Monday, June 23, 2008

The Aviles Factor

When Mike Aviles is in the lineup, the Royals are averaging over two runs a game more than when Mr. Aviles is not in the lineup. In yesterday's marathon 11-10 comback victory over the Giants, Aviles delivered a crucial two-run double that to tie the game at 10 in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Royals, who with every additional game against the National League can fully regret their decision to stay in the American league, crawled back within nine games of first in the super-underachieving AL Central division (the TWINS are a game out for crying out loud!)

In baseball, the batter/pitcher showdown is a battle of individuals, but Aviles's performance at the plate really helps everyone in the order. By my count, the Royals' bottom of the lineup was responsible for scoring seven runs, which meant they had to be on base. It helped when Pena (who got the start) was pulled for Callaspo, but the bottom of the lineup got on base for the top-of-the-order guys.

Our starters had been going so well and it was probably time for a letdown, as the pitching in this game was pretty awful (except for Mahay/Soria). However, if the Royals can give David DeJesus and Jose Guillen opportunities to drive in runs, maybe this team isn't so doomed after all.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Kauffman Magic!!!

These Royals sure know how to energize a home crowd! Fresh off of a five game winning streak, the Royals came home to a sellout (for freakin' fireworks?), and boy, did they stink the joint up. A 4-0 lead evaporated into a 8-4 deficit faster than a Neal Musser demotion. Innings 4 through 9 were slower than a Yasuhiko Yabuta fastball, an more boring than a Coldplay concert. Let's face it, the game last night flat out sucked. The Royals are really making a good effort in disinteresting the city from going out to the K. I've attended ten or eleven games this year. 2 of those games they have won. In 4 (!!!!) of those games, they have blown leads of 4 or more runs, twice after the seventh inning. Could this home stand have been set up any better for the Royals? The pitching has been red-hot, and you get to play six games against the hapless Giants and Rockies, then 3 more against a Pujols-less Cardinals. Nice start, fellahs.

I am a little confused as to why Luke was pulled so early. He had only thrown 72 pitches, and wasn't really getting bashed around. A couple of bloop hits, accompanied by some ground balls that found holes, and a couple of runs had crossed the plate. Big deal, I'd rather have a semi-struggling Hochevar in there than Yasuhomer Yabuta. Nice four-pitch, 2-out walk, Yabu.

One more thing: Could David Dejesus's trade value be any higher than it is right now??? I'd like to think that some very interesting offers are coming our way right now.

Today's Lesson: The Kansas City Sky Show was a tremendous let down.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Suck it, Cardinals

Even as an oft-dejected Royals fan, little feels better than going into St. Louis and beating the Cardinals in two straight with a little (hold on while I look how to spell it in the dictionary, as it is rarely used in the Royals vernacular) Clutch Hitting. Gordon's bomb was a no-doubter and DeJesus's hot streak is causing Dayton Moore's cellie to blow up like he's P. Diddy.

Jose Guillen also doled out his sixth outfield assist, further distancing himself talent-wise from the rest of the team as his average climbs into the high .200s. When reporters asked recently ousted Mariners GM Bill Bavasi what decisions he regretted, he said that not re-signing Jose Guillen (his option was for $9 mil, we paid $12 mil) was his biggest mistake for the 2008 campaign, and this is coming from a guy who padlocked the clubhouse a couple weeks ago to try to wake up the terrible and terribly overpaid M's (that Richie Sexson deal just reeks from awfulness; you can even catch a whiff of it in the midwest).

Things have gotten much better since the Tomko-down Aviles-up moves. Sweep tonight?

We really should've moved to the National League, huh.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My Concession

Dylan, since I have fallen behind so far in the "Great Tomko Battle of 2008," a war that will likely be reproduced in fifth grade history textbooks, I have made this crappy photoshop (I'M LEARNING THE PROGRAM!) as a trophy for my concession.

What a pitcher.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Day on the Farm!!! Baaa! Mooo!

I thought it would be a good idea to check in on some of the minor leaguers who were (or still are) thought to be a part of the future. Check it out!

A Burlington Bees:

SS, Mike Moustakas AKA The Big One
: 236 ABs, .225/.281/.377, 8 HRs, 29 RBI, OUCH.

UTIL, Jason Taylor (2nd Round, '06): 201 Abs, .224/.367/.413, 9 HRs, 27 RBI, MEH.

OF, Adrian Ortiz (5th Round, '07): 265 Abs, .298/.320/.377, All-Star, MEH.

SP, Danny Duffy (3rd Round, '07): 22.1 IP, 2-2, 4.43 ERA, 29 Ks, 1.21 WHIP, NOT BAD.

A+ Wilmington Blue Rocks:

IF, Jeff Bianchi (2nd Round, '05): 156 Abs, .263/.293/.423, MEH.

OF, Derrick Robinson (4th Round, '06): 239 Abs, .268/.320/.335, 30 SBs, MEH.

Thoughts: Pretty, pretty, pretty thin. Moose Tacos has struggled, but it's far to early to be overly concerned. Duffy has some nice strike out numbers. Ortiz made the All-Star team as a rookie which is good to see. Bianchi has been a disappointment, and Derrick Robinson is a Single A version of Joey Gathright. Aside from Moustakas, there is absolutely nothing to get excited about here. AA and AAA later or tomorrow!!!

Today's Lesson: The Royals farms are barren.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Poor Mr. Aviles...

Sigh. Let me preface this rant by saying that Mike Aviles is not the savior of the pathetic offensive attack (more like a pillow fight) that the Royals throw out on the diamond every night. That being said... what the hell are we trying to do with this guy? He gets the call and starts on his first day in the bigs. Yeah, he went 0-3 with a K, but so did every other Royal in the lineup that night! Since then, it's been a shortstop merry-go-round. I don't know if Aviles should be out there everyday or not, but certainly every other day at the least.

Side note: I do know that Tony Pena should never be out there before the seventh inning as a defensive replacement. This is really getting ridiculous. Not only is his bat sub-Larueian, but a misplay last night led to four runs. Sure, he'll make the spectacular play every now and again, but he is far from perfect, and has had more than his fair share of booted balls this year. If you're going to hit .150, you better be the best damn defensive shortstop to ever play the game.

Anyway, back to the Royals Hubering of Mike Aviles. What's the point of even bringing him up? We essentially have 3 utility infielders on the team at this point. I understand giving at-bats to Esteban German in hopes of him raising his average and becoming decent trade bait. I understand playing Callaspo at 2nd once a series to see if he can be our 2B of the future, but he should not play short anymore. The range of the Albertross (stupidest nick name ever. except for maybe "Thunder", which C and I applied to the legendary Dee Brown) is pretty pathetic. As for Aviles, I just feel bad for him. The guy was simply beating the stitches off the ball in Omaha, and what did it get him? 3 at-bats. What a waste. Try and move him somewhere for a pitching prospect or something if the organization has given up on him. I'm really sick of this team's piss poor developement and misuse of its players.

Moving on... to say I'm not concerned about Zack's outing last night would be a little bit of a fib. 4 homers is a lot, and he may have lost his chance of making the All-Star squad. I know he has struggled in the South Side (to the tune of 0-6, 6.6 ERA), but this was an Elarton-esque outing. Hopefully he rebounds in Da Bronx on Sunday (gulp).

Final order of business. The following is in response to C saying that I believe too much in curses and such:

Listen, I love stats as much as the next guy. I'm an Econ major, and math has always been my favorite subject. But, there are some things in the world, and the sports world, that can't be explained by simple statistics. The specific example that comes to mind for me is the home run and the not home run hit by Jose Guillen over the weekend. On Saturday, he pounds a ball off of Professor Meatball, Joe Borowski, a ball that was gone in the minds of everyone watching, at the stadium or in their living rooms. Only it got caught at the wall. Even Trey Hillman admitted to thinking it was a walk-off. The next day, Guillen takes a half-swing with his hands touching his belt buckle and it sails out of the yard. Also, Paul Bird was on the mound, so Newton's law (equal and opposite reaction) isn't really working in your favor. There are things that happen in this game and everywhere else that truly can't be explained. Hell, the Kansas Jayhawks won a National Championship Game on the 20th anniversary of their last Championship. Only everyone in the country that was watching knew that Memphis had won the game. It was an impossible deficit to make up against a team that good. Yet Mario Chalmers made the most improbable of shots after the most improbable of comebacks (I took that running fade away forty times with no defense and no pressure, and made it just once). So, yeah, I believe that there are other forces at work besides science and statistics. To quote Danny Glover in the 1994 classic Angels in the Outfield, "You can call it faith. You can call it angels. You can call it whatever you want."

Today's Lesson: "We're always watching!" Christopher Lloyd as Al the angel

Monday, June 02, 2008

My Night in the Reds' Forum

Tonight, I was the perfect combination of 1) Curious and 2) Bored, I went over the Cincinnati Reds' fan forum to see if there was any buzz about Adam Dunn and his potential availability. Upon the initial scan of the forum, I didn't see anything about Adam Dunn and the Royals initially...but I did pop into the thread entitled (this very much piqued my interest) Zack Greinke.

Dylan has often mentioned the possibility of trading Zack, a notion I find a little bit perplexing, but I'm coming around. It's easy to say you'd part with a good young pitcher for the "right deal," but there's a lot of differing opinions on what the "right deal" should be. In the following paragraphs, I'm going to run down what I think it would take to deal Greinke, and then I will prescribe what I think the Royals should do. It's going to be an enthralling read, so shine your spectacles and put a pot of coffee on.

The Royals seek a left-handed power bat and the whole league knows it. This is where Dunn fits; however, from the scouring of this Greinke thread, it looks like Reds fans think that Dunn won't go so easily to KC--he wouldn't agree to the deal or sign an extension if he came here. So, the next option would be to deal Greinke for a talented pack of prosects, a la what the D-Backs did to acquire Dan Haren. The Reds have some untouchable prospects, among them the molten-hot Jay Bruce, rookie Edinson Volquez (acquired from Texas for CF Josh Hamilton, ML leader in RBIs), and First Baseman Joey Votto. So what premier prospects are left?

1. Homer Bailey: The Reds have become frustrated with Bailey and his velocity, which has fallen off since his early dominance of the minor leagues, dominance which had many publications drolling, often naming him the best prospect in baseball. However, there are many issues with Bailey, motivation and determination becoming clear roadblocks in his development. Heaps of hype, but would the Royals really trade a proven commodity (Greinke) for underachieving upside? Sounds like a burn to me.

2. Drew Stubbs: Highly regarded outfield single A. I'm not exactly comfortable with all of this.

The Reds will probably have to blow us away for us to move Greinke, including both Bailey, Stubbs, and several others. New Reds GM Walt Jocketty will want to shake things up, and the Royals could get some talent in return.

Greinke has a lot of MLB service for a 23-year old, dating back to 2004. He will be arbitration eligible soon and we'll probably lose him when he is a free agent in 2-3 years. But we shouldn't trade a guy just because he'll be hard to keep.

The Royals main developmental goal is restocking a poor minors system with talent. If the Reds can give us four to five highly-regarded prospects, I think we'd have to do it.