It’s only three games into the season, but there are already some disturbing trends:
• Ineptitude on the bases. Last year, the Royals were successful only on about 55% of their stolen base attempts, worst in the majors by far. So far this year they are 0-3 trying to take the freebie. Let’s just accept this fact: David DeJesus will get on base, but once he’s on, he really has no idea how to run. Last year he stole eight bases in 19 attempts (42% success rate.) That’s just abysmal for someone who was running that much. With this team, baserunners will be a rare commodity. To run into outs like this will cause this team to flirt with the 100 loss plateau.
• Patience at the plate. The Royals have gone up there hackin’. They’ve taken a grand total of six walks and have been swinging from the moment they have stepped into the box. Again, offensively this team doesn’t bring a ton of firepower. Drawing the base on ball needs to be part of the strategy of this team.
• The bullpen has been…Not good. Field came in and pitched well in relief of Grienke, getting out of a jam in the third. Mike Wood was decent until he went through the lineup for the second time. Historically, that’s where he’s run into trouble. As the game progresses, he’s easier to figure out. Jaime Cerda couldn’t get his lefty out and Shawn Camp needed seven hitters to get the final two outs of the disasterous seventh.
Some other notes from today loss:
• Zach Grienke was pitching like, well Zach Grienke. That was before his forearm was tattooed by a Carlos Guillen liner. The Royals pulled him which was the right decision. It’s early in the season and he’s the franchise. No reason to take a risk in this situation. According to reports X-rays are negative and he will be evaluated tomorrow. I’m pretty sure that left a mark.
• Since the Royals decided to break camp with 12 pitchers they are already short on the bench. Today, they only had three bats on the bench because Calvin Pickering left the team to be with his wife who was delivering their baby. Congratulations to the Pickering family.
So the Royals lose their first series of the season 2-1. Disappointing today, because I felt Grienke was going to match Johnson pitch for pitch. Hopefully he’ll be able to shake that off that liner and be ready to make his next start Wednesday against Seattle.