Royals drop series, end dismal month with 5-17 record...

When RC first saw the lineup today, we briefly debated about whether or not the game would even be worth watching. With David DeJesus and Shane Costa on the DL, and Reggie Sanders and John Buck getting their customary Sundays off, Buddy Bell trotted out one of the worst lineups we've seen in quite some time:

RF - Robinson
2B - Graffanino
DH - Sweeney
1B - Mientkiewicz
LF - Brown
3B - Teahen
SS - Berroa
C - Bako
CF - German

Bell has repeatedly said that the season isn't a sprint, it's a marathon, so we won't quarrel too much with his decision to rest Sanders. It seems a little odd that he's getting so many days off this early in the season, particularly with so many off days in April (not to mention last night's rainout), but obviously the thinking is that resting him now will result in him being fresher throughout the season. It's frustrating to watch, but if Sanders ultimately does stay healthy enough play in around 130 games this season, we suppose it will be worth it.

Mark Grudzielanek was unavailable today with a sore achilles.

Of course, it doesn't help that Bell also decided to rest the Royals' most consistent performer thus far, Mark Grudzielanek. We learned after the game that Grudzielanek was out today with a sore achilles, so he wasn't available. That being the case, RC wonders if this was really the best day to sit Sanders. With Grudz expected to return to action as early as tomorrow, would it not have been better to give Sanders his day off tomorrow? Perhaps the Royals would prefer to have their lineup at full strength as often as possible, but the result today was a starting nine that really made it look like the Royals were throwing in the towel. With the influx of injuries, RC supposes there's really no great solution, and in all fairness, the weak-looking lineup today was of little consequence in an ugly 13-6 loss.

Oh yes, it was ugly. Scott Elarton had his first truly bad start of the season, lasting only 2.1 innings while surrendering five runs on four hits and three walks. The Royals found themselves down 5-1 entering the bottom of the second inning, and after Elarton failed to get out of the third, Joel Peralta was summoned from the bullpen. Peralta was the staff's lone bright spot, as he retired all seven hitters he faced in 2.2 innings.

The Royals actually represented themselves quite well vs. struggling A's starter Joe Blanton, scoring five runs against him in five innings. Mark Teahen stroked a three-run homer just to the left of center, and the game was tied entering the sixth.

But then it was Luke Hudson's turn to pitch. After a walk, two singles, and a hit batter, the Royals again trailed, and Hudson was removed without retiring a single batter. In came Andrew Sisco, who struck out Mark Ellis and then surrendered a two-run double to Mark Kotsay off the top of the right field wall. The Royals trailed by three, but the stage was set for all hell to break loose.

Nick Swisher lofted a fly ball to deep left center, but Esteban German had it tracked down. At the last second, German lost the ball in the sun and it bounced off his face into left field. Both runners scored, and Swisher was standing a third base with a stupid look on his face, pointing to the sky as though God had helped him do something special. Swisher scored on an Eric Chavez single, and the game was over.

German is not a good outfielder, and we understand that he's been pressed into outfield duty by injuries. But we did find it odd that he was manning center field today, while Kerry Robinson was playing right. Bell before the game said German was in center because he's more comfortable tracking fly balls there than on a corner, so we guess we can live with that. But it should come as no suprise to anyone when he screws up plays out there, even if he wasn't wearing sunglasses. He could just as easily screwed up a fly ball in right or left field, so the fact that German was in center today when that ball was hit was little more than dumb luck. But if he's to continue playing outfield, we should probably all brace ourselves for more embarrassing bloopers.

The Royals are now riding a three-game losing streak, and tomorrow in Detroit they open a seven-game road trip through the AL Central. They start with two games against the Tigers, then they travel to Minnesota for two games before wrapping up the trip with a weekend series in Chicago. Runelvys Hernandez will look to repeat his stunning season debut, opposing Jeremy Bonderman, who's struggling this season but has given the Royals fits. Let's all pray that this road trip goes a little better than the last one.


At 4/30/2006 8:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree this is one one the worst lineups I have ever seen. We saw the same thing two seasons ago but it was late in the season. Does anybody else think it is time to try: Guiel, Phillips, and Gordon? Baseball just started but I don't think I can put up with this for another 5 months.

At 4/30/2006 9:09 PM, Anonymous Diesel said...

Eh, this wasn't as bad as some of the lineups the Royals had back in August of '04. I seem to remember one Ruben Mateo hitting cleanup.

At 4/30/2006 9:54 PM, Blogger Max said...

And Damian Jackson at DH!

Didn't Sanders pretty much play every day last year? I know he missed a bunch of games, but that was due to a freak injury from a collision, wasn't it? I guess I don't understand why old guys on teams like the Yankees and Cards play virtually every day, but Sanders, Grudz and Sweeney need days off constantly.

And if you are going to employ all these days off, at least spread them out! No need to have two of your top three hitters out of the lineup on the same day!

Finally, Rotoworld is reporting Steve Andrade is joining the team in Detroit, with Luke Hudson likely getting the boot. As they opine, and I agree, I still don't understand how Andrade and Peralta didn't make the team in favor of Stemle and Hudson.

At 4/30/2006 11:19 PM, Blogger bfos said...

Let's not get too "whoa is us" regarding injuries. It was the Royals choice to rush back DeJesus and Grudz only to see them back on the pine with the same injuries.


At 4/30/2006 11:36 PM, Blogger Dave said...

It certainly wasn't the worst lineup I've ever seen. That distinction goes to a game I saw in SD in 2004.

As for Andrade, that's fine with me. We'll see whether or not he proves himself capable of pitching at the big league level. If he succeeds, then we'll know he should have broken camp with the Royals.

At 5/01/2006 12:09 AM, Anonymous Diesel said...

Just saw the not-so-highlight of German getting smacked in the face out in center. I feel bad for the guy, he's obviously not an outfielder and has gottern precious little work out there.

Still, I can't help but laugh a little. That was a blooper worthy of Ken Harvey.

At 5/01/2006 12:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave, I cannot understand why you would say, "Bell before the game said German was in center because he's more comfortable tracking fly balls there than on a corner, so we guess we can live with that."

If Bell and Baird know ahead of time that they are going to give Sanders time off this frequently, then call up another OF. I mean, when you know Sanders is not available, that leaves you with 1 1/2 outfielders (Emil-7 Brown is half an OF and Kerry Robinson) on the roster.

Option one of the 8 relievers we have that are virtually indistinguishable, and call up an OF. Because in MLB, you need 3 to play. German is a career minor league infielder. I like him as our utility guy, for sure, but he simply is not a major league OF. The fact that the actual CF (Robinson) was playing LF instead, because of some hokey justification by Bell is just... well, it's maddening.

At 5/01/2006 4:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah, I have to say the choice to basically go with no backup OF since the Dejesus injury is ridiculous.

At 5/01/2006 6:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Dave,

4 of those guys on your lineup sheet are still on the team.....much progress eh?

At 5/01/2006 10:18 AM, Blogger Max said...

I never thought there could be a man that could lead me to think that Bob Boone and Tony Pena actually made decent lineups.

But here we are in the Buddy Bell era.

At 5/01/2006 10:27 AM, Anonymous Nate said...

Gotta keep your regulars fresh and your bench guys sharp....

Goodness knows we're gonna need everybody at their best when we're deep in a pennant race come October.

At 5/01/2006 4:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHATEVER YOU SAY: Lubanski started both games of Saturday's doubleheader with Midland in left field, a position he told the Wichita Eagle he hadn't played since his freshman year in high school. Manager Frank White called it an organizational decision. Lubanski had been playing center.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "We're trying to put guys into positions where they are best suited. This is something that was talked about in Spring Training and been talked about him playing left field for the last couple years, so they decided to make the switch now and see what it looks like." -- White told the Eagle about the Lubanski move

At 5/01/2006 5:07 PM, Blogger jim said...

I guess Buddy is resting Reggie and Grudz and anyone else of value so they can help whatever team they go to that's in a pennant race.

At 5/01/2006 5:12 PM, Anonymous Brian S. said...

I'm sure Maier is playing CF for Wichita, who did they put in RF and where did our fair haired hero Billy Butler play in those games? Does Lubanski have a weak arm? I know he has the speed to play RF, why are they shifting him?

GOD I hope they deal E-7 Brown soon. The guy has a mediocre OF bat and his glove should put him at DH!!

At 5/01/2006 5:14 PM, Anonymous Brian S. said...

By the way, anyone taking odds that the Royals get no-hit this year?

At 5/01/2006 5:47 PM, Anonymous Chris Ray said...

Butler is now playing right field. Here is the article from the Wichita Eagle.

Lubanski's in left -- Lubanski started in left field for the Wranglers in both games of the doubleheader, a move that manager Frank White said was an organizational edict.

"We're trying to put guys into positions where they are best suited," White said. "This is something that was talked about in spring training and been talked about him playing left field for the last couple years, so they decided to make the switch now and see what it looks like."

Lubanski said it was the first time he'd played left field since his freshman season in high school.

With Lubanski moving from center to left, left fielder Billy Butler moved to right and Mitch Maier moved to center.

"Sometimes, depending on what's going on up on top, they want to see how certain guys react (to playing elsewhere)," White said.

White said the move isn't related to Royals outfielder Shane Costa's injury. Costa was placed on the disabled list Saturday with strained left hamstring. Regular Royals center fielder David DeJesus is also on the DL.

At 5/01/2006 7:54 PM, Blogger Kevin said...

Hey Chris, when's the next time you're gonna be at The K?

At 5/01/2006 9:08 PM, Anonymous Chris Ray said...

What's up Kevin? I'll be out there May 9th and 10th.


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