Friday, June 10, 2005

Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad

Especially when one of those three features Lima as your starter.

What else is there to say? At least he’s consistent. You know exactly what you’re going to get with every Jose Lima start. It’s like paying to see a really bad movie, again and again and again…You fork over the money, thinking maybe tonight will be different, but in the end it’s still crap.

Lima’s Thurday troubles began when he gave up a two out double to Noah Lowry. Yes, the starting pitcher. Then the floodgates opened and by the end of the inning, a tight, 1-0 game had turned to a 4-0 deficit. Thank you, Mr. Lima.

But that wasn’t even the worst part of the afternoon.

After Lima allowed the Giants to blow the game open, the Royals gamely battled back, scoring four runs the following inning to tie the score and get back into the game. Hey, this team never gives up! They fight, they claw, they scratch! The Royals are still alive!

Unfortunately, perhaps inspired by Lima’s fifth inning meltdown, rookie reliever Leo Nunez decided to have a meltdown of his own. He actually out-Limaed Lima. (Did that make any sense? That last sentence sent my word processor into a frenzy.)

Nunez had nothing for the Giants. I was a little surprised he was allowed the remain in the game, particularly after the first two batters reached base and the lead was gone. It was obvious the Giants had his number. The only reasoning I can come up with is that since Nunez had only worked a little over two innings since Buddy Bell was named manager, Bell wanted to see what Nunez could do. That's the only explanation I can come up with. Especially since there wasn't a reliever in the bullpen until three or four runs were in. I have to think that if this game had a larger meaning, Nunez would have been out of there after facing the second batter.

By the time he got out of the inning the damage had been done, and it's all too depressing to recap here. There would be no sweep.

Some other thoughts from what was actually a really good series for the Royals:

• You’re probably going to be hearing a lot about Angel Berroa and how well he’s been doing at the plate. Don’t be fooled. Yes, he had a good series against the Giants, going 6-15 with five runs scored. But right now, the only time he’s making good contact is when he’s ahead in the count. He still has next to no plate discipline or even a hint of a clue about where the strike zone is located. Berroa did take a walk Thursday, but that was after fouling off a couple of pitches that were thrown out of the zone and looking at a ball four that was buried in the dirt. He can still be my leadoff batter, but that’s only because there aren’t any other candidates to fill that role.

• After going 2-4, is it safe to say John Buck is on fire? No? Check out these numbers on Buck:

First 113 Abs: .177/.231/.292
Rest of season: .288/.323/.544

First 98 Abs: .173/.226/.276
Rest of season: ???

The number of at bats I chose for each season are relevant because it illustrates John Buck at his lowest statistical point in each season. Since his first 98 at bats this season, he has come to the plate 45 times and has posted a much more respectable .267/.298/.444. These slow starts are brutal, but I can justify sticking with the guy if he’s going to be able to turn it around. It looks like he just might be on the road to recovery.

• After smacking five triples in the first two games of the series, the Royals sadly had none on Thursday.

Now it’s on to Phoenix and three against another team in the dumps, the Arizona Diamondbacks, losers of eight of their last 10.

The Royals still have not announced their Saturday starter, but all signs point to the call-up of lefty J.P. Howell. As good as Howell might have been in the minors this year, I still fail to see the point in bringing him up at this time. He'll probably prove me wrong (and I hope so) but he just seems to have moved along too fast for someone who will rely on his location to be successful.


At 3:27 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

I'll throw one little teeny semi-correction into your post...Noah Lowry can hit. Well, not HIT hit, but I think he'll end up being as good of a hitting pitcher as say, Mike Hampton, Russ Ortiz or Livan Hernandez.

I watch a lot of NL baseball, so I get to see lots of hitting pitchers. Noah's got a decent swing on him.

At 2:54 PM, Anonymous Furious said...

Is David DeJesus as the leadoff hitter not a viable option? I thought that he did a good job last year and he is one of the few players that gets on base at a decent clip.

At 11:30 PM, Blogger Craig Brown said...

DeJesus is an option, but only if the Royals learn that he's not a base stealing threat.

Like Buddy Bell said in his introductory press conference that he "doesn't believe in asking players to do what they cannot do." If this actually happens, where all they do is ask DeJesus to get on base, then I think he would excel.

I think that might happen in the next month or so, once Buddy gets a feel for this team.

At 8:41 AM, Blogger Craig Brown said...

And Daniel, thanks for pointing that out about Lowry.

.300/.391/.450 and only 4 SO in 20 AB for the season while walking 3 times.

He's not the "automatic" out I was thinking he was.


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