A Win? We'll Take It!
A rare occurance these days.
Any win is a good win, but there were in particular a couple of positives to take from this one.
The six runs the Royals scored in the second and third innings all came with two outs. Impressive for a team that hasn’t been hitting. Particularly the second inning where Matt Stairs leads off with a single and is followed by back-to-back strikeouts. You can forgive the Royals fan who, at that moment, wrote off the Royals’ chances in that inning. Kind of amazing what two singles, a walk, a wild pitch and another single can do, isn’t it? In this case it was good for turning a 1-0 deficit into a 4-1 lead.
Starter DJ Carrasco was not sharp and was working around trouble all evening. The warning sign was early when he walked Ichiro on four straight pitches. He put at least two runners on base in every inning but the first, but he was keeping the ball on the ground and staying out of trouble for the most part. Of the 16 batters he retired, 10 were on ground ball outs. That’s how you stay in the game for a little over five innings when you allow 12 baserunners.
It was good enough for the win, something the Royals have been needing over the last two and a half weeks.
Some other notes:
• Steve Penn, a columnist for the Metro section in the Kansas City Star had a piece in Tuesday's paper about putting Buck O'Neil in the Baseball Hall Of Fame. WTP is very much in favor of the enshrinement of Mr. O'Neil into the HOF. Frankly, it's an outrage that a true pioneer and ambassador like Mr. O'Neil is not already in the Hall. WTP is currently investigating the steps that need to be taken to move this issue forward. We'll keep you updated on what you can do to help. Let's work together to do something positive.
• We’re not liking the way the Royals are using WTP Favorite Andy Sisco these days. It seems Sisco is entering a number of games in the middle of the inning with runners on base. That wouldn’t be such a big deal, but these runners eventually score. His ERA is still a sexy 2.89, but he would be better suited coming out of the bullpen at the beginning of an inning.
• We haven’t touched on this earlier, but we are thrilled, THRILLED that Angel Berroa was dropped in the order. Seventh is a good spot for him, but we’d really like to see the Human Out Machine dropped to eighth or ninth.
• Of course you already know this, but that stench drifting across the Midwest is the Royals performance at the plate. In Buddy Bell’s first 16 games as manager (remember, when they were winning?) the Royals had nine players with an OBP above .388. In the last 16 games Emil Brown has the highest OBP at .373. Look at this breakdown in OBP:
A few things stand out from this table. First of all, hats off to Mark Teahen who was the only Royal to have a better second half of June than the first. Second, we don't think it's coincidence the Royals recent slide coincides with the drop in Matt Stairs' production. And third, those percentages are abysmal across the board, but special mention must go to Berroa and John Buck. To only get on base roughly 21% is truly noteworthy.
There was a time when the All-Star Game meant something to us. We remember spending those early summer nights at Royals Stadium, punching our Gillette sponsored ballots for George Brett at 3B, Frank White at 2B and Amos Otis in the OF. The Star would print the early results and Brett would always be leading, but stiffs like Graig Nettles and our own Buddy Bell would always be too close for comfort. What would we do if our beloved number 5 was not voted in by the baseball-loving public? The very possibility of that happening kept us awake at night.
Maybe it age, but priorities have shifted over time. Mike Sweeney is the Royals lone All-Star representative? Yawn. It’s just too damn hard to give a flip about this kind of stuff anymore.
But in some sort of small way, we’re relieved that Sweeney will be representing the Royals for the fifth time in his career. Look at it like it’s a multiple choice test.
The Royals All-Star representative will be:
A) Emil Brown. Career minor leaguer and non-roster invitee who has already doubled his career high for plate appearances in a season.
B) Andy Sisco. Rule V draftee who before this season never pitched above A ball.
C) Mike Sweeney. Career .305/.374/.498 batter.
We’ll take C every day of the week.