Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Well, the Royals have the worst record in the American League after 18 games, which is slightly more than 10% of the season. Is this what we should expect for the rest of the season? Is there any reason to be optimistic?

J. Affeldt (0-2): 7IP, 9H, 3R, 2ER, 2BB, 4K

He scuffled, but giving up 3 runs in 7 innings is usually winning baseball in the AL Central. Its still a bit hard to understand why JA isn't striking out more batters, but I don't have the benefit of watching the games here in New York to see how he's pitching. Two winning performances in a row, though.

Rob and Rany's weekend recap (a personal fave) points out that the Royals have gone from the luckiest team in the major last year (when, according to their runs scored/runs against totals, they should have won 72 games) to the unluckiest team so far this year (as their record should be much better considering the way they've hit and pitched). As statistical theory suggests, these things have a way of evening out over the long run, so the Royals should eventually contend this year, but they've dug themselves a hole. The Royals' timing, as I pointed out last week, just seems to be off. I don't like the term, but they haven't "clicked". Still, I'm encouraged by the string of solid starting pitching performances, and the bullpen will be a strength of this team (along with a consistently good offense).

The Royals have lost a lot of close games, and some of them in disastrous fashion, but in general they seem to be playing pretty well. The Tigers, on the other hand, are playing way over their heads (Brandon Inge?), and will almost certainly settle into last place before all is said and done. Cleveland just isn't very good, and they are too young to contend.

Last year, the Royals sat way atop the division early in the season and through the All Star break, but their lead was slowly whittled away as they were exposed as an inferior ballclub (which they were). Here's hoping that the Royals can play the role of the chasing team this year.


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