Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Royals Recap

Another week gone by, and a new and interesting way for the Royals to only win one game. Two weeks ago, they had to come back from five runs down to win their one game. This past week, it was a walk-off home run by none other than the esteemed slugger Alberto Castillo. Alberto Castillo...Albert Pujols...nope, too far of a stretch.

The difference in the losses last week is that the Royals were actually competitive in most of them, with four of their six losses being by one run (this doesn't include their one run loss to the Twins last night). Does this mean the Royals aren't quite as bad as they seem?

Of course not. The Royals are horrible right now. However, in a fit of...hm, I don't know, let's call it insanity...I've decide to once again point out the bright spots in the week that has been, because it doesn't take a biochemical engineer to see that a 1-6 week would spawn more bad comments than good ones. And also because I'm insane.

Beginning with offense, because it'll be short:

  • David DeJesus is still doing well. He's didn't keep up that insane walk rate that he had going earlier, but he's hitting over .300 and running an OPS over .800. Somewhat odd stat: of DDJ's 21 hits, he's managed to get two home runs and two triples before he's gotten his first double of the year.
  • Matt Stairs is continuing to be exactly what he is: a dude that can swing some mean stick, working his side of the platoon against right-handed pitchers to the tune of a 1.139 OPS with an ISO slugging of an even 300. The Royals are doing their jobs in regards to the platoon, as Stairs' 31 at-bats vs righties and 9 at-bats vs. lefties will attest. The Royals are maximizing Stairs' effectiveness at the plate.
  • Joe McEwing is carrying a batting average of about .400 right now -- too bad that he's made 3 errors in only 7 games played, and just shouldn't be getting any more than minimal playing time.. He would, however, be pretty good -- if it weren't for the fact that he's very bad.

Onto the bright spot of the...okay, the dimly-lit-but-Nova-like-in-comparison-to-the-black-pit-known-as-the-Royals-offense side of the team, the pitching:

  • Thank God for the ray of light that is known to many as Andy Sisco. That link will take you to his page, where you can see what he's accomplished thus far in the season (or, you can just wait for my impatient ass to tell you). An over 3 to 1 so/bb ratio, 9.82 K's per 9, 0.82 WHIP, .143 BAA (batting average against), 1.23 ERA. Oh, and he's 6'10", 270 lbs., and 22 years old. He's come onto a horrible team and is dominating, plain and simple. The Royals must, I mean MUST give this kid a different role than middle relief if he keeps this up for much longer.
  • Denny Bautista had a wonderful bounce-back game against the White Sox on Sunday, proving that nothing is proven yet. After dominating the Angels in his 2005 debut, and then having consecutive rough outings against the Mariners and Indians, he essentially dominated the Sox for 6 of the 7 innings he pitched. All of his peripherals are good-to-decent, with the only glaring number being his ERA. If one looks at his other numbers, the ERA can be fairly easily ignored at this point.
  • Somewhere, despite the trials and tribulations of his ballclub, Royals GM Allard Baird is laughing at the Orioles and Cubs. Remember, the Orioles gave up Bautista for Jason Grimsley, and Sisco was a Rule V pickup that the Cubs let go. Those clubs can't be happy with how those moves have turned out thus far. Actually, nevermind Baird laughing at them, I'm laughing at them right now. Here I go...heh, heh heh, guffaw! (Please realize, laughing at other teams for doing something stupid is a thing Royals fans can only rarely do, so opportunities cannot be bypassed for any reason, including the risk of being incredibly corny.)
  • Zack Greinke is being Zack Greinke. If he had any sort of team behind him, he could challenge for the Cy Young in the next year or two -- easily.
  • Another kid sighting. Ambiorix Burgos stepped onto the Royals roster last week and had a nice first outing in the majors, pitching one full inning against the White Sox on Saturday, fanning one batter and throwing 9 strikes out of 13 pitches. After this feat, along with the understood fact that Burgos has instantly become the funkiest name in baseball (with a nod to former champ Vladimir Guerrero), Burgos suffered some good ol' Royal heartache, taking a loss in a game that saw him surrender 2 bloop singles and be victimized by an error from a player who shouldn't even be on the roster (the aforementioned Joe McEwing). The Royals are making me shake my head, though. In yesterday's game Burgos came on in the 9th inning, in that kind of hold situation that closers will generally occupy, although the score was tied at the time. Still, Kevin and I had a short conversation about this very thing with Burgos -- the Royals deciding he'll be a relief pitcher when he's only 20 years old. Hey, I'm hoping he'll become K-Rod, but why not teach the kid a 3rd pitch and see if he can become Johan Santana, first?
  • Mike Wood is good. After a good initial outing followed by two of the rockiest of rocky outings, Wood has pitched seven innings in relief over three appearances and allowed all of one hit and two walks. This is the pitcher Kevin and I wanted to be considered for a spot in the rotation after Spring Training, but he is showing his worth in the bullpen.
  • Man, the pitching line thus far for relievers Nate Field and Shawn Camp are downright spooky. They both have 6.2 innings pitched, both have given up one home run, and they both have a 9.45 ERA. Their hits and walks allowed pluse strikeouts are all similar as well. Hm, could be that both of them suck, too. Like I said, spooky.

Anyhoo, that's all for this week's Royal Recap. I'll see y'all next week where I'll find more positive things to say, leading more readers to wonder, "Doesn't he realize they have the worst record in the AL?"

If I don't admit it, perhaps it will not be true. You know; trees falling, forests, nobody around, and noise-theory-thingie.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Daniel:

I said it before and I'll say it again; Matt Stairs would be a great guy on the Giants bench (like Torcato, except he can actually hit when called on AND play 1B). I'm glad he's having a good year.

I assume you'll go to all 3 games when KC is in SF this year? Maybe Sabean will wake up and see Stairs!

PS. The Giants suck so good for you in finding something else to write about... I went last night and was amazed when Benitez blew a save AND blew a groin/hamstring/gasket. Isn't that some kind of triple/double?

BB

Craig Brown said...

It seems really clear that Pena has three guys in his pen he will trust...Wood, Sisco and Burgos.

Last night Sisco was brought in with two outs in the eight inning of a tied game with runners at the corners and struckout Torii Hunter. The kid is good.

Looking forward to Teahen returning and the inevitable callup of Justin Huber!

Anonymous said...

I'm trying as hard as I can not to give up on this team. There have been managing decisions I don't agree with (i.e. sending Pickering down so quickly, suicide squeezes at maybe the wrong time, line ups with no power threats and taking starters out just because their pitch count had reached its limit). However, I still believe in this ball club.

Five of their last six loses have been by one run. Three against the Twins and two against the White Sox. The White Sox are playing the best baseball in the majors and the Twins are just 3.5 games behind them. All five of these losses could have been wins if the Royals had played smarter, more fundamentally sound baseball.

However, the lineup Tony used against the Twins didn't make a lot of sense. I know guys have to sit out some games, but you shouldn't have Eli Merrero batting clean up. Considering who the Royals have right now, here's a line up I think Tony should use for tonight's game against Minnesota:

DeJesus CF
Gotay 2B
Sweeney DH
Stairs RF
Berroa SS
McEwing 3B
Marrero 1B
Buck C
Diaz LF

Anyway, just my thoughts. They may make no sense at all.

Adam

Daniel said...

To BB: Stairs would be a great guy on any team's bench -- it just comes down to a manager knowing what he has in Stairs (a semi-versatile defender, and a good left-handed power bat), and using him accordingly. Stairs shouldn't really get 500 at-bats in a season because that means he's probably getting too many at-bats vs. lefties, but there's no way he should be below 300.

To CB: those bullpen choices are, I think, exactly right. Sisco and Wood have/will earn it, but as with Bautista, Burgos will have to show some control over those wicked pitches of his.

Huber? I'd love it, but I don't think there's any way the Royals will diss Ken Harvey (a.k.a. the Big Contact) twice in succession like this, especially as Harv's doing well in Omaha.

To Adam: I'd like the lineup except for McEwing -- you'd have to hide him somewhere if he's playing, and I'd rather see Graffy than him (despite the early .400 average). Buck or Diaz probably should be higher in the order -- although their early struggles obviously say bottom of the order, their offensive skill sets say higher than 8th and 9th in the order.

Also, I'm wondering if DeJesus might make his way higher in the order. It's obvious right now the 3 best hitters on the team are DeJesus, Stairs, and Sweeney -- why not bunch them together somehow?