That's why they play the games...

Coming into this game, RC wasn't optimistic. Whenever you see a pitching matchup of Jose Lima vs. Mark Buehrle, it doesn't look good. We even called tonight's game a mismatch in yesterday's post.

Well, we got that last part right. It was a mismatch, but who could have known it would be Lima doing the dealin' instead of Buehrle? Who'd have imagined the Royals would be the team playing solid defense, while the White Sox -- they of the 65-33 record -- looked like a team sponsored by Chico's Bail Bonds. Who'd have imagined the Royals would hang seven earned runs on Buehrle? (Editor's sidenote: Why AREN'T the Chisox sponsored by a bail bondsman? Seems to us they'd probably do some great business together, a perfect marriage of sorts.)

Lima was genuinely good tonight, just like he was the last time he pitched, and the time before that...In fact, over his last five starts (31.2 innings), Lima's ERA is 3.41. He's only walked seven batters in that stretch, while striking out 15 and averaging slightly over six innings per start. This was Lima's final appearance before the July 31 trading deadline, so it may have been his last in a KC uniform. Of course, we expect that Lima would have no trouble clearing waivers, so the actual deadline to deal him is still over a month away. It will be interesting to see what happens, but we wouldn't be at all surprised if Baird is able to trade Lima to a desperate team like the Nationals, and actually get something decent in return.

  • RC sort of went off last night on the fans who cheered about getting doughnuts, even though the Royals were losing the game. Well, for the second night in a row, we found ourselves irked by the behavior of our fans. In the Royals' six-run sixth inning, something truly remarkable happened: Angel Berroa was intentionally walked with first base open and nobody out. And what did the crowd do? They booed! They freaking booed! RC was doing cartwheels around RC Headquarters, and a large contingent of Royals fans was actually booing! No joke.

    Folks, when an opposing team wants to intentionally walk your shortstop with nobody out in a one-run game, and that shortstop is carrying an on-base percentage of .301, you don't boo. You laugh hysterically. You can even point at the opposing manager while you're doing it. But never, under any circumstance, voice displeasure over such a gift. We know it's standard practice to boo when a hometown player is intentionally passed, but Jesus, we're talking about Angel Berroa here!

    Anyway, when Mark Teahen stopped laughing, picked himself off the ground and composed himself long enough to step into the box, he hit a 27-hop screamer down the first base line that the White Sox played into a four-run double. Another gift, but this time the crowd didn't boo. That effectively ended the game, as the bullpen took over and shut the Sox down.

    The Royals' record against the Sox this season now stands at 1-10, and they'll go for the series win tomorrow with Royals ace Runelvys Hernandez on the mound. It's a lousy day game, so RC will have to record it, but we'll try to watch it in the evening and post our thoughts.

  • The Mariners today signed Jeff Clement, the third overall pick in the 2005 draft, to a signing bonus that is reportedly just shy of $3.5 million. The speculation all along has been that Alex Gordon's agents were waiting until Clement signed before beginning serious negotiations with the Royals.

    Now that the parameters have been set, RC wouldn't be surprised if Gordon is signed quickly. The main stumbling point is most likely to be whether or not Gordon will receive a Major League contract, but we're not worried. The Royals will not let him get away.

  • Tonight's minor league report carries some good news and some bad news. J.P. Howell was rocked tonight in his first start for the Omaha Royals since his demotion. Howell lasted only 4.0 innings, surrendering 9 H and 6 ER, and raising his Omaha ERA to 8.68. We haven't heard any reports on his performance other than what we saw in the box score, but this is pretty discouraging.

    But to end tonight's post on a positive, we're happy to announce that after his 2-for-28 slump, Billy Butler is back! In tonight's 15-3 win over Visalia, Butler exploded by going 4-for-5 with his 23rd HR and 3 RBIs, hiking his batting average back up to .339. Maybe all he needed to get back on track was yesterday's off-day.

    At 7/27/2005 7:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Dear Buddy Bell,

    Unless you are auditioning T-Long for a trade, please let Ambres make some starts vs RH. Let's see what the guy has. We all know what T has, and its not pretty

    At 7/27/2005 9:11 AM, Blogger KO said...

    funny how "Jesus" and "Angel" worked themselves into the same sentance!

    At 7/27/2005 12:38 PM, Anonymous Brendan said...

    Re: "Pick the Royals fifth-best prospect"

    Baseball America's Daily Dish for 7/25 takes a look at Lubanski's home/road splits and doesn't like what it sees:

    "Royals outfielder Chris Lubanski, their 2003 first-round pick, has hit .325 with a .687 slugging percentage at home for high Class A High Desert, annually one of if not the best hitter’s parks in the minors. He’s just a .232 hitter on the road, slugging .379 with a 62-11 strikeout-walk ratio in 211 at-bats."

    Food for thought.

    At 7/27/2005 2:40 PM, Blogger Dave said...

    Anon, I've got to imagine Long's playing time is going to be curtailed soon, or he's going to be traded. It doesn't make sense to have him receive the majority of ABs after the trading deadlines, when we still need to find out what kind of player Ambres is.

    Brendan, that's not what I want to hear about Lubanski, especially when it's becoming increasingly obvious that he's going to become RC's #5 Royals prospect. HD clearly has a Coors Field effect. This is the first time I've seen his home/road splits, and that is certainly discouraging news.

    Of course, the optimist inside me tells me a couple different things. First, regardless of his splits, it's clear that Lubanski has been improving within this season -- he was pretty horrible early on, but he's definitely been playing better for the last couple months. And second, I wonder what his home/road splits have been ever since he heated up? Hmmm. That might be a neat little project that RC will undertake.

    At 7/27/2005 4:07 PM, Anonymous Brendan said...

    Why isn't Topps' June Player of the Month for the Texas League on our list of candidates for the Royals' 5th best prospect?

    Granted, Mike Aviles makes Billy Butler look like Tom Emanski, but I gotta believe that with a .294/.340/.481/.821 batting line at AA, his bat would make up for a lot of defensive mistakes.

    If he's good enough to be the Division II Player of the Year, he's good enough for the shortlist for the Royals 5th best prospect

    At 7/27/2005 4:22 PM, Blogger Dave said...

    Haha. If we had a top 10 list, then Aviles would almost certainly be on it -- I've always liked him, and he's a sure bet to log significant time in the Majors. But Aviles isn't on the short list because of upside -- he doesn't have a whole lot of it. He gets the most out of what he's got, and that's what I like about him. But he's probably never going to be anything more than a quality utility man in the big leagues.

    Hey, that has value, as it will be nice not to have to spend $1.2 million on a good utility man next season and beyond. Aviles doesn't play good enough defense to start anywhere regularly, but he is certainly competent enough at 3B, SS, and 2B not to embarrass himself. And as far as utility men go, Aviles will have one of the better bats in the league.

    At 7/27/2005 5:09 PM, Anonymous FuriousB said...

    Here are some home/road splits for Butler and Lubanski that I came across while reading another Royals blog. He beat Baseball America by a few days.


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