Royals Nightly
Sunday, August 29, 2004
Game 129- Mariners 5, Royals 4 (45-84)
Well, at least Buster Olney is willing to admit he was wrong.

Or not.

In a series that weirdly featured the first double-header in Safeco history, the Royals won game one in Seattle, then proceeded to drop the next 4 games, blowing late-inning leads in each and every game. While I'm largely of the belief that it doesn't particularly matter if you lose a game in the 4th or the 9th inning, at some level the meltdown(s) in Seattle were all based in a basic inability of the bullpen to protect leads. Given my stalwart support of the 2004 Royals bullpen, I've got to be fair and note the ineffectiveness this weekend.

Along those lines, is anyone else hoping that Zach Greinke and Jeremy Affeldt don't become friends? Affeldt's career path has been both disapointing and disspiriting, and Affeldt seems at once terribly unlucky (the blisters, the injuries, the various and sundry late-inning collapses and bad breaks) and like a guy who isn't making the most of his talent. In other words, Affeldt's current state is a preview of Greinke's worst-case scenario.

Not that there aren't obvious differences in the two either.

Returning to the pen, Allard's band of castoffs and slightly-overpriced vets (well, at least before Grimmy was traded) has been right in the middle of the pack in terms of "Adjusted Runs Prevented"*, ranking just behind the Cubs for the 16th best pen in baseball with an ARP of 8.3 runs. Of course, 16th isn't great, but considering the context, its also the Royals strongest suit, relative to the rest of the league.

To this end, the team's August ERA is a non-salty 5.61 (27th in MLB), reflecting the rotation's continued inconsistency (if thats possible) and the bullpen's recent troubles.

Meanwhile, in August, the offense has been sniffing mediocrity, which has terribly coincided with a downturn in the pitching, resulting in the Royals continued ability to lose damn near every game. The Royal's August numbers are as follows: BA .271 (14th in ML); OBP .333 (18th in ML) and SLG .423 (23rd in ML). Not surprisingly, this has produced a team thats scoring runs at about the same level, curently 19th in August runs scored.

(Hmmm... the runs ranking is closest to the OBP ranking... Maybe the Royals are 19th in productive outs and steals though!!... Nope, the Royals are 25th in steals and uhh... 22nd in "productive outs" whatever that is supposed to mean.)

Believe, Buster, Believe.

* (from Baseball Prospectus) "Adjusted Runs Prevented. The number of runs that the reliever prevented over an average pitcher, given the bases/outs situation when he entered and left each game, adjusted for league and park. The exact formula for a reliever's ARP for a game is (ER(sS,P) - ER(sF,P) + IF*ER(s0,P) - R) / pe(P) where ER(s,P) is the expected number of runs that will score in the remainder of an inning starting in bases/outs state s in park P, sS is the bases/outs state when the reliever entered the game, sF is the bases/outs state when the reliever left the game, IF is the number of innings the reliever finished, s0 is a special state for the beginning of an inning (distinct from the state for no outs, none on), R is the number of runs that scored while the reliever was in the game, and pe(P) is the park effect for park P."


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