Thursday, April 30, 2009

Seitz called it

Before Wednesday night's game against the Blue Jays, Royals hitting coach Kevin Seitzer said he had a "feeling" Billy Butler was going to break out of the funk that has plagued him thus far in 2009. Seitzer couldn't have been more precise with his timing as "Big Bill" crushed two homers and a double in going 4-for-5 with four RBI.

All four hits came against Frank Viola look-alike Brian Tallett as he crushed a laser to right center and another booming blast to left center. Big Bill is seeing the ball really, really well right now. He's laying off of bad pitches and hitting all the fat ones. It's about time. He entered the game with a .193 average. With the return of Jose Guillen to the lineup, Butler's stick could help do a ton of damage.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009's time

OK, so all you guys have heard me do lately is gripe and moan that Luke Hochevar needs to be called up from Triple-A Omaha. I'm sure you're probably tired of hearing me speak on the subject, but I can't help myself. He is off to a scorching start for the O'Royals, and the big league club is missing out.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the Royals are one transaction away from having the best rotation in baseball. They may not have all the "names" that teams like the Yankees and Red Sox have, but they are quickly going to become household names if they continue to tear through lineups at this pace.

I never thought I'd hear myself say it this soon, but Dayton Moore has put this team on a fast track to a championship. They can easily win the division this year if the starting rotation can stay intact. Yes, I say that despite the fact that the offense hasn't been particularly stunning thus far. Add a couple more bats* next season and this team could contend for a crown.

*Jose Guillen stepped up with two monster homers last night - his first two of the season - and history has shown that when he gets on a tear the rest of the lineup follows. It was no surprise they won 7-1. Miguel Olivo homered as well. Maybe nights like that can jump-start the offense.

Hochevar tossed six innings, struck out seven, allowed four hits and walked two as Omaha drilled Oklahoma City 8-1 yesterday. He improved his record to 4-0 with a 1.44 ERA in 25 innings on the hill. Clearly, he's figured something out working with Bob McClure this offseason, and appears to have worked out the kinks in his delivery.

We all know he has outstanding ability on the hill. We have already witnessed flashes of dominance from the kid in the big leagues. There were times he would stifle hitters, then get his brains bashed in the next inning. That's what many young pitchers do. Greinke did it his first three years in the bigs. Hochevar figured some things out during his time in the big leagues last year, and he was very good this spring. He seems to have proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he is ready for the call.

Scouts project Hoch to be a darn good No. 2 or 3 starter in the bigs. This year he won't have the pressure of living up to those expectations because of the outstanding performances of the top three in the rotation (Meche, Greinke and Davies). That is fantastic for Luke. Two years ago he would have been expected to be one of the top three. Kyle Davies has taken that pressure off of him. This is the perfect situation for his growth in the big leagues.

Another factor is the emergence of Brian Bannister. Since being recalled from Omaha he has turned in two solid performances. He is showing signs of returning to his 2007 form, when he nearly won AL Rookie of the Year. Banny knows he won't always get away with allowing one run when he walks six batters like he did in his last start, but when your pitch to your spots and miss bats (to the tune of allowing one hit through six innings) you are going to have success.

Also, Sidney Ponson has been a serviceable guy thus far in the rotation. I understand he probably hasn't done anything to rile Royals fans yet - he's turned in two "quality" starts so far - which is a pleasant surprise for the club. But realistic baseball people know what Ponson is. He's been mediocre throughout his career, and that's exactly what his stats have shown thus far.

To be fair, Ponson hasn't received much run support at all in his starts, and he should have a couple more wins already. Regardless, his ERA is over 5.00 and is going to hover in that range all year. A lot of teams would be happy with that. Any other year and the Royals would have been ecstatic if their No. 1 guy could give them that, but not in 2009. These Royals pitchers are a new breed.

Look, I am not naive enough to think that Hochevar will post a sub-2.00 ERA in the big leagues. But you would be naive to think that he wouldn't be an upgrade over Ponson. Ponson could move to the pen and give this team a shot in the arm, in that respect. As far as I'm concerned Banny could move to the 'pen. That might be the better move. It would limit his exposure every fifth day, and keep Ponson in the rotation at No. 5. That would also work. Anything to keep Horacio Ramirez in the 'pen would be great.

But to leave Hochevar in the minors when he's pitching this good is a waste. If they wanted to let him dominate and boost his confidence, fine. It's been accomplished. I'll admit it has been a luxury for the big league rotation to be solid, because has kept the organization from rushing Hochevar. They don't REALLY need him right now, but any team would be foolish not to find a way to fit a guy like him in somewhere.

So, GMDM ... it's time. He's ready. Reward the kid. Let's get to the playoffs.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Royals fans be warned ... all hell could break loose

Well, here we go. With a team that is hovering close to the .500 mark, and playing pretty good baseball to this point, there has been plenty to cheer about for Royals fans so far in 2009. But while the year is still young, it's not too early to panic that all-world closer Joakim Soria could miss several weeks with what is being called a "sore" right shoulder.

This could spell disaster for the Royals if the offense doesn't start scoring runs in bunches pretty soon. Of course, it remains to be seen just how long Soria will be out. For right now they're not putting him on the DL, but he certainly has caused some concern in the organization that has the club taking every precaution to keep his condition under wraps. That should tell us something.

Soria had an MRI a couple days ago and the results came back negative. That doesn't mean a lot since he's experiencing what teams like to call a "dead arm". That means we won't be seeing him on the hill for a little while.

There is just no way to tell when a pitchers arm will rebound from an issue like Soria's. Being a former pitcher who experienced arm troubles myself, I can tell you that Soria will miss longer than five days. There's simply no way they will allow him to pitch before that time. Guaranteed, and that's a good thing.

I'll explain it this way. There's a difference between pitching with a sore arm and pitching with an injury. Basically, you can pitch with a sore arm. You can work soreness out with some long toss, stretching, ice and a day of rest. Sore arms, while they do result in pain, and regardless of popular thinking, do not mean you're injured. Pitchers throw with sore arms every day. Therefore, Soria has more than a "sore" arm. This has been going on for at least a week now.

That means Ron Mahay, Juan Cruz and Kyle "Gas Can" Farnsworth are the likely closers for at least a couple of weeks. Cruz and Mahay I can live with, but God forbid Farnsworth steps on the mound in a close game in the ninth. I'm getting an ulcer thinking about it right now.

I pray to DeJesus that the offense carries us through.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Jose Guillen returns, Pena cut

Jose Guillen returned to the lineup today against the Tigers after a 15 day sting on the DL for a right hip labrum injury.

Meanwhile, the Royals designated catcher Brayan Pena (yes, I'm thinking what you're thinking: why not Tony Pena Jr.?) for assignment, which could very likely end his playing days in Kansas City.

The Royals are interested in re-signing Pena, but will only be able to do so if he clears waivers, and it would be somewhat of a surprise if he does. Pena was shocked by the news, telling reporters; "It hurts man."

As a Royals fan it does hurt. I wish it would have been the other Pena.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Banny goes ... cha ching!!!!

Brian Bannister was money in his first big league start of the season. In fact, it was reminiscent of 2007. *Sigh*

Banny tossed six innings, gave up four hits and didn't allow a run as the Royals shut out the Indians 2-0. He matched 2008 CY Young Award winner Cliff Lee pitch-for-pitch throughout the contest as Lee was dazzling himself. Lee was the tough luck loser, falling to 1-3 on the season, after going eight innings and allowing nine hits with two runs. Bannister walked two and struck out one.

He was also backed by several defensive gems throughout the game as well. Willie Bloomquist and David DeJesus each added nice running grabs to save potential runs in the game.

"I know my role this year," Bannister said. "I know I can be up and down (between the majors and minors) this year, but I'm fine with it. Whatever I can to to help the team win. I'm fine with my role.
"We played great defense. It was just a good all around game for everybody."

Trey Hillman was ecstatic with the performance.

"(Bannister) was outstanding," Trey Hillman said. "Doesn't matter what combination you're throwing ... to hold these guys down like he did was pretty impressive. He pitched a great game."

Coco Crisp opened up the scoring when he doubled and scored on a DeJesus sac fly in the first. Mike Jacobs singled and scored in the seventh on a Bloomquist single. Jamey Wright came on in the seventh and pitched two dazzling scoreless innings. They escaped a jam in the ninth when Joakim Soria struck out Trevor Crowe with a curveball on a 2-2 pitch with runners at second and third to end the game.

The Royals are now 8-3 and three Farnsworth's.

So I was in Springdale, Ark. yesterday...

...and got a good look at new Royals pitcher Anthony Lerew - the former Braves top prospect. Lerew, who I begged the Royals to sign several weeks ago, is still attempting to bounce back from major elbow surgery after getting cut by the Braves. Lerew spent a brief time in the bigs with the Braves before being cut, and the Royals picked him up quickly. After all, Dayton Moore and J.J. Piccollo were responsible for his draft and sign with Atlanta in the first place.

Anyways, he looked brilliant against the Corpus Christi Hooks (Double-A affiliate of the Houston Astros) on Tuesday. In front of the fourth largest crowd in Arvest Ballpark's brief history, Lerew tossed 6 2/3 innings against the Hooks and struck out six while allowing eight hits, three runs and a walk.

Lerew served up a controversial two-run homer to Mitch Einertson in the seventh, shortly before his exit in the game. The ball hit the top of the wall in left center, and after a long chat by the umpires it was ruled a homer. The only other run he allowed in the game came on a solo shot to Chris DeLome in the sixth. He started leaving the ball up in the sixth, clearly as a result of fatigue.

Still, Lerew looked really good. The Royals should be excited about what this kid can bring to the organization. His ERA currently stands at 3.07 and he's showing signs of re-gaining his old form. Center fielder Jose Duarte banged two doubles in the game, and looks like a much improved player over the guy I saw last season. He appears to have added some much needed bulk, and was swinging the bat very well.

Mario Lisson has moved from third base to shortstop, and looks like he is still adjusting to the move. He's played there before, but lacks a great deal of range at the position. He played pretty well though. Plus, the Royals feel he will hit. He has the body type to resemble Alex Rodriguez. With six years of steroids he may hit like him too. Bad joke.

Shame on me.

NW Arkansas won the game, 9-7, after Gilbert De La Vara (who was taken by the Astros in the Rule 5 Draft, but returned to Kansas City before the start of the year) nearly Kyle Farnsworthed the game with a horrible day on the mound. He allowed four runs and couldn't get out of the 9th. Chris Nicoll came on and slammed the door, stranding the tying run at first. The Naturals allowed four runs in the ninth.

I got some good pictures at the game that I will add when I do posts about these guys in the future. Got this shot of Lerew. Think I'm going to print it and have it signed. What do you guys think?

I'll be attending several more Naturals games all over the midwest this season and I'll keep you updated on how the young guys are looking.

By the way, Dan Cortes got hammered on Monday night. He's struggling to start the year.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bannister recalled, gets Wednesday start

It didn't take long for Brian Bannister to make his way back to K.C. as he was recalled from Triple-A Omaha to make his first big league start of the season against 2008 A.L. Cy Young winner Cliff Lee on Wednesday.
Bannister is off to a decent start at Triple-A (for stats on him see the previous Hochevar post) and the Royals only allowed him to throw two innings in his past outing in anticipation of this move. They didn't call up Hochevar because he threw eight innings on Monday. Relief pitcher Doug Waechter is headed to the DL with a lateral strain in his right elbow.
By the way, the Royals fell 8-7 tonight.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hochevar off to hot start at Omaha

If Luke Hochevar is trying to prove that the Royals made a mistake in demoting him to Triple-A to start the season, he's doing one helluva job. The right hander has started off in tremendous fashion this season as he improved to 3-0 with a 1.89 ERA after the Royals defeated Albuquerque 7-2 today.

Hochevar tossed eight innings, scattered five hits, allowed one run, walked two and struck out four to earn the victory. He threw 72 of 107 pitches for strikes, and picked off Xavier Paul at first base. For the season, Hochevar has given up four earned runs in 19 innings with nine strikeouts and four walks. Meanwhile, Brian Bannister is 0-1 with a 3.46 ERA with five strikeouts and a walk. He has tossed 13 innings for the Royals.

Greinke earns honor

Zack Greinke, who has accumulated 14 scoreless innings on the hill this past week, has earned recognition from Major League Baseball for his outstanding effort on the hill thus far in the season. It was announced on Monday that Greinke and Texas Rangers second baseman (and former Mizzou star) Ian Kinsler will share AL Co-Player of the Week honors.

Zack gets a new watch as his prize for pitching so well. Hopefully, he can add a world series trophy as a prize at the end of the season for a job well done. ;)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Same old song and dance: 'Gas Can' blows it up again

I can't remember seeing such horrible management in all of my life. Why in the sam hell would any manager bring in his worst pitcher in a tied game in the bottom of the ninth inning? Especially when you have arguably the best closer in the game warm and ready to rock in the bullpen. Well, without further's Trey Hillman - Kyle 'Gas Can' Farnsworth's best buddy.

Just like Hillman's love affair with Ross Gload (and I'm not bestowing the same resentment on Gload that I have for Farnsworth) the past two seasons, Hillman has fallen in love with yet another player who shouldn't be on the Royals roster. Meanwhile, the team is paying for it. Plain and simple, Joakim Soria should have been in the game in that situation. He hasn't pitched in six days, the Royals have an off day on Monday and you are trying to go into the day off with the momentum of sweeping the second best offense in all of the American League.

Yet, hang on a second. Hillman makes the million dollar decision to keep his star closer on ice and instead bring in the dweeb who has already picked up two of your teams losses in the early season and is pitching like a big pile of (add your own "item" here). And there you have it, Farnsworth serves up a fastball right down the middle and it gets swatted for the game-winning homer to Michael Young on the second pitch of the inning. Royals, who had a 5-3 lead going into the 8th, end up losing 6-5.

Absolutely incredible decision making, Trey. I applaud you and you're king sized kahones. At this rate, you'll pull off one of those Runelvys Hernandez disappearing acts. You know, where you're gone and no one ever hears from you again.

I can't hardly blame Farnsworth on this one...he sucks. He can't help it they keep giving him the ball. He knows he sucks, but they're giving him $9 million bucks! Can't blame the guy for taking the ball (and the money) when it's tossed to him. My issues are with the people who keep giving him the ball. They can end this all right now by putting him in blowouts that he can't screw up too bad. Yasuhiko Yabuta didn't get this many chances to prove how badly he sucks. Hillman needs to step it up and quit this crap. It's killing the team.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Gordon to DL

Alex Gordon hit the disabled list today as he will undergo hip surgery for a problem that's been ailing him since Saturday and has helped contribute to his .095 batting average to start the year. Gordon, who has a right hip labrum cartilage tear, has been playing sparingly the past few days as the injury has worsened. He is 0h for his last six at-bats with four strikeouts. He is 2-for-22 on the season with a homer.

Gordon will have surgery on Friday in Vail, Colo. by doctor Marc Philippon - the same doctor who removed the cyst from Alex Rodriguez's hip during spring training.

The Royals have called up outfielder Mitch Maier from Triple-A Omaha to split time in right field with Willie Bloomquist while Jose Guillen remains out with his own hip injury. Mark Teahen will shift to third while Gordon is out.

It appears there is a good chance Gordon will miss more than 15 days. The club won't know just how long he is expected to miss until the surgery is completed and they can assess the situation. Expect word withing the next few days.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Buck homers twice in Royals romp

John Buck hit two mammoth home runs, including an 8th inning grand-slam, as the Royals pounded the Indians 9-3 on Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium.

Buck hammered a solo shot in the fifth off of Indians starter Carl Pavano to give the Royals a 3-2 lead. Buck put the game away in the 8th when he hammered a Vinny Chulk offering into the visiting bullpen to cap the five run inning.

Royals starter Kyle Davies went 5 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and a walk. Davies ended the night with a 2.13 ERA. He exited after his 98th pitch of the game when Kelly Shoppach reached on a single to move Ben Francisco to third. Trey Hillman summoned Robinson Tejeda from the bullpen and he promptly bailed Davies out by striking out Trevor Crowe on three pitches.

Juan Cruz struck out three and allowed one hit in two scoreless innings of relief. Doug Waechter finished things out with a scoreless ninth.

Kansas City broke out the bats to the tune of 11 hits. Seven of those hits went for extra bases. Mike Jacobs, Alberto Callaspo and Mike Aviles each doubled; Coco Crisp and David DeJesus each tripled; Buck added the two homers.

The Royals improved to 5-3 this season and to complete the sweep against their AL Central rivals in a 1:05 p.m. CT game on Wednesday. Sidney Ponson will square off against Aaron Laffey in that game.

Signs point to Royals win on Tuesday

If there was ever a game primed and ready for a Royals victory, Tuesday is the one. Last night the Royals got yet another outstanding pitching performance from Zack Greinke and the Royals held on late to outlast the Indians 4-2.

Mike Jacobs led off the fourth with a homer and Joakim Soria picked up his third save of the season by stranding the tying run at second.

Fast forward to Tuesday and there is no reason why the Royals should lose this game. Kyle Davies, who was outstanding in his first outing of the season, is on the hill against Carl Pavano...yes, you heard that right.

Pavano, who used to be good before injuries ravaged his career, gave up nine runs in one inning of work last week and could be pitching for his job tonight. If the Royals are looking for a good excuse to break out the offense they probably just found it.

Clearly, the Royals have caught the Indians at the most opportune time. Their pitching is horrible. Let's just hope they don't blow it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Offense still a no-show as Royals lose

Sidney Ponson gave the Royals six quality innings, but the offense failed to give him any run support as the Yankees downed the Royals 4-1 on the home opener of the new (and very beautiful) Kauffman Stadium.

Ponson had a few stretches where it appeared he would let the game get out of hand, but he reeled back and shut down the Yanks to escape danger. He really pitched better than the four runs that were on the board when he came out before the seventh. Had the Royals defense been better in the first inning Ponson likely would have only allowed two runs. He struck out five and walked three.

Mike Jacobs whiffed on a hard-hit ball right at him at first that accounted for two runs. Jacobs was not charged with an error on the play, and rightfully so as the ball was smoked by Jorge Posada. Mike Aviles also misplayed a hard hit ball at short, but he also escaped being charged with an error.

In the same inning, right before the Posada single, Alberto Callaspo made a bonehead decision that cost the Royals an extra run. On a grounder to second Callaspo fielded the ball and had Mark Teixeira standing right beside him for a potential tag-em-out-throw-em-out double play to get out of the inning. Instead, Callaspo opted not to go after Teixeira and instead threw out the runner at first. That allowed Teixeira to move to second and scored on Posada's hit.

"I'm still not happy with the way I pitched," Ponson said after the game. "Even though I gave them six innings, I'm still not happy with the way I pitched out there."

Ponson also declined to blame his teammates on the miscues in the infield. Opting instead to blame himself for letting those balls get hit so hard.

After taking an awful booing during player introductions before the game, Kyle Farnsworth came on in the seventh and struck out the side. Jamey Wright followed with two scoreless innings and struck out three while allowing one hit. He promptly picked off that runner.

Billy Butler doubled and scored in the second inning. Mike Jacobs doubled to score Butler. The Royals only had four hits in the game. Besides Butler's hit, Mike Aviles and Mark Teahen also added a hit.

You're welcome, Mr. Farnsworth

Wow! What a welcome Royals fans just gave Kyle Farnsworth when he was introduced during pre-game ceremonies before today's game. Farnsy was welcomed with a hail of boos from the crowd, and he was certainly put in a pickle. Seriously, I'm not sure one single person cheered the man. I'd be willing to bet Joe Girardi and the rest of the Yankees were even standing over there booing him too.

Obviously, fans haven't forgotten the opening day meatball he served to Jim Thome. I'm sensing a shaky relationship from the outset. Haha. I wonder what Dayton Moore thought of that? I'm guessing that will be talked about after the game.

Whad did Farnsworth do? Just smiled and downed his head, of course.

Here's a big surprise...(sarcastic voice)

Before today's home opener against the Yankees the Royals placed Jose Guillen on the disabled list after he partially tore his right hip flexor while running out a grounder at first. (Yes, I know, he was running it out!).

Anyways, Guillen's injury saved someone their big league job (at least temporarily) as the club needed to make a move today before the game to make room for starter Sidney Ponson to join the 25-man roster. I would imagine Guillen will miss several weeks with this injury and could miss an extended period of time. His hips have given him a lot of trouble the past few seasons.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Coco's the hero

No wonder the Royals front office wanted to get their hands on Coco Crisp so badly this offseason. Crisp jumped all over White Sox closer Bobby Jenks in the top of the ninth and rammed a two-run homer well over the wall in left and the Royals defeated the Sox 2-1.

Crisp came up big defensively in the bottom of the 8th with a nice running catch on a ball hit by A.J. Pierzynski in the right center gap to save a run. He then deposited the first pitch he saw from Jenks in the 9th to break a 0-0 tie. Crisp's blow came right after Alberto Callaspo drilled a double to the wall in right center with one out in the inning.

Joakim Soria made things interesting when he came on in the ninth and surrendered a lead off double to Carlos Quentin. Quentin moved up to third on a Jim Thome ground out and scored on Jermaine Dye's ground out to short making it 2-1. Soria then walked Paul Konerko and Alexei Ramirez reached on an Alex Gordon error to put runners at first and second. But Soria rebounded to strike out pinch-hitter Wilson Betemit on a back-door curve to end the game. The save was Soria's 2nd of the season.

Royals starter Kyle Davies was nothing less than stellar in his performance as he tossed seven innings, allowed three hits, struck out eight and walked two. Together, Davies, Greinke and Meche gave Royals fans a glimpse of what the starting rotation - at least at the top three spots - could be like this season. Together they allow only one run and combined for a 0.43 ERA in the series. Ron Mahay (1-0) picked up the win after tossing a scoreless 8th for the Royals.

"I'm not sure I've ever seen that kind of consistency from a rotation over the course of a series like that," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "It was really amazing to see. I am really pleased with that."

The Royals (2-1) open at home tomorrow against the Yankees at 3:10 p.m. CT. The much anticipated home opener will be a grand re-opening of Kauffman Stadium after it has gone through an extensive renovation over the past two seasons. Andy Pettitte will start for the Yanks while Sidney Ponson gets the nod for the Royals.

The Royals will have to make a roster move before tomorrow's game to make room for Ponson. Reserve infielder Tony Pena Jr. could be the odd man. The Royals must trade, release or option a player to the minors to make room for Ponson on the 25-man roster.

Sorry for the delay, here's my analysis from Wednesday's 2-0 win

I want to apologise to you guys for not getting something posted on here sooner about last night's Royals game in which they took down the White Sox 2-0. I do have an excuse though, I am battling a horrible stomach pain that has put blogging on the bottom of my to-do list.

Anyways, before the Royals start today's game against Chicago I just wanted to point out a few things about the game last night that I'm sure you have already heard about by now.

First of all, Zack Greinke is a friggin stud. He tossed six innings of Josh Beckett baseball and completely bamboozled Sox hitters all night. Jermaine Dye (sorry Jermaine) looked like I did at the plate when he whiffed horribly at a 12-6 curve that he missed by about three feet. Greinke also roasted Alexei Ramirez and Jim Thome on some filthy sliders as well.

Mark Teahen made a very nice play at second on a ball hit hard to his right. He's admittedly had trouble all spring with that ball up the middle, but has been making huge strides in that department. If you haven't seen the play (it may not look too hard when a gold-glover is fielding it, but it's a very tough play) Teahen backhanded the ball and made a strong throw to first in one motion to get the runner by two steps. That was good to see.

Juan Cruz was electric (as expected) in two inning of hitless relief. He retired all six batters he faced. Joakim Soria was his normal self as well. Striking out Dye to end the game on a filthy curve.

Anyways, I don't feel like writing much more. Again, I apologise. I'll try to have something on today's game when it ends. We're about to get underway. Go Royals!

Royals add another IF at Omaha

So it looks like this "plan" that Dayton Moore has concieved to bring the Royals back to greatness involves stockpiling your team at pitcher and ... wait for it ... first base!

Umm ... huh?

Yeah, the Royals added yet another first baseman to the mix at Triple-A Omaha (where the club already has sluggers Kila Ka'aihue and Ryan Shealy) when they picked up Travis Metcalf off waivers from the Rangers today. Metcalf, a Kansas native, hit .249 with 11 homers and 35 homers in 80 games for the Rangers over the last two years.

Note: Metcalf is listed as a third baseman, but he does not project as a big league third baseman. He is pretty rough at that position, and it is almost certain that he will eventually be moved to first. He likely won't be moved there right away with the Royals, but eventually I see it happening. He has some pop, but strikes out a ton. Alas, Mike Jacobs. So I'm calling him a first baseman.

I kind of like this move, but I wonder how they are going to split the at-bats down on the farm?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

After sleeping on it, here's my ranting Opening Day analysis

I didn't want to say too much yesterday after watching Kyle Farnsworth do his normal song and dance which led to a Royals 4-2 loss. As dumb as this sounds I was crushed. I was down and out. Yes, I know there are 161 more games to be played. I know that it's only one game in a long season. I know all the cliche's by now. I used to play the game myself back in the day.

Still, it sickened me to watch what was unfolding right in front of my very eyes. I hate to bash Trey Hillman too much on this one (he's the manager and we're stuck with his decisions, after all) but I think Trey was the ONLY person in the entire world who had confidence that Kyle Farnsworth would get the job done. Just like last season, he was the ONLY person in the world who thought Brett Tomko was somehow going to figure it all out when he put on the blue uniform and be a dominant force. Just like he also thinks Sidney Ponson was worth keeping in the rotation over Luke Hochevar (you already know how I feel on that one).

Trey said after the game that he doesn't try to "guess what the fans think". So, basically, he's saying screw the fans and he's gonna do what he wants. Well, if it works, that's all fine and dandy. That's what he's making the big bucks for. But so far it hasn't worked. Yabuta didn't work, Tomko didn't work, Gobble (a great lefty specialist) was misused and tanked. Ramon Ramirez did work and so did Leo Nunez. The fact is Ramirez and Nunez had pretty good track records before becoming regulars in the bullpen last year and we all had hope they would do well. Nunez was pretty good coming through the system. Ramirez showed flashes of brilliance with the Rockies. So that wasn't a big shock. Everyone knew that Tomko was a joke.

So far, Trey hasn't shown me one ray of genius.

I like the guy and I think that he COULD be a good manager someday. The problem that I'm afraid is going to crush him and leave him unemployed is his conviction in guys who have been consistently pathetic throughout their careers. He made comments after the game that Mahay and Cruz were warming in the pen because he was afraid that Farnsworth might be wild. WHAT!? WHY THE HELL WOULD ANY MANAGER PUT A PITCHER IN A ONE RUN BALLGAME IN THE 8TH INNING IF HE'S AFRAID HE'S GONNA BE WILD!? That makes no sense at all. You can't tell me he honestly felt that Farnsworth was going to do a better job that Cruz or Mahay? That's just plain stupid.

Sorry for the all caps, but that just drives me nuts! It's as if you're trying to be so brawn that you're willing to risk the team's success to make a statement. Why doesn't he think about Gil Meche for a change? Meche fell victim to (I wish I had the exact numbers in front of me right now) countless decisions like the one made yesterday and ended up with countless no-decisions on games he exited with the lead. Gil's record should have been MUCH better last season if Hillman would have managed his bullpen correctly.

Trey also said that Ron Mahay isn't a lefty specialist. That he's a sixth or seventh inning guy. What does that mean? The last time I checked it doesn't matter what inning it is when it comes to making quality pitches to get outs. He last time I checked the Royals are paying Ron Mahay a pretty nice salary to get guys out - something he did with great effectiveness last season. Lefty specialist or not, his title isn't going to decide the outcome of whether he gets Jim Thome out in that situation. Quality pitches will. Any scout will tell you that Mahay is the better pitcher in that situation.

Sucking yourself into a trend where "this guy can only pitch in this inning, and this guy in that inning" is like pouring gasoline on your arm and waving it over a fire. Pretty soon, well, you know what I'm getting at.

If Hillman wants to be a big league manager for very long he's going to have to quit trying to be a genius and MANAGE the game. He had room for excuses last season - his first in the big leagues. He no longer has that extra link in the chain. He's going to realize that sooner than later, because media and the fans are going to eat his lunch for questionable decisions in 2009. It's a good thing he wasn't hired to manage the Yankees last season. Right now, he'd be unemployed.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Farnsworth blows it in 8th, Royals lose 4-2

Well, that didn't take long. For those of you questioning the Royals signing of mad-man Kyle Farnsworth, you got just the ammunition you needed to back up those arguments as Farnsy gave up a three-run jack to Jim Thome with two outs in the 8th to give the White Sox their first lead of the game and a 4-2 victory.

Farnsworth, who loves his 98 MPH fastball a little too much, threw nothing but heaters to Thome until he deposited a 2-1 pitch well over the wall in left center.

That effed up a previously solid game by the Royals all the way around. The only real blemish for the team was the fact that they stranded 11 runners on base. Gil Meche started and was fantastic through 7 innings of work. He blew away Alexei Ramirez on his last pitch of the game to leave some wondering if he would return for the 8th. I wish he would have.

Alex Gordon rammed his first homer of the year to dead center in the second inning off of Mark Buehrle. Bobby Jenks got the save for the Sox in the 9th.

Just one question....

...are you ready for some baseball??????

Monday, April 6, 2009

Royals minor league rosters....Class A Burlington

The players are linked to their Bio's. Feel free to click on their names and check them out.

Jim Gabella (Manager)
Pookie Wilson (Batting Coach)
Jerry Nyman (Pitching Coach)

Manauris Baez
Barry Bowden
Bryan Casey
Luis Cota
Brent Fisher
Justin Garcia
Blaine Hardy
Ivor Hodgson
Riquy Pena
Zach Peterson
Sam Runion
Derrick Saito
James Thompson

Jose Bonilla
Sean McCauley
Salvador Perez

John Alfaro SS
Eric Hosmer 1B
Antonio Jimenez 3B
Kyle Martin DH
Alwin Perez 2B
Juan Rivera SS
Jason Taylor 3B
David Wood 1B

Nicholas Francis RF
Patrick Norris CF
Wilson Tucker RF
Nick Van Stratten RF

Royals minor league rosters....A (Adv.) Wilmington

The players are linked to their Bio's. Feel free to click on their names and check them out.

An interesting note: Mike Moustakas is listed again as a shortstop, rather than third baseman. Maybe it's a technicality, but it could be worth watching to see which position he works at for most of this season.

Brian Rupp (Manager)
Justin Gemoll (Batting Coach)
Steve Luebber (Pitching Coach)

Alexander Caldera
Chris Chavez
Daniel Duffy
Jason Godin
Aaron Hartsock
Ray Liotta
Eduardo Paulino
Craig Rodriguez
Mario Santiago
Brandon Sisk
Ben Swaggerty
Everett Teaford
Kelvin Villa

Joe Billick
Ryan Eigsti
Matthew Morizio

Jeff Bianchi 2B
Johnny Giavotella 2B
Mike Moustakas SS
Clint Robinson 1B
Anthony Seratelli 1B

Jarrod Dyson LF
David Lough OF
Paulo Orlando RF
Adrian Ortiz LF
Derrick Robinson CF
Jamar Walton OF

Royals minor league rosters....AA NW Arkansas

Each player is linked to his Bio so you guys can read up on them if you'd like.

Brian Poldberg (Manager)
Terry Bradshaw (Batting Coach)
Larry Carter (Pitching Coach)

Dan Cevette
Dan Cortes
Kyle Crist
Gilbert De La Vara
Chris Hayes
Greg Holland
Blake Johnson
Matthew Kniginyzky
Anthony Lerew
Victor Marte
Chris Nicoll
Carlos Sencion
Blake Wood

Jeff Howell
John Suomi
Vance Wilson

Josh Johnson 3B
Mario Lisson 3B
Ed Lucas 3B
Chris McConnell SS
Brian McFall 1B
Kurt Mertins 2B

Joe Dickerson
Jose Duarte
Jordan Parraz
Cody Strait

Royals minor league rosters...AAA Omaha

As you can see, there are way too many guys listed on this roster. I've added Luke Hochevar to the roster even though he was not "officially" listed there yet. There are too many players currently listed on the roster, so there are still some finishing touches that need to be made to round it out. But it's close enough to being accurate, so here it is.

Oh, and each player is linked to his Bio so you guys can read up on them if you'd like.

23-Mike Jirschele (Manager)
00-Tommy Gregg (Batting Coach)
14-Tom Burgmeier (Pitching Coach)

Carlos Arias
Brian Bannister
Bruce Chen
Jairo Cuevas
Brandon Duckworth
Luke Hochevar
Dusty Hughes
Devon Lowery
Josh Newman
Luis Ortega
Brett Richardson
Carlos Rosa
Matt Wright
Yasuhiko Yabuta
Luke Hochevar

Todd Balduf
Matt Tupman

Cory Aldridge DH
Brian Buchanan DH
Jorge Gutierrez SS
Tug Hulett 2B
Kila Ka'aihue 1B
Ryan Shealy 1B
Mike Stodolka 1B

Brett Bigler RF
Chris Lubanski LF
Mitch Maier CF

I'm miserable today...

Well, this Opening Day sure hasn't gone the way I'd planned. First of all, I go to bed last night sick as a dog, woke up sick, and then I get the word that the Royals game has been postponed due to inclement weather.

I'm the kid of guy who has patience for everything EXCEPT when baseball games are involved. I absolutely hate postponements. Looks like the one thing that could have made me feel better today is not gonna happen. I'll get my medicine tomorrow I guess.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

ESPN is lovin' on the Boys in Blue

Bored and flipping through channels the past couple of days, I came across a couple of things that sort of made me realize just how the baseball world is starting to notice the improvements the Royals have made lately.

I came across ESPN on a couple of separate occasions, and, surprisingly, they weren't talking about Boston or New York, but rather the Royals. First, Buster Olney - a well respected baseball guy in this business, pegged Royals No. 3 starter Kyle Davies as the guy most likely to affect his teams success/failure this season. I kind of found it hard to believe (I mean, he's gonna make an impact, albeit a good or bad one, in their success - but really?) that Davies is THE MAN to decide the Royals fate - let alone have more of an impact on his team than anyone else in the league. It's a bold prediction.

Then, on Saturday, I saw Tim Kurkjian say that Alex Gordon is the junior most likely to have the most success this year. Rather than instill the sophomore slump tag on anyone (I hope Mike Aviles is immune to that disease) they picked the third year player (junior, get it?) that is most likely going to put it all together in a big way this year.

Kurkjian and Olney both are warning clubs to look out for the Royals this year. It's finally nice to see the rest of the world seeing better days ahead for a change.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Shealy clears waivers, sent to Omaha

The Royals sent first baseman Ryan Shealy to Triple-A Omaha this morning after the slugger cleared waivers. It was a bit of a surprise Shealy, who has shown flashes of power in his short major league career, actually cleared waivers. The Royals now have 31 players remaining in camp. They will need to cut that number down to 25 by 2 p.m. Sunday.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Gload traded, Peralta cut

Some Royals fans are rejoicing today after the club cut reliever Joel Peralta and traded veteran utility man Ross Gload to the Florida Marlins.

Gload, who many Royals fans respected but hated when he was in the starting lineup, was sent to the fish along with cash for a player to be named later at an unspecified date. In an expected move, the club also sent starter Brian Bannister to Triple-A Omaha to begin the season.

Pitchers Sidney Ponson and Horacio Ramirez will fill the final two slots of the starting rotation, though Ramirez will start the season in the bullpen until the team incorporates the fifth starter into the rotation a few weeks into the season.

Gload figured to be the odd man out anyways this season, with Billy Butler, Ryan Shealy and Mike Jacobs all vying for the starting job at first base. The Royals, with 32 men remaining on their spring roster, will need to trim seven players from the roster within the next couple of days to meet the leagues 25-man requirement by April 6th.