Two In A Row!
It only took them until May, but the 2005 Royals have finally put together their first winning streak of the season. After a month of things breaking the wrong way for this team, on Sunday things went pretty much according to plan:
• Lima-Time had his typical start, but in reverse. Usually, the first inning spells trouble, but Sunday he was able to work out of a jam with runners at the corners. After that, he was on cruise control until the wheels came off in the sixth. He actually didn’t allow a single base hit until there was one out in the sixth inning. Then he seemed to tire and couldn’t get anyone out, let alone keep them in the park and the Royals saw their 5-0 lead turn into a 5-5 tie.
But here’s where things get really good. In this situation for the whole month of April, this is where the Royals bullpen comes in and promptly gives up the lead while the offence strands runners in scoring position for the rest of the afternoon.
• Tony Pena decided to play for the win by sending out his “A” bullpen team. Mike Wood finished up the sixth when Lima-Time couldn’t, then sailed through the seventh. He then gave way to fellow “A” teamers Andy Sisco and Ambiorix Burgos. The three were able to completely shut down the Indian bats. Final bullpen line: 3 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO.
• The Captain, Mike Sweeney came up huge with two solo home runs. The second of which leading off the eighth provided the winning margin.
The home run was the theme for the weekend.
• In fact, both wins this weekend were what I would term anti-Royal wins simply because most of their runs were scored via the long ball. Of the 15 runs scored in their two wins, 12 came on home runs. Hardly the Royal way.
• Before Saturday, the Royals had clubbed a total of 17 home runs this season. This in their two wins this weekend, they hit seven.
• All-Star Ken Harvey hit the Royals first grand slam of 2005 on Saturday.
Other notes from a fun weekend:
• WTP Favorite Andy Sisco was the only pitcher to throw in both wins. His line: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO. His ERA is now at a cool, round 1.00.
• One of the things that has been so maddening from the first month of the season is how the Royals have been facing some truly awful pitchers and making them look like the second coming of Cy Young. Saturday, the Royals finally beat up on a pitcher everyone else in the league beats up on. Cliff Lee has been absolutely terrible since the 2004 All-Star break. But that didn’t stop him from shutting the Royals out on two hits through seven innings in his previous start against them on April 18. Saturday, he was exposed as the number five starter he truly is.
Two wins in a row. Sweet.
Later on Monday, I'll have some thoughts on the return of Ken Harvey and how the Royals can keep the streak alive.