Saturday, June 24, 2006

Royals' Winning Streak Ends

The Royals' 4-game winning streak ended yesterday as the Royals' offense couldn't manage much against Brewers' starter Dave Bush. Bobby Keppel struggled, lasting just 2 1/3 innings and allowing 5 runs on 8 hits and a walk. Typical Royal starter line there, except there's usually about 3 or 4 more walks. Affeldt pitched nicely in mopup duty, going much longer than usual (4 innings).

Hopefully, the Royals aren't ready to give up on Keppel yet. Keppel is still pretty young (23) and has pretty good stuff. He certainly deserves a few more starts before the Royals try to find another AAA starter to do no better. If he keeps on struggling, Jimmy Gobble should be the first to get another shot at starting. Gobble has figured out how to strike major-league hitters out and has improved his command. In 38 innings, Gobble has struck out 31 and walked just 12. That's much, much better than Affeldt, who is more or less finished as a Royal as far as I'm concerned.

Onto the good news, prior to last night's game, the Royals won 6 out of their last 9 games and 4 in a row. The Royals' offense cranked out 38 runs in 4 games, an impressive feat for a lineup of retread veterans and mediocre young talent. Leading the Royals' offensive surge is John Buck, who has an excellent .304/.403/.547 line for the month of June. Buck is pretty awful at the plate most of the time, but he gives you a couple good months during the season. Another youngster in the lineup who's had a solid month is Mark Teahen, who has a nice .318/.357/.470 line. It's nice to have some production from the bottom of the lineup, especially with Berroa down there contributing nothing.

The Royals take on the Brewers in the second game of the series tonight and send Brandon Duckworth to the mound. Duckworth has pitched well in his first two starts and hopefully will continue his success tonight.


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