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Friday, May 28, 2004

The Man-Eaters of Motown 

Tigers 17, Royals 7: KC pitchers allowed a team-record 27 hits, including 20 off of Brian Anderson and Justin Huisman in the first 5 1/3 innings. Tigers first baseman Carlos Pena tied the MLB record for hits in a 9-inning game by going 6 for 6. It was the first ever 6-hit performance by a Royals opponent. And Huisman survived a scary moment when he was hit in the forehead by a Pena line drive. Box Score.

Zack Greinke makes his Kauffman Stadium debut tonight against Brad Radke and the Twins. RSTN will have the game, starting at 7:00.

Before yesterday’s game, KC placed Juan Gonzalez on the 15-day DL, retroactive to May 22, and brought Byron Gettis up from Omaha. Gettis made his major league debut as yesterday’s starting right fielder. So, who had May 27th in the Juan Gone DL pool?
Oh, the Royals also missed another chance at their first sweep of the year.
It’s been like the Twilight Zone for Brian Anderson, who may be heading to the bullpen soon.
Mike Carminati has a detailed look at yesterday's game at Mike's Baseball Rants.

On the Farm:
For Wichita, Ruben Gotay went 3 for 4 with a homer on Wednesday. He’s hitting .283.
Carlos Santos went 2 for 4 with a double and 3 RBI. His average is now .298.
Dusty Hughes made his Wilmington debut, and got a tough luck loss after throwing 6 strong innings, allowing 1 run on 7 hits and a walk, striking out 3. His Carolina League ERA is 1.50.
Mitch Maier continues to hit well in Burlington, going 2 for 4 with a double to raise his average to .301.

Milestones:
Thursday was Kelly Stinnett's 600th career game.
Wilton Guerrero's triple in the 9th inning was the 30th of his career.

This Date in Royals History:
May 28, 1979—George Brett hits for the cycle as the Royals beat Orioles 5-4 in 16 innings. Box Score.
May 28, 1993—Robin Yount and the Brewers beat the Royals 5-1, in the first game to feature 2 3,000-hit men since 1925. Box Score.

Enjoy the holiday weekend! I'll be heading to St. Louis until Monday, so the next post here will be on Tuesday.

// posted by Harley @ 9:09 AM

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Again With the Talk of Broom Preparations and Jinxing of the S-W-_-_-_ 

Royals 7, Tigers 3: Darrell May repeatedly pitched out of jams, and the Royals offense showed some spark, with homers from Mike Sweeney and Matt Stairs. May allowed a two-run homer in the 8th, and the Tigers loaded the bases on Scott Sullivan, but Jaime Cerda came in from the bullpen to end the threat. And when Cerda struggled in the 9th, Jeremy Affeldt induced a double play to pick up the save. Box Score.

Brian Anderson faces Nate Robertson this afternoon at 1:10

Rob and Rany on Zack Greinke and Angel Berroa.
Juan Gonzalez has missed the past 4 games with a sore back. No news there.
Apparently Tony Pena wasn’t kidding about having Mike Sweeney play in the outfield. He’s considering that for interleague play when there won’t be a DH slot to keep Sweeney and Ken Harvey in the lineup.
In other news, Mike MacDougal has yet to pitch for Omaha due to a sore forearm. Recent assignment designee Adrian Brown cleared waivers back to Omaha. However, Eduardo Villacis was claimed by the Chicago White Sox and assigned to the AA Birmingham Barons.
The KC Star reports that our starting pitching is coming around. Couldn’t they have waited until after Anderson’s start to print that?
Chris Lubanski’s online journal has been updated.
The Royals are continuing a string of success against the Tigers.
Baseball America’s Daily Dish on Colt Griffin. Scroll down to the May 25th report.

Milestones:
Matt Stairs scored for the 500th time in his career on his home run in the 1st.
Jaime Cerda's strikeout with the bases loaded in the 8th inning was career K #50.
Brandon Berger played in his 75th career game and had his 200th career at bat.

On the Farm:
Calvin Pickering hit a grand slam for Omaha on Tuesday. He’s hitting .297 and now has 16 circuit shots.
Ruben Gotay went 3 for 5 with a double and a homer for Wichita. His average stands at .273.
Mitch Aviles went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI for Wilmington, raising his average to .329.
In Burlington, Chris Lubanski went 2 for 5 with 3 runs scored. He’s hitting .226.
Mitch Maier went 3 for 5 with 3 RBI and a steal, and is now batting .296.

// posted by Harley @ 8:37 AM

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Guillenterferencegate: Day One 

Royals 4, Tigers 3: Our season is going so badly that even the umpires pity us. With one out in the ninth and runners on first and third, Ivan Rodriguez grounded to short. Angel Berroa flipped to Desi Relaford, but Carlos Guillen came crashing into second, allowing Rodriguez to reach first and Alex Sanchez to score from third. But umpire C.B. Bucknor called runner interference on Guillen, a rule that’s enforced about once every presidential administration. Game over, Royals win. Jeremy Affeldt got his first save of the year, and Jimmy Gobble pitched 6 scoreless innings before allowing the tying runs to reach base in the seventh. Jason Grimsley let his inherited runners score, but hung on to get the win. Box Score.

Darrell May faces Gary Knotts tonight at 7:10.

More on the interference call. And Bob Dutton offers a divine explanation.
Zack Greinke will make his home debut on Friday.
Bradford Doolittle puts Greinke’s debut into the context of other young aces.
Allard Baird and Tony Pena are still focused on winning ballgames, not making trades.
Michigan Live talks about how the Tigers wanted to be “this year’s Royals.” But those were last year’s Royals.
The New York Mets should be buyers during the upcoming trade season, and according to the NY Daily News, they’re interested in Darrell May and Brian Anderson, as well as Carlos Beltran.
The diagnosis is shoulder problems for Colt Griffin, the high schooler with a 100-mph fastball who was the Royals 2001 first round draft pick.
The Brett family-owned El Paso Diablos may be relocating to Springfield, Missouri.

Wait Til Next Year has some interesting comments on Zack Greinke:

...there is no other way to start this entry than by saying the future is now in Kansas City. Having little other options, Allain Baird and Tony Pena decided it was time to bring up the phenom formerly known as Zack Greinke. In my Royals preview at THT, I attempted to draw comparisons on Bret Saberhagen and Greinke, and wrote this on Saberhagen:

In the June 1982 amateur draft, the Royals selected a high school pitcher named Bret Saberhagen in the nineteenth round. They sent the right-hander to their high-A affiliate in the Florida State League to start the 1983 season, and after sixteen starts there, he finished with eleven AA Southern League starts. He was 19 in 1983, and then at 20, broke in as a reliever with the Royals, getting moved into the rotation late in the 1984 season. By 1985, he was the ace.

It’s interesting that this time around, Kansas City did not take the relief route. Instead, Greinke was sent to Omaha, where he started six games before his call up. Greinke had a 2.51 ERA in 28.2 innings, which included 25 hits, six walks, 23 strikeouts and two home runs allowed. I didn’t see Greinke’s start, I really have to get MLB TV, but I heard he pitched in the low-90s with pretty good control.

Note that Saberhagen’s 1984 season was not exactly as I described it at THT. He made 38 appearances that year, 18 of them he had started. While I assumed this meant he was broke in as a reliever, Saberhagen’s role had been undefined all year long. His first start came on April 19, and he started seven in a row between April 28 and June 4. He was used sparingly until September, when his last three appearances were all starts, including a complete game shutout of the Angels. Saberhagen’s ERA was 3.48 that year, similar to what I think Greinke might do in about 20 starts this year. While I didn’t buy into this comparison much last year, the two are actually strikingly similar, and Kansas City fans should begin praying Greinke doesn’t fall victim to the same injury that Bret did.


On the Farm:
For Wilmington on Monday, Donnie Murphy went 4 for 5 with 2 doubles and 2 RBI. He’s hitting .297.
Mitch Maier continues to hit well for Burlington, going 2 for 4 with a triple and an RBI. His average stands at .287.
And Kirk McClellan may be turning things around for the Bees. He went 8 1/3 innings, allowing 4 runs on 9 hits, walking none and striking out 6. His ERA is 5.21.

Trivia:
What former Royal made his major league 28 years ago today? He was a first-round draft pick in 1971 and spent his entire career in Kansas City. He played in every single Royals post-season series. He set a record in 1982 that helped define the playing style of the early 80’s Royals, despite being only 6th in the league in the particular offensive category for which he set the record.

// posted by Harley @ 9:00 AM

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

0 for Oakland 

Sunday--A’s 3, Royals 2: Another extra-inning loss, this time spoiling a great outing by Dennys Reyes. Nate Field gave up the game-winning hit, a bloop single by Eric Byrnes. KC made early errors to give Oakland the lead, and couldn’t capitalize on a one-out, bases-loaded situation in the top of the 6th. Mike Sweeney homered for the second straight game. Box Score.

Saturday--A’s 5, Royals 4: Jeremy Affeldt has had several wins blown by the bullpen this season. On Saturday he got his turn. And blew Zack Greinke’s first career win. Greinke went 5 innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits, walking one and striking out one. The Royals were one strike away from victory, but Affeldt coughed up a two-run, game-tying homer to Eric Chavez. The A’s eventually won in the 11th inning. Box Score.

Jimmy Gobble gets the start, against Mike Maroth, at 7:10 tonight.

Juan Gonzalez’s “minor” back injury has kept him out of the lineup the past two games.
Royals notes: Mendy Lopez got the start in right field over Matt Stairs on Saturday, Shawn Camp was sent to Omaha, and Eduardo Villacis was designated for assignment.
Possible targets for the Royals in the June amateur draft, according to Baseball America:
Miami of Ohio first baseman Mike Ferris
Monsignor Pace HS lefty Gio Gonzalez
Princeton outfielder B.J. Szymanski
Oklahoma St. third baseman Josh Fields
Seneca HS lefty Scott Elbert

A look at Zack Greinke’s debut, including a pitch-by-pitch dissection of his final batter.
Tony Graffanino is now rehabbing with Omaha.
Kevin Appier is off to Arizona, and Dennys Reyes will stay in the rotation for now.
Notebook: Carlos Beltran isn’t distracted by the trade rumors, Curtis Leskanic has thrown 4 scoreless innings since getting a cortisone shot.
Bob Dutton speculates that a roster shakeup may be coming at the end of the month. And it won’t just be Carlos Beltran leaving.
Joe Posnanski wonders where the magic went.
Beltran is the club’s only center fielder for now—unless you want to see Brandon Berger or Wilton Guerrero staggering around out there…
Sunday’s loss gave the Royals the worst record in the majors.
Johnny Damon offers some advice to Carlos Beltran, rumors surface of a possible trade to San Diego.
If the season ended today, would Beltran be the AL MVP?
Jermain Dye made some great catches over the weekend, conjuring up visions of what might have been.

On the Farm:
On Saturday, Calvin Pickering had a two-homer game for Omaha. He’s batting .320.
Carlos Santos went 2 for 4 with a double for Wichita, raising his average to .286.
David DeJesus went 2 for 4 with a double and a stolen base for Omaha on Friday. He’s hitting .299.
Alexis Gomez showed signs of life, going 3 for 4 with a triple. His average is .194.
Kyle Middleton had another great outing for Wichita. He went 7 innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits and 2 walks, striking out 4. His ERA is 3.42.
Mitch Aviles went 2 for 5 with a double for Wilmington. He’s hitting .331.
For Burlington, Kahi Kaaihue went 2 for 3 with 6 RBI, hitting a triple and a homer. He’s batting .225.
Mitch Maier went 2 for 5 with a double and a stolen base. He’s hitting .297.
Dusty Hughes got his 4th win of the year with a 7-inning, one run on 5 hits and 2 walks, 8-K performance. His ERA drops to 1.56.

This Date in Royals History:
May 25, 1986—George Brett goes 1-for-7 but gets his 2,000th hit, and the Royals win 2-1 over the White Sox, in 17 innings. Box Score.
May 25, 2002—Royals 6, Rangers 3. Roberto Hernandez records his 300th career save. Box Score.

// posted by Harley @ 9:03 AM

Saturday, May 22, 2004

A moment of silence 

Doug Pappas, creator of Doug's Business of Baseball Weblog died Thursday of heat stroke at Big Bend National Park. He was 43.
Pappas was a leading member of the Society for American Baseball Research, and a great voice of reason in the world of corporate baseball. He was well known as an outspoken and well-reasoned critic of Bud Selig.
I invite you to read a couple of great tributes to Doug, at Futility Infielder, and Baseball Primer.

// posted by Harley @ 9:54 AM

Mulderized 

A’s 7, Royals 0: Too much Mark Mulder in this one. Mulder took a no-hitter into the 7th and got his third straight complete game. KC managed only 6 baserunners: Mike Sweeney, Angel Berroa, and Wilton Guerrero each singled, and Berroa, Kelly Stinnett, and Mendy Lopez were each hit by a pitch. Box Score.

Zack Greinke will make his debut this afternoon at 3:00 CST in Oakland against Barry Zito. Unfortunately, the game will not be televised. You can follow it online at Yahoo, ESPN, or CBS Sportsline. I’ll be listening to Fred and Ryan on WHB 810 AM.

Rob & Rany on Greinke.
Before Friday’s game, the Royals purchased Brandon Berger’s contract from Omaha and designated Adrian Brown for assignment. Berger started the game, and is expected to be used extensively against left-handed pitching.
There will be at least one more roster move made today, in order to make room for Zack Greinke. Who will be sent down? Wilton Guerrero, Mendy Lopez, and Shawn Camp are likely possibilities. Or perhaps Curtis Leskanic will finally go on the DL.
Juan Gonzalez, who left last night’s game with tightness in his lower back, is day-to-day. Nothing new to report.
Jeremy Affeldt is the new Royals closer. Dennys Reyes will pitch Affeldt’s scheduled start on Sunday. Jamey Wright may be called up if Zack Greinke falters or Kevin Appier fails to return as scheduled.

This Date in Royals History:
May 22, 1991—John Wathan is replaced by Hal McRae as Royals manager.
May 22, 1994—David Cone throws a one-hit shutout in a 4-0 win over the Angels. Box Score.

// posted by Harley @ 8:42 AM

Friday, May 21, 2004

Broom-Dusting Denied 

Rangers 6, Royals 2: Darrell May was roughed up for 5 runs in the 2nd inning, and the Royals were playing catch-up all night once again. KC used five relievers, none of whom allowed a run. But the offense couldn’t get anything going after the 4th inning, and stranded 4 runners in scoring position. Box Score.

Brian Anderson faces Mark Mulder tonight in Oakland. The game starts at 8:05 CST and will be on RSTN.

Anderson just wants to “go out and bust out of it.” Kinda makes me glad I won’t be watching the game.
Tony Pena on last night’s game.
Royals Notes: Brian Anderson and Kevin Appier remember their major league debuts, Tony Graffanino and Appier stay on track, and the Royals sign 2003 draft picks Luis Cota, Mitch Goins, and John Sokoll. Cota had been projected to go in the first round of the 2004 draft had KC not signed him.
The circumstances of Zack Greinke’s debut are merely fortuitous coincidence, according to Allard Baird. And George Brett and Bret Saberhagen filmed a segment for the new “Field of Dreams” DVD.

The Chicago Tribune’s “View From a Cubs Fan” is focused on Carlos Beltran.

On the Farm:
Carlos Santos went 3 for 4 with a solo homer for Omaha on Wednesday. He’s hitting .281.

This Date in Royals History:
May 21, 2003—Royals 14, Mariner 5. The Royals hit 6 home runs, tying a team record, and end a 4-game losing streak. Box Score.

// posted by Harley @ 10:00 AM

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Shall we dust our brooms? 

Wednesday--Royals 5, Rangers 3: Jimmy Gobble had another good night, going 6 1/3 and allowing 3 runs on 6 hits for the win. Justin Huisman pitched a scoreless 8th and 9th for his first save of the year. The big blow on offense came on a 3-run homer by Juan Gonzalez. Angel Berroa and Ken Harvey each had solo shots, giving the Royals consecutive 3-homer games.

Tuesday--Royals 7, Rangers 6: A poor outing by Jeremy Affeldt put KC in a 5-0 hole by the middle of the game, but the offense rallied for 16 hits, including homers by Matt Stairs, Carlos Beltran, and Mike Sweeney. Scott Sullivan, Jason Grimsley, and Nate Field all pitched well in relief. Nate Field picked up his first career save in his new role as closer. Box Score.

Darrell May faces Kenny Rogers tonight at 7:00 as the Royals try for their first sweep of the year—on the road, no less. A win would also bring the club back to 10 games under .500, and make it 6 wins in our last 10 games. So that broom-dusting is in the baseball sense, not the Elmore James sense.

Zack Greinke will make his major league debut on Saturday, pitching against Barry Zito in Oakland on “Reggie Jackson Day”. Greinke will become the 3rd-youngest Royal in franchise history, older than only Bret Saberhagen and Mark Littell. And he’ll be the first high-schooler picked in the 2002-03 draft to reach the big leagues. Allard Baird says he’ll let Greinke “go 90 or even 100 pitches on Saturday if circumstances permit.”
More on Greinke from The Topeka Capital-Journal, The Kansas City Star, and the Omaha Royals.

In other news, Aaron Guiel underwent successful laser eye surgery, Kevin Appier threw from the mound for the second time, and Joe Dawley was picked up by Cleveland after being placed on waivers to make room for Wilton Guerrero on the 40-man roster.
Rob & Rany on Rob. And also the Royals.
Juan Gonzalez seems to be settling in, getting the game-winning 3-run homer in last night’s game.
In fact, the entire offense really woke up in the past two games.
Herk Robinson on passing up Albert Pujols in the 1999 draft. The Royals picked Kyle Snyder instead.
Royals players talk about their favorite stadiums in the latest Fan Forum. Not surprisingly, Benito Santiago’s favorite no longer exists.
Desi Relaford. He’s bald.
”Gobble Consumes Rangers”: can’t MLB.com come up with a better headline than that? Yech.

Beltran rumor update:
Another comment from Allard Baird on the Beltran trade rumors:
“If and when we do trade, it will have to be for players who will be with us for a while.”
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer responds with “Nevertheless…”
And new rumors about the Cubs and Padres’ interest in Beltran, from the Chicago Daily Herald. Mark Grudzielanek, Kyle Farnsworth, and Sergio Mitre? The offers are improving.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox would really like to unload Byung-Hyun Kim.
A Boston Globe poll reports that Red Sox fans would rather have Beltran play for the scarlet hose than Randy “Perfecto” Johnson, by a margin of 22%.

Milestones:
Scott Sullivan’s victory on Tuesday night gave him 40 career wins.
Juan Gonzalez had career at-bat #6550 on Wednesday night.
Carlos Beltran’s home run Tuesday night puts him at 119 career homers, tying him with Steve Balboni for 8th in franchise history.
In the following at-bat, Mike Sweeney hit his 144th home run, moving him past John Mayberry and into 5th place on the list. He’s just 16 behind Frank White. Here’s how the Royals career top ten looks now:

1. George Brett – 317
2. Amos Otis - 193
3. Hal McRae – 169
4. Frank White – 160
5. Mike Sweeney – 144
6. John Mayberry – 143
7. Danny Tartabull – 124
8. Carlos Beltran – 119
9. Steve Balboni – 119
10. Bo Jackson – 109

// posted by Harley @ 9:19 AM

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Omaha Update 

The Omaha Royals are now 17-22, in last place of the Pacific Coast League’s Central Division. But we’re not interested in team performance so much as individual standouts that may be able to contribute to the major league team soon. We’ll start with the pitching staff:
(All stats through Monday's game)

NameIPERAHitsK/BB
Ryan Bukvich19.64.121722/8
D.J. Carrasco142.57179/5
Chris Cumberland4.611.5773/7
Joe Dawley313.192629/8
Chris George181.50176/7
Zack Greinke28.62.512523/6
Doug Linton26.610.465121/7
Rudy Seanez18.62.891420/9
Jimmy Serrano22.36.852425/17
Mike Venafro15.32.931613/5
Brad Voyles31.34.313029/19
Kris Wilson428.366927/10
Jamey Wright46.62.514131/12

Jamey Wright, Chris George, and Joe Dawley have all pitched well enough to have a shot at starting a game for KC sometime this season. And I predict that they’ll appear in that order. Greinke might precede Dawley, but he won’t be called up for at least another month. In the bullpen, Rudy Seanez is probably the biggest surprise—he pitched very well in spring training, too. Mike Venafro and D.J. Carrasco also make the short-list of relievers-to-be-called-up. Jimmy Serrano has been disappointing, but he’s not giving up a ton of hits yet—if he can overcome his control problems, he should be able to turn things around this year. Doug Linton just needs to hang up his spikes, and Kris Wilson and Chris Cumberland are nearing that point, too.

And the batters:
NamePositionOPSHRBB/KSB
Alberto CastilloCatcher634011/130
Gookie DawkinsShortstop60038/302
David DeJesusOutfield82309/122
Byron GettisOutfield766424/432
Alexis GomezOutfield51217/312
Jed HansenSecond Base91769/181
Jarrod PattersonUtility728222/200
Paul PhillipsCatcher77116/92
Calvin PickeringFirst Base12431321/290
Rick ShortThird Base58534/141

Calvin Pickering’s season has been a great story, but unfortunately, he plays the wrong position to help KC. After him, Jed Hansen has quietly put together a great start—if Randa goes to the DL, or Berroa or Relaford go back to the DL, he may get another shot in the majors. DeJesus is playing a bit below expectations, but he’ll bounce back up to the bigs soon. Omaha is also getting solid seasons from Byron Gettis, as expected, and the 24-year old Paul Phillips, who is looking more and more like Kansas City’s 2006 starting catcher. I don’t know a thing about his defensive skills, but until I learn otherwise, I’ll hope for the best. Mediocre veterans Castillo, Dawkins, and Short aren’t playing much below expectations, but Gomez definitely is. What’s wrong with him? He’s in a slump—but I’d expect him to break out of it in the next few weeks. He has the skills to shake this off and get back on track.

Overall, there’s a bit more pitching hope for KC from the AAA team than offense, but there’s some hope that we have the pieces to put together a mid-season surge. How much longer can Curtis Leskanic take a roster spot from these youngsters? Hopefully Leskanic will finally go on the DL soon and Wright and Seanez will get their opportunities.

My Omaha Royals Preview from April 13.

// posted by Harley @ 1:47 PM

Here we go again... 

Jeremy Affeldt, still looking for his first win, starts tonight’s 7:00 game against R.A. Dickey and the Rangers. Texas has had some surprisingly good pitching so far, and they’re sitting at 22-15, just behind Anaheim in the AL West.

Rob Neyer is already saying “wait ‘til next year” for the Royals. And he thinks they should trade Beltran immediately.
Bradford Doolittle takes a realistic look at the Royals’ 2004 playoff hopes.
Tony Pena is sticking with his lineup.
For those still looking for answers to why the Royals have been so awful, Jeffrey Flanagan offers The Krispy Kreme Conspiracy. Now that’s something we can sink our teeth into…

Joe Posnanski toasts Herk Robinson.
And the KC Star has a Robinson timeline.
More on the Beltran trade rumors, denied yesterday by Allard Baird, from Fox Sports, the New Jersey Star-Ledger (scroll down) and the Boston Globe.
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is being sued over a matter of some lost tapes.
The Royals Wives Food Drive is set for June 4th and 5th. Donate $10 worth of non-perishable food items and get an autographed photo of a Royals player.

On the Farm:
Byron Gettis went 1 for 2 with 2 walks for Omaha on Sunday. He’s hitting .263.
Mitch Maier went 2 for 3 for Burlington, and is batting .305.

Stay tuned later today for a look at the Omaha Royals’ season-so-far.

// posted by Harley @ 8:45 AM

Monday, May 17, 2004

Swept by the Big 3 

Sunday--A’s 6, Royals 2: Brian Anderson got his 5th loss of the year, and Barry Zito overcame a 1st-inning rally by the Royals to sweep the series. Joe Randa’s two-run triple in the first was the only offense KC could generate. Kelly Stinnett did extend his team-leading hitting streak to 10 games. Box Score.
Saturday--A’s 3, Royals 1: Darrell May threw the Royals’ first complete game of the year, but Mark Mulder outpitched him for the victory. Joe Randa’s solo homer was one of only 4 hits the Royals could muster. May allowed 5 hits and a walk and struck out 6 while dropping his ERA to 5.66. Box Score.
Friday--A’s 6, Royals 2: Jimmy Gobble allowed 9 hits in his 5 2/3 innings, and 5 of them were for extra bases. Meanwhile, Tim Hudson allowed the Royals bats only 6 singles. Not a recipe for success. The silver lining was two strong innings pitched by Scott Sullivan. Box Score.

The Royals head to Arlington for a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday series. Jeremy Affeldt faces R.A. Dickey in the opener tomorrow night.

Aaron Guiel was placed on the 15-day DL on Sunday with blurred vision in his left eye. Wilton Guerrero was called up from Omaha, and Joe Dawley was designated for assignment to make room for Guerrero on the 40-man roster.
Herk Robinson, Chief Operating Officer, and former General Manager of the Royals, announced his retirement on Sunday. He spent 35 years with the Royals, longer than any current employee.
Allard Baird insists there are no plans to trade Carlos Beltran. Yet.
In a lineup shuffle, the slumping Angel Berroa has been replaced in the leadoff spot by Desi Relaford, who’s starting to swing the bat well.
Kevin Appier is scheduled to begin making rehab starts soon. No word on his knuckleball.
Adrian Brown made his first start of the year on Saturday.
The Associated Press suggests that Garth Brooks was singing about the Royals in that “Friends in Low Places” number.
Remember Bob Hamelin? He stopped by the Royals clubhouse on Saturday. It was less than 10 years ago that Hamelin was the AL Rookie of the Year.
And finally, a long-awaited update on the Spider-man 2 brouhaha.

On the Farm:
Trae McGill had another great outing for Wilmington on Saturday. He improved to 6-0 on the year by going 8 2/3 innings, allowing 1 run on 6 hits and striking out 2. His ERA stands at 1.39, and his ticket to Wichita should be punched soon.
Mitch Maier went 3 for 4 for the Bees with a solo home run and 2 stolen bases. His average is .296.
On Friday, Chris Lubanski showed more signs of breaking out of his slump, going 2 for 4 with a triple and an RBI. He’s hitting .231.
On Thursday, for Wilmington, Mitch Aviles went 2 for 6 and Donnie Murphy went 2 for 5. Aviles is batting .336, Murphy .317.
In game 1 of Burlington’s doubleheader, Adam Donachie went 1 for 3 with a homer and 3 RBI, and Lubanski went 2 for 4. Donachie is hitting .157.

League Leaders (through Saturday’s games)
Carlos Beltran is tied for 2nd in home runs, 3rd in stolen bases, 4th in runs scored, 4th in SLG, 6th in triples, 7th in OPS, 8th in RBI, 10th in walks, and 10th in RCAA with 11. He ranks 2nd in secondary average, 2nd in total average, 3rd in HR/100 outs, 3rd in HR/100 PA, 3rd in HR/100 AB, 3rd in extra base hits, 3rd in isolated power, 4th in sacrifice flies, 5th in runs created, 6th in total bases, 9th in RC/G
Kelly Stinnett is the only other Royal with a positive RCAA—he has 3.
Joe Randa is 3rd in sacrifice flies.
Brian Anderson is tied for 3rd in games started, tied for the 10th worst RSAA, leads the league in runs allowed and earned runs allowed, is tied for the 2nd most losses, is 2nd in hits allowed, 2nd in home runs allowed, 9th in neutral losses
Darrell May is tied for 3rd in complete games, leads the league in losses, is 4th in home runs allowed, 9th in neutral losses.
Jimmy Gobble is 7th in fewest BB/9 IP.
Jeremy Affeldt leads the league in balks, is tied for 6th in wild pitches.
Tony Graffanino is 9th in most times caught stealing.
Benito Santiago has the 3rd worst RCAA
Angel Berroa has the 2nd worst RCAA (ahead of only Derek Jeter)
KC ranks in a tie with the Devil Rays for worst team RCAA. They rank 7th in the league in RSAA.

Milestones:
Darrell May's complete game on Saturday was the 5th of his career.
Joe Randa's home run on Saturday gave him 600 career RBI. The homer was his 80th as a Royal.
Carlos Beltran's at bat in the first inning Sunday was the 3000th of his career.
Friday was career game #1950 for Benito Santiago.
It was also Mike Sweeney's 950th career game.

This Date in Royals History:
May 17, 1972—The Rangers beat the Royals, 4-3, in 18 innings, the longest game in Royals history. A total of 41 players are used in the game. Box Score.

Royals Trivia: (answer will appear in tomorrow’s comments)
What former Royal made his major league debut 8 years ago today? The 30-year old All-Star has played for 3 different teams and is in his 9th big-league season, but he played at least 150 games in only three of those years. All three were in KC, and they were also his only years with 25+ home runs, 30+ doubles, and 100+ RBI. And despite playing the majority of his career for the Royals, he’s appeared in 28 post-season games.

// posted by Harley @ 9:34 AM

Friday, May 14, 2004

The Ghost of Charlie O. at the Hotel Adams-Mark 

The Oakland A’s come to town tonight with a 7:10 game on RSTN. Jimmy Gobble and Tim Hudson are the scheduled starters.

Kurt Caywood on Jimmy Gobble’s strong sophomore campaign.
The bullpen has changed quite a bit from opening day.
Dennys Reyes is happy with his role on the staff.
Does Tony Pena have an advantage over non-Spanish-speaking managers?
The Royals and Chiefs will be at Indian Springs Shopping Center in KCK on Saturday, for the 4th annual Operation Blessing, to distribute groceries to needy families.
George Brett is 51 years old on Saturday.
Today's Carlos Beltran speculation comes from Fanstop.com.

On the Farm:
Zack Greinke threw 4 shutout innings for Omaha on Wednesday. He allowed two hits, two walks, and struck out 1. His ERA is now 2.78.
Colt Griffin went 3 2/3 for Wilmington, allowing 4 runs--2 earned--on 6 hits and 3 walks. He struck out 2, got the loss to put his record at 1-3, and his ERA dropped to 8.33.

This Date in Royals History:
May 14, 1971—The A’s beat the Royals 5-3, as the two teams combine for 9 double plays, tying the AL record. KC ends Vida Blue’s complete game victory streak at 7. Box Score.
May 14, 1977—Jim Colborn throws a no-hitter—the 1st by a Royal at Royals Stadium. The Royals beat the Rangers, 6-0. Box Score.

Trivia: (Answer will appear in comments on Monday)
What former Royal was born 68 years ago today? Born in Miami, he’s known as the “godfather” of Florida State University baseball. As a player, he played in three different cities and later worked as a manager in two of them. One of his bosses is mentioned in this post. He was a career .248 hitter, but had an on-base percentage of .346, due to his great ability to draw walks. Teams that he managed finished first 5 times, 2nd twice, and 3rd once.

// posted by Harley @ 9:13 AM

Thursday, May 13, 2004

So this is what it feels like... 

Royals 4, Blue Jays 3: Mike Sweeney delivered with a two-out double in the bottom of the 9th, driving in Desi Relaford to tie the game and Carlos Beltran to win it. Beltran scored from first base on the play. Jeremy Affeldt pitched well but got into trouble early and often, and left the game after 5 innings, having thrown 90 pitches. KC pitchers gave up 11 hits, 8 walks, and a hit batsman, but Toronto hit into four double plays and stranded 13 runners. Box Score.

The Royals got their first series win in more than a month. Oakland comes to town next, for a Friday, Saturday, Sunday series. Jimmy Gobble faces Tim Hudson tomorrow night.

More on Beltran’s ”mad dash” to score from first on Sweeney’s double down the left field line.
Jeremy Affeldt made the key defensive play of the day, diving to catch a bunt and then throwing to second to double off the runner.
Q & A on Mike MacDougal and Adrian Brown.
Bob Dutton hopes this win can give the Royals some momentum.
Justin Huisman is being considered for the closer’s role, along with Nate Field, Shawn Camp, and Jaime Cerda.
The KC Star with a Royals Farm Report.
Today’s Carlos Beltran trade rumor brought to you by the Seattle Times, who report that the Mariners have a “strong interest” in Beltran.
Aaron Gleeman looks at paces.
Through yesterday's game, Beltran is on pace for:
162 games, 192 hits, 147 runs, 46 doubles, 10 triples, 51 homers, 142 RBI, 51 stolen bases, 106 walks, and 86 strikeouts.

On the Farm:
Byron Gettis went 2 for 4 for Omaha on Tuesday. He’s hitting .280.
Shane Costa went 2 for 3 for Wilmington and is batting .282.

Milestones:
Carlos Beltran played in his 758th game, passing U L Washington into 15th place on the franchise list.

This Date in Royals History:
May 13, 1976—George Brett sets a major league record by getting 3 hits for the 6th straight game. KC beats the White Sox 13-2. Box Score.
May 13, 1993—George Brett gets his 300th career home run in a 7-3 victory over the Indians. Brett becomes the 6th player with 3000 hits and 300 home runs. Box Score.

// posted by Harley @ 10:58 AM

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

The Sweet Taste of Double Digits 

Royals 5, Blue Jays 1: Dennys Reyes spot started like a champ, and Shawn Camp was nearly perfect out of the bullpen for the win. Mike Sweeney’s two-run double was the big blow for the offense. It was the first time the Royals had held their opponent to 1 run since April 24 vs. Minnesota, a 10-1 victory in which Camp also got the win. Box Score.

Jeremy Affeldt, still winless, goes against Ted Lilly in a 1:10 game on ESPN. The Royals have a chance for their first series win since the April 8th-11th series against Cleveland.

As rumored, 2003 All-Star Mike MacDougal and David DeJesus were sent to Omaha before last night’s game. Reliever Justin Huisman was recalled and KC purchased the contract of veteran outfielder Adrian Brown from Omaha. Joe Randa was scheduled for a day off, but Mendy Lopez was a late scratch after fouling a ball off his foot in batting practice.

After last night’s game, Bob Dutton wonders “where have these guys been?”
Juan Gonzalez feels your pain.
Today’s Carlos Beltran speculation brought to you by FOX Sports. And ESPN's Peter Gammons.

On the Farm:
For Wilmington on Monday, Mitch Aviles continued his hot hitting with a 3 for 4 performance with a triple, a homer, and 2 RBI. He’s batting a hefty .346.
Trae McGill improved to 5-0, pitching 6 innings and allowing 3 runs on 6 hits, no walks, and striking out 4. His ERA is 1.47.

This Date in Royals History:
May 12, 1975—KC ties a MLB record by stranding 15 runners without scoring in a 5-0 loss to the Tigers. Box Score.
May 12, 2003—Royals 3, Twins 2. KC gets its third straight one-run victory over the first-place Twins. Jeremy Affeldt got his 3rd win of the year and Mike MacDougal his 11th save. Box Score.

// posted by Harley @ 8:47 AM

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

How Kevin Appier Could Get His Groove Back 

With the glut of baseball information now available on the internet, I try to limit this blog to just those articles that deal with the Kansas City Royals. But once in a while there's a must-read item that I feel compelled to share. Ben McGrath's Project Knuckleball is such an item. The article looks at the long and fluttering history of the knuckleball, and the future of the pitch, personified in Red Sox prospect Charlie Zink.

For some reason, the article just made me think of Kevin Appier. To paraphrase Junior O'Daniel, "Why don't we get us some of that knuckleball?"
After all, what does it take to be a great knuckleball pitcher?
Be an aging veteran. Check.
Have a herky-jerky delivery. Check.
Be slightly odd. Check.

It seems to me that Appier's definitely got the makeup to be a butterfly ball artist. As long as he's rehabbing every two or three months, why not have him learn a new pitch? The way this season is going for our pitching staff,we need to try everything we can. What would make Appier's 80-mph fastball look better than a 55-mph knuckler?

// posted by Harley @ 2:17 PM

Another lost weekend... 

Monday--Blue Jays 9, Royals 3: The Royals opened their homestand with their 19th loss in the past 24 games. Brian Anderson was pounded for 6 runs in the 1st although 4 of those runs were unearned, due to a Joe Randa error. Solo homers by Juan Gonzalez and Carlos Beltran were the only extra-base hits for KC. Box Score.

Sunday--Royals 8, Red Sox 4: Darrell May got his first win since September as the Royals finally managed to hold on to an early lead against Derek Lowe. Jaime Cerda managed to pitch through a bases-loaded jam to preserve the lead, and May’s win. Beltran had 4 RBI to power the offense. Box Score.

Saturday--Red Sox 9, Royals 1: Curt Schilling was very good. Jimmy Gobble wasn’t. The Royals managed just 5 hits and struck out 8 times. Pokey Reese hit homers in consecutive at-bats, including an inside-the-park job that scooted past the shuffling Juan Gonzalez in the right field corner. Benito Santiago homered for the Royals’ only run of the game. Box Score.

Dennis Reyes pitches against Roy Halladay in a 7:10 game tonight, carried on RSTN.

On Rob & Rany, the dream has died for Mr. Neyer.
Royals Notes: Juan Gonzalez is working on a “tap-step,” Mike MacDougal and David DeJesus are in danger of being sent to Omaha, and Carlos Beltran was named the Royals Player of the Month for April. Jimmy Gobble was the Pitcher of the Month.
Mike MacDougal is no longer the closer. Pena has said that he will give the ball in the 9th to “whoever is getting the job done.” For now, that means Nate Field.
After his performance in Boston, there’s no longer a chorus of “Who?” when someone mentions Jaime Cerda.
The KC Star’s Stats Guy with an analysis of the Royals’ “average” offense.
Rick Dean of the Topeka Capitol-Journal wants to know if you still believe.
The San Francisco Chronicle argues that Beltran may be less likely to go to the Yankees if the Royals continue to languish at the bottom of the division. A continued poor season would mean Beltran would be traded, putting the Yankees on a level playing field, more or less, with the other teams, as compared to free agency. The New York Post is also speculating on where Beltran will go. Seattle? Oakland?
Bradford Doolittle points out that Brian Anderson is on pace to allow 248 runs this season, which would shatter the modern MLB record. Just 200 would put him in the "top" 10.

On the Farm:
On Saturday, Byron Gettis went 2 for 4 for Omaha. He’s batting .287.
Shane Costa and Donnie Murphy both had 2 hits for the Blue Rocks. Murphy’s average is up to .337.
On Sunday, Costa went 2 for 2 with a triple for Wilmington. He’s hitting .278.
Chris Lubanski, Mitch Maier, and Brian McFall each had three-hit games for Burlington.

Milestones:
Juan Gonzalez had his 1400th career RBI in the 7th inning Monday.
Kelly Stinnett collected his 200th career RBI on his solo home run Sunday.
Mike Sweeney had his 3400th at bat against Curt Schilling on Saturday.
Monday was the 750th game of Desi Relaford's career.
Carlos Beltran's 4-RBI game on Saturday moved him past Joe Randa into 8th on the franchise list. Beltran now has 491 RBI as a Royal, Randa has 488.

// posted by Harley @ 7:38 AM

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Bullpen Blows Affeldt's 1st Win. Again. 

Red Sox 7, Royals 6: Jason Varitek hit a walk-off RBI double as the Royals coughed up 2 runs in the 8th and 3 in the 9th. Jeremy Affeldt pitched well enough to win, allowing 4 runs on 11 hits in 7 1/3 innings, walking 1 and striking out 4. Box Score.

Jimmy Gobble will be tested this afternoon against Curt Schilling. RSTN will have the game, starting at 12:00 noon.

Ken Harvey is the starting first baseman for now.
Jeff Passan on Johnny Damon’s “haircut”.
Add the Red Sox to the Yankees, Dodgers, Tigers and Mets on the list of teams likely to make offers for Carlos Beltran.
As expected, there were plenty of Red Sox blogs commenting on last night's game:
The House That Dewey Built.
A Large Regular.
Red Sox Haven.
a couple bleacher seats.

This Date in Royals History:
May 8, 197—During an 8-7 loss to the Rangers, both Al Cowens and Frank White are injured by pitches thrown by Ed Farmer. On June 20, 1980, Cowens will charge the mound after hitting a grounder off of Farmer.

My next post will be on Tuesday. Hope your weekend is top-notch. (points finger, makes “chk-chk” out of corner of mouth.)

// posted by Harley @ 8:35 AM

Friday, May 07, 2004

Berroa, SS 

Get used to seeing that in Royals' box scores. Angel Berroa signed a 5-year, $16 million contract extension today.
The yearly breakdown:
2005 - $500K
2006 - $2M
2007 - $3.75M
2008 - $4.25M
2009 - $5.5M option or $500K buyout

My initial impression is that this is a good deal for the Royals. The contract averages $3.2M per year, not a bad price for an above-average shortstop. And Berroa has the potential to be much more than that. It's also great to see Allard Baird and David Glass lock in a young player for several years. Here's to our shortstop of the present and future!

// posted by Harley @ 3:32 PM

Mastering the Monster 

Jeremy Affeldt pitches tonight against Tim Wakefield. RSTN will have the game at 6:00 Central, at Fenway Park.

Royals Notes: Pitching coach John Cumberland on KC’s lefties pitching with the Green Monster behind them, and Allard Baird says that Zack Greinke could be brought up by Memorial Day.
Sitting 10 games below .500, Bob Dutton and Darrell May ask "Are we this bad?"
For Ken Harvey, on the other hand, we have to ask, "Is he this good?"
As usual, Joe Posnanski has the answers.

Aaron Gleeman thinks that Carlos Beltran is ready to "make the leap." No arguments here.
The Canadian Press speculates on where Beltran will end up this year. An amazingly rumor-free article.
Mike's Baseball Rants has ranked Brian Anderson as the 25th-worst strikeout "artist" of all-time. Oddly enough, former Royal Rich Gale turns out to be the "most average" strikeout pitcher in history, recording strikeouts at almost exactly the league average rate throughout his career.
The Commissioner’s office has reneged on its plans to put Spider-man 2 logos on the bases for the June 11-13 series against the Mets. It appears that "Spider-man Day" will still happen on June 12th, though, including the Spidey Foam Hand giveaway. And there was much rejoicing. (Yay.)
Royals Charities will hold its annual Baseball & Blues Gala on June 10th at Arrowhead. Tickets start at $250.

On the Farm:
On Wednesday, Byron Gettis went 2 for 3 for Omaha with a double and a home run. He’s batting .289 with a .427 OBP.
Shortstop Mitch Aviles continues to swing a hot bat for the Blue Rocks. He went 2 for 5 and is hitting .337.
Dusty Hughes had a tough-luck loss for the Bees. He threw 6 innings, allowing just 1 run, 0 earned runs, but took the loss. He allowed 5 hits and a walk, striking out 2. He has a 3-2 record with a 0.28 ERA.

// posted by Harley @ 8:24 AM

Thursday, May 06, 2004

2-12 

Blue Jays 10, Royals 3: Roy Halladay pitched well. Brian Anderson didn’t. The Royals also committed 3 errors. Box Score
Blue Jays 5, Royals 4: Darrell May allowed 4 runs in the second inning, and the Toronto bullpen held off the Royals offense, which was playing catch-up all night. Box Score

The Royals’ 2-12 record on the road is the worst in the majors. Next up is a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, series at Fenway against Tim Wakefield, Curt Schilling, and Derek Lowe. No Pedro, at least...
Allard Baird says he won’t be making any big roster moves to shake up the team.
Nate Field is now the “#2 closer,” meaning that it will be him and not Curtis Leskanic who comes in when Mike MacDougal blows a save. The coaching staff seems to be saying that Field is the better pitcher right now—so why not just put him in before MacDougal blows a lead?
Baseball Prospecuts’s Prospectus Triple Play shows that, if you take away luck, the 2004 Royals have a better record than the 2003 Royals.
David DeJesus, who hasn’t been starting 5 games a week as promised, isn’t worried.
ESPN.com’s Phil Rogers compares Carlos Beltran to Barry Bonds. Looking at their first 5 seasons, Beltran had more runs scored, RBI, and a higher batting average. He trailed Bonds by 22 stolen bases and just 9 home runs.
The details of June 12th’s Spider-man Day have been announced. They’re going to put advertising on the bases. Joe Posnanski doesn’t like it. And neither do I. Just seems kinda crass.

On the Farm:
On Tuesday, for Omaha, Byron Gettis went 1 for 2 with his 3rd homer of the year. He’s hitting .273.
Wilmington played a doubleheader and Shane Costa was the offensive standout, going 4 for 6 to raise his average to .241.
Donnie Murphy went 3 for 3 with an RBI and is hitting .330.
Devon Lowery threw 4 shutout innings, allowing just 2 hits and 2 walks, striking out 1. His ERA is 2.27
Mitch Maier went 3 for 4 for Burlington, raising his average to .301.

// posted by Harley @ 8:10 AM

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Jimmy Gobble: Staff Ace 

When you've only won a third of your games, it's obvious that the team is not yet hitting on all cylinders. However, there have been a few players performingly consistenly well, effectively "carrying" the team. At the plate, it's been Ken Harvey and Carlos Beltran. In the field, it's been Joe Randa and Beltran. On the mound, it's been Nate Field and Jimmy Gobble.

Gobble has quietly put together a great start to the 2004 season. Here's a look at the lines for his 5 appearances:

DateOpponentIPHitsERBBKsBatters FacedPitchesStrikesGround BallsFly Balls
April 9Cle61022197449124
April 16Min5754226905048
April 23Min66001237955710
April 28Tex5.31020125885878
May 3Tor8.6520132109731312

The most important item in that chart might be the IP column. Gobble has yet to leave a start before the 6th inning, and he went 6 innings in a key relief appearance. He's thrown 31 innings, second only to Brian Anderson, who has made 2 more starts. That kind of consistency is something the Royals dearly need from the rest of the rotation. And Gobble's getting it done with an average of only 88 pitches per appearance. Why? Because he's also averaging 57 strikes per game--65% of the pitches he's thrown have been strikes. Gobble's walk totals are also tremendous--he's only given 6 free passes in 31 innings, or a 1.74 BB/9. And he hasn't allowed any walks in his last 20 innings. The ground ball-fly ball ratio is a bit of a mystery. Clearly, his only bad outing came on a day when he was getting the ball up in the zone and giving up twice as many flies as grounders. But he also had more flyball outs than grounders in his following two appearances, and didn't suffer any consequences. Of course, that has something to do with the fact that he's only allowed one homer. Allard Baird told us before the season began that this would be Gobble's break-out year. So far, he's living up to Allard's expectations, and far exceeding everyone else's.

Proposed nickname for Jimmy Gobble: Butterball
eh?

// posted by Harley @ 9:28 AM

Whew. 

Royals 3, Blue Jays 2: The first week of the season, it seemed the Royals were finding every possible way to win. The past week, we’ve been finding every possible way to lose. Last night was set up to be another painful near-victory. Jimmy Gobble took a perfect game into the 6th, and came within an out of his first shutout. Nate Field threw bullets in relief. Joe Randa made a leaping grab of a liner headed for the left-field corner. Ken Harvey bobbled a foul popup, bouncing it off his glove, and right arm before catching it. And Mike MacDougal walked in the tying run in the bottom of the 9th inning. Unlike the previous few games, we didn’t have a lot of bases loaded opportunities in this one—although that was partially due to losing two runners on the basepaths. We took advantage of the offense we had, along with 8+ innings of shutout pitching and a clutch homer by Aaron Guiel. Here’s to putting together a winning streak this week. Box Score.

Darrell May is scheduled to start tonight against Pat Hentgen and the Blue Jays. The 6:00 game will be on RSTN.

The Royals recalled Jaime Cerda before the start of yesterday’s game and sent Eduardo Villacis back to Wichita. I hope Villacis gets another opportunity to pitch in the majors, hopefully somewhere other than Yankee Stadium.
Curtis Leskanic has rejoined the team after a brief rehabilitation. His shoulder still hurts, but he wants to pitch. That’s ok, as long as his pitching doesn’t hurt the team.
The dark lining to the silver cloud of last night’s win was the fact that Tony Pena changed the lineup before the game. Now we’re stuck with Joe Randa batting 2nd instead of Carlos Beltran. I really liked Beltran batting 2nd, and it seems, so did Carlos, who got off to a great start.
Bradford Doolittle, The Stats Guy, looks at the Royals’ Defensive Efficiency. For as many balls as our pitchers allow to be put into play, it ain’t good.
Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star thinks the Blue Jays could learn a little from Tony Pena.
Carlos Beltran was named the American League Player of the Month for April. He hit .316 with 8 homers, 4 doubles, a triple, 17 walks, and 19 RBI.
Q&A with Paul Splittorff on “clean” baseball, David DeJesus, and Juan Gonzalez.
This year’s Campout at the K has been scheduled for July 16-17.
Tickets to Friday’s and Saturday’s games, a meet and great with Royals players and coaches, a movie on the jumbotron, a midnight snack, and a continental breakfast: $175.
Getting a sore back from sleeping on the ball field and being kept up all night by noisy kids and the traffic on I-70: priceless.

On the Farm:
Colt Griffin got his first win of the year for Wilmington on Sunday. He went 6 innings, allowing 3 earned runs on 5 hits and 3 walks, striking out 6. His ERA dropped to 7.94.
Chris Lubanski had another bad day for Burlington. He went 0 for 4, striking out twice. He's 5 for his last 35 and is hitting .211.

Milestones:
Aaron Guiel's 10th inning home run drove in the 100th RBI of his major league career.
Mike Sweeney's 2-run double in the 8th inning of Saturday's game was his 1,037th hit as a Royal. He moved past Freddie Patek into 6th place on the Royals' all-time hits list. #5 is Hal McRae, now 885 hits ahead.
Carlos Beltran's RBI single last night gave him 485 as a Royal and moved him into a tie with Joe Randa for 8th in franchise history. They both sit 24 ribbies behind Willie Wilson.
Last night was also Beltran's 750th career game. He becomes the 16th man to play 750 games in a Royals uniform.

Comments Contest
The April winner for the "Leave a comment, win baseball cards" contest was a Royals fan from South Dakota. This makes 7 different states that I've sent baseball cards off to since I began the contest last fall, including Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota. Don't see your state on the list yet? Click on "comment" below and leave your thoughts on the Royals, along with your name and email address. Good luck!

This Date in Royals History:
May 4, 1969—Bob Oliver goes 6 for 6 with a double and a home run as every KC starter hits and scores in a 15-1 victory over the Angels. Box Score.
May 4, 1975—Harmon Killebrew has his number retired by the Twins before the game, then homers for the Royals in the 1st inning. Minnesota wins the game, 6-3. Box Score.
May 4, 1989—In a 3-1 loss to Cleveland, John Farrell no-hits the Royals into the 9th before allowing a single to Kevin Seitzer. Box Score.

// posted by Harley @ 8:12 AM

Monday, May 03, 2004

An April to Forget 

A 7-14 start to 2004 is not what we were hoping for a month ago. So is there any hope left now? How bad is a 7-14 April, historically, and what are the Royals' chances of recovery?

A survey of Royals history shows that a slow start is typical for this franchise. In 36 seasons, the Royals have had a losing record on the morning of May 1st twenty-two times. 2004 ranks in a tie for the 3rd-worst April ever for the Royals. Here are the 10 worst Aprils in Royals history, and the team's eventual finish for each year.

YearAprilPCTPlaceSeasonPlace
19923-17.1507th72-905th
19813-10.2317th50-534th
20028-16.3334th62-1004th
19969-18.3335th75-865th
19906-12.3337th75-866th
20047-14.3335th??????
19707-12.3685th65-974th
19939-14.3915th84-783rd
200110-15.4003rd65-975th
19765-7.4174th90-721st

Well, you can look to 1976 or 1993 for a paradigm of hope. 84 wins would likely be better than 3rd place in 2004, and 90 wins would very likely win the division.
After being swept in New York, the Royals sit at 9 games below .500, a daunting, if not insurmountable, deficit. If the team can average one win over .500 a week from now until the All-Star Break, we'll be back to square one with plenty of time left to catch the division leaders--if they're still ahead of us. In a weak division, it takes more than one poor month to knock a team out of the race. With 80% of the schedule left to play, there are still a lot of downs and ups in store for the Royals!

// posted by Harley @ 3:13 PM

Oh-fer-da-Bronx 

Sunday--Yankees 4, Royals 2: KC again had an early lead, then let it get away in the late innings. Jeremy Affeldt pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing all 4 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks for the loss. Carlos Beltran had a double and a triple, but the offense stranded 4 runners in scoring position. Box Score.
Saturday--Yankees 12, Royals 4: Eduardo Villacis struggled in his major league debut, and Curtis Leskanic was shelled for 5 runs in 2/3 of an inning. The Royals took the lead early in the game, with Juan Gonzalez and Angel Berroa back in the lineup. Carlos Beltran made a nice diving catch to rob Ruben Sierra of a double in the 6th. Box Score.
Friday--Yankees 5, Royals 2: Javier Vazquez took a perfect game into the 5th inning, when he gave up a homer to Ken Harvey. The Royals kept it close until the 8th, when New York got 2 insurance runs off Brian Anderson. Anderson went 7+ innings, allowing 5 runs on 8 hits and 7 walks, striking out 3. Box Score.

Jimmy Gobble starts tonight against Justin Miller as the Royals try to get a win in Toronto. The game will begin at 6:00 Central on RSTN.

Tony Graffanino went on the disabled list Saturday with a torn meniscus in his left knee. Angel Berroa rejoined the team, along with Eduardo Villacis, called up from Wichita. Justin Huisman was sent to Omaha to make roster room. He’ll be back.
Graffanino will have to undergo arthroscopic surgery.
Curtis Leskanic is pitching with a sore shoulder. He plans to retire at the end of the year.
Rob & Rany, updated on Sunday.
Tony Pena guarantees that the Royals will win the division.
The Royals got swept, but Carlos Beltran was the star of the Yankees series.

On the Farm:
On Friday, for Omaha, Calvin Pickering went 2 for 3 and hit his 12th homer of the year.
For Wilmington, Donnie Murphy went 2 for 5 with a double, raising his average to .326.
Mitch Aviles went 2 for 3 with 2 doubles and 2 RBI.
On Saturday, Pickering went 1 for 3 with homer #13, and is now hitting .359.
Byron Gettis went 2 for 2 with a double, raising his average to .284.
Aviles went 3 for 4 with a double and a stolen base. He’s hitting .350.
Adam Donachie went 2 for 4 with 4 RBI for the Blue Rocks. He ends an 0 for 18 slump and is hitting .167.
Ambiorix Burgos threw 4 innings, allowing 2 runs on 2 hits and 5 walks, and struck out 10. His ERA sits at 3.74, and he has 30 K’s in his last 21 1/3 innings pitched. Here's your strikeout pitcher, Rob & Rany...

// posted by Harley @ 9:31 AM