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Sunday, August 31, 2003

Doubleheader Today

Last night's rainout means there will be a double header today in Kansas City. Brian Anderson will start game 1, with Brad Voyles shifted to game 2. Rain is still in the forecast, and one or both of today's games are postponed, they'll be played on September 29, assuming they affect the postseason. Let's hope that they do. The Royals just might need an extra game or two to catch the White Sox, who beat Detroit last night, and the Twins, who won in Texas for their 3rd straight win. For the moment, Kansas City and Minnesota are tied in second, a half game behind Chicago.
Royals Notes: Jimmy Gobble was sent to Omaha to make roster room for Voyles. Tony Pena expects Gobble to rejoin the team in September. Rondell White is currently day-to-day after "tweaking" his hip trying to make a sliding catch.
Jose Lima is confident that he'll be back by September 15.
Judd Choate and John Sickels with a nice article on the prospects Allard Baird has traded this season.
Rany Jazayerli is happy with the job Allard Baird is doing.
Denny Matthews might not be back next year, as the Cubs have shown interest in hiring him. I know I'd miss him.
The Burlington Bees were eliminated from the postseason in a loss last night, but infielder Donnie Murphy collected his 98th RBI, setting a single-season franchise record for the Bees.
This Date in Royals History: August 31, 1981--Dick Howser becomes the manager of the Royals, replacing Jim Frey. Howser will manage the Royals for 4 full seasons, and part of 2 additional seasons, en route to a 404-365 record. In his 4 full seasons, the Royals never finish lower than 2nd, win the AL West twice, and win their first World Series. His .525 winning percentage is 3rd best among Royals managers.
// posted by Harley @ 10:39 AM

Saturday, August 30, 2003

At least it wasn't the Tigers!

Angels 10, Royals 3: Jimmy Gobble got pounded for his third straight loss and Jarrod Washburn stymied the Royals offense for 6 2/3 innings as KC fell to the reigning world champs. The White Sox lost to Detroit, so KC and Chicago remain tied in first, with the Twins sneaking up to only a half game back with a win in Texas.
Brad Voyles will start for the Royals tonight against Scot Shields and the Angels.
Royals Notes: Joe Randa's production is up, Miguel Asencio still has work to do before rejoining the club.
Joe Posnanski can't get over Thursday night's extra inning win over Texas. He points out that Mike Sweeney attacked the umpire, and got the game-winning hit. George Brett did that, too, but in the reverse order. Tony Pena: "That's Royals baseball. We always do it the hard way."
Colt Griffin has been promoted to "high-A" Wilmington.
Trivia: (Answer in comments)
What former Royal made his major league debut 23 years ago today? He played 6 seasons for KC, and one year for Pittsburgh. Born in Puerto Rico, his best year was 1984, when he hit .282 with 9 stolen bases and 9 doubles in 90 games. He played in 2 World Series, but never got a hit and only scored once in 6 games.

// posted by Harley @ 11:19 AM

Friday, August 29, 2003

The Krispy Kreme Trifecta

Royals 6, Rangers 5: It took 11 innings and seven pitchers, but the Royals completed the sweep at home against Texas. After an almost two-hour rain delay, starter Paul Abbott (who allowed just 1 hit through six innings) was lifted for a succession of KC relievers. D.J. Carrasco was the only effective one, pitching a scoreless tenth and eleventh before Joe Randa singled, went to second on a wild pitch, and scored when Mike Sweeney singled after having his foul popup dropped by first baseman Mark Texiera.
Jimmy Gobble looks to return to form against Jarrod Washburn and the Angels tonight at Kauffman.
Bob Dutton chronicles the Royals' continuing search for starting pitchers.
Jimmy Gobble has learned a lot in his first 4 starts.
Joe Posnanski thinks Carlos Beltran should be an MVP candidate.
Royals on Radio's flagship station for 2004 will be WHB 810 AM.
The Burlington Bees announced the results of their fan voting for All-Time Bees. Vida Blue, Ugueth Urbina, Larry Walker, Paul Molitor, Javy Lopez, and Ruben Sierra were among the former Bees selected.
This Date in Royals History: August 29, 1977—The Yankees beat the Royals 5-3 on a pich-hit 3-run home run by Chris Chambliss.
Trivia: (answer in comments)
Who are the only 3 players in major league history with 3.000 career hits, 300 career home runs, and 200 career stolen bases?

// posted by Harley @ 11:08 AM

Thursday, August 28, 2003

And on the 56th day, the bullpen rested

Royals 9, Rangers 0: Darrell May threw a five-hit shutout and Rondell White hit the ground running, driving in four runs and nearly legging out an inside-the-park home run. It was the first complete game by a Royals starter since July 2. Unfortunately, the Yankees seem to be able to beat every team in the league but Chicago. Minnesota lost to the Angels, dropping the Twins to two and a half games back.
Paul Abbott faces Ismael Valdes as the Royals go for the sweep tonight.
Royals Notes: Jose Lima is the third Royals pitcher to go on the DL in the past two days. Tony Pena plans to put Raul Ibanez in right field vs. lefties.
Rondell White likes the Royals: "I've been watching them on ESPN. This is a fun bunch."
Attendance declined for the 5th straight game last night. Joe Posnanski and Blair Kerkhoff try to figure out why.
Eric Thompson has won 10 straight decisions for the AA Wichita Wranglers.
Zack Greinke was named the Carolina League Pitcher of the Year. Wilmington Blue Rock Andres Blanco was named to the Carolina League All-Star team.
Trivia: (answer in comments)
What former Royal is 60 today? He played 18 seasons in the big leagues, including five years for the Royals, and made it to five World Series. In 1972 he hit .312 for KC with 11 home runs and 72 RBIs, and leading the league with 33 doubles. He also played a key role in the 1977 ALCS, getting three doubles and driving in two runs. He was voted Rookie of the Year way back in 1969, but he's still a, uh, passionate figure in baseball today.

// posted by Harley @ 10:10 AM

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Max welcomes Brian Anderson and Rondell White to the "KC."
// posted by ASMR Review @ 4:54 PM
Wednesday's News

Royals 9, Rangers 2: Brian Anderson was perfect through 3 2/3 innings, and left the game after six with only four hits and two runs allowed. Jeremy Affeldt and Curtis Leskanic were perfect in relief. The offense came largely on a two-out, six-run rally in the 6th. Chicago pounded Roger Clemens and the Yankees, and Minnesota beat the Angels, so the AL Central race is unchanged.
Colby Lewis and his 7+ ERA pitch for the Rangers tonight, as Rondell White makes his Royals debut. There's still some uncertainty about whether Paul Abbott or Darrell May will start for the Royals.
Royals Report: Runelvys Hernandez and Kevin Appier are both done for the season. Appier will need elbow surgery, Hernandez will undergo Tommy John surgery. Hernandez may not even pitch in 2004. Meanwhile. Miguel Asencio continues to get stronger in rehab, and is expected to move up to Wichita this week.
Rob and Rany has been updated, for the second day in a row. You can almost smell September... Rob agrees with me that the Rondell White acquisition should move Ken Harvey out of the lineup. A must-read, just for when Neyer says, "No, I can't says that I has." and "Does management have the wit and the muscle to dump the organization's medical staff, and find some professionals who can keep the players healthy?"
Brian Anderson was nervous meeting his new team last night.
"Hi, I'm Brian. I'll be your starting pitcher tonight."
Mike Sweeney is back, hitting his first home run since going on the DL in late June.
Tony Pena and Allard Baird's thoughts on the Rondell White trade.
Jim Molony is impressed by Allard Baird.
More on Baird. An AL Central GM says, "Man, that Baird never quits."
Q & A with Kauffman entertainment director Chris DeRuyscher.
Attendance Report: With last night's crowd of only 12,917, attendance was down for the 4th straight game. The Royals need to average about 31,700 in their remaining 16 home games to top 2,000,000 in season attendance.
Zach McClellan threw a 4-hit shutout for the Wilmington Blue Rocks last night. I guess we haven't traded all of our class-A pitchers yet.
This Date in Royals History: August 27, 1987—John Wathan replaces Billy Gardner as Royals manager. KC beats Texas 3-2 on a 10th-inning George Brett homer and moves within 3 games of first place.
Trivia: (Answer in comments)
What former Royal is 36 years old today? He played 5 seasons for KC before being traded to the Cubs. He also played for the Mets, Rockies, and Blue Jays. His best year with the Royals was 1993, when he batted .282 with 12 home runs, 23 stolen bases, and a career-high 177 hits. He led the National League in at-bats in 1995. His father was a member of 4 pennant-winning teams, but finished his career with a 100+ game losing team.

// posted by Harley @ 10:06 AM

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Trade

MLB.com is confirming the story first reported by ESPN.com: San Diego has traded Rondell White and cash to the Royals for minor league pitchers Brian Sanches and Chris Tierney.
White's hitting .278 with 18 home runs and 66 RBIs this season.
Sanches, a right-hander, was a second-round pick in the 1999 First-Year Player Draft. He was 1-5 with a 3.16 ERA and two saves in 38 games for Double-A Wichita.
Tierney, a left-hander, was a seventh-round pick in 2001. He was was 5-11 with a 4.38 ERA in 26 starts for Class A Wilmington this season.
Rondell White is 31 years old and in his 11th major league season. He's only played 100 or more games in 4 of those seasons, though. He has a career batting average of .288 and had 4 straight .300 seasons before hitting .240 for the Yankees last year. His best year was 1999, when he hit .312 with 22 home runs and 64 RBIs for the Expos.
With Mike Sweeney staying in the DH slot for now, look for Rondell White to take over left field against left-handed pitchers, with Raul Ibanez playing first and Ken Harvey riding the pines. It might not be a bad idea to use that arrangement against righties, as well...

// posted by Harley @ 4:25 PM
Tuesday's News

Brian Anderson will start tonight against the Texas Rangers. The Twins and White Sox are both on the road, with Minnesota playing at Anaheim and Chicago heading to the Bronx.
Rob and Rany has been updated. Anderson is the main topic du jour.
More on Anderson, who was a teammate of Tony Pena's on the 1997 Indians. Hey, losing the World Series to the Marlins wouldn't be the worst way to go.
Royals Report: A look at the upcoming schedule, and KC starting pitchers have missed a combined 206 games due to injuries.
Brian Anderson once saved Joe Posnanski's life. He also once locked himself out of his hotel room naked. (Anderson, not Posnanski.) Of his new team, Anderson says, "Maybe they'll like me if we win."
Baseball Primer's reaction to the Anderson deal.
Baseball Musings has some more analysis on Anderson.
Jayson Stark looks at the Royals' pitching staff's run at a record--becoming the first playoff team without a 10-game winner.
Mike DiFelice was suspended for 2 games for his outburst in the August 16th loss to the Twins.
This Week in the AL Central has been updated over at Baseball Nerds.com.
The Royals Daily Draw is active again with the Royals back at home. Register to win free dugout box seats to the next home game.
The Class-A Wilmington Blue Rocks are headed to the Carolina League playoffs.
Trivia: (answer in comments)
30 years ago today, what two Royals outfielders collided in mid-air, allowing Paul Blair to leg out an inside-the-park grand slam in a 10-1 Baltimore victory? One played 14 seasons for KC and is #2 on the Royals' career home run list. The other was a journeyman at the end of a 5-year, 4-team career, and is probably best rembered for appearing in Jim Bouton's Ball Four.

// posted by Harley @ 10:18 AM

Monday, August 25, 2003

Trade

Brian Anderson is now a Royal as KC continued to trade for veteran pitching today. The Royals will also receive cash and a player to be named later from Cleveland, in exchange for minor leaguers Trey Dyson and Kieran Mattison. Anderson has a 9-10 record this year, with a 3.71 ERA in 24 starts, and 32 walks and 72 strikeouts in 148 innings. He's thrown very well lately, with a 0.81 ERA in his last three starts.

Like most of the Royals' mid-season pickups, Anderson has playoff experience--he was on the 1997 Indians and the 2001 Diamondbacks. He has a 2.43 ERA in 11 post-season games. Anderson joins Curtis Leskanic, Graeme Lloyd, Al Levine, Kevin Appier, and Paul Abbott as the 6th veteran pitcher acquired by the Royals in the past two months.

With Kevin Appier's ailing health, and Runelvys Hernandez in Omaha, Anderson figures to fill the 5th starter's slot nicely.

Dyson, 23, was signed by the Royals as a non-drafted free agent on June 25, 2002. He was hitting at a .275 clip (126-for-458) with 14 home runs and 72 RBI in 128 games for the Wilmington Blue Rocks (A). He spent the 2002 season with the Spokane Indians (A), hitting .236 with six home runs and 36 RBI in 48 games.

Mattison, also signed by Kansas City as a non-drafted free agent on July 15, 2002, spent the 2002 season with the Gulf Coast Royals, going 1-1 with one save and a 1.80 ERA in 13 relief appearances. The 23-year-old was 3-1 with a 3.74 ERA in seven starts for the Blue Rocks in 2003 (33.2 IP, 38 H, 14 ER).

// posted by Harley @ 1:50 PM
Monday's News

Twins 8, Royals 1: Kevin Appier left the game in the second with elbow pain, and a tired bullpen was ineffective. Chicago lost to the Rangers, leaving the Royals just one game back, with 22 of our next 23 games against teams with losing records.
Royals Notes: Carrasco throwing well, Lima confident, Aaron Guiel near the league leaders in outfield assists.
Kevin Appier may have to go on the DL. 5th starter option's mentioned are Kris Wilson, Chris George, and Brad Voyles. How about giving D.J. Carrasco another start?
Joe Posnanski says we haven't turned into pumpkins yet. Or something like that, this one is chock-full of metaphor.
Don't expect a flood of September call-ups. David DeJesus and Alexis Gomez are on the short list, though.
Dick Kaegel visits the rehabbing Miguel Asencio.
Bob Dutton rates KC's mid-season acquisitions.
Johan Santana is making Aaron Gleeman look like a genius. I know, it's not that difficult to do...
Tony Pena received the Manager's move of the week award for letting Aaron Guiel swing away on a 3-0 pitch vs. the Yankees on Monday, August 11.

// posted by Harley @ 9:53 AM

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Stats Leaders


Through Saturday, August 23rd:

RCAA
Carlos Beltran 26
Mike Sweeney 14
Aaron Guiel 4
Raul Ibanez 3
Mendy Lopez -1
Julius Matos -2
Angel Berroa -4
Dee Brown -8
Mike DiFelice -9
Joe Randa -11
Desi Relaford -13
Brent Mayne -18
Ken Harvey -24

RSAA
Darrell May 26
Jeremy Affeldt 14
D.J. Carrasco 11
Curtis Leskanic 9
Jose Lima 8
Jason Grimsley 5
Runelvys Hernandez 5
Mike MacDougal 4
Kevin Appier 2
Al Levine 2
Jimmy Gobble -3
Graeme Lloyd -3
Paul Abbott -6

Carlos Beltran is tied for 2nd in stolen bases, tied for 6th in triples, 6th in secondary average, 6th in total average, 6th in BPA, 7th in runs created per game, and 16th in OPS.
Jason Grimsley is 2nd in games pitched.
Angel Berroa is 3rd in sacrifices, and tied for 3rd in times hit by pitch.
Darrell May is 5th in RSAA, 8th in fewest baserunners per nine innings, 6th in neutral percentage, and tied for 9th in home runs allowed.
Joe Randa is 5th is sacrifices.
Mike MacDougal is tied for 6th in saves, 2nd in games finished and tied for 10th in games pitched.
Raul Ibanez is 6th in singles, and tied for 2nd in sac flies.
Desi Relaford is tied for 8th in sacrifices.
Aaron Guiel is tied for 9th in times hit by pitch.
Ken Harvey is tied for worst RCAA among AL starting first basemen.
Michael Tucker is 2nd in times caught stealing.
Chris George is tied for 8th in worst RSAA, and tied for 3rd in balks.
Albie Lopez is 10th in worst RSAA.

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

// posted by Harley @ 12:24 PM
Weekend News


Royals 4, Twins 3
: Aaron Guiel came up with a 3-run homer and D.J. Carrasco had his best outing of the year, throwing 4 scoreless innings. Mike MacDougal finally got save #26.
KC looks to win the series vs. Minnesota today. It's the last game of the year between the Royals and Twins, barring a tie-breaker playoff. Kevin Appier pitches against Johan Santana.

Some of these items are old, but I includ them here for completeness:
Royals Notes: Mike Sweeney frustrated by DH role.
Rob and Rany, updated on Thursday.
Kyle Snyder could return, in the bullpen.
Dee Brown continues to ride the pines.
Zack Greinke is still not an option for the rotation.
Joe Randa is doing better batting lower in the lineup. I'm finding it difficult to resist the urge to say I told you so. :)
Ask the Royals with Ryan Lefebvre. Tony Pena's use of closers and other reader questions.
Judd Choate looks at the Royals' clutch hitting.
Rany Jazayerli heaps praise upon Darrell May.
Royals Notes: A look ahead to September callups, KC's drop to 3rd place earlier this week was our first time in 3rd all season.
ESPN's Page 2 reviews Kauffman Stadium. The K is tied for 3rd among the 20 stadiums they've visited so far. Tied with Wrigley!

// posted by Harley @ 10:42 AM

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

How Sweet it is

Royals 12, Yankees 9: The Royals and Yankees combined for 19 doubles, setting an American League record. The Royals also set a new franchise mark, with 11. A crowd of over 40,000--on a Monday night, no less--saw the Royals battle back after falling behind 5-1 and 6-5. Paul Abbott was a little shaky in his first start of the year, but most of his misses were in the dirt rather than out over the plate. ESPN Classic showed game 5 of the 1976 ALCS yesterday afternoon (the Chris Chambliss game) making this win all the more satisfying. It was the first time since 1980 that the Royals and Yankees played when both were in 1st place.
Darrell May and Mike Mussina are matched up at Kauffman tonight. ESPN Classic will rebroadcast game 5 of the 1977 ALCS this afternoon.
In Anaheim, the White Sox comeback came up short, and the Angels won, 10-8. Minnesota beat Cleveland, 5-3.
Royals Notes: Beltran optimistic he'll return soon, Kris Wilson sent to Omaha to make room for Abbott.
Mike Bauman compares the series to David and Goliath. Make that Disabled List David and Goliath.
Joe Posnanski can't explain it. Neither can Joe Randa: "It was like Monday Night Football."
Paul Abbott found out what the Royals are all about this season.
Yankees blog Bronx Banter's reaction to last night's game.
Baseball Musings calls last night's game a "turning point" for KC fans.
Based on EKOs--Early Knockouts--Baseball Truth says the Royals are in trouble.
Last night's game put the season attendance over 1.3 million. We need to average just under 31,000 fans per game to break the 2 million mark for the first time since 1991.
Non-Royals News: In case you missed it, Baseball Prospectus is reporting that Pete Rose will be reinstated in 2004, and eligible to be a manager in 2005. Rose has only two years of eligibility left for the Hall of Fame BBWAA ballot.
Trivia: (answer in comments)
8 years ago today, this player made his Royals debut. He had his best season in 2000, when he hit .327 with 214 hits and 46 stolen bases, all career highs. He also led the league in runs scored that season, and split time between left field and center.

// posted by Harley @ 11:09 AM

Monday, August 11, 2003

Monday’s News

Paul Abbott makes his Royals debut tonight, starting against David Wells. It will be his first major league start since shoulder surgery last year.
Royals Notes: We are one beat-up team.
Paul Abbott is ready to go.
Jeremy Affeldt will stay in the bullpen.
Joe Posnanski on Angel Berroa.
More on Carlos Beltran’s injury.
Tony Pena reacts to Jesus Colome throwing behind Aaron Guiel yesterday.
Umpire Laz Diaz says the “gloves will be off” if spectators run onto the field. Diaz was attacked in a Royals-White Sox game in April.

// posted by Harley @ 3:24 PM

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Win #62

The Royals equalled their 2002 win total today by beating the Devil Rays, 7 to 3. Runelvys Hernandez threw 7 solid innings for his 7th win of the year, and Jeremy Affeldt and Al Levine each threw a scoreless inning of relief. KC jumped on starter Jorge Sosa in the first, scoring 5 runs. Sosa left the game having recorded only one out. Rookie Julius Matos homered and drove in three runs, playing good defense at third base with a banged-up Joe Randa on the bench. Desi Relaford started in center field, with Carlos Beltran suffering from a hyper-extended elbow, which has been reported as "not serious." Relaford has now started at 6 different positions this season. In the 9th, Jesus Colome threw a pitch behind Aaron Guiel--apparently in retaliation for a high slide by Guiel in last night's game--and the umpires gave both teams a warning. Before the next pitch, Colome came off the mound, challenging Guiel, and both benches cleared for a quick group hug. Colome and Guiel were both ejected and Joe Randa had to finish Guiel's at-bat.

Chicago and Minnesota both won, leaving the standings unchanged from yesterday. With our 62nd win coming on August 10th instead of September 26, KC has 46 games remaining to improve on last year's record.

Next up is a homestand vs. New York and Minnesota. Paul Abbott will face David Wells tomorrow night.
"Monday Max" Rieper will post tomorrow.
This Week in the AL Central has been updated.
Why is "Ham" Mike Sweeney's new nickname? A goofball thread over at Baseball Fever.

// posted by Harley @ 4:19 PM
Stats Leaders

Through Saturday, August 9th:
RCAA
Carlos Beltran 20
Mike Sweeney 20
Aaron Guiel 5
Raul Ibanez 3
Julius Matos -1
Angel Berroa -2
Dee Brown -6
Desi Relaford -6
Mike DiFelice -9
Michael Tucker -12
Joe Randa -14
Brent Mayne -18
Carlos Febles -19
Ken Harvey -22

RSAA
Darrell May 24
Jose Lima 12
Runelvys Hernandez 11
Jeremy Affeldt 9
D.J. Carrasco 9
Jimmy Gobble 6
Curtis Leskanic 6
Jason Grimsley 5
Mike MacDougal 4
Kris Wilson 3
Nate Field 2
Al Levine 2
Kevin Appier 1
Graeme Lloyd -4

Darrell May is 6th in the AL in RSAA, 6th in neutral percentage, and 8th in fewest baserunners per 9 innings.
Carlos Beltran is 2nd in stolen bases, tied for 8th in triples, 5th in secondary average, and 9th in total average.
Angel Berroa is 2nd in sacrifices, tied for 2nd in times hit by pitch, and tied for 8th in sac flies.
Raul Ibanez is tied for 8th in singles, and tied for 5th in sac flies.
Michael Tucker is tied for 8th in triples, tied for 10th in sacrifices, 9th in strikeouts, and 2nd in times caught stealing.
Desi Relaford is tied for 6th in sacrifices, and tied for 9th in stolen bases.
Jason Grimsley is tied for 1st in games pitched.
Mike MacDougal is tied for 5th in saves, tied for 1st in games finished, tied for 7th in games pitched, and tied for 7th in wild pitches.
D.J. Carrasco is tied for 7th in wild pitches.
Kevin Appier is tied for 9th in runners hit by pitch.
Aaron Guiel is tied for 10th in times hit by pitch.
Brent Mayne has the worst RCAA of any AL starting catcher.
Ken Harvey has the worst RCAA of any AL starting first baseman.
Chris George has the 3rd worst RSAA, is tied for 2nd in balks, tied for 6th in neutral losses, and tied for 8th in home runs allowed.
Albie Lopez has the 9th worst RSAA

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

// posted by Harley @ 11:37 AM
Gobble wobbles, but doesn't fall down

Jimmy Gobble's career is off to an unbelievable start. After winning his first two major league appearances, he's on pace to start 12 games this season, going 12-0 with 36 Ks, 6 BBs, 6 runs, and 78 hits in 78 2/3 innings for a 0.69 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP. At this pace, he'll win his 300th game in September 2012, having struck out 900 and walked only 150...
Runelvys Hernandez starts this afternoon against the Devil Rays.
Royals Notes: After injuring his wrist on Friday, Joe Randa was back in the lineup last night.
Royals Report: Angel Berroa is batting in the #2 spot (finally!), Ken Harvey should be back in a day or two, Paul Abbott is expected to start on Monday, and KC ends their 7th 4-game losing streak of the season.
KC Star: Is Kansas City a baseball or a football town?
A tearjerker story from Joe Posnanski.
Judd Choate likes Angel Berroa's chances to be AL Rookie of the Year.
The Burlington Bees have won 5 in a row. Colt Griffin starts for them this afternoon.
The Royals Sports Television Network reached an agreement with Fox Sports Net to carry Royals games on satellite providers. Too bad I live in Colorado Rockies "territory."
Royals Central is giving away a baseball autographed by Raul Ibanez in an attendance prediction contest! (Free registration required.)
Trivia: (Answer in comments)
Twenty-two years ago today, this player made his Royals debut. He hit .284 with 10 stolen bases, 15 home runs and 70 RBI for the '84 Royals, and hit a home run in the 1985 World Series. He's probably best remembered for making the final putout of the series.

// posted by Harley @ 8:40 AM

Saturday, August 09, 2003

Gobble wins again

Jimmy Gobble extended his scoreless streak to 12 1/3 innings before surrenduring a home run to Damian Rolls in the 7th. KC held on to win the game, 6-2. Carlos Beltran collected his 100th career home run and drove in 3 runs. Ken Harvey left the game in the 2nd inning during an at-bat due to a strained pectoral muscle.
Meanwhile, Chicago lost to Oakland and the Royals are back in first place.

// posted by Harley @ 8:19 PM
Saturday's News

Royals Notes: Mike Sweeney's back, Benny Agbayani knocks 2 home runs for Omaha.
Guess who's still feeling upbeat. Tony Pena: "...just you wait until Sweeney has had a few days to really get his timing back."
Kevin Appier at ease with the Royals' medical staff.
Tom Gamboa on the recent court ruling.

// posted by Harley @ 9:57 AM

Friday, August 08, 2003

You wanted excitement?

The Royals were shut out by Tampa Bay, 4-0, as Jeremi Gonzalez had his second straight outstanding start against the Royals. Kevin Appier threw 4 scoreless innings after giving up 2 runs in the 1st, but go no run support as Royals hitters managed just 4 hits, even with Mike Sweeney back in the lineup. We have lost 4 in a row and 8 of the last 11 games. Meanwhile, Chicago and Minnesota both won, so the standings atop the AL Central are suddenly much more compact. And yes, the Royals are back in 2nd place for the first time since June 24.
GM Allard Baird is still trying to improve the team; KC picked up Paul Abbott in a trade from Arizona tonight. Abbott is recovering from shoulder surgery this year--he was a 17-game winner for the 2001 Mariners. The Royals sent pitcher Aric Leclair from Class-A Wilmington in exchange. Abbott will begin his Royal career in Omaha, where he will continue his rehab and hopefully join the KC pitching staff in September.

// posted by Harley @ 9:48 PM
MacDougal blows one

Devil Rays 3, Royals 2
Mike MacDougal allowed 3 runs in the bottom of the ninth and KC blew a 2-0 lead, dropping our 7th in the past 10 games, and our 3rd straight one-run loss. Darrell May pitched 6 scoreless innings, and Curtis Leskanic and Jason Grimsley both threw a scoreless inning. The Royals stranded 8 baserunners and Carlos Beltran twice just missed getting his 100th career home run. The loss put Chicago just 1/2 game back in the AL Central standings. Tony Pena: "If we're watching the standings, it's going to be a long month and a half."
Kevin Appier faces Jeremi Gonzalez tonight in Tampa.

Baseball Prospectus' Prospectus Triple Play. On the Royals: "The Royals, barring a complete collapse between now and Labor Day, will control their own destiny with 20 games in the final 20 days--seven against their most direct challenger, and 13 against clearly inferior teams." Also has a nice look at Angel Berroa's status in the AL Rookie of Year contest.
Royals Notes: More on Appier, Beltran's still hurt, but not seriously.
Appier has come "full circle."
John Sickels of ESPN.com takes a look at Jimmy Gobble.
Big homestand next week against the Yankees and Twins. I'll be at the August 13th Yankees game, waaay out in the $5 Bob Uecker seats. Hope to see you there.
The Class-A Wilmington Blue-Rocks are playing in 80s Royals style throwback jerseys tonight. The powder-blue game jerseys will go on ebay, along with jerseys autographed by Zack Greinke and Frank White. The auction will go from August 11-21 with the bidding starting at $75 per jersey. How cool is that?

This day in Royals history: On August 8, 1973, future Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda of the Boston Red Sox banged out four doubles in a 9-4 victory over the Kansas City Royals. The Red Sox' designated hitter, running on bad knees near the end of an outstanding career, tied a major league record with the four two-baggers.

// posted by Harley @ 9:41 AM

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Look out, Robert Szasz

The Royals head to Tampa Bay after a disappointing series in Chicago. We outscored the White Sox 20-18, but lost 2 one-run games, reducing our lead in the AL Central to 1 game. Chicago has an off-day, then hosts Oakland over the weekend.
Darrell May returns to the mound tonight. He's 0-1 with a 6.41 ERA in his last 3 starts.
Kevin Appier will start on Friday. Lee Sinins reports that Appier is the Royals' career leader in RSAA. The top 10:
RSAA
1 Kevin Appier 226
2 Bret Saberhagen 161
3 Dan Quisenberry 158
4 Jeff Montgomery 115
5 Mark Gubicza 96
T6 Charlie Leibrandt 76
T6 David Cone 76
8 Steve Farr 60
9 Dennis Leonard 58
10 Larry Gura 53

Royals Notes: Michael Tucker has a broken leg, and will miss the rest of the regular season, Mike Sweeney is still expected to play this weekend, and with Kyle Snyder on the DL, Nate Field rejoins the team.
Joe Posnanski points out that without Sweeney in the lineup, KC came one hit short of victory yesterday, Tuesday night, last Thursday...
The return of Appier and Sweeney comes at just the right time for a banged-up Royals team. Kris Wilson: "It's going to come down to that last week of the season. I think that's what we want. That's what everybody wants."
Joe Morgan's non-predictions for the pennant race. On the AL Central: " ...the veterans usually have the edge down the stretch. Although in KC's case, with Pena as the leader, I'm not sure." What the...? Mike's Baseball Rants has a nice, er, rant up about Morgan's article.
Brian Bass took a no-hitter into the 9th for the Class-A Wilmington Blue Rocks.
Baseball Primer readers respond to Joe Posnanski's Chicago column.
Today is the 13th anniversary of Brian McRae's major league debut. Brian played 5 seasons for the Royals, his best year coming in 1993 when he hit .282 and stole 23 bases.

// posted by Harley @ 8:09 AM

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

In-Game Commentary

Carlos Beltran struck out 3 times last night because he kept looking for 2-strike fastballs, and kept getting breaking balls. He can count on getting the heat from Bartolo Colon. With a fireballer on the mound for Chicago, and Kris Wilson pitching for the Royals, this one could be a barn-burner. Naturally, the performance of Wilson and the bullpen will determine whether KC can win this series.

Today's lineup: Guiel, Randa, Beltran, Ibanez, Harvey, Relaford, Berroa, Brown, DiFelice. Why our #3 RBI guy is still batting seventh, I simply don't know. I'd like to see Berroa and Relaford both batting ahead of Ken Harvey.

Dave O'Brien and Jeff Brantley are doing the game again for ESPN. No complaints here, ESPN can do much worse.

Aaron Guiel gets beaned to start the game, then gets picked off by Colon. Now he's getting attention from trainer Nick Schwartz. Joe Randa walks, and Bartolo has put the first 2 men on base. Beltran strikes out swinging at an outside pitch after fouling off several. Another pickoff attempt by Colon goes into the seats, and Randa goes to 2nd. Ibanez pops out.

Kris Wilson walks Roberto Alomar on four pitches. Wilson won't last long today if he can't throw strikes. Carlos Lee flies out, then Wilson picks off Alomar, on a throw that nearly gets away from Ken Harvey. Frank Thomas flies out to Guiel.

Ken Harvey strikes out, and looks bad doing it, Desi Relaford pops out to left, and Angel Berroa flies out to left. Colon is rolling.

Magglio Ordonez leads off the bottom of the 2nd with a popout to DiFelice. Carl Everett pops out to Berroa, Brian Daubach walks, then gets his hand stepped on by Ken Harvey, scrambling to catch another wild pickoff throw from Wilson. An inside pitch bounces off of DiFelice's glove, but Daubach stays put. Jose Valentin walks--Wilson has walked 3 in the first 2 innings and pitching coach John Cumberland will visit the hill. Joe Crede grounds out to Randa, and Chicago strands 2 runners.

Dee Brown strikes out looking, DiFelice stikes out swinging, and Aaron Guiel lines out to Ordonez. Colon has retired 8 in a row.

Sandy Alomar flies out to Beltran, then Robbie Alomar gets his first home run in a White Sox uniform, pounding a high fastball out to the right field seats. Carlos Lee follows with another solo shot, pulling a hanging curve to left. Frank Thomas grounds a single past a diving Joe Randa. Maggs hits a chopper to Randa, and he only has time to get Thomas at second. Carl Everett bloops a single in front of Ibanez, and Ordonez goes to second. Brian Daubach strikes out swinging at a nice curve from Wilson, who has now thrown 66 pitches. White Sox 2, Royals 0.

Joe Randa pops out to second, Beltran flies out to left, and Ibanez strikes out. 11 in a row for Colon.

Wilson starts Valentin 3-0, then strikes him out looking. Crede pops out to Relaford, Sandy Alomar flies out to left.

Harvey leads off the 5th with a groundball single to left, KC's first hit of the day. Relaford pops out, then Berroa lines out to Crede, who doubles off Harvey. The Royals waste the leadoff hit from Harvey.

Wilson strkes out Roberto Alomar, then starts Carlos Lee 3-0. Lee beats out a grounder to third, then big Frank flies out to Guiel. Magglio flies out to left, ending the 5th.

Brown takes strike 3--Colon has 6 Ks. DiFelice grounds out to short, Guiel flies out, and Colon is pitching a heck of a game today. The Royals are still in it, but only because Kris Wilson's walks haven't scored.

Kris Wilson goes to the showers, having thrown 100 pitches in 5 innings. Jeremy Affeldt will come in, doing well out of the bullpen so far. He strikes out Everett on a nasty change-up. Paul Konerko pinch-hits for Daubach, and gets a single to left. Affeldt goes to a full count on Valentin, and Tony Pena visits the mound. Affeldt gets the message, striking out Valentin with high heat. Crede hits an "excuse me" grounder to first and Harvey takes one step to the bag for the out.

Randa leads off the 7th, gets a 3-0 count, then lines out to center. Beltran follows with a first pitch flyout to left, and Ibanez strikes out looking. Colon has retired 9 in a row since Harvey's single. At least KC put a couple of good swings on the ball, but the heart of the lineup may not get another shot at Colon.

Sandy Alomar gets a first-pitch double off the left-field wall. Roberto fouls away a couple of bunt attempts, then grounds out to Affeldt, Sandy goes to third. Affeldt starts Lee 3-0, then Lee drives one deep but foul. Lee punches a single through the middle and Alomar scores. Affeldt throws one in the dirt and Lee scampers over to 2nd. Frank Thomas draws a walk, and Magglio Ordonez, up next, is due. Al Levine is warming up in the pen. Affeldt gets a full count on Maggs, then gets a broken-bat grounder to Berroa, whose only play is to first. Runners on second and third with 2 outs, Everett at the plate. The count goes to 3-1, then Affeldt gets a borderline pitch called strike 2. Everett swings and misses at strike 3. White Sox 3, Royals 0.

In the 8th, Ken Harvey lines a single to center. He has all of the Royals' hits against Colon so far. Relaford follows with a bloop single to left, and KC may yet get another shot at the Chicago bullpen. Damaso Marte is now warming up. Berroa grounds into a 6-4-3, Harvey moves to third. Brown pops Colon's 100th pitch to third base, stranding the runner.
Tom Gordon will come in in the 9th for Chicago.

Al Levine takes the mound for the Royals. Konerko slices one past Guiel for a double. Valentin grounds out to Berroa, and Konerko goes to third with one out. Levine starts Crede 3-0, then walks him on a full count. Sandy Alomar grounds back to Levine, who throws to second where Berroa and Relaford are both covering the bag. Berroa catches and throws high to first. Konerko scores, and Berroa is on the ground in pain after colliding with Crede. Berroa will stay in the game, with two outs and a man on first. Robbie Alomar walks--Levine's second free pass of the inning. Lee grounds out to Berroa to end the 8th. White Sox 4, Royals 0.

Tom Gordon on the mound for the White Sox. He'll face DiFelice, Guiel and Randa. Aaron Rowand takes over in left field for Chicago. DiFelice lines out to a leaping Jose Valentin. Guiel lines a single into left. Gordon starts Randa 2-0, then Joe beats out a grounder to third. Runners on first and second with one out and Beltran comes to the plate. He blasts one down the right-field line, and the White Sox bullpen is having trouble again. Damaso Marte comes in for Chicago, and he starts Ibanez 3-1. Raul pops out to Valentin. Harvey gets a groundball single to left. Febles pinch-runs for Harvey. Relaford strikes out looking and the Royals come up one run short again. Tip your cap to Bartolo Colon for a great 8 innings.

White Sox 4, Royals 3.

// posted by Harley @ 12:02 PM
Useless Info

ESPN's Jayson Stark offered some useless info in his latest column on the recent rash of inside-the-park home runs at Kauffman:
"There were two more inside-the-parkers last weekend in inside-the-park heaven, Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. Ballparks that have been the site of the most inside-the-parkers since 1946 (the line of demarcation separating modern inside-the-park history from the olden days, when it was much more common):

Kauffman Stadium 93 (1973-present)
Yankee Stadium 86 (all years)
Polo Grounds 67 (1946-57, 62-63)
Forbes Field 58 (1946-70)
Shibe Park 57 (1946-70)
Wrigley Field 45 (1946-present)

For the sixth time in team history, the Royals just hit two inside-the-parkers (by Aaron Guiel and Raul Ibanez) in a span of three games. Here are the others, according to the Sultan. Amazingly, Willie Wilson wasn't involved in any of them:

April 1978 (Darrell Porter, Clint Hurdle)
April 1983 (Jerry Martin, UL Washington)
October 1985 (George Brett, George Brett)
May 1991 (Brian McRae, Bill Pecota)
August 1992 (David Howard, Brian McRae)"

ESPN also has a chat transcript between Rob Neyer and Jim Caple.
Rob: "...though I get tired of Royals fans -- any fans, really -- who get worked up over how the national media covers (or doesn't cover) their favorite team, I do get a little thrill every time I can actually read about the Royals game without having to click on the Scores link first."

// posted by Harley @ 10:31 AM
Wednesday's News

White Sox 5, Royals 4. KC got the tying run on base in the 8th and 9th but came up short as Chicago evened the series. Kyle Snyder and Brent Mayne both left the game with injuries. D.J. Carrasco, Graeme Lloyd, Curtis Leskanic, and Jason Grimsley combined on 6 innings of shutout relief after Chicago scored 5 in the second inning. All three of the Royals' RBIs came with 2 outs--the 4th run scored on an error.
The Royals look to win the series against Bartolo Colon this afternoon.

Kevin Appier is a Royal again. His elbow seems to be ok.
Royals Notes: Michael Tucker to have an MRI, Nate Field sent to Omaha, Julius Matos rejoins the team, and Mike Sweeney still in "wait and see" mode.
Tony Pena called Dee Brown's 4-hit night on Monday.
Ask the Royals: Ryan Lefebvre likes Tony Pena. So does Doug Bauman.
Joe Posnanski is disrespecting the White Sox. Hasn't Chicago suffered enough?
Missouri State Fairgoers will get to answer the question: Cardinals or Royals?
This weekend, the Royals will meet Robert Szasz, the Tropicana Heckler.
Jonah Bayliss threw a no-hitter for the Class A Burlington Bees last night.
Omaha won in the 15th inning last night.
The Saturday, August 16th game vs. Minnesota will be the FOX game of the week.

// posted by Harley @ 8:46 AM

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Royals 13, Chiefs 9

As Yogi would say, it looked like deja vu all over again against the White Sox last night. Runelvys Hernandez struggled mightily, losing his handle on pitches and getting roughed up for 6 runs in 5 innings. Michael Tucker was writhing in pain in the batter's box after fouling a pitch off of his leg. Mike Sweeney was still on the bench, having experienced a back pain relapse. The White Sox offense pounded out 3 home runs, and Frank Thomas' 2,000th hit landed in the left-field bleachers. Nearly everything that could go wrong for KC last night, did. And yet when the dust cleared, the final score was Royals 13, White Sox 9. Seven different hitters provided RBIs for KC, with Angel Berroa and Aaron Guiel leading the way with 3 apiece. The Royals battled back after trailing 2-0 and 6-3 in the early going. Runelvys somehow notched his 6th win, and Al Levine pitched a perfect 8th and 9th for his first save with the Royals.
Tonight: Kyle Snyder vs. Esteban Loaiza

Royals Notes: Kevin Appier may soon be a Royal again, Juan Gonzalez might be, and Tom Gamboa should stay the heck away from Comiskey.
Royals Report: More on Appier, and Miguel Asencio threw off a mound in Surprise, Arizona, over the weekend.
Mike Sweeney is still sore. *sigh* Sweeney's in pain in more ways than one.
Angel Berroa was named AL Rookie of the month and Jose Lima was named AL Pitcher of the month for July. Lima's currently leading the race for AL cheerleader of the month for August.
Dan Werr has a great article up about the rites of September: "..let's just say no one's writing Rob 'n' Ranys about how lousy my days are."
Pre-injury Q & A with Michael Tucker. Next week is Q & A with Frank White.
Baseball Trutch looks at the moves made in the AL prior to the trading deadline. On KC: "...with these relatively low-cost moves, G.M. Allard Baird brought in three consummate pros who have lots of winning experience to shore up the Royals' biggest weakness."
Baseball Interactive now has a Royals column by Brian Bell. It has been added to the links section.
BP's The Week in Quotes: "...it's a repeat of the '50s where the Yankees used to go to the Kansas City A's and take their players and give them money so they could survive."
Gregg's Baseball, a Red Sox blog, has an article up on the Royals.
Thoughts from Diamond Mind has an article on the Royals' plate discipline, or lack thereof.
Ryan Lefebvre's Ask the Royals column has been updated, but I think it's just a recycling of old material.
The KC Star is running a poll for Sunday's paper: Is Kansas City a football town or a baseball town?
Wednesday afternoon's game will be televised on ESPN. They're beginning to notice that the Royals are still in 1st place.
This blog had its 1,000th visitor today, just shy of its 1 month birthday. So thanks to all 4 of you for hitting "reload" 250 times!

// posted by Harley @ 10:15 AM

Monday, August 04, 2003

August 13, 1993

The Royals took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the 8th at Comiskey Park. They trailed the first place Chicago White Sox by 2.5 games, but after a solid outing by starter Hipolito Pichardo, and a motley band of newly acquired relievers in John Habyan, Greg Cadaret, and Stan Belinda, it looked as if the Royals might shrink the Sox lead to 1.5 games. Jeff Montgomery, the Royals closer, came into the game in the eighth inning (closers did that back then). He promptly gave up a double to Ron Karkovice, and an RBI single to pinch hitter Warren Newsom to cut the lead to 4-3. Monty retired Rock Raines and Joey Cora and it looked like the Royals might escape the 8th with the lead still intact. Then came the Big Hurt.

The rest is history. At the time Frank was probably the best hitter in the American League. He blasted a pitch from Monty over the wall at Comiskey and gave the Sox a 5-4 lead they would not relinquish, and a 3.5 game lead they would not relinquish. In 1994, the strike cut short the season before a pennant race could really heat up for the Royals, and from 1995-2002, the Royals were the worst American League franchise west of Tampa.

Jeff Montgomery was the nineteenth Royal inducted into the franchise Hall of Fame Saturday, and yet this is the best memory I have of him. In a way, its quite appropriate. Monty played during the worst era of Royals baseball. It was an era when the franchise lost its way, giving playing time to guys like Kevin McReynolds, Tom Goodwin, Felix Jose, and Wally Joyner. His career was bookended by two of the worst moves in franchise history. In 1989, the Royals had a proven closer in Steve Farr and a second year reliever with a 3.45 ERA in Jeff Montgomery, yet still felt compelled to make closer Mark Davis the highest paid player in baseball. After Monty retired, the Royals had the worst bullpen in baseball, and in a knee jerk reaction, traded one of their most popular players - Johnny Damon, for an overrated closer in Roberto Hernandez.

To me, his career represents a lifetime of fruitless saves in meaningless games, except for that wonderful month in 1993 when the Royals made a run. He represents years of Jose Offerman, Jay Bell, Dean Palmer, Jose Rosado, Chris Haney. Those were years the Royals weren't turning out any good prospects, and the team was mired in mediocrity.

But that should not undermine the greatness that was Jeff Montgomery. He'll be the first to admit, he didn't have great stuff. I refuse to believe he threw over 90 very often, but he had a killer sinker (although he hung one to Big Frank) and relied on his guile to close out games. The man had over 300 saves, and the hole he left after he retired is indicative of how important he truly was to this team. Good job Monty.

Week in Review

The Royals were 2-4 this week, not good for a first place team to perform at home. They were blown out of the water by Chicago, who hit 13 home runs in a three game series. The Royals recouped against Tampa Bay, dropping the first game, but salvaging the last two, to prevent their first five game losing streak this season.

Royals this week
Batting .274/.328/.393
234 AB 34 R 64 H 7 2B 0 3B 7 HR 33 BI 14 BB 35 K 1/5 SB
Pitching 2-4 7.55
56 IP 81 H 49 R 47 ER 14 HR 16 BB 38 K

Who's hot
Raul Ibanez .417/.444/.583 1 HR 7 BI
Carlos Beltran .348/.444/.652 2 HR 5 BI
Angel Berroa .348/.400/.609 2 HR 6 BI

Who's not
Darrell May 0-1 8.53 12.2 I P15 H 12 ER 3 BB 9 K
Ken Harvey .143/.143/.190 0 HR 1 BI
Runelyvs Hernandez 0-1 20.25 2.2 IP 7 H 6 ER 2 BB 1 K

It's obvious pitching was the Royals culprit this week, but I think its more of running into a red hot Chicago White Sox team than anything. They were hitting 0-2 pitches out of the ballpark, most of the time into the second tier of the fountains. After their worst series of the season, the team responded well taking two out of three from a Tampa Bay team they should at least take two from.

Ken Harvey is in a major slump now. He's hitting .229 over the last month and has become a GIDP machine. I would start considering a platoon where he hits only against lefties, Ibanez plays first base against righties and Tucker plays left. Tony Pena needs to understand splits, and that putting five left handed batters against one of the better lefties (Mark Buerhle) in the league is not a good idea. Then again, Baird has not equipped him with a very good bench. Tell me, what is Brandon Berger and/or Mike Kelly doing in Omaha while we have eight pitchers in the bullpen rotting?

Coming up:
Three in Chicago, and four in Tampa Bay, so the Royals will get a good taste of the two worst stadiums in the league not named after Hubert H. Humphrey.

Monday: 7:05 RSTN
RHP Runelvys Hernandez (5-4 3.42) vs. RHP Jon Garland (8-7 3.48)
Tuesday: 7:05 RSTN
RHP Kyle Snyder (1-5 4.75) vs. RHP Esteban Loaiza (13-5 2.27)
Wednesday: 2:05
RHP Kris Wilson (5-1 4.83) vs. RHP Bartolo Colon (9-9 3.94)
Thursday: 6:15 RSTN
LHP Darrell May (5-5 3.80) vs. RHP Rob Bell (2-2 6.85)
Friday: 6:15 RSTN
LHP Jimmy Gobble (1-0 0.00) vs. RHP Jeremi Gonzalez (4-5 3.76)
Saturday: 5:15
RSTN RHP Runelvys Hernandez (5-4 3.42) vs. RHP Victor Zambrano (8-5 4.39)
Sunday: 12:15
KMCI RHP Kyle Snyder (1-5 4.75) vs. RHP Jorge Sosa (4-8 4.83)

Personally, I think Kevin Appier starts on Wednesday for the Royals, but until they officially sign him, its Wilson.

Pretty unfavorable pitching matchups throughout, but honestly, when have the Royals had a favorable pitching matchup this season? How the Royals respond to the Sox after getting drilled by them last week will tell a lot about this team's psyche. They are aided by the fact Chicago dropped two out of three in Seattle.

And if anyone would rather watch Todd Collins pass to a receiver you've never heard of and won't be on the team in three weeks rather than watch the Royals face their biggest rival, I will argue you're not a true sports fan.

// posted by ASMR Review @ 11:52 AM
Gobble's no Turkey

Monday's News:
Royals 2, Devil Rays 0: Joe Randa hit a solo home run, and Aaron Guiel had the club's 2nd inside-the-park home run of the series, but the story yesterday was Jimmy Gobble. In his major league debut, the youngster gave KC a solid outing just when they needed it, and even left Jose Lima (nearly) speechless. Lima: "Unbelievable." More from the KC Star.
Tonight the Royals head to Chicago, and Mike Sweeney could be back in the lineup. The game will be on ESPN.
Kevin Appier worked out at Kaufmann before Sunday's game. He could be a Royal again by Wednesday.
Royals Notes: Al Levine on pitching against his former team, Mike MacDougal within range of the rookie save record (37), and draft pick Greg Lubanski has a big game for the rookie league Arizona Royals.
Royals Report: Sweeney will be in Chicago--if weather doesn't delay his flight, Carlos Beltran is playing with pain, and Curtis Leskanic pitched in back-to-back games for the first time yesterday.
Sweeney homered and doubled for the Omaha Royals yesterday.
The new This Week in the AL Central has been posted at Baseball Nerds.
Max Rieper joins this blog's writing team. Look for his first article to be posted later today.
A look at KC attendance. Average home attendance is up 33% from last year, and the Royals have a shot at drawing 2 million this year. I'm doing my part, driving the 500+ miles to attend the September 27th game vs. Chicago. Kaufmann Stadium is a bargain--the field level seats I bought for $36 would have cost me $62 at Coors Field, $74 at Busch Stadium, or $140 at Fenway Park--and none of those teams are in first place! So get yourself to a game and tell yourself (or your accountant) that you're actually saving money.

// posted by Harley @ 9:58 AM

Sunday, August 03, 2003

In-Game Commentary

Jimmy Gobble makes his major league debut this afternoon. A 1999 draft pick, he went 12-8 with a 3.19 ERA in 22 games at Wichita this year, and along with Zack Greinke, is considered one of the Royals' "untouchable" prospects. Baseball America ranked him as the Royals' #3 prospect before the season began.

Today's lineup: Guiel, Randa, Beltran, Ibanez, Harvey, Relaford, Berroa, Tucker, Mayne. Randa's OPS is 711, Harvey's is 699. While they're crowd-pleasing players, they're just not offensively productive enough to hold down the #2 and #5 spots in the lineup. Relaford, with a 768 OPS, and Berroa, with a 837 OPS, deserve to be higher than 6th and 7th. I've said this before, but I'd go with a lineup of Guiel, Relaford, Beltran, Ibanez, Berroa, Tucker, Harvey, Randa, Mayne.

The dirty SOBs at my local radio station have elected to carry the Brickyard 400 rather than today's Royals game. This enrages me to no end, and means that I'll be doing the commentary based on online feeds. I'll do my best to minimize the "play-by-play" and include more analysis, which hopefully is what you all come here for.

Gobble gave up a leadoff single and stolen base to Carl Crawford, then settled down to retire the next 3 in order. He threw 13 pitches. I'm sure Tony Pena and John Cumberland will be watching Gobble's workload closely today--the last thing anyone in KC wants is Gobble to be the next A.J. Burnett.

Joe Randa gets a solo home run, his 11th of the year. I stand by my suggestion of putting him lower in the lineup--he's a fan favorite, he's probably better than any other third baseman the Royals could field at the moment, but he's just not that good of a player. He's above average defensively, below average on offense, and he's definitely not worth his $4.5 million salary. Royals 1, Devil Rays 0.

Gobble gets the Rays in order in the 2nd, and gets his first career strikeout--Damian Rolls swinging. Gobble's a finesse pitcher, without a dominant pitch, so he'll have to hit the corners to be successful today. 20 pitches in 2 innings, so far so good.

With 2 outs, Angel Berroa was hit by a pitch for the 14th time this year, which is tied for the league lead. Michael Tucker followed with a walk, but then Berroa was picked off. Berroa has a shot at the 20/20 club this year: 20 home runs & 20 HBPs. Jeremi Gonzalez has thrown 36 pitches through 2 innings.

The Twins lead Detroit 2-0 in the 2nd.

With one man on, Gobble gets ahead of Julio Lugo 0-2, then gives up a single on a pitch down the middle. Now the Tampa lineup will get their second look at Gobble--they were 3 for 9 the first time through. He gets a fielder's choice and 2 strikeouts to end the top of the 2nd--an 18-pitch inning.

Shannon Stewart homered for the Twins and they now lead 3-0.

With one out, Aaron Guiel gets an inside-the-park home run. This is the type of play I need the radio broadcast for--no idea what happened, but Guiel has his 10th home run of the season, the 7th Royal in double digits for homers. It's the 2nd inside-the-park round tripper for KC this week. Randa singles--he's 2 for 2 today. Beltran pops out and Ibanez grounds out to end the 3rd. KC's 3 through 9 hitters are 0 for 7 today. Royals 2, Devil Rays 0.

Gobble gets the Rays out in order on ten pitches. He's only thrown 4 shutout innings, but I'm already dreaming of a Greinke, Gobble, May, Hernandez rotation next year--shades of Saberhagen, Jackson, Leibrandt, and Gubicza. (end dream sequence)

Minnesota leads Detroit 5-0.

Gonzalez will face KC's 5,6,and 7 hitters. Overshadowed by the recent losing streak is how well the Royals have been hitting lately. They've scored 32 runs in the past 5 games, or 6.4 runs per game. Only a complete meltdown of the starting pitching could give them a 1-4 record over that stretch. Gonzalez gets a 1-2-3 inning, striking out 2. He's worked a lot harder than Gobble today--70 pitches through 4 innings--but Jeremi's still only allowed 3 hits. 2 of them were home runs, though.

Gobble back to the mound in the 5th. What will his pitch limit be today? I think 75 or 80 should be the max, which may give him 7 innings at the rate he's going. He gets a line-out, a groundout, then delivers his first walk to Julio Lugo. Crawford gets his second hit of the game, singling Lugo to third, and Gobble's under pressure for the first time. He gets Antonio Perez to fly out to end the inning. Gobble has now thrown 66 pitches.

Tucker flies out, Mayne grounds out, and KC's 3 through 9 hitters are now 0 for 12 today. Guiel flies out to end the inning. Both of these young pitchers have thrown 5 good innings, Gonzalez has simply made 2 more mistakes than Gobble so far.

Gobble's back out for the 6th. I suspect that this will be his last inning. Rocco Baldelli and Aubrey Huff are retired quickly, but Toby Hall follows with a double, and Tampa has a man in scoring position for the second inning in a row. Travis Lee flies out to end the threat. Gobble's pitch count is now 76, and I think you have to take him out here. While the bullpen has been overworked lately, I think you have to think long-term when it comes to a youngster like Gobble. Six shutout innings is the best performance by a KC starter since Darrel May's July 19th outing in Seattle.

Gonzalez gets the Royals in order in the 7th, and he has now retired 11 straight since Randa's single in the 3rd.

Detroit has reduced the Twins' lead to 5-2.

Gobble comes back out for KC, so his pitch limit must be higher than 75 today. Rolls leads off with a double, and Tampa has a RISP for the third straight inning. Sandberg, Lugo, and Crawford will follow, they have 4 of the Devil Rays' 6 hits today. And Curtis Leskanic will relieve Gobble, who I'm certain is leaving to a standing ovation. Marlon Anderson pinch-hits for Sandberg, and grounds out, moving Rolls to third. Lugo lines out to Leskanic, and Crawford grounds out, stranding Rolls. Gobble's day is over: 6 IP, 6 hits, 3 Ks, 1 BB, 0 runs, 83 pitches. Not a bad debut.

Gonzalez returns for the bottom of the 7th, and he passes 100 pitches on the day, getting Harvey to pop out. Relaford flies out and Berroa grounds out and Jeremi Gonzalez has retired 14 consecutive batters.

Jeremy Affeldt comes out for the 8th. While I think he's a pretty good reliever, I'd rather have him overcome his blister problems and put in some quality starts down the stretch. Maybe next year, though, he could be groomed for the setup role. 3 up, 3 down for Tampa.

The Rays will stick with the hot hand, sending Gonzalez back to the mound for the 8th. Tucker grounds out, then Mayne singles, just the 4th hit for the Royals today. Gonzalez had faced 15 straight without allowing a baserunner. Guiel hits into a force-out, Mayne moves to second. Randa grounds out to end the 8th.

Minnesota now leads Detroit 7-2 in the 8th

Affeldt returns for the 9th. Hall grounds out, Lee strikes out, and Rolls strikes out. Game over. Affeldt gets his first big league save, Jimmy Gobble gets his first big league win, and the Royals get their first shutout victory since July 8.
Royals 2, Devil Rays 0.

// posted by Harley @ 12:33 PM
Stats Leaders

Through Saturday, August 2nd:
RCAA
Carlos Beltran 22
Mike Sweeney 19
Raul Ibanez 4
Aaron Guiel 2
Angel Berroa 1
Desi Relaford -6
Dee Brown -7
Mike DiFelice -8
Michael Tucker -13
Brent Mayne -15
Joe Randa -16
Carlos Febles -19
Ken Harvey -22

RSAA
Darrell May 22
Runelvys Hernandez 15
Jose Lima 13
Jeremy Affeldt 8
D.J. Carrasco 7
Mike MacDougal 7
Nate Field 4
Jason Grimsley 4
Curtis Leskanic 4
Kyle Snyder 4
Kris Wilson 2
Al Levine 1
Graeme Lloyd -3

Carlos Beltran is 2nd in stolen bases, 8th in runs created per game, tied for 8th in triples, 10th in on-base percentage, 4th in secondary average, 5th in total average, and 6th in BPA.
Darrell May is tied for 7th in RSAA, 9th in fewest baserunners per 9 innings, 7th in neutral percentage.
Mike MacDougal is tied for 3rd in saves, 2nd in games finished, tied for 5th in games pitched, tied for 6th in wild pitches.
Raul Ibanez is 9th in singles, and tied for 3rd in sacrifice flies.
Angel Berroa is tied for 2nd in hit by pitch, and tied for 4th in sacrifices.
Joe Randa is tied for 4th in sacrifices.
Desi Relaford is tied for 4th in sacrifices.
Michael Tucker is tied for 8th in triples, tied for 9th in sacrifices, 2nd in caught stealing, and 7th in strikeouts
Ken Harvey has the worst RCAA of any AL starting first baseman.
Chris George is tied for 1st in balks, 7th in home runs allowed, tied for 5th in neutral losses.

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

// posted by Harley @ 12:14 PM
Sunday's News

Royals 10, Devil Rays 8: Mike MacDougal got his first save since the All-Star Break. The Royals blew a 7-2 lead, then rallied for the victory. Another 4-game losing streak, KC's third of the season, bit the dust. And a crowd of over 38,000 was there to see it. Wow.
Jimmy Gobble starts for the Royals this afternoon. While I'm excited to see the kid pitch, I'm afraid of all the possible negative consequences of rushing this very valuable prospect up from AA. At least his debut comes at home against Tampa Bay rather than, say, in Comiskey. But I'd like to have seen Jamey Wright get a start before Gobble. Hopefully he'll return to the minors when Jose Lima or Miguel Asencio is healthy again.
Royals Notes: More on Gobble.
Jose Lima goes on the 15-day DL, in what may begin a flurry of roster moves this week.
In Omaha, Mike Sweeney went 0 for 4 with a strikeout, but reached base and scored on an outfielder's error made on his first sharply hit ball since June.
Judd Choate looks at the Royals' options now that the trading deadline has passed.
Tony Pena says Desi Relaford is the team's MVP.
Jeff Montgomery was inducted into the Royals' Hall of Fame yesterday. The KC Star took a look back at his career.
Where are they now: former Royal Gaylord Perry.
FYI: Monday night's game at Chicago will be televised on ESPN.

// posted by Harley @ 11:03 AM

Saturday, August 02, 2003

Saturday's News

Devil Rays 9, Royals 6. Starter Jose Lima left the game in the 2nd last night, having aggravated his groin strain. The Royals have averaged more than 5 runs of offense per game during their current 4-game losing streak.
Chicago has moved into a tie for first place, as the Royals look to break their losing streak tonight against Tampa Bay.
Darrell May will start tonight, on three days' rest.
Baseball Primer has a new Bi-Weekly Review up for the AL Central.
The Royals expect to have an impact bat back in the lineup soon.
Jeff Montgomery joins the Royals Hall of Fame today. Our new correspondent Max is attending the game and will report on it for this weblog.
Mike Sweeney has been sent down to AAA Omaha. Sean Lowe was also sent down, to make roster room for Al Levine.
The Omaha Royals won in dramatic fashion Thursday night, with Alexis Gomez throwing out a runner at home to end the game.

// posted by Harley @ 10:00 AM

Friday, August 01, 2003

Friday's News

White Sox 8, Royals 6, 11 innings: KC battled back to tie the game 3 times, but left the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth and came up short. Kyle Snyder continued the parade of home runs surrendured by Royals starters: the White Sox had 13 round-trippers in their series sweep. The divisional race just got a lot more exciting, so it must be time for...
The Devil Rays are coming to town. But these ain't your older brother's Devil Rays--they're coming off a 3-game sweep at Toronto, and a 14-12 month of July.
The Dallas Morning News reports that Juan Gonzalez rejected a trade to KC yesterday because he wanted his deferred salary in the next 2 years, rather than a long-term payout. (Article requires registration. Thanks P.J. Kellerman!)
Royals Notes: Allard Baird is still looking to deal, Mike Sweeney's going to the minors this weekend, for rehab.
Rob & Rany talk trade deadline.
Sweeney says he's free of pain.
More on Al Levine, from Lee Sinins:
Levine's working on his 4th year with a double digit RSAA in the past 5 seasons, with a 2.90 ERA/10 RSAA in his first 36 games. He has a 3.81 career ERA, compared to his league average of 4.70, and 50 RSAA in 324 games.
Levine, not Ponson, was the best pitcher traded yesterday. Over the past 5 years, he is 7th in the majors in RSAA among pitchers with under 10 starts--
RSAA
1 Keith Foulke 100
2 Mariano Rivera 78
3 Billy Wagner 64
T4 Armando Benitez 60
T4 Steve Karsay 60
6 Mike Remlinger 58
7 Al Levine 57
8 Paul Quantrill 53
9 Paul Shuey 50
10 Shigetoshi Hasegawa 47

// posted by Harley @ 9:45 AM