Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Revenge of the Schaef

Its all darkness and despair and stuff these days. Feels like the end of Episode 3 (which I finally saw on Sunday, and I thought it was pretty good. But the critics and pundits who were saying this was better than any of the original three movies are ker-azy).

After a six-game road shellacking at the hands of the Rangers and Angels (including a monumentally awful loss Friday night in the late innings against LA), the Royals now face the Yankees and Rangers at home over the next week. I'm thinking 2-4 on this 6 game stretch would be a miracle of minor proportions.

The fog's getting thicker, the sample sizes are getting larger and the Royals winning percentage now stands at .260, which puts the Royals on pace for a 42-120 season and would, of course, challenge the 1962 Mets all-time worst record of 40-120 (ok, the Spiders were even worse, but does that really count?).

Let us now fire the batting coach.

“I knew the task was going to be next to impossible.” -- Jeff Pentland
I thought Pentland would be the first to go this season until Tony made his surprise exit. Pentland can't turn crap into pie but this shouldn't be a surprise to anyone familiar with the Royals of the last few years. They haven't materially improved their philosophy to batting or their approach at the plate, and how else can you judge a batting coach? Pentland rode a wave of goodwill in 2003 when the Royals scored 836 runs, but unfortunately he didn't have the secret recipe for consistently hitting better with runners in scoring position (which was responsible for the flukish 2003 run total).

Anyway, I thought this move would have been made after the new manager was hired, but perhaps its just a precondition to the Royals hiring their new manager anyway, which appears to be just around the corner (My guess: Jerry Manuel).

Bobby Valentine is still waiting for a phone call, but it doesn't look like he's going to get one.

In other news, something is rotten inside the clubhouse. A very interesting article on several dimensions, but this is my favorite quote:
The effort in pregame stretch improved last weekend in Anaheim, but the losses kept piling up.

"Effort in pregame stretch"? I'm more concerned about the effort after the pregame stretch.

Anyway, this is one Bob Dutton's finer articles and it does a good job of pointing out how this kind of losing can poison a clubhouse. The Royals are a very intriguing test for how much influence a manager can have on the demeanor and performance of his players.

I'm having one of those gut feeling/wishful thinking/problem gambler moments: Zack Greinke picks up his first win of the season and the Royals pound Kevin Brown for an easy victory.


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