Thursday, June 02, 2005

A Broken Watch is...

"The Royals are playing great baseball under Buddy Bell." -- Daily Lancer


I admit it - I blew off last night's game, figuring that the Royals stood zero chance of winning facing Randy Johnson and starting D.J. Carrasco. I decided to tune in to the Yankees broadcast about 10:00 EST, and I couldn't believe that the Royals were leading 3-0. My instincts told me, "Mr. Lancer, steel yourself for an ugly 8th inning meltdown and a 8-3 loss."

Didn't happen. 3-1 victory. Series win over the Yankees, which will satiate me for at least the next two weeks no matter what the Royals do.

-- MacDougal will probably get a lot of grief for making things interesting in the ninth, but I think that criticism is unfair. I thought he pitched very well, despite overthrowing on a couple of pitches. Bernie Williams, who is not a HR candidate at this stage in his career, simply hit a pretty good pitch over the right center fence. As they say in the biz, tip your cap. Same thing for Cano - he hit a 95 mph fastball to the center field wall. Jeter 'worked" the count (ahem - that third pitch was a strike, so he was fortunate) but Mac did a good job of keeping his composure and striking him out "again". MacDougal is still an extremely tantalizing pitcher; maybe he'll never quite figure it out, but I sure hope he does, because his stuff is just filthy.

-- I didn't see Carrasco pitch. The Yankee radio announcers were giving him credit for doing a good job location and changing speeds. He's never going to overwhelm anybody, but he's been a perfectly servicable back-end starter thus far.

-- It seems like Randy Johnson has regressed to being a merely very good pitcher rather than a dominating, elite pitcher. That would be fine under most circumstances, but the Yankees are paying him $48 million over the next three years to be a Cy Young-caliber pitcher, and I'm not sure that's what he is at age 42. He gave up some solid hits to the Royals, including Emil Brown's mammoth 1st inning home run, which must have felt AWESOME.

-- Odds of a sweep: 5-1. I think the Yanks will batter Ryan Jensen.

-- Both Star columnists lambasted the Royals yesterday for choosing Buddy Bell as manager. I understand they need to write interesting columns to satisfy their reading public, but they're both vastly overstating the importance of this decision, and I'm not sure exactly what they expect the Royals to do anyway. What other managerial candidate out there is going to make THAT much of a difference, both on the field and in terms of public perception? Will the additional candidates available at the end of the year - meaning those who were FIRED this year - be that much better? Art Howe, Buddy Bell, Jerry Manuel - take your pick - no manager is going to walk through that clubhouse door and turn that team into winners. Its 90% about personnel, and until the Royals get that part right the manager isn't going to make a damn difference (unless you're Tony Pena, who went out of his way to help the Royals lose).

Sure, I agree with Joe Po that Bobby Valentine was the best choice, and it doesn't appear that the Royals made a genuine push to get him (but I don't know that). But I don't agree at all that hiring him or any other manager will some how "juice" the Royal fan base. Baseball managers, for the most part, are a pretty anonymous lot; they don't have nearly the public profile of football and basketball coaches, so I don't think baseball managers can inflame the sentiments of the casual fan base the way that coaches in other sports can. It's all just hot fuss.

Besides, 2-0!


At 10:38 AM, Blogger Craig Brown said...

MacDougal shouldn't get any grief for the way he pitched in the ninth. Back to back saves? I never thought I'd see that from him again. He's been awesome the last two nights.

Carrasco seemed to have adapted the Buddy Bell mantra of not trying to overreach and do things you can't do.

And anytime you can work a KILLERS reference into your entry is A.O.K. in my book.

At 12:20 PM, Blogger cfos said...

I was especially pleased MacDougal did not melt down after the home run and double (as he has often in the past). I really thought he pitched well to Jeter, who like him or not, is a really tough out.
Frankly, I hope Mac has another save opportunity tonight - maybe we can get him on a real roll.

At 3:05 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

I'm toeing the party line -- I was not discourage by Mac's performance at all. After B. Williams' homer, I just nodded my head. You know, it happens. The double made me arch my eyebrow, but that was it.

The stuff was there, and the location was there, and that's all that really matters with Mac. If he harnesses those two elements, there really wouldn't be anything stopping him from becoming a dominant bullpen force. Really.


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