Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Bounce Back

This Isn't the Royals I Remember

The Royals had one of the toughest post all-star game schedules in all of baseball. They started off in Cleveland, then went to Boston and on to Detroit before coming home and facing the Yankees. The Royals went 5-4 on the road trip and had to be feeling good about themselves, until they came home for the 4 game set with the evil empire.

The Yankee Series
Game 1 KC 2-9 NYY
Game 2 KC 4-9 NYY
Game 3 KC 1-7 NYY
Game 4 KC 7-0 NYY

The Royals ended up dropping the first 3 of the series against the Yankees, before winning the final game to avoid the sweep. I wasn't to troubled with the outcome of the Yankee series. The Bronx Bombers came into the series with a red hot offense and they just kept scoring runs. The games were also closer then the outcome. In the 3 games the Yankees won, they scored 11 runs in the 7th inning or later, which I wouldn't consider as a meltdown by the Royals as much as it shows the disparity between who Buddy calls on from the bullpen when the Royals are down as opposed to a closer game. Also throw out game 2 of the series, that was the game Scott Elarton started so that was a no-brainer loss(Elarton has since been released!!).

The Royals finished the series with a win and a shutout of that red hot offense. There were several nice things about that final game:
The Royals offense was carried by the youngins- RBI(s) from Butler, Gordon, DeJesus and Pena
Jorge De La Rosa threw 5 1/3 scoreless innings and with 5K
The bullpen combination of Greinke and Soria finished the shutout allowing 0 hits!

Even though the final win against the Yankees was nice, I was worried about the Rangers series. After being smacked around by the Yanks, I was afraid that the Royals would be feeling a bit blue and drop 2 or 3 to the Rangers....but that didn't happen.

The last several years the Royals of old would have been down on themselves and not showed up to play against the Rangers, but not these Royals. These Royals showed up and mowed down the Rangers. They swept the Rangers in convincing style not letting the discouragement of the letdown against the Yankees keep them from beating the Rangers.

That Rangers series in itself shows how different this years team is then those of the past.

The Royals are on the way up, my friends...they've had winning months in both June and July, they aren't laying down and going into long losing streaks, they cut Scott Elarton...progress!

We are witnessing the emergence of a young baseball team. The Royals are fun and entertaining to watch again and that alone makes the suffering of years past a bit easier to manage.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Giveaway Game

Scott Elarton Is Terrible

Tuesday nights game was the night of the giveaway. The Royals gave away 3 different items.

1. George Brett Pine Tar T-Shirt
2. Denny Matthews Hall of Fame Button
3. The Game

The first 2 giveaways were great...the third, not so much. The Royals gave away the game by sending Scott Elarton to the mound against the Bronx Bombers.

The game was over before it even started. There was no way that Elarton was going to keep the Yankees off the board and sure as shit, he left in the middle of the 2nd inning surrendering 7 runs.

Scott Elarton's Stats from Tuesday night: 1 2/3IP 7ER 0K 2BB thats a 37.80ERA 0HR

Scott Elarton's 2007 Season stats: 2-4 37IP 10.14ERA 36ER 13K 21BB 12HR

Scott Elarton's 2007 Stats from AAA: 2-3 44 1/3IP 6.70ERA 33ER 19K 14BB 13HR

Elarton can't get major leaguers or AAA ballplayers out and on the biggest night since Opening Day, 38,000 fans, the Royals just give the game away. Scratch that, on any given night why would the Royals just give away the game. Scott Elarton has lost whatever it is that makes people major league starters, oh yeah its called stuff. Elarton needs to go the way of the bald eagle and be released into the wild. The Royals need to cut ties and be done with him. I know that he and Buddy Bell go way back, but this isn't about filling a spot or being loyal anymore. The Royals have finally started winning games and becoming respectable and then this turd gets a start against the Yanks. L

Sure who else might the Royals start you might ask? How about Leo Nunez.

Leo Nunez 2007 Stats: 1GS 0-0 4IP 2.25ERA 1ER 3K 1BB against the Red Sox

Why didn't the Royals give Nunez the ball? He couldn't be any worse...seriously. Elarton is terrible, at least with Nunez there could have been a fleeting chance at a win

If the Royals want to be respectable they need to quit pulling this bullshit. Elarton is done and if I see him make another start I will seriously lose my cool and...?...type more mean stuff in my blog. I just really pisses me off. The Royals go 5-4 on the hardest road trip of the year, come back home and the Royals throw Elarton on the mound for a guaranteed loss.

Bush League


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Mid Season Breakdown II

The Pitching

Aside from a few hiccups, Scott Elarton and the first month of the bullpen, Royals pitching has been good. Just typing that makes my fingers happy. It has been a long, long time since the Royals have hadany pitching that has kept them in and even given them a chance to win games.

The starting pitching has been decent, well maybe even good, but they're a bit inconsistent. They had a great April, a down May and have been good again in June. So far this season Royals starters have logged 39 quality starts and 25 wins. Last year for the whole season Royals starters only had 47 quality starts

What to say about the bullpen. Aside from a rough April they have been amazing:

Bullpen Win-Loss Record by month
April: 1-6
May: 7-3
June: 3-1

The bullpen has really been behind this winning resurgence from the Royals. You can see by the numbers the starters had a bit of a rough May, but the bullpen was there to pick them up. Lately if you get the ball to the Royals bullpen in the late innings, you can almost count on a win. They have become shutdown...they won't stay this good forever, but it good enough for some wins right now.
Stat Table: Win-Loss/Earned Run Average/Strikeouts/Walks
(...if you click on the table it will get larger)


Mid Season Awards

The Stopper: Gil Meche, Although Meche has struggled a bit in the last month, you couldn't tell just by looking at the numbers, but every time he takes the mound the Royals have a shot at victory. Also a 3.54 ERA is well worth $11 million, just ask the Dodgers and Jason Schmidt.

Most Improved: Jorge De La Rosa, De La Rosa has great stuff and seems to be figuring out how to pitch. He struggled mightily in June, but before that was really putting up good numbers. His struggles may be because of the amount of innings pitched. Last season he pitched a career high 79 innings and already this season he is a 106. His BB/K ratio is improving lets see how he finishes the season.

Biggest Surprise: Brian Bannister, Scouts said this guy can pitch and he is certainly doing just that. His best month was June, where he was also elected AL Rookie of the Month. Lets see what happens the 2nd half of the season and if the league adjusts to him, but right now he looks like a Dayton Moore steal.

Biggest Disappointment: Zack Greinke, But only a disappointment as a starter. He has really flourished in the bullpen, but I think the Royals gave up on him a bit soon, but he has done so well in the pen, hopefully it gave him his confidence back.

The Bullpen

Mid Season Awards

Slams The Door: David Riske, Riske had a tough April, but after that he has damn near unhittable. His May ERA- 0.00. Consistency is what he has become and that's what he is.

Gives Me a Stroke: Octavio Dotel, I think we all can see he just isn't a closer. Teams just see the ball to well out of his hand and he almost never has a clean inning. I hope he gets traded and they let Greinke try his hand at closer

Biggest Surprise: Joakim Soria, The kid can pitch. He is under-utilized in relief, but don't forget he is still only a Rule V draft pick. His K/BB ratio is 3/1 and did an excellent job as fill in closer earlier this season.

Biggest Disappointment: None...yet

Most Under-Used: Joel Peralta, Peralta is quietly having an excellent season, but it seems like I only notice him when he gives up runs. He, like Soria has a 3K/1BB ratio and is pitching the best he's ever pitched.

The Only Lefty: Jimmy Gobble, I was going to criticize Buddy Bell for only using Gobble against lefties, but then I looked at the numbers. With roughly the same amount of at bats righties are hitting .370 against whereas lefties are hitting .238. Good job Buddy!

The Oddest Stat: Neil Musser, Look at his April line...

I should have split this into 2 sections...its a little long, my bad...Lets hope the Royals pitching keeps it going in the 2nd half.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Mid Season Breakdown I

The Offence

Well here we are halfway through the 2007 season and the Royals are still sitting in the cellar of the AL Central, but since the beginning of the season this team has really improved. We all knew the Royals would struggle in the difficult AL Central and they have, but no Royals fan in their right mind expected a pennant run. To consider this season a success the Royals just need to get better...that's it, just get better. So far this season they Royals have done just that. Each month so far this year the team has improved.

Overall 38-50 .431
April 8-18 .307
May 11-17 .392
June 15-12 .555
July 4-3 .571 (inc.)

Each month of the season, the Royals have dramatically improved their winning percentage and are now on pace to win 72 games this season whereas at the end of April the Royals were on pace to lose 112 games. Let's hope they continue the winning trend, but it'll be tough with 14 different series against other AL Central teams, 3 series against the Yankees and 1 more against Boston.

Another big item for the Royals besides just winning some games was the improvement of the young generation of Royals...
Stat Table: Batting Average/On Base Percentage/Homeruns/RBI
...(if you click on the table it will get larger)

The overall improvement of the entire teams batting is remarkable from the beginning of the season to the mid-point.

Mid-Season Awards

Most Improved: Alex Gordon, struggled mightily in the beginning, but has started to find his stroke and has improved every month...especially June

Best Power: John Buck, but since he has started hitting more homeruns his batting average has gone way down

Most Consistent: Mark Teahen, still hitting .282 even though he has struck out an astounding 81 times this year. His power numbers are down, but still leads the team in RBI

The Catalyst: David DeJesus, this guy is a player. Look at his on base percentage, .365. Even though he doesn't steal enough bases to lead off, the Royals couldn't have a better leadoff hitter.

Biggest Surprise: Joey Gathright, has only been with the big league club for a month .353 BA and a .450 OBP, he deserves more playing time and is getting it.

Biggest Disappointment: Ryan Shealy. His numbers are paltry and is in danger of losing his job

Player to Watch: Billy Butler, the kid can hit. The ball off his bat, even on groundouts, just has the sound of thunder. He is starting to become comfortable and you can see the transformation. With Sweeney on the DL for the next 6 weeks, the kids going to get a chance and I don't think he will let us down.

The second half of the season should be fun to watch. Hopefully the young Royals continue to improve and will carry this upward trend into the second half and then on into next year...

On Thursday the mid-season pitchers report


Thursday, July 5, 2007

Under Construction