Hernandez very good again, and other notes...

  • While the performance of Detroit's starting pitcher left us wanting a Jeremy Bonderman for our team too, RC was nevertheless once again quite pleased with Runelvys Hernandez, who turned in his second consecutive quality start in the Royals' 3-2 loss to the Tigers on Monday night.

    Aside from a couple of mistakes to Magglio Ordonez and Craig Monroe, Hernandez again showed outstanding control over all three of his pitches, allowing only three runs, four hits, and one walk in 6 2/3 innings of work. RC is slightly concerned with his measly total of three strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings on the season, but as long as he continues to work quickly, keep the ball down, and avoid dishing out the free pass, we think he'll miss more bats by default with the approach he has now.

    Part of that approach -- Hernandez's knowledge of changing speeds and disrupting a hitter's timing -- has been a very pleasant surprise, especially after he had such a difficult time getting Triple-A hitters out during his "rehab" stint with Omaha at the beginning of the season. Right now, his combination of a low-90s fastball and fading, mid-70s changeup is as devastating for opposing batters now as it was in April of 2003.

    Much like Jeremy Affeldt, Runelvys didn't make many friends here at RC with his poor attitude, work ethic, and performance in spring training, but like his left-handed partner in the starting rotation, his recent outings are starting to change our minds. He's back to pitching like that aggressive monster we saw in 2003, so we can't wait to see how he handles his next test which will come against the White Sox in Chicago.

  • When Buddy Bell pulled Hernandez from the game with two outs in the sixth inning, he summoned Steve Andrade from the bullpen, wasting no time in getting the 28-year-old righty into game action. RC was anxious to get a look at Andrade, who had struck out an incredible 13.20 batters per nine innings pitched in the minor leagues coming into 2006.

    Called up to replace the DFA'd Luke Hudson, Andrade retired all four batters he faced, including one on a strikeout. His fastball only reaches 88 mph, but he showed a very nice slurve that obviously serves as his out pitch. The breaking ball is nasty enough that minor league hitters will chase it out of the zone, but Major League hitters aren't going to be nearly as helpful to Andrade's cause. He'll have to rely on location if he wants to survive in the big leagues.

  • Although there's no word yet on how serious Mike Sweeney's latest back injury is, we're preparing ourselves for Mike's first (and hopefully only) stint on the disabled list this season. Sweeney tweaked his already-sore back while trying to run out a ground ball in the seventh inning of Monday's game, and was in so much pain that he couldn't even make it to first base.

    We may not see swings like this from Sweeney for awhile.

    If he does have to go on the DL, the Royals could do something fun like calling up Justin Huber from Omaha, but we agree with Rotoworld that having Aaron Guiel join the club may make a bit more sense. As it stands now, the Royals only have three true outfielders on their active roster, with Esteban German and Monday's leftfielder, Matt Stairs, being the only viable backups. Stairs isn't anybody's idea of a guy who can cover a lot of ground, and after seeing German take a routine fly ball off his grill on Sunday, we'd rather not see him patrol the outfield many more times this year.

    At the beginning of the season, some of us here at RC weren't wild about the idea of Stairs and Guiel being on the 25-man roster, but the mass of injuries to KC's best outfielders have forced us to reconsider that option. Additionally, adding Guiel would simply give Stairs more at-bats as the everyday DH, all the while allowing Huber to continue to concentrate on improving his defense in the minor leagues.

    At 5/02/2006 3:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Thank God Luke Hudson is gone. That guy was atrocious.

    At 5/02/2006 9:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    how about releasing stairs and bringing up Huber, Maier

    At 5/02/2006 10:07 AM, Blogger PghChris said...

    While I'm as excited as the next guy to see some of these youngsters, I would rather the Royals keep guys like Gordon, Huber, Maier, Lubanski, Butler, Howell, etc in the minors for most of the year and only give those ready a callup in September and maybe set the stage for them to begin the 2007 season with the big league club.

    This season is such a trainwreck already I really don't have any desire to see these guys sucked into it this early in the year. While I know we do have some good clubhouse veteran guys like Stairs, Sweeney, Graf, Mient, Grudz, etc, you can already tell the morale in the clubhouse is really starting to sink, and I just don't see the value in bringing these young guys up anytime soon and putting them in this situation. Let them continue to gain experience in the minors and look to bring those ready up in Sept.

    So that said, I'd like to see Huber stay in AAA and Guiel get the call, not only for Huber's sake, but also for the sake of our OF defense so we don't have to force German, a utility IF his whole life, to play where he's not comfortable and has no experience.

    At 5/02/2006 10:51 AM, Blogger Max said...

    No need to infect Justin Huber with this losing virus. Also we allow him to develop at Omaha, enjoy some success, and delay his service time clock. Aaron Guiel makes more sense. Which means they'll call up Chad Allen.

    At 5/02/2006 12:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Andre David fired!

    The carousel of coaches is getting ridiculous.

    At 5/02/2006 4:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    RC wasn't happy with Hernandez and Affeldt this Spring?

    Well, at least they've done some things right so far this year.

    That's more than can be said for Allard Baird, the official hero of RC. Am I right?

    At 5/02/2006 5:15 PM, Anonymous Chris Ray said...

    Sweeney will go on the DL today and Huber will join the team tomorrow.

    At 5/02/2006 5:45 PM, Blogger Dave said...

    Hernandez looked good in spring training. We reported that he was throwing harder than last year, and the outings we saw were fine.

    Affeldt looked like garbage, just as he did for the first couple of weeks of the season. But Affeldt certainly looks good now, and we couldn't be happier to see it.


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