losing streak. Carlos Beltran hit 2 homers and had six RBIs. Michael Tucker, Joe Randa, Raul Ibanez, and Angel Berroa also went yard, giving Chris George a nice cushion for his 5th win. Seattle never threatened after the fifth inning, as Sean Lowe, Jason Grimsley, and MacDougal combined for four shutout innings.

8. May 2, Royals 5, Orioles 2
Miguel Asencio pitched the first complete game of his career as KC put to rest their first losing streak of the season. Baltimore jumped ahead 2-0, but in the 6th, Mike Sweeney and Ken Harvey both homered to give the Royals a 4-2 lead. Asencio allowed seven hits, struck out six, and walked three, putting his record at 2-0.
Sweeney: "I think it shows how special our young pitchers are. We were in kind of a funk -- it's really the first speed-bump we've had this year -- and we needed one of our young guns to step up. Miguel did that and more tonight."

7. June 17, Royals 14, Twins 7
Behind 3-1, Kansas City came through with a team-record twelve runs in the sixth inning, moving to just 2 games behind the 1st-place Twins. Ken Harvey led the offensive charge with a single, three doubles, and five RBIs, two coming with 2 outs. Beltran stretched his streak of reaching base safely to 8 consecutive plate appearances. 16 batters came to the plate in the 6th inning, tying a team record.
Harvey: "A lot of people think there's not any momentum in baseball, but that inning just carried over. It's like it became infectious."

6. May 12, Royals 3, Twins 2
Jeremy Affeldt struck out 8, giving KC their third straight one-run victory over the first-place Twins. Grimsley threw 2 scoreless innings and MacDougal worked the 9th to get his AL-leading 11th save. The offense was provided by Raul Ibanez with a 2-run single, and Carlos Beltran with a solo home run. The game was Tony Pena's 162nd as manager of the Royals, and it marked a return to form for the KC rotation, which had a 5.96 ERA over the previous 16 games.

5. June 15, Royals 5, Giants 4
Mike Sweeney came through with a 2-out, 2-run single in the bottom of the ninth, thrilling the 29,000+ fans in Kaufmann Stadium. Jose Lima struggled in his first start of the year, but Jason Gilfillan and MacDougal gave the Royals a chance in the 9th. Down by 1 run, Angel Berroa led off the inning with a bloop double, and with two outs, Aaron Guiel managed to draw a walk after being down 0-2.
That brought Sweeney to the plate: "Once I got up there I knew the team was relying on me to get the job done and fortunately I got it done. It was one of the best feelings I've had all year."

4. April 18, Royals 4, Tigers 3
A crowd of over 38,000 saw rookie Ken Harvey hit a game-winning homer in the 11th inning for KC's first--and only--extra-inning win of the season. Darrell May pitched 6 strong innings, and Grimsley, MacDougal, and Carrasco combined to shut out the Tigers from the 7th inning on. Ibanez got a solo homer in the 6th inning to tie the game and eventually force extra innings.
Tony Pena: "This clubhouse, everyone is jumping around like little kids. It's nice to see that they are starting to believe that we can win."

3. July 1, Royals 6, Indians 3
The Royals regained first place as Jose Lima won his third straight start, giving up just 5 hits in 7 innings. Joe Randa doubled and homered, driving in 4 runs. The win also ended a four-game skid, and came on the heels of a humiliating doubleheader sweep by Cleveland. Mac the Ninth picked up his 21st save.
Lima: "I just feel good. You can see the smile on my face every inning. Two months ago I was in the independent league."

2. June 4, Royals 2, Dodgers 1
After a May letdown, Kansas City returned to the .500 mark on Tony Pena's birthday. Kyle Snyder retired the first 10 batters of the game, gave up 3 hits in 6 innings and struck out 3 to earn his first major league victory. Grimsley was perfect in the 7th and 8th, striking out 4, and MacDougal came on in the ninth for his 13th save. Beltran and Berroa both hit solo homers off Hideo Nomo, and that was all the runs KC needed.
Pena: "I asked my boys: `This is the only thing I want - give me a win today.' And they did."

1. March 31, Royals 3, White Sox 0
Opening Day began a 9 game winning streak and 17-4 start to the season that put a swagger in the Royals' step all year long. Runelvys Hernandez, Grimsley, and MacDougal combined on a 3-hit shutout as 40,000 fans got a taste of what the 2003 season had in store. Angel Berroa and Brent Mayne provided the RBIs, beginning a trend of clutch hitting coming from all parts of the lineup. Before the game, Frank White and George Brett presented Mike Sweeney with a "C"-emblazoned jersey, recognizing the need for his leadership on a club that lost 100 games in 2002.
Harvey: "We have a lot of young guys, no doubt about that. But us young guys have proven ourselves in the minor leagues. Once we get over being in awe of the major leagues, we'll be fine."

Honorable Mentions:
April 24, Royals 2, Twins 1: KC's 10th win at home.
May 5, Royals 7, Red Sox 6: Royals win on a ninth-inning error.
June 7, Royals 13, Rockies 11; Royals 9, Rockies 5: KC sweeps a doubleheader at Coors.
June 16, Royals 9, Twins 8: Royals blow an 8-run lead, but come back in the 9th.
June 20, Royals 10, Cardinals 4: Lima time returns, with his first win of the season.
July 13, Royals 8, Rangers 2: KC goes 4-2 on west coast trip, head to ASB ten games over .500

Have any games to add? Have your own memories about the games above? Click on the link below to comment!

// posted by Harley @ 5:44 PM
Why are the Royals in first?

Because of Bud Selig, of course!
From Dick Kaegel's All-Star report in the KC Star:
"'I have to say it's been a great story,' Selig said. 'I set out to change the economics of the game and believe we've certainly started in the first year of our labor deal. I'm on my satellite every night, and I don't mind telling you I'm spending a lot of time watching Kansas City and I wish them well.'"
And from Bud's All-Star weekend Town Hall chat: "You've got the Kansas City Royals doing very well now. You're beginning to see the results of all of the work we've done..."
I'm sure we all can agree that Selig's changes have left an indelible mark on the game. Just imagine how the Royals would be doing if Czar Bud wasn't around. Turns out our great first half had nothing to do with the pitching performances of MacDougal, Hernandez, Lima, and May, the clutch hitting of guys like Desi Relaford, Brent Mayne, Ken Harvey and Angel Berroa, or even Tony Pena's ebullient attitude. It's all due to economics.
Selig had no comments on the Royals' inability to pay Carlos Beltran's contract in 2004.

// posted by Harley @ 10:27 AM
Today's News

Mark at Royal Blog has a nice review of the first half of the season.
Royals Notes from Mlb.com. KC rotation starting July 17 will be Lima, Affeldt, May, Hernandez, and Kyle Snyder.
Joe Posnanski compares Zack Greinke to another talented 19-year old: Bret Saberhagen.
The KC Star looks at Alexis Gomez.
Royals Report: Relaford hopes to be switch hitting again soon.
Mike MacDougal was named to the Baseball Primer reader's All-Star team. Mike Sweeney was named the "injury replacement" for the AL reserves.
From Lee Sinins' Around the Majors Report: "According to the Bergen Record, the Dodgers, Cubs and Royals are interested in Mets RF Jeromy Burnitz." Follow the link and click on "subscribe" to receive Lee's great free email reports.
Update: Burnitz has been traded.... to the Dodgers. (phew!)

// posted by Harley @ 10:03 AM

Sunday, July 13, 2003

In-Game Commentary

The Royals get their first look at Tony Mounce tonight. Aaron Guiel leads off and is hit by a pitch and Julius Matos follows with a single. Two fielders' choices later, Ken Harvey is up in a clutch situation. He strikes out, and KC misses an opportunity to jump out to an early lead.
Darrell May continues to pitch well, getting Texas out on three straight fly balls in the 1st.
In the 2nd, Michael Tucker gets a one-out, groundball single, but gets thrown out attempting to steal. Mike DiFelice strikes out to end the inning.
Ken Harvey mishandles a Rafael Palmeiro grounder, and Texas has a man on first to lead off the bottom of the 2nd. Darrell May battles Juan Gonzalez in a 14-pitch at bat. He gets a K with pitch #15, a change-up. After falling behind Mark Teixeira 3-0, May gets him to strike out as well. Todd Greene blasts a double, moving slow-running Raffy to third base. May has a bit of trouble finding the plate, but he gets Donnie Sadler to fly out to end the inning.
Carlos Febles leads off with a walk and Guiel follows with a deep line drive, but right-fielder Ludwick makes a great play to catch it. Febles steals second and Julius Matos pulls a pitch over the left-field fence. Beltran gets his 7th hit of the series with a solid single and moves to second on an Ibanez grounder. Ken Harvey comes through with a two-out single to bring Beltran home. Angel Berroa muscles another ball over the left-field fence, and the Royals have two more two-out runs. Tucker grounds out to end the inning. Royals 5, Rangers 0.
Darrell May gives up a single to Michael Young after starting him 0-2. Doug Glanville watches strike three go by, and A-Rod goes down swinging. Ibanez can't quite get to a Palmeiro liner, and Texas has runners on first and second. Juan Gonzalez has another long, foul-filled at bat.
With two outs, Guiel is hit by a pitch, his second beaning tonight. Matos follows with a bloop infield single. Beltran comes through with a gapper, bringing Guiel home. Ibanez grounds out. Royals 6, Rangers 0.
Teixeira leads off the home half of the 4th with a home run to center. Todd Greene follows with a deep fly that Beltran gets to. Next up is Ryan Ludwick, who also hits a ball hard to center field, this one dropping in for a single. Donnie Sadler hits a deep liner. Beltran makes a great catch, and Ludwick has to race back from third. He collides with Harvey as he gets back safely. Ken Harvey may need to invest in some body armor, the way this road trip is going. Mike Young strikes out to end the 4th. Royals 6, Rangers 1.
Juaquin Benoit comes in from the bullpen and gets Harvey out on a grounder. Berroa is next up, and he is hit by a pitch for the 13th time this season. Tucker pops out, and then DeFelice takes strike 3. Berroa was stealing on the play, and Greene threw to second--Ump Eric Cooper called Berroa out. So Texas gets 4 outs in the inning.
Doug Glanville leads off with a double down the right field line. A Rod goes down swinging again, May now has 5 K's. Palmeiro flies out, Gonzalez grounds out, and the meat of the Rangers lineup is unable to plate the runner in scoring position.
Aaron Guiel comes up with a 2-out, solo homer, his second yardball in as many nights. Matos beats out an infield single, then goes to second on a wild pitch by Benoit. Beltran walks, Ibanez flies out, and Harvey grounds out to end the inning. Royals 7, Rangers 1.
Jeremy Affeldt makes his first relief appearance of the season, getting a little work in before the break. Teixeira strikes out swinging, then Berroa makes a good play on a Todd Greene grounder. Ludwick strikes out; a perfect inning from Affeldt.
Rookie Rosman Garcia relieves Benoit and gets Berroa to fly out, Tucker pops out, and DeFelice strikes out.
D.J.Carrasco enters the game for the Royals. Michael Young gets a 1-out single and goes to third on a single by Glanville. A-Rod hits into a 6-4 force out, and collides with (you guessed it) Ken Harvey to break up the double play. Young scores on the play. Palmeiro flies out to center. Royals 7, Rangers 2.
Febles leads off with a line drive single to center, and moves to second on a groundout by Guiel. Matos strikes out, but Beltran drives in another 2-out run with a single. Harvey grounds out to end the inning. Royals 8, Rangers 2.
Nate Field relieves Carrasco. Juan Gonzalez leads off with a bloop single. Teixeira also singles, and Gonzalez moves to second. Todd Greene strikes out as Nate Field peppers him with sliders. Ludwick pops out, and Hank Blalock hits a grounder back to the pitcher to end the Texas threat.
Now pitching for Texas, Francisco Cordero. Berroa strikes out, and so does Michael Tucker. DiFelice flies out to right field.
Mike MacDougal will pitch the ninth, staying sharp for the All-Star Game. Mike Young grounds out, and Glanville gets on base with a single. A-Rod follows with a walk, and MacDougal is trying to get too fancy, going to a full count against Palmeiro before finally striking him out on a breaking ball. Then Mac the Ninth keeps things interesting by beaning Gonzalez to load the bases. Teixiera pops out to end the game.
Royals 8, Rangers 2. Kansas City goes into the All-Star break ten games over .500, in first place with a seven game lead!

// posted by Harley @ 7:17 PM