Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Game 51 - 5/31/2006

Royals 0, A's 7

The Royals endured a shutout today in Oakland, but who cares about the game.

Dayton Moore was hired to succeed Allard Baird as GM of the Royals. This is a definite positive sign for Royals fans, as it also marks a sea change for how the Royals organization is run. In coming to KC, Moore has been assured that he will have full control over baseball operations. Moore brings with him a strong track record from his twelve years in Atlanta. The Braves have been an excellent organization in terms of developing talent into strong major league performers, and Dayton Moore is largely credited with that success.

Moore is from Wichita and grew up as a Royals fan. In an interview today, he recalled the glory days of the Royals and expressed a strong desire to return the Royals to that glory.

The only negative thing about today is the way that Allard Baird was treated over the last month. It's too bad that this transition couldn't have gone smoother, but Baird is well respected in the game and should land on his feet very soon.

Because of the potential conflict of interests, Moore will not participate in next week's draft for either team. He will join the Royals on June 8 and Royals Assistant GM Muzzy Jackson will oversee the draft for the Royals.

Click below for more info on the Moore hiring.

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 13-37
Expected Record 14-36
Runs Scored 200
Runs Allowed 324
Projected Record 43-119
Pythagorean Record 45-117
Pythagorean Winning% 0.275

Let's go get 'em

Breaking 100: Baird Out, Moore In

The Kansas City Star is reporting that Royals GM Allard Baird has been fired to make way for Dayton Moore. Dayton Moore will be the sixth Royals General Manager and will officially begin his tenure after next week's draft. Royals Assistant GM will be interim GM and will oversee the draft for the Royals.

Let's go get 'em.

Game 50 - 5/30/2006

Royals 8, A's 7, 10 innings

It's a streak! The Royals have won two straight and three of their last five games. Not bad. Denny Bautista was staked to an early lead when the Royals jumped on Oakland starter Brad Halsey in the first inning. David DeJesus hit a leadoff homer and the Royals batted around scoring four runs.

Denny Bautista struggled though, giving up eight hits and six runs in 4 1/3 innings. The A's took a 7-6 lead in the fifth inning. The Royals didn't give up and tied the game in the ninth on Matt Stairs' RBI single. In the tenth, the Royals manufactured the go ahead and winning run. Angel Berroa doubled and advanced to third on John Buck's sac bunt. The A's intentionally walked DeJesus and Mark Grudzielanek singled in Berroa for the go ahead run.

Ambiorix Burgos, who is fighting his way back as the closer after struggling, was able to nail down the game in the bottom of the tenth.

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 13-37
Expected Record 14-36
Runs Scored 200
Runs Allowed 324
Projected Record 43-119
Pythagorean Record 45-117
Pythagorean Winning% 0.275

Let's go get 'em

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Sailing in Uncharted Waters

by Chad Metcalf

Wolverines, Colonels, Browns, Cowboys, and Quakers; the 2006 Royals are in rare company. Through 42 games, the Royals had scored 154 runs while allowing 259 runs. That is, they scored 3.67 runs per game while allowing 6.17 runs per game, a difference of -2.5 runs per game. That’s not horrible, right? Sorry fellow Royal hopefuls, it is horrible, very horrible.

Thanks to the handy Lahman database, I compared those numbers with historical seasons of yore. Since 1900, no team has finished a season that lopsided. The 1932 version of the Boston Red Sox finished -2.26, resulting in a 43-111 (.279) record. Before 1900, there were many truly bad teams that could be considered an equal of the Royals:

1884 Detroit Wolverines -2.56 28-84 (.246)
1896 Louisville Colonels -2.57 38-93 (.284)
1896 St. Louis Browns -2.56 40-90 (.305)
1888 KC Cowboys -2.40 43-89 (.326)
1884 Philadelphia Quakers -2.43 39-73 (.345)

If the Royals continue their “blistering” pace, and there is no reason to think that they won’t, the 100 loss season in inevitable. Maybe we should start tracking the chances of a 110 loss season. (Although, I guess that getting rid of Joe “Run-Maker” Mays will help lower the runs allowed rate a little bit).

Although it is ridiculous to compare teams across such different periods, it brings home the point of how amazingly inept our 2006 Royals are. Not since the turn of the century . . . the 20th century that is . . . has a team been able to create such a unique combination of incompetence. The Royals look like they are swinging big loaves of French bread, while the pitchers are tossing up meatballs which are being pounded right through the Swiss cheese defense. That’s right, the Royals combine to form one tasty meatball sub. Just ask Albert Pujols.

SIDENOTE: Speaking of the Cowboys, Bradford Doolittle of The Kansas City Star wrote an interesting story about early Kansas City baseball history on Sunday.

Game 49 - 5/29/2006

Royals 6, A's 4

While the organization waits for word on their fate, the Royals have actually played a little better over the last few games. Newly acquired pitcher Seth Etherton pitched well in his first start as a Royal, though he did labor throwing 100 pitches in five innings. Etherton gave up just 2 runs (1 earned), and the bullpen held on for the win.

The offense put up a well-rounded attack with Emil Brown leading the charge. Brown had three hits and an RBI and five different Royals had RBI's. Shane Costa had 2 doubles and Matt Stairs and Doug Mientkiewicz also had doubles.

Meanwhile, rumors are still floating that Braves Assistant GM Dayton Moore is considering accepting the GM job in Kansas City. Many believe it is nearly a done deal. Royals fans, and Allard Baird, continue to wait...

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 12-37
Expected Record 14-35
Runs Scored 192
Runs Allowed 317
Projected Record 40-122
Pythagorean Record 44-118
Pythagorean Winning% 0.268

Let's go get 'em

Monday, May 29, 2006

Breaking 100: Rumors and Roster Moves

In another classic Royals absurd move, David Glass has apparently offered the General Manager job to Atlanta Braves Assistant GM Dayton Moore. Folks who know of Moore might say that he's the perfect man for the job. Moore is a well respected baseball executive who is said to have excellent talent evaluation skills. What's absurd is the way Glass is handling the situation. Glass is apparently interviewing GM cadidates, but has not yet fired his current General Manager, Allard Baird. Baird says he hasn't heard from Glass and is left twisting in the wind.

At any rate, the reports state that the only sticking point is Moore's insistance that he have complete control of baseball operations. If it's true that Dan Glass has been pulling the strings over the last few years, the demand may be difficult to meet. But surely David Glass is smart enough to see that the status quo has not been working. If somebody like Moore is willing to come to Kansas City, Glass must meet his demands. Hiring Moore would win Glass some favor with Royals fans, and it seems Moore has the talent to turn the organization around.

It was reported that Glass wanted the deal ironed out by the end of the Memorial Day weekend. It is now Monday evening and there has been no news. Optimistic fans are hoping for an announcement on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Royals continue to juggle their innefective players. After his disasterous outing, Runelvys Hernandez was sent to AAA Omaha. The Royals acquired pitcher Seth Etherton who will make the start tonight against the A's.

Let's think back to Spring Training. The proposed rotation was Mark Redman, Runelvys Hernandez, Scott Elarton, Zack Grienke, and Joe Mays with Denny Bautista, Jeremy Affeldt and Mike Wood as possible contenders as well. The rotation now is a shambles. Redman has struggled and missed his last start with a sore arm. Hernandez didn't make the team out of Spring Training, and has been sent back to Omaha after pitching poorly. Elarton has been the only consistent pitcher but hasn't gotten any run support. Grienke left camp and is just now working his way back to Kansas City and Joe Mays was released. Affeldt has now pitched poorly in several consecutive starts.

The only good news here is that close Mike MacDougal seems to be getting closer to returning after spending all season on the DL. His return should help the struggling bullpen.

Aaron Guiel found himself back in Omaha after center fielder David DeJesus finally returned to the team. DeJesus has been fighting sore hamstrings since April 18.

Let's go get 'em.

Game 48 - 5/28/2006

Royals 5, Yankees 6

The Yankees jumped on Runelvys Hernandez early, and he didn't get through the first inning. Hernandez gave up 5 runs on 6 hits in just 2/3 of an inning. Rookie Bobby Keppel relieved Hernandez and had his second strong outing. In his two outings, Keppel has pitched 6 2/3 innings, given up 6 hits and just 2 runs. His ERA stands at an impressive 2.70. He's struck out 6 and walked only 2.

The Yankees went to sleep after the first inning, and the Royals kept pecking away at the lead. They couldn't get over the hump when the Mariano Rivera came in and slammed the door shut.

The Royals now have to fly cross-country and will take on the Oakland A's Monday night.

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 11-37
Expected Record 13-35
Runs Scored 186
Runs Allowed 313
Projected Record 38-124
Pythagorean Record 43-119
Pythagorean Winning% 0.26

Let's go get 'em

Game 47 - 5/27/2006

Royals 4, Yankees 15

Yikes. Don't let the momentum of one win stop you from losing ugly. Jeremy Affeldt imploded, giving up 10 runs and 11 hits in his 5 1/3 innings. It another frustrating aspect of the Royals: no consistency. Affledt had a couple of strong outings, but now looks lost on the mound.

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 11-36
Expected Record 13-34
Runs Scored 181
Runs Allowed 307
Projected Record 38-124
Pythagorean Record 42-120
Pythagorean Winning% 0.257

Let's go get 'em

Game 46 - 5/26/2006

Royals 7, Yankees 6

Did Hell freeze over? Seriously. Not only did the Royals beat the Yankees 7-6, but Angel Berroa walked. And he homered. And he didn't commit an error. And Scott Elarton got the win.

In one more signed that this team is cursed, the rains came after the top of the ninth, and the Royals had to wait out a 110 minute rain delay. After the delay, the Yankees got a rally going, but came up just short when Jason Giambi hit into a game-ending double play.

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 11-35
Expected Record 13-33
Runs Scored 177
Runs Allowed 292
Projected Record 39-123
Pythagorean Record 44-118
Pythagorean Winning% 0.268

Let's go get 'em

Game 45 - 5/25/2006

Tigers 13, Royals 8

This one hurts. The Royals jumped out to a six run lead in a first inning that included back-to-back-to-back homeruns, but failed to hold on for the win.

Things were looking good as the Royals pounded Tigers starter Mike Moroth in the first inning. Tony Graffanino, then Angel Berroa, then Doug Mientkiewicz homered to give the Royals a seemingly comfortable 6 run lead.

But, in typical fashion, the Royals immediately gave back three of those runs and starter Denny Bautista struggled. The Tigers kept pecking away at the lead and trailed 8-7 going into the ninth inning. But the bullpen exploded and "closer" Elmer Dessens gave up four runs before getting yanked. Andy Sisco entered the game to finish it off giving up one more.

The losing streak stands at 13.

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 10-35
Expected Record 12-33
Runs Scored 170
Runs Allowed 286
Projected Record 36-126
Pythagorean Record 43-119
Pythagorean Winning% 0.261

Let's go get 'em

Game 44 - 5/24/2006

Tigers 6, Royals 3

In another feat of patchwork, the Royals had to work around a pitching rotation in shambles. Mark Redman didn't make the start because of a sore forearm, so lefty reliever Jimmy Gobble got the start. Gobble pitched fairly well, going 4 innings and giving up just 3 hits and 1 run. Gobble's pitch limit forced him out of the game early.

The Royals offense did well, getting 11 hits, but couldn't bunch them together enough to push across the needed runs. They put up three runs in the sixth, but were otherwise shut out.

The losing streak stands at 12.

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 10-34
Expected Record 12-32
Runs Scored 162
Runs Allowed 273
Projected Record 37-125
Pythagorean Record 43-119
Pythagorean Winning% 0.26

Let's go get 'em

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Game 43 – 5/23/2006

Tigers 8, Royals 5

The Royals were finally able to get to Kenny Rogers, who in the past has had great success against the Royals. Mark Grudzielanek hit two homeruns against Rogers and the Royals were able to jump out to a 4-0 lead.

Runelvys Hernandez got the start and pitched just 5.1 innings. I heard Ryan Lefebvre say on the broadcast that of the 43 games the Royals have played this season, only 26 times has the starter gotten through the sixth inning. I’m curious what the league average is, but at first glance, that doesn’t seem like a very good statistic.

It’s not like there is one particular aspect that is going bad and that can be easily fixed. Elmer Dessens, who earlier this season was unhittable, gave up 3 runs and the lead when he pitched in the eighth.

The Kansas City Star today had a chart comparing the Royals’ last four managers and their longest losing streaks:

Buddy Bell .342
Tony Pena .410
Tony Muser .424
Bob Boone .468

Buddy Bell has managed the Royals to the worst losing streaks in franchise history: 19 games, and 11 games twice this season. When David Glass promised “significant changes” earlier this season, he did indicate that he didn’t think it was a problem with the manager. Most Royals fans would disagree, and the above stats support the argument that Buddy Bell may not be the right guy for this job. Let’s not forget Bell’s ugly exit from his previous managerial jobs. When he left Detroit, he was making comments about how the payroll was too low and that he didn’t want to baby sit a bunch of young kids. What did Bell think he was getting into in Kansas City?

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 10-33
Expected Record 12-31
Runs Scored 159
Runs Allowed 267
Projected Record 38-124
Pythagorean Record 43-119
Pythagorean Winning% 0.261

Let's go get 'em

Monday, May 22, 2006

Game 42 - 5/22/2006

Indians 8, Royals 0

We're just past the quarter pole for the season, and the Royals are already a third of the way to 100 losses.

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 10-32
Expected Record 11-31
Runs Scored 154
Runs Allowed 259
Projected Record 39-123
Pythagorean Record 43-119
Pythagorean Winning% 0.261

Let's go get 'em

Breaking 100: Extracting the Riff-Raff

Yesterday's comments by Scott Elarton, Doug Mientkiewicz and Matt Stairs must have resonated. Before today's game, the Royals held a "players only" meeting, and Buddy Bell spoke to the press about roster shake ups. Bell didn't name names, but he did indicate that some players would be on their way out because he felt they didn't care or were too comfortable with losing.

Bell explained that the problem they have is that the Royals just don't have enough depth to just ship guys out, so they are working on a plan to back fill the roster.

Angel Berroa sat out tonight, for the second time in three games, to get some "rest," according to Bell.

All of this talk isn't working though. As I type this, the Royals are down 8-0 in the 6th. Jeremy Affeldt's not pitching well, but the offense isn't doing anything either; they have just one hit. Yet another pitcher that nobody's heard of (Justin Verlander of the Tigers) pitched 3 innings of perfect, no-hit ball against the Royals. Oh, and the Royals have committed an error to complete the trifecta of ineptitude.

Let's go get 'em.

Breaking 100: Not Giving Up Yet...

I just saw Beamer's comment suggesting I give up this effort soon.

The losing is difficult. What can I write that's new and different from game to game? They pitch poorly, the don't hit, they play poor defense, they lose the game. Whether the team has given up on avoiding 100 losses is debatable, but I will continue to write about them.

I found it interesting that some of the veterans who joined the Royals this season have begun to speak out. Scott Elarton made comments suggesting that some of his teammates don't seem to care that the team is losing. "If you don't care, you're not going to get better," Elarton said.

Doug Mientkiewicz also spoke out, saying "There comes a time when you have to look at yourself in the mirror and say, 'I'm tired of being a sideshow.' This is inexcusable, and I'm not excluding myself from the problem."

It's amazing how players who have performed well on other teams seem to drop off the table when they join the Royals. I realize Reggie Sanders is nearing the end of his career, but he didn't struggle like this on other teams. There seems to be an aura of losing here. Where it comes from, I don't know, but I look at it like rust on my old Mustang. Unless it is all removed, it will always be a problem.

David Glass made comments recently saying that his proposed "significant changes" were taking longer to determined than he had originally thought. Perhaps his biggest mistake was to make comments about upcoming changes too soon. Whatever he is doing, let's hope he is rooting out the source of the problem and formulating a real plan to put this team on the right track.

These changes may require a new General Manager or Manager, but according to some veterans, it also requires new players.

Let's go get 'em.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Game 41 - 5/21/2006

Cardinals 10, Royals 3

11 straight. 6 straight. And now 9 straight. Long losing streaks are becoming the trademark of this team. Even a team of replacement level players should be able to slip a win in there every once in a while. This team seems very comfortable with losing. They must enjoy watching 'Baseball Tonight' and hearing Steve Phillips and Peter Gammons ridicule them. They must enjoy hearing John Kruk wonder how a team that has lost so much can have such a terrible farm system. They must enjoy reading Rob Neyer and Rany Jazerli opine about how they've totally lost interest in the team they once loved so much.

David Glass must be very comfortable with his lot in baseball. Meanwhile, fans are becoming more and more apethetic. They are losing interest.

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 10-31
Expected Record 12-29
Runs Scored 154
Runs Allowed 251
Projected Record 40-122
Pythagorean Record 45-117
Pythagorean Winning% 0.273

Let's go get 'em

Game 40 - 5/20/2006

Cardinals 4, Royals 2

Denny Bautista finally gave the Royals some innings, lasting 6 innings while giving up just one run. Unfortunately, new Cardinals' pitcher Anthonly Reyes also pitched well, stifling the Royals offense.

In an entirely predictable fashion, Pujols smashed a three run homer to give the Cards the lead and the win, taking the second game of the I-70 series.

The Royals are getting very good at creating long losing streaks. This one stands at 8 depressing games.

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 10-30
Expected Record 12-28
Runs Scored 151
Runs Allowed 241
Projected Record 41-121
Pythagorean Record 46-116
Pythagorean Winning% 0.281

Let's go get 'em

Game 39 - 5/19/2006

Cardinals 9, Royals 6

The I-70 series got off to a typical start with the Royals losing 6-9. Things looked good early as the Royals were able to jump out to a quick 5-0 lead on Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter.

The Cardinals offense, however, is just too good to keep down for long. Albert Pujols gave his hometown friends and family something to cheer about as he hit a homer to get the ball rolling for the Cards. Of course, the Royals' pitching caved and the offense was never able get back in the game. The losing streak is at 7 games.

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 10-29
Expected Record 12-27
Runs Scored 149
Runs Allowed 237
Projected Record 42-120
Pythagorean Record 46-116
Pythagorean Winning% 0.283

Let's go get 'em

Friday, May 19, 2006

Breaking 100: Rumors Abound

I was listening to the local sports talk radio station this morning on my way to work. They were interviewing a columnist from St. Louis about the upcoming Cardinals/Royals series.

The topic of conversation ultimately turned to the Royals' current troubles. The guest (I wish I could remember his name, but can't) mentioned that he had spoken to Whitey Herzog recently. Whitey, if you recall, was the manager of the Royals during their great run in the 70's. Whitey then became the manager of the Cardinals and was their manager during the '85 World Series against the Royals.

Whitey is a strong-minded (read stubborn) individual who definitely has strong ideas about baseball and how to win baseball games. He knew how to adapt a ball club to its stadium as evidenced by his speedy teams in Kansas City and St. Louis, both of which played in cavernous ballparks with artificial turf.

Anyway, the radio guest said that when he spoke with him, Whitey told him that he wanted to come to Kansas City to try and turn this team around. He said the Whitey had very specific ideas on both how to get a winning team, but also how to gain back the adoration of the fans in Kansas City. He said that Whitey is lobbying for the job in Kansas City and wants to come here to make the Royals a proud franchise again.

Whether you like Whitey or not, you have to feel good that there is somebody out there who wants to take on this challenge. The Royals are a very broken organization. If there is somebody, especially a well respected baseball person, who wants to take on the challenge of fixing it, I say let's get it done.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Game 38 - 5/18/2006

Royals 5, Indians 6

The pitching has gone completely in the tank. Today, Runelvys Hernandez lasted only 3 1/3 innings giving up 7 hits and 5 runs. He walked 3 and struck out 2.

Things looked good early as the Royals grabbed an early lead scoring once in the first and once in the second. But, since this is the Royals, they then immediately gave up a run in the bottom of the second and lost the lead in the bottom of the third when Hernandez gave up three runs. The Royals went oh-for-the-road for the second time this season, losing all 6 games of this road trip.

The play on the field is not the story for this team, however. The Royals continue to lose day after day, week after week while its owner continues to promise changes. Until the organization is completely revamped, we should expect nothing more. Mr. Glass, we’re waiting…

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 10-28
Expected Record 11-27
Runs Scored 143
Runs Allowed 228
Projected Record 43-119
Pythagorean Record 46-116
Pythagorean Winning% 0.282

Let's go get 'em

Game 37 - 5/17/2006

Royals 0, Indians 5

According to the trade rumor mill, the Royals have had many chances to trade Jeremy Affeldt. For whatever reason, the Royals didn't pull the trigger. Whether it was Allard Baird or Dan Glass, the Royals decided to hold onto Affeldt.

Affeldt should be a hot commodity. He's a left handed pitcher who can touch the mid-90's with his fast ball and has a devastating curve ball. But injuries and role changes have, apparently, stunted his growth as a dominant pitcher. This season, Affeldt finally convinced the Royals to give him a shot in the rotation. He’s shown flashes of brilliance in his 7 starts. On April 29th, he made a start against the Oakland A’s. The game (and all its stats) was eventually washed out by rain, but he had amassed 6 strike outs in only 3 innings of work. But mostly, Affeldt’s been a disappointment. Affeldt notched a win against the Twins on May 4, but walked 6 and was pitching out of jams most of the night.

The biggest issue with Affeldt this season is walks. Through his seven starts, he’s walked 25 and struck out only 16.

In this game, he walked 6 and struck out only 2. The one pitch he did get over the plate ended up in the right field bleachers – a grand slam to Travis Hafner.

In a continuing trend, the Royals made Jake Westbrook look like Cy Young.

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 10-26
Expected Record 11-25
Runs Scored 138
Runs Allowed 222
Projected Record 45-117
Pythagorean Record 46-116
Pythagorean Winning% 0.278

Let's go get 'em

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Game 36 - 5/16/2006

Royals 4, Indians 6

What more is there to say? The Royals simply cannot win on the road. For the second consecutive game, the Royals took a lead into the ninth inning only to lose the game.

This time, it was Ambiorix Burgos who again struggled and Andy Sisco gave up the game-winning homerun to Travis Hafner in the bottom of the ninth.

The bigger issue here is the problems with the organization as a whole. The games themselves are immaterial at this point. More important is how owner David Glass is going to fix the mess. After three weeks of promising significant changes, nothing has happened. It's definitely Kansas City, Misery.

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 10-26
Expected Record 11-25
Runs Scored 138
Runs Allowed 217
Projected Record 45-117
Pythagorean Record 47-115
Pythagorean Winning% 0.287

Let's go get 'em

Monday, May 15, 2006

Game 35 - 5/14/2006

Royals 7, Orioles 8

In yet another sign that we're dealing with just a plain ol' bad team, the Royals blew another game where they had the lead and a chance to win.

Closer (term to be used lightly) Ambiorix Burgos could not find the strike zone in the ninth when he came into the game to preserve a 7-4 lead. He couldn't do it and after the O's tied it at 8, Buddy Bell called upon Jimmy Gobble to try to get the game into extra innings. Gobble gave up a single allowing the winning run to score.

Meanwhile David Glass, who said two or three weeks ago that he is frustrated and wouldn't wait and see to see if things got better, still seems to be waiting and seeing. His "immenent changes" are MIA and it's losing as usual for the Royals. Rumor has it Glass had a new GM or two selected, but they turned down the job when Glass refused to take his son Dan Glass out of the decision making process.

It's been said that Dan Glass has vetoed several trades that Allard Baird has tried to pull off contributing to the mess the team is in now. If a new GM is to take this job, he should expect to be soley responsible for decisions.

The Glasses have never been too popular in Kansas City, but these recent events have pushed Royals fans to the edge.

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 10-25
Expected Record 11-24
Runs Scored 134
Runs Allowed 211
Projected Record 47-115
Pythagorean Record 47-115
Pythagorean Winning% 0.287

Let's go get 'em

Game 34 - 5/13/2006

Royals 1, Orioles 11

Is Kris Benson really this good? Pick any struggling pitcher and match him up against the Royals, and that pitcher suddenly becomes Cy Young.

The Royals couldn't do anything against Benson, save Matt Stairs' homer in the seventh. Royals starter Mark Redman struggled again, pushing his ERA up to 6.03.

Just acquired Chris Booker came into the game to relieve Redman in the seventh and promptly gave up six runs in just one inning of work. If Redman's ERA seems bloated, look at Booker's: 54.00.

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 10-24
Expected Record 10-24
Runs Scored 127
Runs Allowed 203
Projected Record 48-114
Pythagorean Record 46-116
Pythagorean Winning% 0.281

Let's go get 'em

Game 33 - 5/12/2006

Royals 5, Orioles 6

It was another one of those games where they Royals gave up the momentum just after gaining an advantage.

In the second inning, the Royals got on the board on a homerun by Emil Brown for a 1-0 lead. But of course, starter Runelvys Hernandez gave up that lead in the bottom of the second as the Oriole's scored 3.

The Royals fought back in the sixth, scoring four to take a 5-3 lead. Again, immediately they let that lead get away as the Orioles tied it 5-5.

The Orioles were able to grab the lead in the eighth. The Royals got the leadoff batter on base in the ninth after a Matt Stairs walk, but Kerry Robinson grounded into a double play to end the game.

The road woes continue...

The Bell Curve

Actual Record 10-23
Expected Record 10-23
Runs Scored 126
Runs Allowed 192
Projected Record 50-112
Pythagorean Record 49-113
Pythagorean Winning% 0.301

Let's go get 'em

Friday, May 12, 2006

Blown Save / Win

Since the Royals had a off day (and a chance for their momentum to die down), let’s examine some pitching stats, shall we? (thanks, JR, for the blog idea)

Save: There are several conditions that constitute a save:
• The pitcher is the last pitcher in a game won by his team
• The pitcher is not the winning pitcher
• One of the following:
o He enters the game with a lead of no more than three runs and pitches one full inning
o He enters the game with the tying run either on base, up to bat, or on deck
o He pitches three “effective” innings (as determined by the official scorer)

Blown Save: A blown save is charged to a pitcher who enters the game in a save situation (defined above), but allows the tying or go ahead run to score.

Hold: The hold is a relatively new stat. The following definition was taken from “This pitching term was created by the people at USA Today and awards a relief pitcher who preserves the lead by not allowing any runs (earned or unearned) and passes it on to another pitcher for a save opportunity.”

Win: A win is awarded to the pitcher who is the pitcher of record when his team takes the lead.

Loss: A loss is awarded to the pitcher who is the pitcher of record when the opposing team takes the lead.

So, in the case of Ambiorix Burgos’ blown save/win combo the other day, he entered the game in the eighth in a save situation (his team up by 3) but gave up the tying runs. In the bottom of the eighth, the Royals got two runs to take the lead and Burgos returned in the ninth. Since he was the pitcher when the Royals took the lead, Burgos got the win.

Let’s go get ‘em.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Game 32 - 5/10/2006

Indians 8, Royals 10

Sweep! The Royals got their first sweep of the season with a 10-8 win against the Indians. The offensive outburst continued today and the Royals scored 24 runs in the series.

Scott Elarton again pitched a great game but lost his first win when the Indians tied it up the eighth. They grabbed the lead back on Aaron Guiel's home run in the bottom of the eighth and got an insurance run when Angel Berroa followed Guiel with a homer of his own.

The series featured so-so pitching by the Royals but a lot of offense and a solid defense that committed no errors.

In one of those strange MLB scoring situations, Ambiorix Burgos got the blown save, but also got the win.

The Bell Curve
Actual Record 10-22
Expected Record 10-22
Runs Scored 121
Runs Allowed 186
Projected Record 51-111
Pythagorean Record 48-114
Pythagorean Winning% .297

Let's go get 'em.

Game 31 - 5/9/2006

Indians 7, Royals 10

For once, the play on the field was more exciting than the Hot Dog Derby, but no by much. Tuesday's game featured free condiment t-shirts for everybody. If you were holding the winning t-shirt (ketchup, mustard or relish), then your "Free Hot Dog" coupon became valid. Ketchup won, so folks with a red coupon will get a free dog at their next game.

On the field, the Royals' bats came alive and redeemed Jeremy Affeldt's abysmal start. Affeldt went only 1 2/3 innings giving up 2 runs, 2 walks and 5 well struck hits. The Indians were teeing off on Affeldt and Bell yanked him before things got too far out of hand.

Eveybody contributed offensively, but the big blast was John Buck's three-run homerun in the sixth inning. That homer gave the Royals the lead for good. Eleven Royals batted in the sixth and that along with multiple pitching changes consipired to make this a very long game (three hours, forty-two minutes). Mark Grudzeilanek had a great night going 4-5 with a double and an RBI. His bid for a fifth hit was robbed by a great play deep in the hole at second by Ronnie Belliard.

Jimmy Gobble pitched well in relief of Affeldt. The Royals drained their bullpen, using Joel Peralta (who got the win), Andy Sisco and Elmer Dessens in addition to Gobble. This pitching committee pitched well enough to keep the lead throughout the game.

In addition to the free hot dogs, fans were also treated to free donoughts on the 17 hits that the Royals put up.

It was a good night, and the Royals will go for the sweep this afternoon.

The Bell Curve
Actual Record: 9-22
Expected Record: 9-22
Runs Scored: 111
Runs Allowed: 178
Projected Record: 48-114
Pythagorean Record: 44-118
Pythagorean Winning %: .274

Let's go get 'em.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Game 30 - 5/8/2006

Indians 3, Royals 4

The Royals got some good hitting and excellent pitching from the bullpen to hold onto the lead and notch the victory in the first of a three game series with the Cleveland Indians.

Denny Bautista got his first start since returning from the DL and pitched well but left early because of his 60 pitch limit. Mike Wood pitched 4 1/3 solid innings for the win and Ambiorix Burgos got the 4 out save. Things got a little dicey in the ninth when the Indians got two runners on, but Burgos was able get a pop up to end it.

Overall, it was a well-played game by the Royals, but the outfield still provided some excitement. The normally solid Aaron Guiel misjudged a liner to right in the eigth and Emil Brown took the scenic route to a fly ball in left later that same inning.

Two thirds of the Beltran trade contributed in this game as Mike Wood pitched well and John Buck finally got his first homerun of the season. The Royals are hoping to "Break 100" by sending Mark Teahen down to AAA to figure out how to hit the ball. Apparently, they are more forgiving of their light-hitting catcher. Esteban German will (thankfully) not be playing center field any time soon as he takes over third base from Teahen. Kerry Robinson plays center while David DeJesus and Shane Costa nurse their hamstrings, and Aaron Guiel gets the call in right while Sanders nurses his hammy. Don't the Royals' trainers know how to show these guys how to stretch?

The good news here is that the losing streak was stopped at 2, whereas earlier this season, those streaks losing tended to stretch out to many games.

Breaking 100 be there tomorrow night to see if Jeremy Affeldt can make it two in a row.

The Bell Curve

Actual Record: 8-22
Expected Record: 8-22
Runs Scored: 100
Runs Allowed: 172
Projected Record: 44-118
Pythagorean Record: 41-121
Pythagorean Winning %: .253

Let's go get 'em.

Game 29 - 5/7/2006

Royals 2, White Sox 3

Mark Redman pitched a great game, but his defense let him down. Watch a Royals game, and you're likely going to see something that you've never seen before. In this game, it was center fielder Kerry Robinson's attempt to climb the wall to rob Joe Crede of a homerun. The only problem is that the ball never made it to the wall; it bounced behind Robinson on the warning track and bounced into the stands for a ground rule double.

That misplay didn't hurt, but Robinson's next one did. With two outs in the eighth inning with the score tied 2-2, Robinson misjudged Jim Thome's fly ball. Thome was at second when he should have been the third out of the inning. Joe Crede then drove Thome in to take the lead for good.

Royals fans are waiting in anticipation as it is believed that David Glass's "significant changes" will happen in the next day or two.

The Bell Curve

Actual Record: 7-22
Expected Record: 8-21
Runs Scored: 97
Runs Allowed: 168
Projected Record: 40-122
Pythagorean Record: 41-121
Pythagorean Winning %: .250

Let's go get 'em.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Game 28 - 5/6/2006

Royals 2, White Sox 9

Jim Thome can hit. His 3 run homerun in the fifth inning put this game away. It was 3-0 when Thome came up to bat, but after his hit landed in the right field bleachers, the game was well out of reach for the Royals.

Javier Vasquez was the story of the night. Vasquez's perfect game was broken up in the sixth inning, and the Royals had no chance of mounting a comeback.

Esteban German had a good game in his second start since taking over third base from Mark Teahen who was sent to AAA Omaha yesterday. The other "prize" of the Beltran trade, John Buck, sat again today has manager Buddy Bell continues to tinker with his lineup in order to change things up. Backup catcher Paul Bako got the start.

Starter Runelvyz Hernandez hit his first hiccup since returning to the rotation, giving up 6 runs.

Speculation and turmoil continues to swirl around the team as the owner continues to threaten to make "significant changes."
The Bell Curve

Actual Record: 7-21
Expected Record: 7-11
Runs Scored: 95
Runs Allowed: 165
Projected Record: 41-121
Pythagorean Record: 42-122
Pythagorean Winning %: .249

Let's go get 'em.

Game 27 - 5/5/2006

Royals 5, White Sox 4

What youth movement? Today's Kansas City Star pointed out that of the 10 players who started last night's game, only one is under the age of 28: John Buck who is 25.

At any rate, it was nice to see a game where the Royals came from behind late in the game and didn't end up blowing it. They came close to blowing it, but they held on for the win.

Scott Elarton pitched great. He had spot-on command and was fooling the White Sox hitters all night. He pitched 6 innings giving up just 3 hits and one run with no walks and 2 strike outs. But, like always, the Royals offense couldn't get any runs for Elarton and so he gets a no-decision.

The Royals were trailing 2-1 going into the ninth but the Sox bullpen struggled walking four and giving up a bases-loaded double to Matt Stairs. That allowed the Royals to grab a 5-2 lead going into the bottom of the ninth.

Ambiorix Burgos came in for the save and got it but not before giving up a home run to Jim Thome to pull the Sox to within one. Burgos notched the save by getting Mackowiak to fly out to center. Whew.

That's two straight road wins for the Royals, but it still doesn't look like it's going to be enough to save GM Allard Baird's job.

It's becoming a daily occurance that owner David Glass is quoted as saying that there are significant changes coming. In today's Star, Glass says that even if the Royals play well this weekend against the White Sox, it won't sway him from making changes.

"Baseball people are amazing," he said. "You can have a really bad run. Then you win a couple of games all of a sudden, and everybody's whole attitude changes. Their demeanor changes.

"But it doesn't solve the problem, and we've got to fix the problem. We've got to have a winning team to put out there, and there's no reason why we can't do that."

Amen, Mr. Glass.

The Bell Curve
Actual Record: 7-20
Expected Record: 8-19
Runs Scored: 93
Runs Allowed: 156
Projected Record: 42-120
Pythagorean Record: 42-120
Pythagorean Winning %: .262

Let's go get 'em.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Breaking 100: The Breaking Point

When I created this blog, I said that it would not be a “Royals Suck!” web site, but rather would simply track the Royals and their various moves and strategies to avoid 100 losses.

I thought it was a good idea at the time. I could write about how they’re platooning this guy against that pitcher, or how Buddy Bell elected to bunt that one runner over late in the game.

I did not expect this. Actually, that’s not correct. I did expect this, but I was hoping it wouldn’t happen. You see, I’ve been a Royals fan all of my life. I grew up with Freddie Patek, Cookie Rojas, and Amos Otis. I became an adult while watching Bret Saberhagen, George Brett, and Willie Wilson. I’ve always been proud to wear my Royals blue.

But the last ten years have been tough. My son is coming of age, and he has to endure this embarrassment. I’ve said it before, the only thing I want for my children is for them to experience the excitement of watching a winning baseball team.

But instead, we’ve been watching a nightmare. They traded Jermaine Dye for Neifi Perez. They signed free agents like Albie Lopez, Juan Gonzalez, Benito Santiago, and Reggie Sanders. (I like Reggie, but 2 years, 10 million dollars?!?)

They drafted Roscoe Crosby and Colt Griffin. Their strength and conditioning staff can’t keep the team healthy. They throw cutoff throws into the backs of their infielders. They forget how many outs there are. They step on the rosin bad while picking off a runner. They collide with each other while fielding a bunt. They fall down behind the tarp. They cancel a banquet because it costs too much. Their ever positive, peppy manager walks away without speaking to his players.

And then they call up one of their best hitting prospects to sit on the bench. The Royals have said all along this year that Justin Huber will stay in AAA Omaha all year to work on his defensive skills. They feel his bat is almost ready, but they want to give him an entire season at AAA to work on playing first base, because he is learning the position after being a catcher most of his life.

So what do the Royals do? They call Huber up to fill the spot vacated when Mike Sweeney went on the DL. Will he play first base in Kansas City? No, the Royals are paying millions to Doug Mientkiewicz to do that. Will he get at bats? No, the Royals still have DH Matt Stairs. So why is he here?

So, yes, this organization has been an embarrassment for a decade. Those of us who are optimistic have always thought that there was a chance they could win some games. Just look at 2003. But who are we kidding? It’s painfully obvious to all that this organization doesn’t know how to scout or evaluate talent. The organization isn’t willing to spend the money necessary to bring in players who can actually make a difference. (As opposed to signing players that nobody else would sign and that want another year or two of paychecks.)

Twice in the past two weeks, owner David Glass has been quoted as saying he’s frustrated and that changes will have to be made soon. Okay, Mr. Glass, we fans are glad you’re finally feeling what we’ve felt for years. What took you so long?

Our fear is that Mr. Glass will fire the GM and maybe the manager and some coaches, but what will that change? Until the organization completely overhauls itself – scouting, coaching, player evaluation – things won’t improve.

The amazing thing is that there are still fans like me who care. They voted to spend millions on stadium renovations. They want to love their baseball team. I just hope the team will be worthy of that devotion sometime soon.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Game 26 - 5/4/2006

Royals 1, Twins 0

When you see a 1-0 score, you assume the winner had great pitching. Not necessarily so, though Jeremy Affeldt did pitch just good enough. Affeldt never seemed to have a grasp of his control, and twice walks lead to the Twins loading the bases. But Affeldt was always able to get out jams to preserve the shut out.

Reggie Sanders left the game in the third, so one can only assume he's now injured. Injuries are really killing this team this season, reinforcing my argument that the Royals need to spend more money on strength and conditioning.

Backup catcher Paul Bako started for the second straight game to let struggling John Buck relax. Bako had a good night going 2-4 and driving in the only run of the game. Mark Teahen also started the game on the bench, but entered the game after Sanders went out.

Relievers Joel Paralta, Elmer Dessens and Ambiorix Burgos all pitched well and Burgos notched his third save of the season.

So, good (not great) starting pitching and good relief pitching were enough to get the win even though the offense still sputtered.

Most importantly, the Royals finally get a road win and snapped their 6 game losing streak. They'll travel to Chicago tomorrow to attempt to start a winning streak.

The Bell Curve
Actual Record: 6-20
Expected Record: 7-19
Runs Scored: 88
Runs Allowed: 152
Projected Record: 38-124
Pythagorean Record: 41-121
Pythagorean Winning %: .251

Let's go get 'em.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Game 25 - 5/3/2006

Royals 1, Twins 6

Guilty. Before the season started, I was one of those who believed that the Royals would be better this year. I wasn't very excited about how the "youth movement" turned into five new players over the age of 30, but I did feel that the roster moves would result in a few more wins. I even had hoped the Royals would avoid losing 100 games, which inspired the creation of this blog.

All of that is lost now. The Royals are 0-12 on the road this season, and every night they present to us a new way to lose a game.

However, tonight's loss was all too familiar. Joe Mays had another awful start and Angel Berroa booted yet another routine grounder. The offense never put anything together, even when Mientkiewicz doubled with nobody out. Two strike outs and a ground out stranded Mientkiewicz at second.

20 losses already.
The Bell Curve

Actual Record: 5-20
Expected Record: 7-18
Runs Scored: 87
Runs Allowed: 152
Projected Record: 33-129
Pythagorean Record: 40-122
Pythagorean Winning %: .247

Let's go get 'em.

Game 24 - 5/2/2006

It seems every pitcher the Royals face suddenly becomes Cy Young. In game two of their two game series against the Tigers, it was Mike Maroth who baffled the Royals hitters.

At one time it was thought that the Royals' lineup looked much better this season with the additions of Reggie Sanders and Mark Grudzeilanek and with Mike Sweeney taking on a full time designated hitter role. As it turns out, injuries have wreaked havoc on the lineup, and the healthy hitters just cannot score runs.

To address the problem, the Royals (predictably) fired hitting coach Andre David and replaced him with minor league hitting instructor Mike Barnett. That should help.

The Bell Curve

Actual Record: 5-19
Expected Record: 7-17
Runs Scored: 86
Runs Allowed: 146
Projected Record: 34-128
Pythagorean Record: 42-120
Pythagorean Winning %: .258

Let's go get 'em.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Game 23 - 5/1/2005

Royals 2, Tigers 3

Once again, the Royals couldn't put all of the pieces together. They got another good start by Runelvys Hernandez who pitched 6 2/3 innings giving up 3 runs on two home runs.

But the Royals couldn't do anything offensively against Jeremy Bonderman. They were shut out until the ninth when they staged a rally against Todd Jones. With the tying run on third and two outs, Berroa grounded out to ended the game.

Two weeks after David Glass declared that things must get better or changes would be made, nothing seems to have changed.

The Bell Curve

Actual Record: 5-18
Expected Record: 7-16
Runs Scored: 85
Runs Allowed: 142
Projected Record: 36-126
Pythagorean Record: 43-119
Pythagorean Winning %: .264

Let's go get 'em.