Monday, June 26, 2006

Game 73 - 6/24/2006

Brewers 5, Royals 6

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 22-50
Expected Record 23-49
Runs Scored 301
Runs Allowed 448
Projected Record 50-112
Pythagorean Record 51-111
Pythagorean Winning% 0.311

Let's go get 'em

Game 72 - 6/23/2006

Brewers 7, Royals 2

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 21-50
Expected Record 22-49
Runs Scored 295
Runs Allowed 443
Projected Record 48-114
Pythagorean Record 50-112
Pythagorean Winning% 0.307

Let's go get 'em

Game 71 - 6/22/2006

Pirates 7, Royals 15

When the worst team in baseball sweeps the second-worst team in baseball, does it mean anything?

A Moore update: the Royals are 8-6 since Moore officially took over as GM.

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 21-49
Expected Record 22-48
Runs Scored 293
Runs Allowed 436
Projected Record 49-113
Pythagorean Record 51-111
Pythagorean Winning% 0.311

Let's go get 'em

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Game 70 - 6/21/2006

Pirates 4, Royals 6

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 21-49
Expected Record 21-49
Runs Scored 284
Runs Allowed 433
Projected Record 49-113
Pythagorean Record 49-113
Pythagorean Winning% 0.300

Let's go get 'em

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Game 69 - 6/20/2006

Pirates 6, Royals 10

I never thought it’d happen, but the Royals were able to reach 20 wins before they lost 50. I wasn’t able to watch much of the game tonight, but it looks like the offense – including the lower third of the order - provided a steady attack throughout the game.

Dayton Moore pulled the trigger on his first trade today. He acquired Joey Gathright and Fernando Cortez from the Devil Rays in exchange for pitcher JP Howell.

I find it interesting that Moore was willing to trade away a somewhat promising pitching prospect for an outfielder and utility infielder. Gathright will join the Royals tomorrow and will take over center field while David DeJesus moves to left. This of course leaves Emil Brown as the odd man out. Moore’s belief is that pitching is improved when the defense is improved.

In 2004, the Royals moved the fences back 10 feet giving Kauffman Stadium a huge outfield. That same year, they signed Matt Stairs and Juan Gonzalez in a puzzling contradictory move. With the expanded outfield, the obvious need was for speed in the outfield. Apparently Baird didn’t agree as he never seemed interested in acquiring speed. In fact, he spent over a year looking for a power bat corner outfielder. His answer was Terrence Long and Reggie Sanders.

Moore, probably irritated by watching Esteban German and Emil Brown butcher the outfield, determined that the Royals needed a speedy center fielder to try to turn those gappers into outs.

JP Howell was a former first round pick and a pitcher that Baird was reluctant to let go of. I’m sure that Biard was worried that if he traded his prospect, that player would blossom elsewhere while his end of the bargain would be a disappointment. I certainly can’t blame his gun shyness given the result of some of his past moves.

Moore doesn’t have any ties to any players and so isn’t afraid to cut them loose. He looks at pitching as “the currency of baseball” and isn’t afraid to turn pitchers into players he feels will improve the team.

Cortez will report to Omaha and Gathright begins his tenure in KC tomorrow night. Time will tell…

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 20-49
Expected Record 21-48
Runs Scored 278
Runs Allowed 429
Projected Record 47-115
Pythagorean Record 48-114
Pythagorean Winning% 0.295

Let's go get 'em

Monday, June 19, 2006

Breaking 100: A new philosophy

NOTE: My apologies for the delay in updating the last few games. I was out of town for my son's baseball tournament so I was out of touch for a few games. The same will happen this weekend since we are again travelling for another tourney.

Since Dayton Moore’s infamous introductory press conference, the Royals have gone 5-6 for a .455 winning percentage. Small sample, I know, but if they continue at that pace, they could finish 62-100; a much more respectable record than the 116 losses that they are currently chasing, and terribly close to avoiding the dreaded 100 losses.

When changes are made to a baseball team, such as a new manager or general manager, it tends to cause a short burst improvement. Most agree that the players feel more pressure to perform under new management in fear of losing their job. Perhaps this is happening to the Royals.

Moore has made a handful of moves in his short tenure. He hired Dean Taylor to be his assistant GM. Taylor is a well-respected baseball executive, a former GM, and a former Royals employee who returns to the team this week. Taylor’s hiring represents a new level of respectability that Moore has brought to the team.

As for player moves, Moore’s first priority seems to be shoring up the pitching. His first scrap heap acquisitions include pitchers Brandon Duckworth and Todd Wellemeyer. Duckworth has pitched well in his two starts and is sporting a respectable 3.18 ERA. Wellemeyer, a reliever, has also pitched well for the Royals, including three solid innings in Saturday’s game against the Astros in which he gave up just 3 hits and one run. It has been suggested that Wellemeyer may get an opportunity to start, again to help shore up the rotation.

In addressing defense, Moore sent Shane Costa to Omaha after struggling in the outfield.

Moore has denied the many trade rumors involving the Royals veterans. He has said that he is not going to just dump salary because of a poor season. In a true change of philosophy, Moore has indicated that Royals prospects will spend time in AAA Omaha. Moore’s predecessor, Allard Baird, had a nasty habit of promoting young players from AA Wichita to the major league team. In almost every case, those players have proved to not be ready. The most obvious case is that of Ambiorix Burgos. Last season, Burgos was promoted after only a handful of appearances in Wichita. With Mike MacDougal’s injury, Burgos was installed as the closer at the outset of this season. He has struggled in this role, with 6 blown saves in 16 opportunities. The problem with Burgos is that he never had the opportunity to develop another pitch. He has a fantastic split fingered pitch, but his fastball, while thrown in the upper 90’s, tends to be straight. If he can’t get the splitter working, he’s toast. Perhaps another season in the minors would allow Burgos to develop another pitch to make him more effective as a major leaguer. Instead, his confidence must be shaken as he struggles.

Of course, Moore’s philosophy suggests that Royals fans will not see prospects Alex Gordon, Billy Butler or Mitch Maier in Kansas City anytime soon. This is probably for the best. Baird’s practice of using AAA as a holding pen for aged veterans seemed to go against building a young team. Instead of letting a major league player like Aaron Guiel rot in Omaha, why not trade him for a mid-level prospect with a 50-50 chance of developing into a contributor?

It’s obviously too early to determine what kind of effect Moore will have on the Royals. So far, indications point to a slow development approach as opposed to an “on the job training” approach. The previous approach obviously hasn’t worked out, so Royals fans can only hope that something different will produce better results.

Let's go get 'em.

Game 68 - 6/18/2006

Royals 7, Astros 4

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 19-49
Expected Record 20-48
Runs Scored 268
Runs Allowed 423
Projected Record 46-116
Pythagorean Record 47-115
Pythagorean Winning% 0.286

Let's go get 'em

Game 67 - 6/17/2006

Royals 2, Astros 7

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 18-49
Expected Record 19-48
Runs Scored 261
Runs Allowed 419
Projected Record 44-118
Pythagorean Record 46-116
Pythagorean Winning% 0.279

Let's go get 'em

Game 66 - 6/16/2006

Royals 7, Astros 2

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 18-48
Expected Record 19-47
Runs Scored 259
Runs Allowed 412
Projected Record 45-117
Pythagorean Record 46-116
Pythagorean Winning% 0.283

Let's go get 'em

Game 65 - 6/15/2006

Royals 2, Angels 3

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 17-48
Expected Record 18-47
Runs Scored 252
Runs Allowed 410
Projected Record 43-119
Pythagorean Record 45-117
Pythagorean Winning% 0.274

Let's go get 'em

Game 64 - 6/14/2006

Royals 4, Angels 3

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 17-47
Expected Record 18-46
Runs Scored 250
Runs Allowed 407
Projected Record 44-118
Pythagorean Record 45-117
Pythagorean Winning% 0.273

Let's go get 'em

Game 63 - 6/13/2006

Royals 3, Angels 4

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 16-47
Expected Record 18-45
Runs Scored 246
Runs Allowed 404
Projected Record 42-120
Pythagorean Record 44-118
Pythagorean Winning% 0.27

Let's go get 'em

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Game 62 - 6/12/2006

Royals 3, Angles 4

The clock struck midnight for Royals pitcher Bobby Keppel. Keppel was called up from Omaha and pitched well enough in relief to earn a spot in the rotation. Keppel pitched well in his first two starts, but struggled against the Angels. Keppel pitched 5 1/3 innings giving up 8 hits and 4 runs.

The Angels held onto that 4-0 lead into the seventh, when the Royals finally rallied for three runs. Angel Berroa's RBI hit scored the third run and set the Royals up to continue their rally - that is until he ran into an out. As has been the case so many times this season, Berroa's blunder killed the Royals. I know Buddy Bell doesn't really have anybody to turn to, but shouldn't Berroa be reprimanded somehow?

Newly acquired pitcher Brandon Duckworth gets the start tonight. Duckworth represents Dayton Moore's first player acquisition.

Moore also made a move today, hiring Dean Taylor who joins Muzzy Jackson as Assistant GM. (Jackson takes on the VP of Player Personnel role while Taylor becomes VP of Baseball Operations).

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 16-46
Expected Record 17-45
Runs Scored 245
Runs Allowed 400
Projected Record 42-120
Pythagorean Record 45-117
Pythagorean Winning% 0.272

Let's go get 'em

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Game 61 - 6/11/2006

Devil Rays 8, Royals 2

We got to see our first triple play today. Kinda. I was keeping score, so when Angel Berroa threw the ball over to third to appeal that Aubry Huff left the base before center fielder David DeJesus caught Russell Branyan's fly ball, I was looking down at my score book, counting Huff's run. But the third base umpire called Huff out, completing a triple play and erasing the run.

With runners on first and third with nobody out, Russell Branyan hit a fly ball to medium depth center field. DeJesus caught the ball (out 1) and made a terrible throw home to try to throw out the tagging Huff. The throw went over catcher Paul Bako's head and Scott Elarton, who was backing up the play, caught it. When the throw went home, Rocko Baldelli tried to go from first to second. Elarton threw a rocket shot to Berroa at second who tagged Badelli out (out 2). Berroa then tossed to third for the appeal play completing the triple play.

The Devil Rays went on to smack 6 home runs in this game, while the Royals' fly balls just seemed to hang up and fall harmlessly into the mitts of Rays. The Rays' six homers tied thier team record, which was also set in KC in 2002.

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 16-44
Expected Record 17-43
Runs Scored 242
Runs Allowed 389
Projected Record 44-118
Pythagorean Record 46-116
Pythagorean Winning% 0.279

Let's go get 'em

Game 60 - 6/10/2006

Devil Rays 9, Royals 5

Reggie Sanders finally stroked his 300th homerun, a meaningless shot in the ninth inning of yet another ugly loss for the Royals. Sanders became only the fifth major leaguer to have 300 homeruns along with 300 stolen bases (the others? Barry Bonds, Willie Mays, Bobby Bonds and Andre Dawson). Forgive us, Reggie, if we Royals fans don't seem very excited. Of your 300 homers, we've seen 8; and of your 302 stolen bases, we've seen 5. And we've noticed that you have more strike outs than games played. If we could trade your milestone for a .500 record, you'd be out of KC in a second.

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 16-43
Expected Record 17-42
Runs Scored 240
Runs Allowed 381
Projected Record 44-118
Pythagorean Record 47-115
Pythagorean Winning% 0.284

Let's go get 'em

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Game 59 - 6/9/2006

Devil Rays 2, Royals 4

Mark Redman had one of his best starts of the season. He struggled in the first, but settled in and pitched 8 innings, giving up just 2 runs.

Meanwhile, the Royals bats came alive in the eighth when Reggie Sanders showed why teams like the Royals would sign him. He had a great at bat, and finally stroked a two run double to right center.

That's two in a row since Moore took over as GM.

In other news, David and Dan Glass made yet another bonehead move. After fielding some tough questions during Dayton Moore's press conference, the Royals revoked the press credentials for two of the journalists who were asking those questions. Rhonda Moss of 610 Sports and Bob Fescoe of 810 WHB (the Royals flagship station) are no longer welcome at Kauffman stadium. Perhaps the Glasses should hire a press secretary so situations like this no longer occur.

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 16-42
Expected Record 17-41
Runs Scored 235
Runs Allowed 372
Projected Record 45-117
Pythagorean Record 47-115
Pythagorean Winning% 0.285

Let's go get 'em

Friday, June 09, 2006

Game 58 - 6/8/2006

Rangers 12, Royals 16

The Royals starting rotation is in complete disarray. The Royals asked Kyle Snyder to drive to KC from Omaha to make the start Thursday night. Snyder was a high draft pick for the Royals, but he has struggled with injuries over the years.

Snyder pitched well in the first, and the Royals staked him to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Ranger's starter Cameron Loe wasn't fooling anybody and the Royals were able to string together several well hit singles to jump to the early lead. The Rangers came back with 3 runs in the second inning.

The real trouble began in the third with two outs when third baseman Mark Teahen booted an easy grounder. Sndyer had struck out the first two batters, but Teahen stayed back on a slow roller, then at the last minute trid to backhand the ball and wasn't able to field it cleanly. After that error, which should have ended the inning, the Rangers came alive. Snyder didn't survive the inning and Jeremy Affldt didn't fare much better. The Rangers scored 8 runs, taking a seemingly insurmountable 11-4 lead.

Surprisingly, the Royals did to the Rangers what had been done to them so many times this season: they came right back. They were able to score four runs in the bottom of the third to pull with four. At this point, the game was already two hours old and we were only through three innings.

The Royals' bats stayed hot throughout the game and they were able to score in the fourth and fifth innings to chip away at the lead. Heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Royals trailed 11-10.

Then the fireworks came. Matt Stairs had the big blow - a towering three run homerun that almost hit a passing 747. The Royals scored 6 and led 16-11. The Rangers were able to score one more, but the Royals held on for a wild victory.

It was quite a beginning to the Dayton Moore era. Moore officially took the reins of the Royals Thursday. He was introduced at a somewhat tense press conference earlier in the day. Instead of focusing on the future and what Moore had in mind for the Royals, the media instead pounded David and Dan Glass about how the firing of Allard Baird took place and whether they meddle in baseball decisions. Moore was probably wonder what he had gotten himself into.

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 15-42
Expected Record 16-41
Runs Scored 231
Runs Allowed 370
Projected Record 43-119
Pythagorean Record 46-116
Pythagorean Winning% 0.28

Let's go get 'em

Game 57 - 6/7/2006

Rangers 4, Royals 2

Bobby Keppel looks great. I know, I know... it's a small sample size. But in two starts, Keppel has looked light years ahead of any other Royals starter this season.

Keppel held the Rangers scoreless through 8 innings, and manager Buddy Bell ran him back out there to try to finish the game. I'm sure Keppel was anxious to notch his first complete game shutout.

Keppel gave up a hit to the lead off batter and that was enough for Bell. Keppel could only watch in horror as Bell summoned Ambiorix Burgos from the bullpen. Burgos quickly let Keppel's run score along with one of his own. Seeing Burgos struggling forced Bell to ask Elmer Dessens to try to keep the game tied. He couldn't, letting two more runs score and allowing the Ranger to up for good 4-2.

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 14-42
Expected Record 15-41
Runs Scored 215
Runs Allowed 358
Projected Record 41-121
Pythagorean Record 43-119
Pythagorean Winning% 0.265

Let's go get 'em

Game 56 - 6/6/2006

Rangers 6, Royals 2

We certainly didn't expect too much from the Royals after the hellacious road trip they had just endured. The Royals didn't land in Kansas City until 4:00am and were back at the stadium for a 7:10pm game against the Rangers.

Making matters worse, they had to face Kevin Millwood. The Royals made Millood struggle through second inning, but could only score once.

Royals starter Scott Elarton was his typical self: five okay innings giving up 4 runs. But the Royals bats just couldn't get anything going offensively against Millwood.

Mark Teahen is looking much better since he was recalled from Omaha. Teahen was 2-4 and drove in both Royals runs.

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 14-41
Expected Record 15-40
Runs Scored 213
Runs Allowed 354
Projected Record 42-120
Pythagorean Record 43-119
Pythagorean Winning% 0.265

Let's go get 'em

Monday, June 05, 2006

Game 55 - 6/5/2006

Royals 1, Mariners 4

Can somebody explain this schedule to me? The Royals left Kansas City on May 25 and played the very next day in New York. After three games against the Yankees, they then flew cross country to play the Oakland A's without a day off. They then flew to Seattle for a weekend series against the Mariners. They played their typical get-away-day afternoon game on Sunday, but then had to stay over another night to play the Mariners on Monday night. The then have to return to KC to play the Rangers, again without an off day.

Mike Wood made a spot start tonight for Denny Bautista - the third Royals started to get fired in the last week. (Affeldt was demoted to bullpen along with Bautista, and Runelvys was demoted to AAA Omaha).

Wood pitched a scoreless game into the sixth, but Jimmy Gobble entered the game and allow Wood's two runners to score. The Royals were able to get one of those runs back in the top of the seventh, but couldn't scratch across anymore.

Joel Peralta entered the game in the eighth and allowed two more runs to score.

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 14-40
Expected Record 15-39
Runs Scored 211
Runs Allowed 348
Projected Record 42-120
Pythagorean Record 44-118
Pythagorean Winning% 0.268

Let's go get 'em

Game 54 - 6/4/2006

Royals 9, Mariners 4

The Royals got a rare blowout win Sunday. Every Royal had at least one hit. Mark Teahen, was recalled from Omaha before the Mariners series, had a good game at the place with 2 hits, a double and an RBI.

Mark Redman got his first victory as a Royal while pitching 5 2/3 innings giving up 8 hits and 4 runs. He struck out two and walked three.

With a win tomorrow, the Royals could finish 5-5 on thier road trip. That would be a huge improvement given their performance on the road thus far this season.

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 14-39
Expected Record 15-38
Runs Scored 210
Runs Allowed 344
Projected Record 43-119
Pythagorean Record 44-118
Pythagorean Winning% 0.271

Let's go get 'em

Game 53 - 6/3/2006

Royals 1, Mariners 12

Ugly. Royals pitcher Seth Etherton struggled, lasting only 2 2/3 innings while giving up 7 runs on just 4 hits.

The Royals ran six different pitchers out to the mound. It was one of those games where where nothing went the Royals' way. Etherton has since been sent to Omaha.

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 13-39
Expected Record 14-38
Runs Scored 201
Runs Allowed 340
Projected Record 41-121
Pythagorean Record 42-120
Pythagorean Winning% 0.258

Let's go get 'em

Game 52 - 6/2/2006

Royals 0, Mariners 4

Bobby Keppel made his first start as a Royal, and pitched quite well for six innings. The ageless Jamie Moyer pitched for the Mariners and like always, gave the Royals' hitters fits.

The Mariners finally started to figure Keppel out in the sixth, and they broke up the scoreless game with back to back homers by Lopez and Ibanez. Jeremy Affeldt relieved Keppel in his first bullpen duty since being demoted from the starting rotation. He also gave up two runs and Moyer finished the game notching a complete game shut out.

Looking at it positively, Keppel looked good and the Royals have never been able to hit against Moyer.

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 13-38
Expected Record 14-37
Runs Scored 200
Runs Allowed 328
Projected Record 42-120
Pythagorean Record 44-118
Pythagorean Winning% 0.271

Let's go get 'em

Friday, June 02, 2006

Breaking 100: Greinke's Quest

About six weeks ago, Zack Greinke returned to Surprise, Arizona to begin extended spring training. He left Royals Spring Training on Feb. 25 to return to Florida to deal with personal issues.

Greinke was drafted in the first round in 2002. He has always been considered strong pitching prospect and has even been called a phenom. When he reached the majors in 2004, he pitched well, showing his ability to locate pitches and changes speeds with authority. He started 24 games and had an ERA of 3.97. In 2005, he struggled (as did many of the Royals) and lost 17 games and posted a 5.80 ERA.

Many believe that Greinke still has the potential to be a top notch starter. The Royals certainly hope so. Greinke's progress has been slow. Tonight, he will test his progress in a game for AA Wichita. He will be limited to about 70 pitches, and the Royals certainly hope for the best.

There is no rush to get Greinke back in Kansas City. This season is pretty much over. He shouldn't arrive in Kansas City until all believe he is ready, and he shouldn't feel pressure to win.

Good luck Zack.