RC feels unsatisfied

Well, that was certainly an exciting series. It's just too bad that the Royals could only manage a four-game split with the Twins. They certainly played well enough to take three of four. RC was glued to the Official RC Television at RC Headquarters for this weekend's games, and we made several notes:

  • RC was shocked to learn that Mike Sweeney's five-hit game on Saturday was the first of his career, but extremely pleased nonetheless. Sweeney has been on fire lately, as his fifth hit on Saturday was also his eighth consecutive base hit. That consecutive hit streak ended in his final at bat, but after his first at bat today, Sweeney caught fire again, smashing a HR, a single off the bullpen gate (which would have been a double had Sweeney been running out of the box), and a game-tying monster HR in the bottom of the ninth inning. Let's just hope that Sweeney can continue his torrid hitting after the All-Star break.

  • RC is convinced that we have never seen a worse umpiring crew than the one the Royals drew this weekend. The strike zones were miniscule and inconsistent, and the base umpires blew more than one call, including calling Emil Brown out in the sixth inning at first base when Brown was clearly safe. Buddy Bell got ejected almost immediately, but you knew it was going to happen sooner or later this weekend.

  • Speaking of Bell, RC had our first real beef with him on Saturday. Twice the Royals had men on first and second with nobody out, and twice the Royals screwed it up with poor coaching decisions.

    In the fourth inning, Emil Brown and Mark Teahen led off with back-to-back singles, chasing Joe Mays from the game. At this point the score was tied 4-4, but the Royals were swinging the bats well, and they should have gone for a big inning, ESPECIALLY with Ryan Jensen pitching. Instead, Brown was thrown out trying to steal third base on a double steal. It's not clear whether it was a missed hit-and-run or a straight steal, but regardless, it was an ignorant play that killed the inning.

    If that wasn't bad enough, the following inning (with the Royals trailing 6-4), John Buck and David DeJesus both reached base with no outs, and the Royals called for Terrence Long to bunt. At this point, it was clear to RC that six runs would not hold up, so it made absolutely no sense to play for two runs in the fourth inning. Long bunted the ball in the air back to the pitcher, who in a strange play dropped the ball and started a bizarre 1-5-4 double play. But even had Long laid down a successful bunt, it still would have been a miserable call.

    In the sixth inning, the Royals again got their first two men on, and this time, it appears Bell learned his lesson. He let Buck swing away, and Buck had a great at bat and drew a walk, setting up a potential $25,000 prize for E.R. Cosby, Saturday's contestant in the Sonic Slam Inning. Unfortunately for Mr. Cosby, the Royals didn't hit a grand slam, but they did push six runs across the plate, taking the lead and control of the game. And it's all because the Royals played for a big inning*.

    RC isn't down on Bell, but we just hope we don't see many more of those types of mistakes. Mistakes like that are frustrating to watch, but they really don't mean anything this season, so we'll let him slide for the time being.

  • To avoid having to suffer through Bob Davis on Friday and Saturday, and Bert Blyleven today, RC muted the television and turned on our Official XM Radio for the broadcast. We were disappointed to learn that RC favorite Denny Matthews was on vacation, but we quickly determined that Ryan Lefebvre and Fred White work well together. White is getting pretty old, so he more than occasionally messes up a detail or two (like calling Ruben Gotay "Julio"), but it was still fun listening to the banter between the two. We're looking forward to Denny's return, but in the meantime White is a fine substitute.

  • D.J. Carrasco and Runelvys Hernandez both pitched very well this series, but J.P. Howell did not. In fact, we heard it was reported on 810 WHB that Howell most likely will have his ticket punched back to the minors as soon as Kyle Snyder and/or Brian Anderson return from the D.L. after the break.

    When we first heard that Howell was being called up after throwing so few minor league innings, we warned that if he falters, "Baird is going to take alot of heat." Well, he faltered, and RC is prepared to weather a storm of disapproval of Baird from the whining wing of Royals Nation. Frankly, we don't see Howell's struggles as anything to be too worried about. He saw enough to know that he has stuff to get Major League hitters out, now he just needs to go back to the minors to work on location. RC saw enough of Howell to know that he's not the type of guy who's going to get down on himself about his demotion. Baird wouldn't have promoted him in the first place if he thought Howell couldn't handle failure.

  • RC is pleased to announce that Justin Huber was named the MVP of the Futures Game today. Huber, who didn't start, smacked a two-run line drive double off the base of the right field fence. RC encourages our readers to call up any Mets fans you know and thank them (or make fun of them) once again for giving us Huber. By the way, here's another Huber photo we snapped in Colorado.

  • Does anyone else get a kick out of seeing Derek Jeter in that All-Star Game pinball commercial? We understand those commercials have to be filmed far in advance of the actual rosters being announced, but RC cracks up every time we see it. It will be nice having a Jeter-free All-Star Game.

  • RC used to joke that Tony Pena must have slept with Luis Rivas' wife or something, because Rivas used to always have his way with the Royals. Well, Pena is no longer manager, but Rivas still hates us. Saturday night, Rivas -- who hadn't had an extra base hit in almost 100 at bats this season -- hit two doubles and a triple. As for our sleeping-with-the-wife theory, well, we may have been onto something after all...Teehee.

    Hey, if we can't laugh about infidelity, what can we laugh about?

  • We'd like to close today with a few announcements. First, you may have noticed that we now are providing a direct link to our Billy Butler Photo Album on our right navigational bar. Check it out!

    Second, over the weekend we made a few settings changes, but we're trying not to disturb our format too much. Please bear with us as we make minor changes.

    Third, you also may have noticed that we have removed Rob Neyer's link from our website. The move is permanent, and it serves as our response to Neyer's latest effort. Actually, it was Rany who put the final nail in the coffin this time, but RC will no longer endorse their garbage with a link on this site, nor will we ever again mention either's name after the next paragraph.

    This makes Neyer's blog the second that has been banished thus far from RC. Fellow bloggers, just be aware that we're watching you closely to make sure you stay in line...You don't want to be Neyered.

    And finally, we've added several new products to our Official RC store, including baby merchandise. Due to popular demand, we now offer several products that include the "Circle this, Bert" logo we first published on Saturday. In fact, you can even outfit your infant with a bib that tells Bert exactly what he can circle! Folks, these items are moving fast, so if you want to get in on this summer's hottest styles, you have to act quickly!

  • *-Full disclosure: RC must admit that we had just said that we wouldn't mind seeing Buck bunt in that situation against a tough RHP. Good thing we're not manager!


    At 7/11/2005 11:54 AM, Blogger ME said...

    I agree with you about Neyer, that guy is frustrating to read. And his articles on aren't any better. I just wish he would admit the man-crush he has on Billy Beane because it is pretty obvious.
    Also, has a sac bunt worked at all for KC thi year? It seems like whenever the bunt actually moves the runner over then the next guy strike out or pops up.

    At 7/11/2005 2:25 PM, Anonymous tfn said...

    Hmmm... I think I just banished RC from my Royals blog reading list. You'll doubtless miss me about as much as Rob and Rany will miss your link.

    At 7/11/2005 2:45 PM, Anonymous Brian S. said...

    You should note--unfortunately--that it has been announced Brian
    Anderson's season is OVER and Denny Bautista looks to be closer and closer to being shut down for at least another month.

    What does this mean? Ponxitaney Phil has seen his shadow and we will have another six weeks of Jose Lima. I hope beyond hope the Royals find some way to send Howell down and ship Lima off.

    Greinke, Hernandez, and (wow) Carrasco give us three. Snyder is still about 3 rehab starts away. Maybe the time is right to give Sisco a shot at the rotation and give George one final opportunity to prove his abilities.

    R&R are still the bloggers with the most cred, but they do rarely post and when they do it is often extremely negative. Still any Royals blog without a link to them is incomplete--in my opinion.

    At 7/11/2005 3:12 PM, Blogger DL said...

    R&R's attitude towards the Royals may be more negative than you prefer, but I find it hard to disagree with their analyses. Let's just face it - the Royals are a pathetic franchise until proven otherwise. Notwithstanding all of the baseball-related problems this team has, did you read the story about the radar gun at Kauffman Stadium? Its been broken for a month while the Royals tried to figure out how to fix it rather than replace it (and they had to replace it anyway).

    This is a major league baseball team?

    Also, I can't stand Fred White (and said so in my blog today). He's just not able to keep up with the game anymore. At least he doesn't broadcast often.


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