Monday, March 31, 2008

Royals open the Season at Detroit

So here it is, the moment we have been waiting all winter for, the season opener. The Royals take on the Detroit Tigers and their killer line-up at 12:05. Meche will take the mound for the Royals against Verlander of the Tigers, should be a good one.

Box Score

What a game, could you ask more as a Kansas City Royals fan? Both teams played extremely well with Detroit in control through five innings the Royals came back late and eventually closed out the game in the 11th.

Gil Meche pitched well but continued his trend of throwing a lot of pitches and had to leave after 6 innings and 99 pitches. Another trend going for Meche was the lack of run support, the Royals didn't score until the 10th as Verlander was throwing a very good game (with a lot of help from a generous home plate umpire).

The Royals got the bats going in the 6th inning Grudzielanek hit a single to right and Gordon hit his first home run of the spring deep to right. After taking the lead in the 7th Brett Tomko gave up a solo shot to Guillen to tie the game. Nunez was lights out in relief striking out 3 in 2 innings. In the top of the 11th Teahen was thrown out at home on a John Buck single, Buck then scored one batter later when Tony Pena Jr. hit a soft single to center for the game winning run.
Soria closed out the game giving up a one out double, but striking out Renteria and retiring Polanco on a great play by Gordon diving to his left.

David DeJesus came out of the game after apparently re-injuring his sprained ankle, no word on the severity.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Royals set roster

The Royals 24-man (yes, 24-man) roster was finalized today, the roster will expand to 25 when Olivo returns from his four game suspension. No big surprises except maybe that Shealy was optioned to Omaha, he had a good spring hitting 4 home runs and 10 RBI. Shealy could even return when Olivo's suspension is up though another reliever is also a possibility.

Those going to Omaha are Ryan Shealy, Jason Smith, Mitch Maier, Angel Berroa, Joel Peralta, Hideo Nomo, Neal Musser, Brad Salmon and Brandon Duckworth. Luke Hudson will see extended spring training in Arizona.

The Royals are going with seven infielders, which is pretty unusual. I really wish the German trade would of happened.

Royals at Brewers: Redux

This is it, the last game before the regular season for our Royals. Zack Greinke will take the mound for the Royals against Dave Bush of the Brewers. Today's game, though still in Milwaukee, will be played with American League rules.

Box Score

Zack Greinke threw another good game going 7 innings and allowing 1 run but the bullpen gave it away in the 7th when Peralta walked the first two hitters he faced. On the offensive side of the ball DeJesus hit his first homer of the spring and Olivo went 3 for 3.

The Royals will have a practice tomorrow at Comerica Park before kicking off the season opener Monday.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Royals at the Brewers

The Royals face the Brewers today in an exhibition at 7:05. Taking the Mound for the Royals is Brian Bannister, and for the Brewers it's ex-Royal Jeff Suppan.

Just two more games until the Royals kick of the regular season in Detroit; don't know about you guys but I'm getting stoked.

Box Score

Bannister threw the ball well going 5 innings and allowing only 1 run. The offense was held in check fairly well, Gathright was the only Royal to collect more than one hit. Yasuhiko Yabuta exited after 2 batters when a come-backer from Braun hit him in the leg, x-rays were negative.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Guillens suspension lifted

Dick Kaegel reports that the suspensions of Guillen and Jay Gibbons could get lifted Sunday. ""I'm excited about that possibility because the rumors have been pretty consistent about that for several days. We'll see how it goes," Royals manager Trey Hillmam said on Thursday. "

It seems likely that the suspensions will get lifted as they have no intention of suspending the 82 other names in the Mitchell Report. It just amazes me and frustrates the Royals that Major League Baseball plans to wait until Sunday, which is the season opener by the way, to inform the Royals one way or another.

Miguel Olivo has had his suspension changed to four days instead of the five days it was originally. While only one day, it is still good news because the Royals are going to have to run a 24-man roster out there until Olivo comes back.

Update on Guillen: MLB has put the suspension of Jose Guillen and Jay Gibbons on hold for 10 days while an agreement is being worked out.

Royals V. Texas

Today's 2:05 start features Mike Maroth on the mound for the Royals against Jason Jennings of the Rangers. The Royals have what could very well be their opening day line-up with the exception of David DeJesus, who is out with an ankle sprain.

Box Score

Maroth got hit pretty hard giving up 5 runs in 3 innings and the Royals offense was held in check pretty well by Texas starter Jason Jennings. Gordon went 2 for 2, Gathright 2 for 3, and Buck hit his first homer of the spring.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Justin Huber A Padre?

Nothing official but rumors are flying that Huber is on his way to San Diego. More to Come.

Ok so It is official: Dutton writes Justin Huber is traded to the San Diego Padres for a PTBNL. The move isn't a surprising one as Huber was out of options and was behind so many on the depth chart, not to mention the guy has it .346/.400/.615 this spring and still wasn't given much of a shot at winning a spot.

I'm a huge Justin Huber fan and I believe he will hit and hit well when given a real shot.

Royals Notes

Royals acquire 26 year old right-hander Ramon Ramirez from the Colorado Rockies today in exchange for a PTBNL. Ramirez who is out of options will be added to the Royals 40-man roster today, to make room Jorge De La Rosa was designated for assignment, if he passes through waivers he will be moved to Omaha.

This move is somewhat surprising because Ramirez battled an elbow injury last year which could be a bad sign. De La Rosa being designated isn't much of a shock to me, the guy just can't seem to figure it out and with Gobble and Mahey in the bullpen there just doesn't seem to be room for him.

Today on The Program with Soren Petro he confirmed that Kyle Davies has been optioned to Omaha. That leaves, as expected, John Bale and Brett Tomko as the fourth and fifth starters breaking camp.

Other players optioned today Chin-Hui Tsao to the minor league camp, Ramon Colon to AA Arkansas and Ken Huckaby was also sent to the minors - no word to where yet.

Royals host Mariners

Gil Meche and the Royals host the Eric Bedard and the Mariners today in a 3:05 start. Last time the Royals faced Bedard they hit him pretty well. The Royals plan on limiting Meche to 4-5 innings after his last start of 6 2/3 innings.

Box Score

Meche in his final start before the regular season had a rough outing allowing 4 ER in 5 innings. Big bats were Butler, Olivo, and Smith who had two home runs in the game.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

2008 Preview

Well today was the official start of the 2008 season when the Boston Red Sox beat the Oakland A's 6-5 in 10 innings but I'm not going to let a little thing like that hamper my blogging plans.

Over the next couple of days I'm going to gather as many 2008 preview/prediction articles as I can find and post them here for our enjoyment now and at the end of the season. So let's get it started.

Sports Illustrated had the most complete, enjoyable, and objective preview I could find so they go first. Where do they place the Royals? 73-89, 17 games back of the first place Tigers.

ESPN has an annoying video preview and don't even mention the Royals but the graphic they show at the end has the Royals in dead last.

Fox also has video preview but it's a little more enjoyable, Ken Rosenthal is a good baseball guy.

The guys at Baseball Analysts put together a round table with a few local notables and the consensus seems to be a third place finish for the Royals.

I've never even heard of these guys before but the Associated Content's William Cohen has the most laughable prediction I have found. He takes every jab he can at the Royals and essentially has no clue about the team.

Armchair GM has the Royals at 64-98 (I'm not making this up)

207 Prospectus is an ok read despite the page being really hard to read...oh yeah, another last place finish for the Royals.

To save you from work Royal Impressions has a 78-84 prediction for the Royals

Royals Notes

I was a little slow and missed this one yesterday. Dick Kaegel On Monday reported the Royals optioned infielder Mike Aviles to Omaha, the move leaves the number in camp to 42 with a mere five games remaining. Aviles had a good camp hitting .419 in 31 at bats, but there is no room for another utility infielder so the move was expected.

Bob Dutton of the Star has an interesting piece on Royals non-roster invitee Chin-Hui Tsao, I recommend a quick read of it. The guy has all the talent in the world but needs to stay healthy to realize it.

Finally my favorite article of the day comes from Jeffery Flanagan, he writes in his Top of the Mornin' column for the Star that John Bucks problems at the plate late last year were a result of "someone no longer with the Royals" tinkering with his swing. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, having Buddy Bell step down was the best thing the Royals did this offseason.

Royals at Padres

At 9:05 tonight Brett Tomko and the Royals take on Justin Germano and the Padres. This will mark Tomko's last start of the spring and his bid to win one of the last two starting pitcher slots. As it stands now Bale and Tomko are the most likely canidates to win the spots, but Davies has had a pretty good spring in his limited outings (9 IP).

Box Score

Royals offense continues to roll along scoring 8 in this one for a come back win. Big hits in the game go to Huber and German as they each 2-run doubles. Tomko allow 1 ER in 4 innings, his best start in awhile, what worries me though is the amount of pitches he throws to get through 4 innings.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Royals host Dodgers

At 8:05 De La Rosa will take the mound to face the Dodgers in Surprise. This game will go along way in determining De La Rosa's future with the Royals. So far this spring De La Rosa is sporting an ugly 7.56 ERA allowing 7 runs in 8.1 innings and a batting average against of .450, any way you spin it this has been a bad spring for him.

Another player to watch closely is Esteban German, the line-up isn't available yet but I'm willing to bet he is starting and playing in the infield. Last week the trade rumors were flying about the possible trade of German to the Dodgers, but the last few days have been silent, let's see if he can have a good game and get this trade rumor rolling again.
Well German didn't get the start but he did come in late and had a hit in one at bat, a run and a walk, not bad I suppose. Last nights game also had some other interesting points of note; Butler had a triple, Teahen hit his third homer of the spring and Gathright jumped over a 6'1" pitcher. De La Rosa had another bad start allowing 7 hits and 4 runs in 4 innings of work.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Hochevar optioned to Omaha

Dutton comes through again. Luke Hochevar was optioned to Omaha today. Trey Hillman said "where he’s at right now and where we’re at right now, that’s the best thing for him and the best thing for us."

That's code for he has options so he will start the season at AAA. Hochevar had a good spring going giving up 2 runs in 8 innings of work. I don't think it will be long before we see Hochevar with the big league club.

Royals VS White Sox

Zack Greinke is currently on the mound today against John Danks and the White Sox. Current action in the third is 3-2 Royals.

So much for seeing our front-line guys in action every day until camp breaks.

Box Score

Greinke put together a good game today, the third straight quality start by a Royals pitcher, by going 6 innings and allowing 2 runs. Shealy hit his 4th home run of the spring and Hollins drove in 3 for his team leading 15th RBI.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

German to the Dodgers talk heating up

For a couple of days now there has been talks of the Dodgers scouting Esteban German and now it seems those talks are really taking off. The Dodgers in need of infield help because of injuries to Nomar Garciappara and Jeff Kent have been looking hard for a cheap but solid option. Ken Rosenthal says that both Joe Crede and Brandon Inge appear to expensive and that other options include Nationals infielder Ronnie Belliard and our very own German.

Bob Dutton has it that the Royals and Dodgers are discussing a deal that would send German to the Dodgers and net the Royals 23 year old righty Jonathan Meloan and 25 year old righty Miguel Pinango.

If that is really the package on the table the Royals need to jump all over it. Meloan is ranked as the Dodgers 8th best prospect and his minor league numbers are pretty impressive; for his career his K/9 is 13.51.

Another rumor courtesy of Dutton is that the Royals would send Berroa to the Nationals along with roughly $2.4 million (half of his $4.75 million contract) in exchange for 22 year old righty Zech Zinicola.

Royals Notes

Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reported that Bale and Tomko are likely going to be tabbed as the fourth and fifth starters. No big surprise there, Bale has been good and Tomko has a guaranteed contract.

Dutton also said that the Dodgers are still scouting German as a candidate to fill their utility role.

The Nationals front office has been rumored to have some interest in Angel Berroa. Not sure what they are thinking over there but getting rid of Berroa and his $4.75 million contract would be good news for the Royals.

Luke Hudson experienced yet another set-back this weak in his recovery from shoulder surgery. I hope the guy all the best and hope he can come back, I was really surprised with his stuff in '06.

Royals host Padres

Brian Bannister takes on Chris Young today in a 3:05 start. This is Bannisters last start before camp breaks. The rotation the last two games have put together some decent starts and the offense has been hot scoring 11 and 8 rans the last couple nights.

The Royals stand at 12-10 this spring.

Box Score

Friday, March 21, 2008

Royals at Mariners

Gil Meche gets the start today against Bedard in a 3:05 start. The Royals line-up today is similar to that of yesterday which is good, it's time to get our frontline guys some steady work.


DeJesus, CF
Callaspo, 2B
Gordon, 3B
Guillen, RF
Butler, DH
Teahen, LF
Gload, 1B
Pena, SS
Tupman, C

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Royals aquire Brad Salmon

Yesterday the Royals traded the ever popular PTBNL to the Reds for righty Brad Salmon. The move is not expected to affect the 40-man roster.

Kind of a surprise the Reds would trade Salmon, he doesn't have much of a track record but was pretty darn good in limited action in '07 (0-1/4.12). It appears he is a stud against right handers holding them to a .213 BAA while striking out 18 in 16.2 innings but struggles against lefties. He could be insurance in case one of Nunez/Peralta/Davies can't hold onto their job.

Are the Royals a .500 team?

Optimism abounds this time of year and everyone is excited about this teams future but in 2008 I say they come a few wins short of .500. The AL Central boasts two of the best teams in all of baseball in the Tigers and the Indians whom the Royals will play 18 times each and I don't expect the Twins and White Sox to roll over either.

Looking back at last years squad and the Royals had some ugly numbers, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Here is a look at a few of them:

Runs 706 (27 /30)
Batting Average .261 (22/30)
Home Runs 102 (30/30)

Those are some ugly numbers. The Royals brought in Jose Guillen (.290/23/99) and Miguel Olivo (.237/16/60) to help lift this offense. In addition most expect Alex Gordon and Billy Butler to have better numbers in their sophomore season, and Dayton Moore is on record as saying David DeJesus is capable of reaching 200 hits. The Royals also seem high on Alberto Callaspo who they got from Arizona in an off season trade and his numbers thus far in spring are positive (.356/.408/.556).

On the pitching side the Rotation seems to be fairly strong one through three with Meche, Bannister and Greinke; as for the fourth and fifth spot I think you'll see Bale and Tomko. The bullpen which was so successful last year has been revamped, gone are Riske, Dotel, and Greinke, in are Mahey, Yabuta, and a handful yet to be named. Peralta, Gobble and Soria all locks while Nunez and De La Rosa seem likely.

Put this all together and the Royals for the first time in a decade have a core of young players on both sides of the ball who have big league talent. Royals fans have a legitimate reason to be excited about this year and the future.

My prediction is 78-84, a nine game improvement and good for 3rd in the division.

Royals host the Brewers

Today Brett Tomko gets the start against the Brewers in an 8:05 start, Hideo Nomo is also scheduled to pitch.

Tomko so far this spring has been unspectacular, yet his $3 million contract makes him a near locke for the rotation. As for Nomo the guy has been suprising when you consider he hasn't pitched since 2005. This spring he has struck out a batter per inning but he is just giving up to many hits to make the cut. Look for Nomo to be outrighted to AAA or given his outright release before camp breaks.

Box Score