Sunday, April 25, 2004

Considering all of the optimism surrounding the Royals entering this season, this has been about as bad a start as you could imagine.

The mounting losses are the most obvious indicator of the bad start, but I'm not one to worry about the way things go in a 15 to 20 game period. The Yankees have been awful, too, and no one expect that they still won't win 100 games this year. The Royals are better than they've shown, but their problem has been the lack of complementary pitching - the starters began the season about as bad as they could be, while the bullpen pitched well. In the past week, the starters have been solid, but the bullpen has been terrible.

The injuries are more damaging. Since spring training began, four starting pitchers have been hurt - Snyder and Ascencio are out for the season (although they were already damaged goods coming into camp), and now May and Appier are hurt - and my gut tells me that Appier will not make a meaningful contribution this season. May's injury may not turn out to be anything, but this team has no margin for error anymore with starting pitching.

I like that the Royals have bit the bullet and brought up David DeJesus. Rich Thompson really has no business playing the majors except that he has speed - since he hasn't used it, he's a wasted roster spot. Aaron Guiel is going through a big-time slump, and though I think he's better than he's shown, DeJesus is probably the better player. With DeJesus playing everyday and Guiel playing spot outfield duty 3 or 4 times a week, the Royals are a better team.

A good outing for Anderson today, if we could erase the third inning. Assuming there are no more injuries (!), I actually feel better about the team at this point than I did when they were 4-2, which was the result of good luck and lots of drama. Every starter has pitched well in the past week, injuries notwithstanding, which is a very encouraging sign going forward.

Its still April...say it with me.


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