What in the hell was that?

Well, Chapter One of the Joe Mays reclamation project didn't go quite as smoothly as hoped, as the Royals dropped a heartbreaker, 14-3. The game started with a Curtis Granderson missile off the pad on top of the right field fence, and it got worse from there. Mays surrendered rockets right and left, and with the exception of a three-inning scoreless stint, he was completely ineffective. His velocity wasn't bad, as he was throwing his fastball in the low 90s consistently, but Mays left far too many pitches up in the zone to be successful.

Unfortunately, the Detroit barrage continued against a succession of Royals relievers after Mays left the game in the fifth. Steve Stemle and Mike Wood were simply terrible, and Jimmy Gobble, despite striking out two batters, got hit pretty hard as well. The only solid performances on the mound were put in by Luke Hudson, who tossed 1.2 perfect innings, and Andrew Sisco, who came in after Wood was ejected and promptly struck out the side with his mid-90s heat. Hudson surprised us a bit, as he mixed a 96 mph fastball with a knee-buckling upper-70s curveball. 810's Bob Fescoe said that a scout told him that Hudson had the best stuff of any pitcher he saw in Arizona, and he certainly lived up to that reputation today.

At least Hudson looked good today.

Defensively, the Royals looked an awful lot like the 2005 squad. Angel Berroa misplayed a routine ground ball for an error, Emil Brown looked lost in left field, and even Reggie Sanders couldn't haul in a line drive that looked as though it hit the pocket of his glove. There were a couple nice plays turned in by Mark Grudzielanek and Mark Teahen, but overall it was the type of team defensive performance that RC had hoped was behind them.

And to make matters worse, the team looked completely lost at the plate against Jeremy Bonderman, who was in complete command of the game with his 99 mph fastball and dazzling breaking stuff. David DeJesus was the only player who consistently got good swings all day, but even he only had one hit to show for it (a scorching triple to right-center to lead off the game). Mike Sweeney again drew boos for failing to get him home from third with one out, and Grudzielanek didn't look anywhere close to making solid contact.

The only bright spots offensively, if you can even call them that on a day like this, were impressive home runs by Brown and Shane Costa. Costa's dinger was a screaming line drive into the lower fountain in deep right-center, and Brown's two-run shot banged high off the sign above the 385 ft. mark in left. Both, of course, were too little too late, but at least it was nice to see Costa carrying his spring training swing into the season.

Shane Costa launched a home run off of Jamie Walker in the ninth.

All told, it was a very disappointing day at the stadium, and it ran RC's record at Royals games over the last two seasons to a depressing 1-13 (not counting spring training). Of course, it's important to remember that there are 160 games remaining in the season, so the incessantly negative squaking on the message boards and talk radio after just two games is ridiculously premature.

There is one other bright spot we feel necessary to report on. RC after the first inning defeated RC correspondent Chris Ray in the 810 AM pitch-off on the Jumbotron. Ray tried to psyche out RC before the contest by telling us that he knew he was going to lose. When that didn't work, Ray resorted to cheating by punching RC's golden pitching arm. But alas, his shenanigans were unsuccessful, as RC's fastball registered 62 mph on the shamefully inept radar gun at the Little K, while Ray could muster only a pitiful 61. This was a tremendous victory for RC, and it's one that promises to eat away at the deep recesses of Ray's tiny black heart. We certainly won't let him forget it anytime soon.


At 4/06/2006 10:16 AM, Anonymous Tulsagbrettfan said...

I don't know how you do it? You are amazing. If our Royals ever return to some semblance of a major league ballclub, you should be enshrined into the Royals HOF, on the spot. It is nice to not see common negativity, but you are stricken with much more than loyalty as a fan. You, my friend, have a very serious illness, when it comes to your optimism. I also have it, and I'm trying to look outside of the Royal family for a cure. When the only thing you're reporting on within 2 weeks, are the minor leagues and college scouting, take a step back and try to realize how ridiculous this franchise has become. Oh yeah, and I'll also still be reading your site. It's very well done.

At 4/06/2006 11:03 AM, Anonymous Chris Ray said...

I refuse to let negativity take over after only two games. Affeldt will pitch the Royals to victory tomorrow night against the hated White Sox. On another note, the Wichita Wranglers start their season tonight in Tulsa and Mark Redman is scheduled to get the start. I found a nice story about Mitch Maier that you can read at the following link.

Go Royals!!!

At 4/06/2006 11:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice Maier article. Thanks for sharing!

I'm with you on not overreacting to an 0-2 start. Baseball is a marathon, not a sprint. Grudz and Sanders are adjusting from the NL. No one expected this to be a .500 team, so I'm not sure why so many fans are bellyaching an 0-2 start.

I'm excited about following the minor league teams more than ever, with guys like Maier, Gordon, Butler, Huber, et al. And I think the KC Royals will still prove to be much improved over last year.

At 4/06/2006 12:30 PM, Anonymous tulsagbrettfan said...

2 games????? I'm staring at 114 wins out of the last 212? The last 2 games speak volumes, stop living in la la land. The identical same crap product is on display, and has been for a LONG time.
I don't buy a player looking that pathetic on offense (Grudz), due to switching leagues. That's a bunk statement.
I'm attending the Wranglers game tomorrow night. Should be fun.

At 4/06/2006 2:13 PM, Blogger Max said...

What did we really expect with Elarton and Mays anyway? (Elarton was a nice surprise) I'm interested to see how Affeldt and Bautista fare.

I do think we will struggle to score runs all year. I was a bit baffled by those on the radio that thought this was a pretty good offenese. Hopefully the pen will be solid and our younger starters can keep us in ballgames. Losing games 3-2 instead of 14-9 will be a sign of improvement in my mind.

At 4/06/2006 4:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course its premature to take anything lasting out of two games, but I think its completely appropriate to boo and blast the Royals. Royals fans have earned the right to feel and act impatient and frustrated with their team. This isn't just about what has happened so far this year. Its an outpouring of all of the frustration of more than a decade of awful baseball.

It doesn't matter if there are brighter signs around the corner (and that is debatable anyway). Minor leaguers don't play in Kansas City, and the vast majority of fans don't really care about the minor leagues. They only care about what they see from their team, and their team has been so embarrassing for so long that they're fed up.

The Royals don't deserve the benefit of the doubt. They haven't earned it.

At 4/06/2006 4:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grudz's struggles obviously aren't all due to switching leagues, but it will take some time for both he and Sanders to adjust to the AL. I don't think it will take long, but they're playing in new parks and seeing new pitchers. They've both been in the NL their entire careers.

Grudz had two terrible games at bat, but I still think he'll hit .270 or better this year.

At 4/06/2006 4:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who is going to be *closing* games until McDougal gets back? Burgos or Sisco?

Will they have a good shit at keeping the position when McDougal does get back?

Is there any danger of sisco being switched to the rotation this year?


At 4/06/2006 5:51 PM, Anonymous tulsagbrettfan said...

Yes, negativity is justified. If someone says they refuse to let negativity set in, period, that is respectable. But don't use the "only 2 games" justification, because you won't use the "only 212 games" when it is perfectly in play!
Grudz will never hit .270 from the 2-hole. Way too many at-bats over the course of the year. He might if he moves to the 9 hole, but, it's tough to see one viable 2-hole candidate to replace him. So in the NL, there have never been any pitchers that are similar to the dudes Grudz and Sanders have faced in the first 2 games? hmmm. Do the breaking pitches rotate the opposite direction in the senior league? Are the balls bigger? i'm confused? Sanders has played for 40 teams in 40 years, so i'm sure he is completely out of whack with the break-up of his "consistency".

At 4/06/2006 8:16 PM, Anonymous tfn said...

I think the thing that bugged me about yesterday's game was that it was so evocative of 2004 and 2005. Bad fielding, bad baserunning, bad at-bats. Basically undignified baseball. Some of us naively believed that with Buddy Bell's serious professional approach to spring training, the Royals still would lose a lot of games but not in such an embarassing manner.
Instead, I suspect that what we will see verified this year is that players who lack talent generally play bad baseball, no matter how you drill them in spring training and what kind of "approach" you try to instill in the clubhouse.
More the fools are we, for thinking any different.

At 4/06/2006 8:47 PM, Anonymous melhouse29 said...

So was Andrade returned or claimed by anyone else, or was he able to slide through waivers?

Rotoworld hasn't updated his status lately, but his time on waivers should be coming to an end.

At 4/06/2006 9:11 PM, Anonymous Nate said...

I must say, the new home whites look sharp.

At 4/07/2006 6:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stop all this bad karma, your going to drive Greinke nuts!


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