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Royals Nightly
Monday, August 23, 2004
 
Game 121- Royals 10, Rangers 2 (44-77)
Nice. The Royals managed to a) win a game b) get Greinke a win and c) bask in the glory of Calvin Pickering all on the same sunswept afternoon. The Pickering saga is pretty well summarized in the AP wire story, and clearly this is a guy worth rooting for. I doubt Pickering is going to maintin his .667/.750/2.667 pace, but theres nothing like a two homer debut to signal your arrival. Worse still, Pickering's been effectively blocked by the decliningly-productive Swingin' Ken Harvey.

Considering that, even if we grant that Harvey's deserving of playing time, his apparent ability to stand around in LF should have served notice weeks ago that perhaps CP was worth a callup. I'm not sure what Pickering's platoon split is, or what it will be as he continues to play, but from just about every side of the story, this is a guy who deserved a little better. Ken Harvey's been dissected ad nausem in the Royals blogosphere, and many a site, including this one, has discussed his flaws. I know one thing, the Royals/Pena have been stubbornly uncreative in setting the lineup card each day. Harvey's tallied well over 100 ABs against lefties and has managed just a .270/.305/.409 line. Why, exactly, has this been good enough?

Beyond the Pickering angle, the game was a nice valentine of sorts for Zach Greinke. Greinke's suffered from terrible run support, so seeing him get that 5-spot in the 3rd was satisfying. Against an excellent Texas lineup, Greinke scattered 6Hs over 6 innings, allowing no runs. Zach's season ERA is down to 4.67 and is an even better 4.39 at home. Considering Greinke's age, he's easily the Royals brightest star heading into next season.

If I had my druthers, I'd like to see Greinke shut down early this season. Other than giving him more in-game experience that its doubtful he truly needs, there just isn't much benefit to sending him out there much longer. If there is a historical precedent for pitchers that are this young and this good, its that less is more. Tony Pena's pursuit of a lifetime managing percentage over .440 be damned.

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