Sunday, July 09, 2006

Royals Fall 7-5 to the Blue Jays

I went to my second game in a row tonight. The game was on the Royals, so all the better. The outcome of the game was rather disappointing, but it was a fun night nonetheless.

Scott Elarton didn't have good command of anything today. His stuff got hit hard as he wasn't able to keep it out of the middle of the plate. Elarton gave up 5 runs on 9 hits, exiting in the 4th inning. Sisco came in and pitched well, providing 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief and allowing the Royals to regain the lead. Sisco's command was better today, although his velocity was still pretty low (90-91 mph). Peralta came in to pitch the 7th inning and promptly gave up a homer to Shea Hillenbrand and that was the ballgame. The Blue Jays' bullpen shutdown the Royals' offense, allowing just 2 hits and no runs in 4 innings.

The Royals did alright against Ted Lilly. Berroa hit his 5th homerun, a deep shot into the top of the left field fountains. Berroa has good power. Unfortunately, everyone knows not to give him a decent pitch to hit because he'll swing at plenty of bad pitches and get himself out. Berroa had yet another fielding blunder which was charged to John Buck. Berroa forgot to cover 2nd on a stolen base attempt and the throw went out into centerfield...Typical Berroa.

It wasn't a terrible game and appeared winnable after Sisco's solid outing. But the Royals' makeshift bullpen was outdueled by the Blue Jays. Overall, I wasn't very impressed by the Blue Jays from the two games I saw. The Blue Jays played horrible defense, committing lots of errors on routine plays. The two middle infielders, Adams and Hill, were particularly bad. Justin Speier and BJ Ryan pitched well, but other than that, the bullpen looked pretty shaky. The offense was the most impressive part of the team, with a lot of good contact hitters and good power from Wells and Overbay. The AL East race looks to be between Boston and New York unless the Blue Jays can make some moves to improve the bullpen and the defense. They won't get far without pitching and defense.

On to the minors:

Omaha lost 8-7 to the Iowa Cubs. Shane Costa hit his 5th homerun, going 1 for 3 with 2 walks. Costa is hitting .418/.487/.759 after 79 ABs in AAA. Costa is right where he belongs right now and should spend the rest of the season at AAA. Costa has always been a good contact hitter and it appears the power may be starting to come. Justin Huber is slowly emerging from his Baird/Bell-induced slump. Huber went 2 for 4 with a double, raising his average to .262. Huber's .805 OPS is still nothing to complain about, especially with the Royals trying to change his position. Huber was in left field tonight. MacDougal pitched a scoreless inning and struck out 2. MacDougal should return to the big league club shortly after the All-Star Break. Nunez allowed 2 inherited runners to score, getting a blown save. Overall, the 22-year-old Nunez has pitched very well with a 1.10 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings.

Wichita lost 5-4 to Arkansas. Greinke had another good rehab start, going 6 innings and allowing just 2 runs on 6 hits. Greinke walked 1 and struck out 7. He is just a few more quality starts away from returning to the big league club, although there's no rush. Billy Butler and Alex Gordon didn't play because they are on their way to the Futures Game. Hopefully, they will be our two All-Star delegates in a couple of years. Mitch Maier hit his 10th homer, going 3 for 4 and driving in 2 runs (55). Maier is having a pretty good season and was considered the best defensive outfielder in the system by Allard. Ryan Braun had a rough night, allowing 3 runs in 1 1/3 innings. Overall, Braun's numbers are very good, with 58 strikeouts and only 16 walks in 40 2/3 innings.

High Desert lost 5-1. Not much to talk about there.

Burlington won 5-4. Josh Johnson went 1 for 5 with a double (4). Johnson's great on-base skills are keeping his prospect status alive, with a great .417 OBP. The two catchers drafted by the Royals last year, Everett and Howell, both doubled. Carlos Rosa had a pretty good outing, allowing just 2 earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. Dayton Moore mentioned Rosa as one of the Royals' prospects who had impressed him on his first tour of the minors. Rosa has struck out 68 in 87 innings. The Bees have a good rotation going with Rosa, Nicoll, Kinginyzky, and Cordier.

Idaho Falls won 2-0. Rowdy Hardy had a great start, striking out 10 in 6 1/3 innings and allowing just 2 hits. In 22 innings, he has struck out 21 and walked 0! Peay State University lefty has pitched very well so far.

The Arizona Royals' game was postponed. The Arizona Royals have a couple of players repeating the level who don't have much left to prove there. Jeffrey Bianchi continues to destroy Arizona League pitching with a .429/.539/.667. Brent Fisher has been very good as well, with a 2.30 ERA and 17 K's to 4 walks. Both of those guys appear to be ready to head to Idaho Falls. The Royals' 2006 mystery pick, Jason Taylor, is off to a very good start. Taylor is hitting .452/.485/.548 after 31 ABs. Perhaps Taylor will be Bianchi Part II? The Royals have done a good job of spotting good high school hitters in recent drafts.


At 5:09 AM, Blogger royalsbeliever said...

Do you think that the lack of command that Royals starters have shown recently could be Bob McClure's fault? Also, why don't the Royals just move Bianchi and Taylor to second base? Even if the Royals "good scouts" think he suits best for third, we need the depth at second and I am definetly waiting to see one of them move to second.

John Phillips of Royals Mania

At 3:10 PM, Blogger SoonerRoyal said...

I'm not sure how much McClure is to blame for the starter's command problems. In the case of Elarton, I think it's more his poor command all year has caught up with him. He gives up too many hits and walks to be successful. I don't think McClure has done a very good job. I hope Moore can find a long-term solution to the Royals' pitching coach position and their associated pitching woes.

There was talk last year of Bianchi moving to 2nd because his arm wasn't strong enough to play short. So, he will probably end up at 2nd eventually. Keeping him at short gives the Royals the most options. I'd leave Taylor at 2nd until he shows he can't play there defensively.


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