Alright, let's have some fun.
Royals go weakly in the first. Can someone explain to me why Joe McEwing is leading off? I guess we can forget about David DeJesus leading off ever again.
Nice job by JP Howell in his half of the first. He walked Tadahito Iguchi, but made a nice pitch to jam Frank Thomas and get him to ground into a double play to end the inning. Good start for the rookie.
Buehrle is working to improve his 1.8 groundball to flyball ratio. So far four of his six outs have come on the ground. John Buck is looking better and better at the plate, lining an 2-0 pitch up the middle for the Royals first hit. He's stranded at first when Mark Teahen strikes out. We feel your pain CFOS, but at least Teahen swung the bat.
The White Sox are agressive in their half of the second, getting back to back singles to lead off the inning. Looks like Howell might be in trouble with Jermaine Dye coming to the plate. Today's mantra: "The double play is my friend." The Royals turn two again and get out of the inning.
Thanks to RSTN and their desire to graphically illustrate just how good the White Sox are this season, we pretty much miss the Justin Huber at bat. We hope someone explained in this morning's production meeting that Buehrle likes to work fast leaving little time for the usual filler between pitches. It's not like we missed anything though. McEwing got jobbed by home plate ump Bruce Froemming on a check swing call for his second strikeout of the game. Hey Bruce, ask your first base umpire. Maybe he can help. A truly awful call.
Howell has a nifty curveball today. It's really got some drop to it. Twelve to six movement as they like to say. He uses it to get Chris Widger for his first strikeout. Defense comes into play when Teahen makes a nice diving stop and Graff digs out the throw for the second out. I love Teahen's defense. Sure he still makes some boneheaded plays from time to time, but overall, there's not much to complain about. He's only going to get better.
After jumping ahead in the count 0-2, Howell loses Pablo Ozuna and walks him. The two out walk really bites Howell as Iguchi and Thomas hit back to back doubles.
The ground balls keep coming. Nice AB from Emil Brown, fouling off a couple of pitches before extending his hitting streak to 10 games. By the way, Brown had a checked swing that went further than McEwing's and they actually appealed to first. That's how it's done Froemming! We try to notice the little things here at WTP. None of that matters if you're going to get picked off first, though.
The curveball is still working for Howell, but he again runs into two out trouble. He hits Aaron Rowland with a pitch and gives up a double to Widger, but is able to get out of the inning with no damage.
Buehrle is tough. He strikes out Buck on a 3-2 pitch with a changeup. A changeup! Teahen gets his bat shattered, but manages to muscle it down the line for a double. First run scoring opportunity of the afternoon for the Royals, but Huber flies out to deep center. Just got a little bit under the pitch. Nice swing though.
It's the same old story for Howell. He gets the first two outs, walks the next batter and then gives up a double. Six hits for the Sox and four have been doubles. Luckily Thomas was the lead runner, so he barely gets to third. He's just gotta be dying out there. But he gets to walk the last 90 feet when Carl Everett hits a three run bomb. Everett doesn't believe in dinosaurs, but he can sure hit the ball.
Ruben Gotay works a leadoff walk and McEwing swings at the first pitch to fly out to center. Grrrr. DeJesus looked like he was picking up Buehrle well, hitting a couple of pitches foul, but he ends up hitting into a double play. This is Buehrle's year.
Howell is done for the day. Not bad, but he's going to have to figure out how to get that third out. Nine of his 12 baserunners and all five of his runs today came with two down.
Mike Wood enters the game for the Royals. I know he's been an asset in the bullpen, but he really needs to move into the rotation in place of Lima. Among all Royal pitchers, he's the second most difficult to hit (only Andy Sisco is better) holding the opposition to a .221/.313/.386 line. Maybe he's only good for five innings, but he still needs to start.
RSTN announcer Bob Davis notes that this is the 43rd consecutive appearance where Buehrle has pitched at least six innings. That's insane. Apparently he gets better as the game goes along. Six pitches, six strikes, three outs.
Wood pitches around the fifth White Sox double of the day. Let Wood come back for the eighth and the ninth, then give him a regular spot in the rotation.
Teahen becomes the only Royal with two hits when he singles to right. Jermaine Dye decided to throw behind Teahen who makes a wide turn at first. Only problem is Paul Konerko isn't looking for a throw. Leadoff runner at second. Sweet. This is the first real opportunity for the Royals and they kind of cash in with a pair of groundouts. No shutout for you Buehrle!
Wood is done and makes way for Jonah Bayliss. You can't tell the players without a scorecard. Bayliss has a 90+ mph fastball and an 88 mph that looks like a two seamer with a little bit of movement. He's keeping it low and using it as his out pitch. He has to get four outs when McEwing's throw to first is in the dirt, but it's not a problem thanks to the double play.
Former closer Shingo Takatsu enters the game for the Sox and picks up where Buehrle left off. Froemming has a plane to catch and begins expanding his strikezone. Not that that's going to make a difference as the Royals aren't hitting today anyway. Three up, three down. Ballgame.
Not much to report that you haven't already read above.
Howell pitched alright, but couldn't close out an inning. As noted, most of his baserunners and all of his runs came with two down. The walks especially hurt Howell today. The bullpen pitched well, allowing three runners and no runs in three innings.
As Royals had no answer for Buehrle, there were no offensive stars to note. On the negative side, McEwing stands out for his three strikeouts in the leadoff spot. DeJesus in the number two position in the lineup, struggled all series going 0-11.
The Royals get a much needed day off before heading to Colorado where they get the rare opportunity to face an opponent who is worse than they are. After starting the month strong, the Royals are sputtering, dropping five of their last six. In all fairness, in four of those games they have faced pitchers who are at the top of their game. (Clemens, Oswalt, Garland, Buehrle) It's not going to be near that difficult in Denver.