Royals Dig The Long Ball
There will be no three game winning streak. Not right now anyway. Maybe someday.
• The Royals are continuing to rely on the long ball as their primary way to score runs. Tonight, all four runs were the product of home runs. That means in the last three games, 16 of 19 runs scored came from round trippers. For a team that has so little power to begin with, this is a disturbing trend if only because they can’t possibly keep hitting this many balls over the fence. Remember all those games the second week of the season when the Royals struggled to score more than once a game? I have a feeling we’re going to be reliving those days real soon.
• But the captain has been coming up huge, hasn’t he? In fact, over at Baseball Prospectus and their nifty VORP statistic, Mike Sweeney is currently rated as the top AL first baseman. And that’s before tonight’s two home run, three RBI performance. I’ve always liked Sweeney and would like nothing more than to see him remain a Royal for his whole career. But if he keeps hitting like this, the pressure will mount on Allard Baird to flip him for some value. Corner outfielder (Kevin Mench, Austin Kearns) anyone?
• I thought Tony Pena left Brian Anderson in for one batter too long. I know his pitch count was low (he finished with 84 pitches) but Aaron Rowand has always had success against Anderson (10 for 22, 2 HR coming into Tuesday’s game.) Anderson pitched six strong innings and with a bullpen rotation set, why not bring Mike Wood in to start the seventh? Especially if you are going to be so quick with the hook after the home run. Once again, Tony’s bullpen mismanagement helps to cost this team a win.
• Rough inning for WTP favorite Andy Sisco. When Scott Podsednik singled, you have to believe the knowledge of his speed, and the fact he was the tying run, was enough to rattle the rookie. But on the bright side, he was able to battle back after giving up the lead by striking out Rowand and Jermaine Dye to end the inning and prevent any further damage.
• It’s always nice to see another team run the bases like the Royals. First inning, one out, runners on first and second when Sweeney sneaks in behind Carl Everett and Anderson picks him off. While this is happening, in a moment of temporary baserunning insanity, Tadahito Iguchi breaks for third. Sweeney makes a nice throw and Iguchi is out by a mile. End of threat, end of inning. Someone help me out here: Is that part of “small ball?”