Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Hit Parade and Greinke The Great

The Royals pounded out 15 hits in an 11-3 win over the Blue Jays Wednesday night at The K. Zack Greinke The Great, pitched 7 innings giving up his first 2 earned runs of the season while scattering 5 hits to go 5-0 for the season. His season ERA is at 0.50.

The bats came alive led by Billy Butler going 4-5 with 2 homers, scoring 4 runs and batting in 4. Mark Teahen also belted a 2 run home run. Mike Jacobs went 2 for 4 with 2 walks, a run scored and an rbi. Coco Crisp went 2 for 5 scoring 1 run. Willie Bloomquist went 2 for 4 and scored 2 runs.

The win puts the Royals in a 3 way tie for first place in the AL Central with Chicago and Detroit. A win today will clinch first place for the Royals in April with a 1/2 game lead.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Hot Bats on a Cold Night

The Royals' bats came alive on a cold and damp night against the Toronto Blue Jays in a 7-1 win at The K. The offense was led by Jose Guillen going 3-4 and hitting 2 home runs driving in 3 runs. Miguel Olivio hit a 3 run home run. Alberto Callaspo extended his hitting streak to 10 games going 2-4 and raised his average to .386. Willie Bloomquist got 2 walks and a triple.

Brian Bannister pitched great holding the leagues best hitting team to 1 run on 1 hit in 7 innings of work giving way to Jamey Wright who pitched a scoreless 8th. Kyle Farnsworth finished the game giving up 1 hit in the ninth.

The Royals need to do well against the Jays this week so they can finish the month of April above .500 and try to finish out the month in 1st in the AL Central standings.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

CooKoo for Coco Crisp

The bats lit up for the Tigers as the bats for the Royals fell silent in a 9-1 loss Saturday night at The K. Royals pitcher Kyle Davies was roughed up early giving up 7 runs on 8 hits which included a pair of 2 run homers.

37,647 attended the game to mark capacity crowds for 2 successive nights. People lined up early at the gates to be one of the first 20,000 fans to get the number 40 jersey to tribute the Royals 40th anniversary season. It was orderly this year and there was not the chaos that happened last year when they had a similar powder blue jersey promotion.

We arrived at the gate D at 2pm and the line was back to the edge of the street as more arrived the line circled back towards the outfield gate and back around. The gates opened at 3pm and the fans filed in orderly and without incident as the jerseys were passed out.

The early gate opening allowed fans to get a good look at the stadium for those making their first visit to the newly renovated K. It is too bad that the Royals did not perform better in front of the big crowd.

New Royals centerfielder Coco Crisp has gained some fans in his new city as this banner was displayed before the game. Is a Coco Crisp growth poster promotion in the works touting the importance of a good breakfast which includes cereal and milk to start of the day right for youngsters? Stay tuned.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Big Zack Attack

Zack Greinke improved his record to 4-0 and keeps his ERA at 0.00 with a 6-1 complete game win vs. the Tigers at The K. Greinke's 36 inning scoreless streak came to an end on an unearned run when Greinke threw home to try to get Gerald Laird advancing from 3rd on a ball that got away from Mark Teahen. It was Greinke's 2nd straight complete game.

Mark Teahen hit a 2 run homer scoring CoCo Crisp and Albert Callaspo hit a solo shot for his first major league home run.

36,363 were in attendance to see the quick 2 hour and 6 minute game.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Big Blue Pitching Machine

A good machine keeps on going even if you replace parts once in a while.

Insert Brian Bannister into the starting rotation who was called up this week and now we have a solid 1-2-3-4 starting punch. Bannister pitched 6 innings and gave up just 4 hits in his return after a shaky spring training and disappointed second half of 2008. Jamey Wright pitched 2 hitless innings and Joakim Soria got his 5th save of the year.

The offense got nine hits and scored two runs to get the win. With the pitching as good as it has been, the Royals don't need to score a lot of runs. However, it would be nice to see the batting averages climb and the hitters knock in more runs to ease pressure off the pitching.

The Royals improve their record to 8-6 and remain tied with the White Sox for first place in the AL Central.

Thursday, Gil Meche goes against the Indians in the deciding game of the series.

This should be a great weekend at the K as capacity crowds are expected. Zach Greinke starts Friday and Kyle Davies on Saturday. If Bannister starts on Sunday and pitches as well as he did tonight, this weekend could give Royals fans a good look at the Big Blue Pitching Machine.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Note to Hillman and Why You Can't Count on Kyle (Farnsworth, that is)

Note to Hillman. Don't put Kyle Farnsworth in when the game is on the line. Use him for mop up duty until he can prove he can get batters out. With that being said:

It has often been discussed that every team wins 50 and loses 50. What you do with the other 62 games is what counts. Well, this was one of those 62 games. Kyle Farnsworth now has been a part of 3 of those other 62 games. While he may not be at fault entirely for this game. He was the pitcher who gave up the walk off home run that put this game in the loss column.

Farnsworth needed to pick up the rest of the team today. The relievers before him could not hold the lead. There was an error and a couple other botched plays in the field. He could have made up for those and got his teammates off the hook. All he had to do was just get the Rangers out in the bottom of the ninth and push the game into extra innings. He could have picked up Kyle Davies who after a rough start in the first inning pitched solid through 6 innings. Davies gave up 3 runs on 3 hits and struck out 8 Rangers. Not bad considering a 37 pitch first inning where he gave up 2 runs and gave 4 free passes to Ranger batters.

What did Farnsworth do when his team needed a pick me up? On his 2nd pitch upon entering the game, Michael Young hit an up and in 96 mph fastball for a home run deep to left center. Young walked off with a win. Farnsworth walked off with the loss. That is what Farnsworth did when his team needed him most. I wonder if he is sitting alone on the flight to Cleveland tonight.

Old-Fashioned Pitching

The Royals game on Saturday vs. the Rangers at Arlington was pure old-fashioned pitching. Both starters Zack Greinke and Kevin Millwood pitched gems. Both pitched complete games. Both pitched out of jams with Greinke surviving as the winner of a 2-0 match. Even Millwood survived catching a ground ball with his bare hand in a purely instinctive move. For a second, it looked like a Steve Busby vs. Noland Ryan type game where the pitchers purely dominated.

Greinke starts the year 3-0 pitching 20 scoreless innings. The consecutive scoreless streak dates back to last September at 34 innings. He went all the way pitching 111 pitches and still baffling the hitters up to the very last strike. All you had to do was look at the reaction of the Rangers hitters at the plate at the pitches that were thrown to them.

Greinke looked sharp. He was in control. He did not look pressured when runners were at 3rd with no outs. He pitched like he belonged in the majors. He pitched with confidence.

We are seeing something special unfold in April. Something we have not seen in a long time. The pitching is strong. The hitting is coming around. The defense is sharp. The Royals as a team are playing with confidence. They feel the have the chance to win every day they step on to the field. They finished September strong and are carrying that over into the new season.

Who knows how well they will finish. They are dealing with injury problems with Jose Guillen and Alex Gordon who both figured to be a big part of the offense this year. But right now we are seeing some of the best Royals baseball this early in the season that we have seen in years.

Now more than ever, KC fans should get out to The K, watch on TV, or listen on the radio and enjoy the game!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

And on the 12th day of the season; 12 Runs

The hitting attack came through against the Rangers on Friday night. A season high 12 runs and 19 hits led by Mark Teahen's performance going 5-6 with a home run and 3 runs scored and a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.

The 5 through 9 spots of Teahen, Mike Jacobs, John Buck, Alberto Callaspo, and Willie Bloomquist, went a combined 10 for 23 scoring 10 runs, 3 walks, and 7 rbi. Leadoff hitter CoCo Crisp added 1 hit, 2 walks, and 3 rbi. Teahan, Crisp, and Jacobs all homered.

It is a good thing that the lower part of the order delivered as the 2 through 4 spots went a combined 4 for 16 with 2 rbi and 2 walks with the bright spot out of this part of the order was that they had only 1 strikeout.

Gil Meche got his first win of the season going 6 innings. Callaspo had a defensive gem at 2nd that can't easily be explained. You have to watch the replay.

The numbers:
Royals score 12 runs on the 12th day of their regular season schedule.
Gil Meche is The Beast as he throws a 666 to the Rangers (6 innings, 6 strikeouts, 6 hits).

Almost a Record:
Mark Teahan nearly ties an over 100 year old record (hitting for the cycle and getting 6 hits) if he would have got one more hit (triple).

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Buck is It!

Is John Buck the spark that the Royals need to get their hitting attack going? After his home run on Sunday against the Yankees and his 2 home runs (one a grand slam)and 5 rbi last night against the Indians, Buck is the hot bat in the line up and leading the offensive charge for the Royals. If you want to know how bad the offense has been, Buck is the RBI leader and he has played in only 2 games.

The bullpen again proved great as a combined relief performance of Tejeda, Cruz and Waechter closed the door on the Indians. Starter Kyle Davies got the win improving his record to 2-0. The 1-2-3 combo of Meche, Greinke and Davies have given the Royals their 5 wins on the season as they sit on top of the AL Central.

The Royals at times are showing some patience at the plate so maybe we are seeing a turn around. They need to score runs to take pressure off the pitching, especially for Soria as he finally got a break last night with not having to come in to close the game with the big lead the offense provided. More runs will also help secure wins when the back end of the rotation pitches. All the losses with the exception of Opening Day have come against the 4 and 5 spot in the rotation.

Today the Royals go for a sweep against the Indians to try to close out a successful opening homestand in the new renovated K.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday April 13

Baseball and its fans suffered two losses today with the passing of longtime Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas and former Tigers pitcher Mark Fidrych.

I made it clear in my last post that the Royals need to start hitting. Well they started to hit a little more and it added up to wins on Sunday afternoon against the Yankees and Monday night against the Indians.

Zack Greinke pitched five innings and got 9 strike outs giving up no runs. The Royals scored 4 runs on an economy of 5 hits. Soria gave up 2 runs in the ninth to make it interesting but hung on to get his 4th save.

Just over 10,000 braved the cold and windy weather but the fans that were there were rewarded with the Royals 4th win of the season.

Statistic of note: Greinke now has 25 consecutive scoreless innings dating back to 2008.

The Royals should consider to start hitting a little more. It might help Kyle Davies get his 2nd win of the season on Tuesday.

We wanted to check out Rivals Sports Bar tonight but the wait was too long so we were given the option to sit upstairs on the Bud Light Party Deck for dinner since the party deck was not rented out for the night. It was cold and windy on the party deck but the view was great. The menu was limited with Buffalo Wings, Nachos, and 2 kinds of burgers. I had the Flamer Burger which is a hamburger with wing sauce and pepper jack cheese. It was a good size burger with fresh lettuce and tomato. It would have been worth the $9 price if it had a bit more fries to go with it. The party at the next table ordered the nachos and that looked great. I will have to try that the next time I go to Rivals/Bud Light Party Deck. After the first inning we went to our seats to escape the wind.

The look of the New K is dramatically different at night then it was on opening day. The night time glow of the high definition scoreboard and all the ribbon boards made for a different look.

Our next tickets are for Saturday April 25 which happens to be the 40th anniversary jersey night promotion. I doubt if they will have any in my size but it will make a nice collector item unless I can lose enough weight to fit into it.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Game #4 and 5.

Opening day was exciting. The New K looks great with all the new renovations. The Outfield experience was out of this world. You can stand almost next to the scoreboard. You can walk right up to the light standards. You can stand right in front of or behind the water fountains. You can stand where a street once stood. It was money well spent and kudos to us Jackson Countians for passing the sales tax to fund the renovations of both The K and Arrowhead.

Now about the games. The Royals need to start hitting. You can't ask for much better than your #4 starter on Friday. Contrary to popular belief, Sir Sidney did not pitch that bad. The boo birds were in force in the first inning when the Yankees scored 2 runs. The defense did not help Ponson out at all in what turned out to be a decent pitching performance from him. The offense did not help much either. The Royals need to start hitting.

Much of the same happened on Saturday vs CC Sabathia and the Yankees. By the way, the Royals need to start hitting. Although Royals starter Horacio Ramirez gave up 6 runs on 8 hits in 4 1/3 innings, the Royals really need to start hitting. Keep in mind Ramirez is our #5 starter. He is no Gil Meche, Zack Greinke or Kyle Davies. One thing would have helped though, the Royals need to start hitting.

The Royals got 1 run on 7 hits. You can't win many games with this kind of hitting attack. Meche and Greinke would have to through a lot of shut outs to win on this offense. By the way, the Royals need to start hitting.

One thing you can say is that these games are against the Yankees and we will see Greinke and Davies pitching against the Indians on Monday and Tuesday. Winning the central division games is the goal here and we have a good chance to win the series this week against the Indians. We know the Yankees are going to win against everyone in our division but you know, the Royals need to start hitting.

The Royals have an excellent chance in winning whenever Meche, Greinke and Davies pitch. They even have a decent shot at winning when the #4 and 5 guys pitch. But in order for this to happen, (you guessed it) the Royals need to start hitting.

I will be checking out the new Rivals Sports Bar and Grill in right field on Monday night. Greinke is scheduled to pitch. Should be a good game. Even better if...... the Royals start hitting.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Win #2 at Chicago

The Royals again had yet another strong starting pitching performance on Thursday at Chicago as they defeated the White Sox 2-0. This time the solid pitching came from Kyle Davies. Royals starters in 3 games have given up only 1 run. We knew we were going to get great pitching from Meche and Greinke but Davies showed he can pitch just as good. If this keeps up, the Royals may have the best 1,2,3 combo in their history.

Today Sir Sidney Ponson opens the New K against the Yankees. It is kind of fitting that a member of Royalty is the starting pitcher for the Royals new castle. If Sir Sidney can match the performance of Monarch Meche, Greinke the Great and King Kyle, then the Royals might have the best hand in the division for a starting pitching staff. Ponson might be in the rotation short term until Hochaver and Bannister are recalled in May. But, if he can contribute some quality starts he can help this team win some meaningful early season games and provide veteran leadership.

Center fielder CoCo Crisp hit a 2 run homer in the 9th that proved to be the margin of victory. We would like to see some more hitting from the Royals but they did face strong starting pitching against the White Sox. It is nice to see them hang on to win 2 of 3 in what could be a wide open AL Central race.

Today the Yankees come to the New Kauffman Stadium. With a sell out crowd excited about a new stadium and high expectations for the team, Opening Day this year should be very festive.

See you at The K.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Game 2 Win #1 of the Season

Greinke the Great pitched 3 hit shut out ball and the bullpen made it stick to give the Royals their first win of the season on Wednesday at Chicago. Pitching was the bright spot for both teams. The Royals took advantage of what was offered to them to manufacture enough runs to win the game. It still would have been nice to see a more potent offense but White Sox starter Gavin Floyd pitched just as impressively. Juan Cruz made his Royals debut shutting down the Sox while making way for Joakim Soria to earn his first save of the season.

If we see this type of effort from Meche and Greinke all year along with the results that the bullpen provided on Wednesday, it will certainly be hard on opposing teams to score off the Royals.

Leadership was present on the field as first baseman Mike Jacobs gave congratulatory fist pumps to his teammates on their good defense and made sure everyone knew how many outs there were.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Game #1 New Blue Tradition or Same Old ????

If you looked at the box score for the 2009 Royals season opener you might think that you were looking at a box score for any game of the past few years. They wasted a great pitching performance by Gil Meche as he pitched 7 innings giving up 1 run and 7 hits with no walks. The hitting attack was weak as the Royals collected 7 hits and scored 2 runs while leaving 11 on base. The offensive highlight was Alex Gordon and his 1 run blast to deep center in the 2nd. Many are already second guessing Trey Hillman and his decision to pitch against Jim Thome who has a lifetime .310 average, 42 home runs and 119 rbi against Royals pitching. When Thome came to the plate in the bottom of the 8th with 2 on, you can just imagine what the result would be. You did not have to imagine very long.

The Royals went out and got Mike Jacobs to help with run production. He was hitless leaving 4 on base. Jacobs and the rest of the line up need to connect and manufacture runs. In the top of the 1st, Coco Crisp singled and Mark Teahen walked. Jacobs then promptly struck out. In the 3rd Jose Guillen walked and Teahen was hit by a pitch. Jacobs popped out to 2nd and Billy Butler lined out to the shortstop. White Sox starter Mark Buehrle who is 19-8 in his career against the Royals continued to take advantage of a team that can't bunch up hits and score runs.

The Royals should be winning this type of a game on a regular basis if we are to believe the team is starting to improve. Granted, it is only one game in a 162 game schedule. No promises of a championship were made for this season but Dayton Moore has set an expectation of winning and the fans are expecting the team to come through on that expectation. How the team bounces back on Wednesday will be a key indicator as to the development of the team and what fans are to expect in 2009. If Zach Grienke has another strong outing and the result is the same as in the opener, it may be another long summer. If the Royals should win on Wednesday then we have reason to believe that this could be the year we finally see a New Blue Tradition at the New K.