T-minus 2...Royals inch closer to futility record with 19th straight defeat

The Royals had no chance today. Jose Lima vs. Rich Harden, one of baseball's best young pitchers, did not exactly make for an intriguing matchup. When the A's jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning, the game was, for all intents and purposes, over. Harden was dominant, and the Royals continued to look clueless at the plate.

Of course, the game was not without the comedy we have grown accustomed to during this losing streak. In the fourth inning, Mark Kotsay hit a ground ball to Mike Sweeney, who began shouting "I got it" at Lima as he raced toward first. For whatever reason, Lima continued running toward the bag, and the two Royals collided after Sweeney stepped on the base, both men falling to the ground after banging knees.

Sweeney was almost killed by Lima today.

Somehow, both avoided injury, but that didn't keep RC from putting a paper bag over his head, even though he was watching the game in solitude from RC headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia.

If that wasn't bad enough, the Royals' other productive player, David DeJesus, had to leave the game early with a sore rib cage muscle. No word on how serious it is, but with the Royals' luck, DDJ could be out a while.

How long will DeJesus be out of the lineup?

It doesn't get any easier for the Royals tomorrow, as former Athletic Mike Wood is scheduled to take on Barry Zito. It looks like another mismatch, but who knows? Maybe tomorrow will be the day the Royals finally break the streak.

RC wants a good start from Wood tomorrow.

Of course, RC won't get to see it. We are heading to Richmond for an intriguing pitching matchup between two top-notch prospects, Joel Zumaya (Tigers) and Chuck James (Braves). There will be no RC post tomorrow night, but rest assured that we will be back on Sunday with full coverage of the Royals weekend games, as well as a detailed report (with more RC photos) on whether or not we think Zumaya is someone the Royals are going to have to worry about.


Around the minors tonight:

  • Justin Huber went 1-for-4 for the Wranglers, hitting his third HR and second in the last four games at double-A.

  • Chris Lubanski mashed another homer (23) in High Desert's 14-7 win over Rancho Cucamonga. Also going deep for the Mavs was Kila Kaaihue (15), and Adam Keim, who slammed his 20th HR for the Mavs and 24th of the season (between HD and Wichita).

  • Chris Demaria continues to get it done, throwing two more scoreless innings for the Wranglers, striking out 4 while walking only one batter, his first walk in 5.2 innings of work in double-A. After posting a 2.23 ERA for the Mavericks in 60.2 IP, Demaria has yet to allow a run in his three appearances for Wichita following a promotion RC feels was long overdue.

  • Aaron Guiel went 1-for-5 for Omaha, but slammed another HR (29).

  • Dennis Tankersley hurled a complete game victory for the O-Royals, going 9.0 IP while surrendering 5 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, and 2 HR. His ERA is now down to 4.31.

  • Ruben Gotay (WCH) continued his hot pace for the Wranglers, going 2-for-4 with 1 R, 1 RBI, and 1 BB. Current BA: .267

  • The above was taken from today's Daily Prospect Update, which you can subscribe to by sending a blank e-mail to and following the instructions, which will instruct you to send confirmation in an automatic return e-mail (Editor's note: you do NOT have to sign up for a yahoo ID).


    Off-day notes...

    It doesn't happen often, but RC messed up. We had anticipated providing you with our look ahead at the 2006 season, but we forgot about the minor league game we had already decided to attend. The game was 50 miles north of RC's Eastern Command, so we did not get back in time to create anything insightful. We'll work on it this weekend, and hopefully we'll be able to solve all the Royals problems sometime next week.

    As for the game we went to, it was a real stinker. We were interested in getting our first look at the Washington Nationals' 2005 preseason #1 prospect (according to Baseball America), Mike Hinckley:

    Hinckley has been nothing short of dreadful all season, and he wasn't any better tonight, surrendering seven runs and ten hits in five plus innings against a pretty weak Frederick lineup. RC thinks Hinckley just may have Chris Georgitis, although his career is imploding at an even earlier juncture. OK, enough about the stupid Nats and their horrible prospects...

  • When RC was in the official shower this morning at 8:10 AM, we got a frantic call from a source who had just read this article in the KC Star about Alex Gordon. Seems Gordon has registered for classes at the University of Nebraska, and if he goes to class on Monday, the Royals will lose their rights to him, and he will reenter the draft in 2006.

    There is nothing to be worried about. Alex Gordon is NOT going to go to class. Alex Gordon is NOT stupid enough to risk losing at least $4 million by waiting another year to sign with a team -- at least not in August. This is purely a negotiating move designed to put pressure, public and otherwise, on the Royals, and it will probably work. It sucks that Gordon and his agent are driving such a hard bargain, but it will all be worth it when we finally get that man into a Royal blue uniform.

  • RC's Daily Prospect Update is off to a great start. The response thus far has been very good, but we still estimate that only one-quarter to one-third of our regular readers have signed up for it. What the heck are you people waiting for? RC is offering you something that could potentially change your life! No longer do you have to count on the Royals website or the KC Star to provide you day-old news about what happened in the minor leagues. No longer will you be forced to search like an animal through the endless maze of minor league websites to get your daily news and stat updates about Royals prospects. We now do all that for you, and then we compile it into an e-mail and send it off to your inbox EVERY MORNING! It could not be any easier for you, so if you don't sign up, you're probably just an idiot, and we don't want you here anyway. Just kidding (sort of).

    Here's a sample (from yesterday's edition) of what you will receive:

    Royals Corner Daily Prospect Update
    August 18, 2005
    Compiled by RC staff

    Today on Royals Corner:

  • Royals drop 18th straight.
  • 25th anniversary of George Brett going over .400 on August 17,

  • Tomorrow night, check out our first installment of RC's plan for the coming
    offseason. Why do we remain so optimistic in the face of such miserable
    failure on the diamond? You'll have to stop by Royals Corner to find out.

    Organizational scores (8/17/05):

    Omaha 6 @ New Orleans 2 - (W)
    Wichita 13,5 vs. San Antonio 5,4 - (2W - doubleheader sweep)
    High Desert 5 vs. Stockton 5 (game tied at press time)
    Burlington 10 vs. Wisconsin 2 (W)
    Idaho Falls - No game tonight
    Arizona Royals 4,7 vs. Arizona Angels 0,9 (split doubleheader 8/16)

    News and Notes:
  • #1 prospect Billy Butler drilled his first double-A homerun, a grand slam in Wichita's
    10-run sixth inning in the first game of their doubleheader. On the
    night, Butler was 2-for-7 with 4 RBI.
  • #5 prospect Luis Cota got the win for Burlington, pitching
    seven beautiful innings. Cota took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, and only
    allowed 2 hits overall.
  • #10 prospect Leo Nunez entered Wichita's second game in the top
    of the sixth inning with a 5-2 lead, one out, and the bases loaded. Nunez struck
    out the first batter he faced, and induced a harmless groundout to first to
    record the third out, thus keeping the three-run lead in tact. Wichita's
    announcer said he's never seen Nunez pitch better. Of course, Nunez struggled in
    the following inning, surrendering a two-out, two-run HR before closing the game
    out and collecting the save. Both runs were unearned because of an error on Mike
    Aviles, which was his 36th of the season.
  • #17 prospect Brent Fisher had another stellar outing for the
    Arizona Royals on Tuesday. The Royals 7th round pick in the 2005 draft, Fisher
    just turned 18 years old less than two weeks ago, and the lefty is absolutely
    dominating Arizona League competition thus far -- 11.8 K/9 ratio, 1.18 WHIP,
    2.60 ERA, 6.56 K/BB ratio. He's definitely someone to keep an eye
  • Matt Diaz (OMA) went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI, a triple (4), and a SB
    (8). Current BA: .377
  • Ruben Gotay (WCH) went 2-for-4 with 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 2B, and 3

  • ----- Daily update for key Royals farmhands - 8/17/05 ------

    What are you waiting for? To sign up, simply send a blank e-mail to and follow the instructions, which will require you to send a confirmation e-mail (Editor's note: you do NOT have to sign up for a yahoo ID).


    Royals lose 18th straight in another squeaker...

    Without MacDougal's ridiculous throwing error in the 8th, the Royals only would have lost by five.

    Will the Royals ever win again? We're sure they will, but damn...When will it happen? RC is getting tired of waiting. Today's action featured a poor outing from D.J. Carrasco, who only lasted three innings while surrendering seven runs on eight hits. The bullpen wasn't much better, and the Royals lost 11-5. The only highlight came in the ninth inning, as the Royals loaded the bases on a series of walks (with a Chip Ambres double play mixed in), and backup catcher Paul Phillips slammed his first Major League HR, a four-run dinger to left field. But alas, it was too little too late, as the Mariners had already received their grand slam earlier in the day off the bat of Adrian Beltre.

    Will the Royals break the American League record for consecutive losses (21)? We think they just might. After an off-day tomorrow, the Royals head to Oakland, where they'll meet up with one of baseball's hottest teams. Folks, it doesn't good.

  • RC was surprised today when we saw that Emil Brown was placed in the leadoff spot in today's lineup. Even though it hardly matters, we sincerely hope that today's lineup readjustment was just an experiment by Buddy Bell against a tough lefty like Jamie Moyer. If David DeJesus isn't back in the leadoff spot on Friday, we'll be concerned.

    "You want me to hit where???"

  • On a more uplifting note, today was the 25th anniversary of the day that George Brett raised his batting average above .400, generating one of the classic photos in Royals history:

    RC misses George.

  • Even though the Royals lost again, their minor league organization had a good night. Billy Butler drilled his first double-A HR, a grand slam in Wichita's 10-run sixth inning in the first game of their doubleheader. Luis Cota had a stellar start, carrying a no hitter into the fifth inning. On the night, Cota's line was 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, and 5 K.

    For more minor league news, make sure you sign up for RC's Daily Prospect Update. To do so, simply send a blank e-mail to and follow the instructions, which will require you to send a confirmation e-mail (Editor's note: you do NOT have to sign up for a yahoo ID).

  • With the off-day tomorrow, RC is planning a feature which will detail precisely what we think the Royals ought to do during this offseason to prepare for 2006 and beyond. We'll show you our updated anticipated roster, along with some ideas on which free agents Allard Baird might be wise to pursue. You don't want to miss it, so make sure you check in with us tomorrow night.
  • Wednesday

    Royals spin 17th straight loss...

    Forgive the cliche, but this really is starting to sound like a broken record.

    Despite having to battle, Zack Greinke delivered the quality start the Royals needed tonight, but unfortunately the offense again failed to deliver. The result was yet another KC loss, an incredible 17th straight. There's really nothing else to say. The offense stunk again, and the Royals lost again.

    D.J. Carrasco takes the mound tomorrow, and if he can duplicate his last outing (7.2 IP, 4 ER), the Royals might have a chance vs. Jamie Moyer. Moyer used to consistently give the Royals fits, but over the last couple years, they've hit him much better. It's an afternoon game, so be sure to set your VCRs and DVRs.

    RC expects another fine outing from Carrasco today.

  • What the heck is going on with Mike Sweeney lately? It seems that every time the big man gets up with a runner on third lately, he harmlessly pops out to an infielder after a poor at bat. It happened again today in the first inning, when the Royals put men on first and third with nobody out. On a 1-1 count, Sweeney popped out to the catcher in foul territory. Luckily for the Royals, Mariners 3B Adrian Beltre bailed Sweeney out when he failed to field a ground ball from Matt Stairs that got the run home.

    Sweeney pops out on the first pitch to Placido Polanco in the first inning on 8/14.

    It's quite possible that Sweeney is pressing along with the rest of the team, but we all know that when Big Mike tries to do it all himself, he usually does more harm than good. The whole team just needs to relax.

  • RC is pleased to announce that tonight we sent out to the official Royals Corner listserv our first Daily Prospect Update, which revealed not only our brand new Top 20 prospect list, but also provided all the day's statistics from every Royals farmhand you need to know about. If you're not yet signed up for the DPU, you should really ask yourself why. After all, it's free, your e-mail will be kept confidential, and it's the only way to be sure to get all the premium RC content that's available to the public.

    To sign up, simply send a blank e-mail to and follow the instructions, which will require you to send a confirmation e-mail (Editor's note: you do NOT have to sign up for a yahoo ID).

    To those of you who have signed up for the listserv, please let us know if you had any problem viewing tonight's update. We're particularly interested in hearing whether or not the formatting on the daily farmhand update came through without jumbling all the numbers. We did extensive testing before sending out the first e-mail, and the update came through perfectly on all six e-mail programs we tested. Let us know if you had any problem.

    If you think you signed up for the listserv but haven't yet received the update, make sure that you remembered to send the confirmation e-mail back to yahoo.
  • Tuesday

    Sour sixteen...

    Bob Schaefer just couldn't pick out a win on Monday in Buddy Bell's absence.

    This is depressing. Yes, it's been depressing for a while, but RC watched tonight as the Mariners' super-prospect Felix Hernandez carved up the Royals like a skilled veteran. Even though Runelvys Hernandez countered with some good stuff (although giving up six runs), the Royals never even had a chance. It was another ugly game all around, and RC is getting really tired of waiting for this team to win again. It is simply amazing that KC hasn't tasted victory since July 27. We are at a loss for words.

    Tomorrow Zack Greinke will take the mound vs. Joel Pineiro, so the Royals may finally be able to end this horrible streak. Of course, Pineiro shut the Royals out for eight innings in his only previous start against KC (in 2002), so we won't be holding our breath.

    KC needs a good start from Zack tomorrow.

  • RC's readers have spoken, and you have decided that Terrence Long is the most worthless player on the roster. With 55 percent of the vote, T-Long beat out other worthy candidates such as Denny Hocking, Joe McEwing, and Jose Lima. We were not surprised by the result, and frankly, RC completely agrees with our readers.

    We can be honest. It wasn't long ago that RC was able to rationalize T-Long's playing time. We figured Long was being given a chance to play his way onto a contender, so the Royals could dump his remaining salary this season (or at least a portion of it) on a team trying to make a run. "Let him play in July," we said then, "because that still leaves the Royals two full months to figure out what they have in the oufield for 2006." Even when the July 31 trading deadline passed without resolution, we weren't terribly concerned, because the real trading deadline for an overpaid, below-average player is actually the August 31 deadline.

    We figured then that Long would be given a few more days in August, but if nothing developed quickly, he would either be benched or released in favor of younger players like Chip Ambres (primarily), Matt Diaz, or Shane Costa. After all, those three will actually be with the organization next season, whereas Long will be nothing more than a distant memory.

    Of course, that hasn't happened. Long still plays nearly every day. To make matters worse, with a recent calf injury to Matt Stairs, we've even been unfortunate enough to see Long finding his way into the cleanup spot a couple times in the last week.

    Why is T-Long still taking at bats from Chip Ambres?

    This is unacceptable. Let us be clear when we say that this makes absolutely no sense. None! There is no rationalizing T-Long's continued presence in the KC lineup, particularly when it's costing someone like Ambres playing time. The fact is that we don't yet know what we have with Ambres, but NOW is the time to find out, NOT Spring Training 2006. If Chip played every day, the Royals might lose an extra game or two, but at least they'd know whether or not the kid can play, and that's crucial information to have when Allard Baird sets about filling out the 2006 roster this offseason.

    Long's departure from this team is long past due, so if Baird can't trade him immediately (if he could, he would have done so by now), the Royals should either bench him or waive him. RC doesn't often find ourselves at odds with our official hero, but in this case we just can't figure out what's going on.

    Moving on to better things...

  • If you haven't yet signed up for the Royals Corner Daily Prospect Update (DPU), you'd better do so immediately! We plan to send out our first e-mail update tomorrow night, and it promises to be controversial. RC has expanded our prospect list to the top 20 Royals prospects, and tomorrow we will release it for scrutiny. Of course, the only way you'll get access to that premium content is to sign up for the DPU right now.

    For all subsequent DPUs, our crack team of minor league gurus will provide a daily update on what those top 20 prospects did the previous night, as well as anything else noteworthy from the Royals' minor league system. After the season, we'll provide occasional updates on the Arizona Fall League and winter ball, as we get them. To sign up, simply send a blank e-mail to and follow the instructions, which will require you to send a confirmation e-mail (Editor's note: you do NOT have to sign up for a yahoo ID).

    And don't worry, Alex Gordon is not on our new top 20 list, for those of you who worry about such things...
  • Monday

    Royals lose 14th and 15th in a row, but it was Saberhagen's day...

    Bret Saberhagen is RC's official all-time favorite pitcher

    Well, there's not a whole lot to add. This weekend was further evidence of the Royals' curse this season. Not only did they enter their 20th anniversary weekend of the 1985 championship, but they did so having lost 13 straight games, a new club record. And of course, in a season in which nothing can go right, the first two games of the weekend were rained out due to a monsoon which RC witnessed firsthand. The weather, along with the 13 straight losses, sufficiently drove down today's attendance to a miserable 17,568, which is really quite embarrassing on a day when the franchise's best pitcher was set to be inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame. And to make matters worse, the Royals then proceeded to get swept in today's doubleheader with a pair of one-run losses.

    The ceremony itself was quite nice. RC has been to nearly all of the Royals Hall of Fame inductions, and this one was without some of the glitches we have previously witnessed -- such as high winds blowing over the portrait stand. We were able to snap some wonderful photos of Sabes, so tonight we've decided to post those in lieu of the other excellent photos we took before and during the game. Call it RC's official gesture of appreciation to the finest pitcher to ever wear a Royals uniform:

    Sabes goofing around as always

    "My fondest memories are on this field. It was just an honor to put on a Kansas City Royals uniform with these guys and go out in the trenches and try to achieve a World Series championship."

    "The two Bretts, sharing a delicious moment." Nice ring, by the way.

    STRIKE! Sabes still has his form.

    "Ha Ha! I am STILL better than all of you!"

    Congratulations, Bret!