Yuck! Royals drop another to Yanks, look to salvage finale vs. Big Unit

Jeremy Affeldt stunk again on Wednesday.

At least the new uniforms looked sharp on Wednesday. So did the offense in the early going, as the Royals jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, courtesy of Reggie Sanders' third home run of the season and an RBI double off the center field wall by Emil Brown. Unfortunately, the Yankees answered immediately, as Jeremy Affeldt walked the first two batters and surrendered a three-run homer to Gary Sheffield before he even recorded an out. The Royals' first early lead of the season was gone in an instant, and Affeldt stunk his way through 3.1 innings while staking the Yanks to three more runs.

RC just doesn't see anything out of Affeldt, and we haven't for a couple years now. He no longer throws mid-90s heat, his curveball is only a fraction of what it once was, and his control deteriorates further every time he takes the mound. For most of his outing, he seemed content throwing nothing but straight fastballs, and he couldn't even locate those. We saw a total of four curveballs, and only one or two of those were even quality pitches. Needless to say, we have no optimism whatsoever that Affeldt will ever regain the form that caught the attention of the league when he emerged from obscurity several years ago, and we hope the Affeldt-as-a-starter experiment will end sooner rather than later. As a matter of fact, we wouldn't mind seeing the Affeldt-as-a-Royal experiment end shortly thereafter.

Mark Redman is scheduled to make another rehab start for Omaha on Sunday, and if all goes well, he should be ready to go on April 21. Affeldt and Joe Mays are the leading candidates to be replaced in the rotation upon his return, and if we had our druthers, it would be the former.

The Royals try again today, sending Denny Bautista to the hill to face Randy Johnson. On paper this looks like a mismatch, but if Bautista can duplcate his performance last Saturday, the Royals just might be able to escape the Bronx with a victory and a 3-5 record. The task is a difficult one, particularly since neither Mike Sweeney or David DeJesus will play, but if they happen to catch Johnson on the right day, anything could happen. Esteban German will make his first start of the season in place of Mark Teahen, and DeJesus is expected back this weekend in Tampa after participating in pre-game drills this week.

  • High Desert Mavericks announcer Jon Rosen is back with an exclusive RC report on pitching prospects Luis Cota and Billy Buckner. Cota was roughed up in his first California League start on Saturday, and Buckner on Tuesday turned in his second stellar outing of the spring. Rosen reports:

    "There's not much to write about Luis Cota - he just didn't throw strikes Saturday night. It's tough to pitch at any stadium when you start out every batter 2-0. At Mavericks Stadium, it's suicidal. He's a professional, though, and what I've seen of him so far is that he's very level - no highs or lows. He should be ready to put up a good line [Thursday] night against a weaker Rancho Cucamonga lineup.

    Luis Cota struggled in his first start of the season.

    "Billy Buckner was stellar against Rancho last night, even more so than in the opener. His only blemish was his lone walk of the night - it led off the fifth inning against Matt Pali, who is in his second year in the Cal League and came around to score on a one-out single. He struck out eight, including the last batter in the third and all three guys in the fourth while relying heavily on his curve, especially in the later innings. Rancho's leadoff batter (who was 2-4 with two doubles and three runs scored the previous night) just froze up against all of Buck's nasty breaking stuff, striking out three times, twice looking at nasty benders. The over/under for starts Buckner makes in the Cal League is officially set at six."

    Thanks for the report, Jon, and we continue to look forward to your updates throughout the season.

    At 4/13/2006 12:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Affeldt does not seem to get the job done. He must be intriguing because he has "good" stuff - you are the first that I have heard to say that his breaking ball and velocity are down. Regardless he is ineffective. Say nice things about him and maybe they can get a prospect for him. [And then he will be an All-Star for the next team! Hah!]

    At 4/13/2006 2:28 PM, Anonymous tulsagbrettfan said...

    This may be hard to believe, but I found another element to make getting drilled by the Yanks for the majority of a 3 game series, even harder to digest. Ladies and Gentleman, Mr. BOB DAVIS. Wow. Having him author the recent trainwreck on Royals radio, makes me actually happy that I can't get RSTN in Tulsa! Denny Matthews may pull out a small pistol, and take hostages in the booth, by seasons' end, due to the state of our franchise, and the rotating announcers. Davis is as bad at his job, as Dick Kaegel is at his.

    At 4/14/2006 1:36 PM, Blogger Max said...

    He [Luis Cota] should be ready to put up a good line [Thursday] night against a weaker Rancho Cucamonga lineup.

    Not exactly. Eight runs in just over two innings. Cota is off to a REAL slow start which is bad news for one of our only pitching prospects. And I use the term "prospect" loosely here.

    At 4/15/2006 6:45 PM, Blogger royalsbeliever said...

    Hey Kevin, if you read this, I would just like to say something real fast. I read your archives from Kevin's Royals Blog, and nearly everything you said about our offseason acquisitions has been true so far. A lot of the things you said on your blog, even with you stopping any updating before Spring Training even began, you still hit about everything on the nail. You gave us a preview of the Royals that was better than any other Royals blog or any website on the web. Your blogging was such a enjoyable website to read, and I would encourage that someday you decide to continue writing over at KRB. If not, I look forward to reading your content here at Royals Corner.

    At 4/16/2006 10:47 AM, Anonymous Brian S. said...

    Did anyone else hear on the Royals post-game last night that Bautista has a strained bicep and that Affeldt actually won't be going to the bullpen and will start Tuesday night instead?

    At 4/16/2006 12:50 PM, Blogger Kevin said...

    Apparently, the injury to Bautista is bad enough to warrant a stint on the 15-day disabled list, which will clear the 25-man roster spot for Redman. That guy is just plain fragile.

    Thanks for the kind words, believer. I have a new post up today.

    At 4/16/2006 3:25 PM, Anonymous regime change said...

    Baird is not only a horrible GM, but he is a liar as well. How many times did we hear that Spring Training would be competition driven for spots just to be given to Gobble, Mays and Stemle. It is time for Baird to resign before he hurts the organization anymore.


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