Wednesday, May 30, 2007

New Lows


Why the hell is Shane Costa playing? I thought we had enough outfielders as to prevent a four A player from getting a healthy diet of at-bats, but I guess not. After getting our bells rung by the elite likes of the Orioles and the Mariners (a team that paid about a hundred million for Richie Sexson and Adrian Beltre, who should be convicted of grand theft), the Royals are laying lifeless at the bottom of the AL table. It's been truly a horrible set of performances. Scott Elarton is pitching like one of those guys in baseball movies that gives up so many hits that the sequence is made into a montage with a wacky, basebally song (but in the movies, it always seems like the guy gives up about half the runs as you had calculated. How does a guy that gives up 20-plus basehits in a given montage only give up 5 runs? He must have a deceptive pickoff move). We had three hits against Arlo Guthrie, or whatever the hell his name was. Hey pitchers, need a confidence boost? Come to KC!

Yesterday, the players called a meeting to try to talk about how badly they had been beaten, and divy up the money they had earned by going under the spread for so many consecutive nights. I wish it were that simple.

We're 15 games back of .500 in a division whose two best teams are really starting to get hot. The young players need to play. NOW.

World Champs, 2037.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Whatever it is you're doing, Buddy Bell, just don't mess with it


Well, here we are, winners of eight of our last ten. We've won more games than last year's World Champion Cardinals, and we're hitting homers like our team was put together by Mr. Burns. It looks like A-God is getting on track (brilliant insight in the paper today by Alex; "I don't know what I'm doing different"), Shealy has put it together, and we finally got to see Octavio Dotel pitch yesterday.

Certainly, we are benefitting from playing some inferior teams (I'm looking your way, Rockies), and we have stayed clear of the Trent Green soap opera occuring right across the complex (a drama that has the whole city rapt!). I mean, you sort of knew the hitters would come around--it was unlikely Alex Gordon, whom everyone championed as their ROY pick, was going to hit .150 all season. Same goes for Ryan Shealy. Let's just hope the pitching holds together, or rather more unlikely, we just keep summoning titanic bats from the on-deck circle (John Buck). Either way, if this keeps happening, Buddy Bell and his bum knee will still be getting a paycheck for much longer than we, or he, had anticipated.
Go Royals!
Or something.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Has the Ghost of Allard Infiltrated the Soul of Dayton?

Billy Butler just got Hubered. As one of our top prospects (#1 hitting prospect), Billy Butler needs to be playing everyday at some level developing his defense, but for some reason he was called up to the big leagues and sat on the bench for a week and a half after playing just a handfull of games. I don't know about Corby's feelings on the matter, but this drove me absolutely bat s**t crazy. Well, he has now been sent down to Omaha to continue to work on his defense. On that subject, it is pretty obvious that Billy Butler is not a big league outfielder. We heard all of the stories from the minors, but my goodness, that guy looks like Mike Sweeney after he's just eaten a dozen Krispy Kremes out there (not a compliment, by the way). This leaves us the mess of having a future DH stuck in Omaha right now. If Billy Butler wants to have a big league career he better be able to rake, and I'm not talking about the leaves in his back yard. Side Note: Is there a chore in the world that is worst than raking? I'm pretty sure there is not. Anyway, the point is that I hope Billy's got a good enough head on his shoulders to keep his confidence up and continue to mash in Omaha.

Really quickly: What was Alex Gordon doing at first base? For a couple of games there it appeared that we had moved Teahen to the outfield so that the dazzling (sarcasm) glove of Esteban German could "Wow" fans at third. German should have been at first seeing as Alex Gordon has more important things to worry about, e.g., his .164 batting average!!!

Royals look for their second series win of the season today as Captain Shoulder Surgery Scott Elarton goes against Rookie Dallas Braden whose 5.something ERA leads me to believe that he is just about due for a no-hitter.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Meaningless Sunday Win!


I was wrong about Jorge de la Rosa. At least kind of wrong. Earlier this year, I could be found remarking that "if this guy was in any other organization, he would've been a middle reliever five years ago," and "he threw strikes like his name was Ambiorix Burgos." He and Gil Meche are really the only guys who have got it done this year, especially since Luke Hudson pitched like he was drunk in his return start and Zack Greinke is the lastest Royal to look like his considerable upside may never be realized. Scott Elarton pitched decently. Who saw that coming?

Alex Gordon needs to be sent to the minors to find himself, and let's pray that this mirrors last year's Teahen send-down (where he came back SCORCHING). I do agree with Dylan that TPJ is pretty lousy, but I guess it was worth a shot to try something knew (I guess). David DeJesus continues to be a poor man's Bobby Abreu, and Teahen is starting to come around. But let's not let this mild positives get in the way of the bigger problem--the 2007 Royals are one of the worst situational hitting teams I have ever seen.

Also, though I know he didn't truly "win" the game (only statistically), it sucks losing to Mike MacDougal, still the proud owner of "The Worst Mechanics in the Major Leagues" title belt. Dayton's plan to rid the bullpen of inconsistent power pitchers in favor of pitching placement strike-throwers...that hasn't exactly worked out for us.
If you want to read a truly depressing column, check out Joe Posnanski's column from last week (http://www.kansascity.com/180/story/105060.html). Think we're bad in April? We're worse in May!
I'd feel bad if I didn't leave on a positive note. Royals own the #2 pick in this years Amateur Draft!

A Sad Reality...


A butt-load of strikeouts. Few (if any) walks. Limited power. The ability to make a dazzling play, and botch a simple one. Sound familiar? Yes, it does sound an awful lot like recently recalled Angel Berroa, but it also is a fairly accurate description of Tony Pena, Jr. On the year to this point, TPJ's line looks like this:


.237/.275/.321 26 Ks, 6 walks, 0 HR, 7 Extra Base Hits


That projects to over 100 strikeouts and less than 30 walks. Yikes. Even Henry Roengardner, the 12 year-old phenom from the classic film "Rookie of the Year", could draw walks better. Angel's career line and current Omaha line look like this:


Career: .264/.305/.386


Current (Omaha): .303/.336/.369 17 Ks, 3 walks, 1 HR, 6 EBH


The unfortunate reality is that T appears to be just about the exact same player as the "big whiffer". He makes similar fielding miscues, strikes out swinging at the same damn breaking ball away, and generally provides less than average major league service. The difference to me is that the Angel in the Infield has a little more power. Bottom line is, and I hate to say this to you... I would rather have Angel Berroa starting at shortstop right now (I just threw up, by the way). It is pretty evident to me that neither of these guys is the shortstop of the future, so I go with the guy that's probably going to hit a little better. I'm sorry you had to hear that, but if you really think about, I think that most would tend to agree...

Monday, May 07, 2007

Who Is Playing Two-Face in the New Batman Movie? Zack Greinke.


The kid you see on the left is Zack Greinke #1. This Zack Greinke works fast and efficiently. He mixes his array of dazzling pitches with pinpoint accuracy and oozes confidance. There are no runners on base for Zack #1. He is a bright young man with a future and the potential to live up to his draft status.
The man you see on the right is Zack Greinke #2. This Zack Greinke allows fans to go take a leak, get some food, and visit the gift shop or even the "little K" inbetween his pitches. He labors and slouches and ambles aimlessly around the mound. The only spot he can hit in the strike zone with his fastball is the "Burgos Spot", belt-high, right down the pipe. He leaves his curveball in such a bad place that you can literally see drool dripping down the chins of even the weakest of hitters. There is at least one runner on base for Zack #2. He is a steely eyed, confused man with no interest in baseball.
What sucks is that Zack #1 and Zack #2 co-exsist. He clearly has not overcome his inner-demons and it is likely that he never will. Can he be effective out of the bullpen? maybe. Will he even be playing baseball in 2008? maybe. With Zack Greinke you never know what you are going to get. I really hope that for Royals fans, and more importantly for Zack himself, that he figures out where he belongs. Until then, all we can do is bite our nails and hope that Zack #1 takes over.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Zack Greinke, Home Run Derby Pitcher


I'm not sure if the Royals coaching staff will ever figure out Zack Greinke. He's got amazing stuff, but a shaky demeanor, a lack of a true killer instinct. When he gives up a couple hits, his body language suggests a thin middle schooler who just got pantsed in front of the auditorium, not frantic with embarassment, but pondering a sad realization.
Anyways, the Tigers lit the Royals up again, as Chad Durbin pitched solidly (!!!!!!!) and picked up the win. When Chad Durbin (once again, !!!!!!) outpitches someone who was once anointed as the next Greg Maddux, it makes you wonder.
Zack needs confidence, and he needs to be moved to the bullpen, or maybe sent down once again to find his stride and try to wean the gopherball from his repertoire. Kansas City is not a high pressure environment, relative to the other 29 markets, so I don't think it would be beneficial to Zack to move, only to succumb to more intense and foreign pressure by journalists who have not covered the team where he went through his developmental stage.
I think the world of Zack's ability, but his head is a different story. I want him to succeed, but the Royals and Dayton Moore will need to learn that they're going to need to take a radical approach, not bury him with virtually no responsibility and no confidence. Bullpen. Zack Greinke needs to be moved to the bullpen for, if not just for a few months, the duration of Kansas City's regular season. With Luke Hudson making his way back, this move could more easily be facilitated and reasonable. Now, it appears that the only way we can salvage this fine prospect is to try something new and different.