Game 158- Indians 5, Royals 2 (57-101)
Thats what these Royals are now, the absolute worst Royals team ever. Amazingly, this was a team that some predicted would win the AL Central, or at least win 85 games.
The offense has completely broken down, basically its come down to hoping for 6 straight singles and a few errors from the opposing team if you want a big inning. By virtue of scoring 2 runs against the Tribe however, we can relish in the fact that the 4-game 1-run streak is over.
Mike Wood's season is done. Wood's final numbers:
-17 Starts, 100 innings 3-8 record
-Thanks to a fairly low walk-rate (2.5/9), Wood's WHIP approaches respectability: 1.40
-K-rate: 4.9/9; HR-rate: 1.4/9
- ERA: 5.94
Ehh... There was a stretch in early August where he looked like he might be a decent contributor, now he looks like an innings-eater at best. Well, we'll see, I'm sure another season with the Royals "pitch to contact" type-instruction will certainly do him no good.
Mac's ERA is now at 6.10, lets pray he gets it under 6.
Indians Bus Shot at in KC
Its always something with the Royals... the numerous on-field incidents in Chicago come immediately to mind, and now this: mysterious shots being fired at the Indians as they leave town.
Absolutely insane. Thankfully, no one appears seriously hurt.
Game 157- Indians 5, Royals 1 (57-100)
Someone call Tony Muser, his place in Royals infamy is waning.
With last night's loss the Royals have now tied their worst record ever, and will almost certainly surpass it over the season's final weekend.
Congrats are also in order to D.A.R.Y.L May... we couldn't have been this bad without you Sir, 9-19, with a 5.61 ERA and about a million homers allowed...
But hey, Matt Kinney had probably his best outing in Royal-White, and thanks to 3 scoreless innings lowered his season ERA from 6.39 to 6.14.
As for the offense...
Two singles, a double and one walk is the best we can do? And why is Desi Relaford in the lineup at the expense of Pickering or any of the other 3 or 4 retreads at Pena's disposal? Are we trying to break some kind of "sucking at the most positions" mark???
Game 156- Indians 6, Royals 1 (57-99)
Just a terrible, terrible loss. Thanks to an inept offense and a late-inning bullpen meltdown, the Royals will now certainly reach the 101 L mark, making 2004 the worst season in Royals history.
Zach Greinke pitched what I hope will be his final game of the season, and offered Royals fans a slight glimmer of hope. We'll, hope that next year's 60-70 win team will have at least one good pitcher. Greinke went 7 innings, allowing only 4 Hs, 2 BBs and 0Rs. With the 7 shutout innings, Zach lowered his season ERA to 3.92, its lowest point since it stood at 3.51 after a July 15th win over the Twins.
In terms of VORP, Greinke's basically been better than the rest of the Royals rotation combined.
Everyone Else: 15.4
The only Royals offense came from DeJesus's 6th inning homer. David's put together a really nice second half (.310/.383/.450), and is primed to be one of the 8 or 9 best CFs in the AL next season. Considering the other options, I'm quite pleased with the Royals home-grown Beltran replacement.
Looks like I might need to get started on that Randa Tribute...
We'll never forget your .836 OPS in 1999 Joe.
According to the latest playoff odds report at BP, the Royals are looking like a 60-102 team. If that (and everyting else holds) the Royals will end up with the worst record in the AL (in the easiest division) and the second worst record in all of baseball (thank you D-Backs).
Game 155- White Sox 5, Royals 1 (57-98)
The quest to avoid 100 losses isn't looking so good. Despite a smattering of good moments, our Royals dropped 3 of 4 in Chicago, and now stand at 57-98. The loss was the fastest game played in baseball this season, as the Royals hacked away and the White Sox homered for runs at the Cell. As Bob Dutton notes in today's Star the Royals have now broken the old franchise mark for worst road record, standing at a brilliant 25-57.
Uhh, I understand that I am supposed to now write:
Pena's fascination with Desi Relaford continues, although I guess at some point the generalized bitching at specific points of stupidity doesn't really matter. At least Pickering hit a homer, furthering the chance that he makes next years...
Ohh wait, it probably doesn't mean anything.
Updated Pickering Line:
Update on Wilton Guerrero PAs:
32 (easy to compute when dude has no walks)
Seven games left, must go 6-1.
Game 151- Royals 7, Devil Rays 6 (56-95)
Well, D.A.R.Y.L didn't get loss # 19, though he easily pitched bad enough to deserve it. May went 6 innings, allowing 8 Hs, 2BBs and 5ERs. Is anyone else uninspiried? Luckily for him, the Royals rallied back from a 4-3 D-Rays lead and eventually won the game in extra innings. MacDougal and Affeldt even combined for 2 scoreless innings, picking up the win and the save (in reverse order from last season).
I can't remember the last time we had both those guys pitching well in the same game.
Ohh yea, the Royals also won their second straight series! Maybe they won't lose 100 games after all. (Although I'd bet they do.)
All hail Calvin Pickering: 3-5 with 3 doubles. His season line is now :281/.369/.562. We probably won't know till next spring what Pick's role on the next Royals team is... but his mini-hot-streak here in mid-September might be saving his career, or at least, a mini-career in his later years.
The Royals now open up against the Sox, should be an interesting series... two teams going no where and playing scrubs and bizarros (sorry, but Wilton Guerrero again? If this guy makes it to 100 ABs, I don't trust Pena anymore)...
Its amazing how little media coverage he's getting, but D.A.R.Y.L. May is closing in on 20 big fat Ls on the year. (At least his cherished spot as the Royals top K man mutes the criticism) Maybe its sorta like the lack of genuine excitment which saw Bonds break Big Mac's record, only this time its from the horrors of the 2003 Tigers leaving everyone feeling burned out.
Still, May goes for his 19th loss in a few hours... should be thrilling!
Game 149- Royals 6, Devil Rays 3 (55-94)
When the Royals play the Devil Rays, who exactly is supposed to win? I thought of that last night, and frankly couldn't come up with an answer. The Rays have alternatively been thrilling and awful this season, but in hindsight it looks like they managed to cram all of their "Royals 2003-esque alloted baseball luck" into one good month rather than an entire season. The Rays have never won 70 games, and there has been much brave talk in Tampa this season about this being the year. Well, after last night's game the Rays sit at 63-85, so maybe we should all sit back and worry about not getting too ahead of ourselves.
Who said Brian Anderson was done?? BA had a nice little game last night, sure he gave up as many homers (2) as strikeouts recorded (2), and he also walked more (3) batters than K's recorded, but who's counting. The Rays could only manage mostly singles and double plays, and at the end of 7.2IP our man had only allowed 3ER.
Anderson's season ERA is now 5.82- the lowest its been all season.
Plus there was another solid outing by Affeldt to be excited about, his ERA has also found its low-water mark for the season, at 4.35.
Ohh yea, the big homer by Calvin Pickering... After sitting at .191 on September 5th, Calvin's rebounded nicely, and thanks to a 2-2 game with 2 walks, he's now posting a .259/.351/.519 line. Pickering's VORP is now 6.4, making him the 5th most productive player, on the season, on the active roster.
Game 148- Indians 8, Royals 3 (54-94)
There is really nothing quite like the lineup fielded by a bad team in late September.
Good to see that Alexis Gomez made it into his 10th game of the year yesterday, possibly having the game of his life in the 8-3 loss. Gomez's 3-4 day raised his season line from an anemic .133/.188/.133 to (still bad) printable .263/.300/.316. Basically, he's now the spitting image of Ken Harvey minus 2 singles a week. Bravo! It turns out he is a good-luck-charm from the halcyon days of the dream 2002 season.
Ruining the goodwill caused by Wood and Gobble's encouraging outings, Denny Bautista struggled through another exposure to major league hitting, lasting only 4 innings and allowing 6 ERs on 8Hs. Bautista's season ERA is now above 12, which makes him a strong candidate to be the #3 starter on the 2005 Royals.
Royals Season Strikeout Update!!
Thanks to a 30 inning cushion on his nearest competitors, D.A.R.Y.L May looks poised to win the title of Royal strikeout king.
1. May- 111 (174 IP)
2. Reyes- 87 (103 IP... good thing we kicked him out of the rotation, huh Allard)
3. Greinke- 85 (126 IP)
I really wish that Greinke K-rate was a little higher, but then again, 6.1 K/9 is actually fairly good, so maybe its just an expectation/reality problem.
May's currently tied with Francisco Rodriguez of the Angels for 25th in the AL in Ks. Of course, K-rod did manage his 111 in 76 innings, so we probably shouldn't take the comparisions too far.
The Quest to Remain Respectable
According to the latest playoff odds report at Baseball Prospectus, the Royals are most likely headed to a 60-102 record, good for the worst season in playoff history. (Taken from simming the rest of the season a million times based on the remaining schedule etc etc)
This despite the vaguely good weekend in Cleveland.
Well, I thought 110 losses would surely happen, much less 102, so maybe hope is in the air.
On the Road Again
Our Royals begin a 10-game roadie today in Cleveland... I wonder if the franchise record for losses (100) will be intact when they return to the K?? This team is fully capable of turning in a 1-9/2-8 type trip, and in fact, if I really had to put money on it, I'd take the under on 3 wins.
So many wonderful things to think about though. Stairs getting resigned, D.A.R.Y.L approaching the 20 loss mark, the battle between Grimace and Smilin' Joe Randa for top team batting average, Sweeney's desire to re-enter the lineup, the epic pursuit of dead-last in strikeouts etc etc.
Oh, and the whole matter of the Royals not scoring in the last 18 innings. This is starting to look like that horrible stretch when they went through San Diego and Minnesota and scored something like 2 runs in 40 innings. You think this is surprising, then you look at the lineup and wonder how they ever score at all...
I'm officially labeling tonight's start a "big game" for Mike Wood. After showing flashes of acceptability, he's slowly degenerated into Bad Brian Anderson Lite, becoming a good candidate to allow more homers than strikeouts in any given game. I really want to see him bear down and put together a nice 6 innings.
OK, time to drive across 3 midwestern states.
Game 144- Yankees 4, Royals 0 (52-92)
(Behind on posts obviously...)
Well, its clear that the Royals can't stand prosperity, as they have answered a monstrous offensive output with a shutout.
The quest for 110 losses continues.
Second Half Surge
A few Royals are enjoying pretty nice 2nd halves:
Angel Berroa- .327/.381/.455
John Buck- .243/.290/.461 (yes, this is good considering how he started)
Joe Randa- .312/.357/.453
Game 143- Royals 17, Yankees 8 (52-91)
How utterly strange have these Royals been this month? Beating the Yankees 17-8 (and leading 17-3 in the 9th) after looking limp and lifeless against the Devil Rays? Well, maybe an offense fueled by singles isn't so bad after all.
Of course the story will be about the Yankees getting blown out- but considering that this matchup featured a Royals team that scored 26 runs last week, and a Yankee's pitching staff that famously surrendered 22 runs to the Indians, maybe, in a surreal way, this wasn't a shocking result.
Still, it was a weird game. The Royals pounded out 16 singles, drew 8 (!!) walks and somehow scored 17 runs with only two extra-base hits, Buck's homer and double.
Angel Berroa: 5-5 . Berroa's post-demotion renaissance continues.
John Buck: 4-5, including the huge 3-run homer. (Did we mention he was part of the Beltran trade?)
Ruben Goaty: 3-5.
Brian Anderson: amazingly BA only surrendered 3 runs to the Yankees. Anderson pitched about as well as he could- one walk, no Ks, no homers, lots of hard hit balls getting caught. You mix it all together and once a month it looks OK the next morning. BA lowered his ERA to 5.94 in the win.
Can we have a moment of silence for Calvin Pickering's career? I'm not sure he hit quite well enough to earn a serious chance next season, although perhaps he'll get a chance. With the return of Grimace from the DL, Pickering will see fewer ABs... which is a damn shame.
Pickering's current line: .254/.325/.493
On the espn.com message boards, I've spotted a poem dedicated to Chan Ho Park (supposedly written by a fellow Korean fan). I want to be negative here, but theres almost something innocent in the poem as well that I don't want to destroy.
"I can't speak English very well.
Because I'm Korean.
Park was great pitcher.
But, he is good pitcher.
He rivival perpectly.
Don't revaluate this game.
He is man, Not machine.
Sometimes he has no good condition.
He still throw a fast ball(95MPH)
He has good curve, slider and slurve(?)
I like him.
Because I'm Korean.
As the proverb goes
'Birds of a feather flock together.'
He was great pitcher!
He is great pitcher!
He will great pitcher!"
Game 142- Devil Rays 7, Royals 2 (51-91)
So much for the possibility of our Royals winning a series, as the Rays cruised to a 7-2 win Sunday afternoon.
Amazingly, the game featured 16 strikeouts, proving a kind of bizarre reverse to the oft-quoted "good pitching beats good hitting" dictum. In this game, bad pitching beat bad hitting: the Royals and Rays are the two worst strikeout-staffs in baseball, yet against one another, their hacktastic lineups could only flail away. In a way, the game was awesome in this respect.
Beyond that, the depressing non-goodness of Denny Bautista continues. Starts: 2; ERA: 11.85. Bautista allowed 11 hits in just 5.2 innings, good for 6 runs. Getting Bautista for the decaying remains of Jason Grimsley has been seen as one of Allard's best moves, yet at the moment Bautista's minor-league success this season hasn't translated. Ohh well... lowered expectations are really nothing new.
Finally, just how bad is the AL Central??
Heres how the Royals division records stack up:
AL East: 9-21
AL West: 8-24
AL Central: 28-34
And remember, the Royals don't get to play the Royals either!
Keep that in mind when you read Jayson Stark's only too predictable column on the Twins being underrated in a few weeks.
Somehow I think that 26-5 will be the subject of less national media obsession than 22-0.
(Granted, I know the circumstances were in fact wildly different.)
Still, its fun to realize how invisible we all are.
Game 140- Detroit 8, Royals 0 (51-89)
The single, my friend, is a fickle lover. Sometimes they show up in waves, fuel an offense and produce mucho runs. Other times there aren't enough of 'em, and they just produce stranded runners.
In today's epic game 1 win-- the uhh 26-5 game-- the Royals used a vicious onslaught of timely singles on the way to one of the greatest games of this wretched Royals season. The Royals produced 26 hits and 8 walks in scoring those 26 runs. The walk total is pretty nice, but it was pretty unusual to see a team score 26 runs while only hitting one homer. The Royals had 19 singles, 5 doubles and 1 triple.
In my favorite development, Smilin' Joe Randa went 6-7, continuing his now annual second-half surge. Joe's now got an outside shot at an OPS in the .800 range, which would represent something of a miracle.
Of course, the nicest side-effect of this game was the chance to let Greinke pad his stats with another meaningless/meaningful "win". Earlier in the season it looked like Zach might post a sub 3.50 ERA and have a record like 3-13. Thankfully, he's gotten a tad more support in the last few months (although he hasn't quite pitched as well as it looked like he might) and now sits at 8-9. Granted, to me personally, these win-loss totals mean absolutely nothing. But, judging from some of the comments he's made here and there over the season, its clear that Zach and the Royals have an invested emotional interest in getting Ws. So be it. If Greinke feels better about himself because of a dumb junk stat, then I'm happy too.
I'm not happy about giving up 3 homers in Comerica. But hell, I "never played the game", so I'm sure he was just pitching to the score or somesuch.
Finally, the game featured good pitching from Chris George (of the reputed faster fast ball) and the previously exiled Mike MacDougal. The two allowed 2 runs in 4 innings, so its not like they completely dominanted... but its a start.
Ohh yea... there was a completely awful second game. Nothing like following up a 26 run effort with being shutout! How Royals is that!?!? In the second game our Royals dropped down from 19 singles to only 7, and couldn't manage a single extra-base hit. Ohh, and of course the lack of power was supplemented by only 2 walks. Niiiice.
I think I'm contractually obligated to not spend more time on the loss than the gigantic win, so I won't. Suffice to say, I don't think D.A.R.Y.L May is very good. We can get into the details of this later.
Its somehow 17-2 in the 3rd inning. Looks like Grienke will finally get some run support.
But the deeper question remains: why hasn't he been shut down for the year??
Remember last season when many a Royals fan consider Ken Harvey a clutch-hitter? Of course, we all should have known better than get too excited about a few hits here and there, but nevertheless way too many of us did anyway.
Its a long-held sabermetric principle that theres no such thing as clutch hitting, and heres a nifty little article I found online that discusses the very issue.
The Revolution will be won one baseball fan at a time. Please help spread the truth.
Game 135- Royals 12, Twins 3 (48-87)
After 130 games, after watching Beltran get traded away, after watching loss after loss, I had to take a break. Think of my mini-hiatus as another semi-punitive trip down Wichita like the ones seen by Berroa and Gobble. Now, refreshed and refueled, RN returns.
Speaking of that Gobble, I guess yesterday's win was his glorious comeback at some level. The Gobbler went 9 innings, allowing only 6 Hs and 3 Rs to a Twins team that looked like it wanted Sunday afternoon off. Gobble even struck out 4 batters, which constitutes some modicum of progress. Still, Gobble's managed only 5Ks in 15+ innings since his return to the Royals rotation, so its hard to say that his amazing inability to strikeout batters isn't still a problem. Then again, apparently the Royals just don't care about K-rate as a indicative stat, or else the roster wouldn't be positively overflowing with pitchers that can't get strikeouts.
One final note on Gobble: there was no way in hell he should have thrown 125 pitches/9 innings yesterday. At a certain level I callously don't even really care, because I don't believe he's got much of a future at this point (Guys who regress from a B- prospect to a D+ level starter don't intrigue me anymore). Nevertheless, there simply was no reason for the move. Its likely absolutely nothing will come of it, but watch Gobble's next start-- lets see if he doesn't get shelled.
Updated Pickering Line:
Ouch. Pick's absolutely got to get the BA up before the end of the season. The undying devotion to Ken Harvey notwithstanding, I'd mark the Royals as about a middle-of-the-road team in terms of their stance on the BA/OBP debate, but a .191 average is too scary to touch in most instances. Still, Pick's current OBP is lower than Grimace's glorious .295 batting average, so at some level it just doesn't matter anyways. Frankly, there isn't a single Royal I'll be rooting for more over the next month than Calvin Pickering, and hopefully he can push that BA up into the .220 range, with continued power and patience. His strikeouts are spiking up, so its clear hes still getting deep into counts, which on balance is a good sign.
The Joker had a nice 4-5 day yesterday, raising his OPS .018 points in one game, as he's now hitting a semi-respectable .282/.345/.403 on the year.
More later tonight.
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