Friday, June 15, 2007

17 to 8 (runs for us, runs for them)

Recipe for a 9-6 score by the top of the 3rd:
  1. Start a pitcher who sucks.
  2. Start a second pitcher who sucks.
  3. Play ball.
Kip Wells, season: 12 HR allowed, 38 walks, 56 K's, 6.33 ERA, 1.58 WHIP
Scott Elarton, season: 10 HR allowed, 15 walks, 13 K's, 7.34 ERA, 1.70 WHIP

Here's how they fared last night:
  • 1.1 innings, 3 hits, 6 runs, 4 walks, 1 HR; new season ERA: 6.93
  • 2.0 innings, 5 hits, 6 runs, 3 walks, 1 HR; new season ERA: 8.54
And a partial line score:

STL 1 3 2 0 ...
KC 1 8 0 6 ...

The folks at Royals Review, as they always do, hosted a game thread, a thing that makes fans feel like they're at the game kibitzing... only when they do it online, their words are stored for posterity, and bloggers like me.

Last night, there were more than a few posters who quickly threw in the towel:

rcrider13 (7:33 CT): Elarton: There is nobody better? Really?

the whale
(7:34 CT): good grief: I'm about done.

loyal2theroyals (7:35 CT): royals are rolling over. I hate Elarton.

Oh, and a positive post. Kind of. From rockchalk, 7:39 CT:

I. Hate. Scott. Elarton

for all of the dumb crap allard did, why the heck did he have to sign elarton to a 2 YEAR DEAL?!?!?!?!?!?

scarier thought...

elaraton was considered our "#1 starter" last season...

yet another example of how improved this team is under GMDM, talent wise elarton is probably somewhere around #28 on the list of starting pitchers now somewhere between dewon brazelton (hes gone, right? cause otherwise he is WAY ahead of scotty) and buddy himself...

Anyway, you get the idea. Scott Elarton, the Royals' Opening Day ace last year -- and reason number 435 the team had to overpay to get Gil Meche -- was struggling.

But then the comeback begins.

In the bottom of the 2nd, Ryan Shealy calmly looks at five pitches and draws a lead-off walk. Jason LaRue strikes out after a very good at-bat, then screams an expletive that's clearly audible on RSTN. Then up steps Tony Pena Jr., a man who swings at everything. In 65 games, he's drawn six walks and struck out 42 times. That's awful. I remember when we used to joke about Angel Berroa's consecutive plate-appearances-without-a-walk streak, except it wasn't really a joke. About the most damning thing you can say about an otherwise mediocre (read: not Vlad) hitter is that he lacks plate discipline, and Berroa lacked plate discipline.

Pena lacks plate discipline.

Sure enough, Pena swings at the first pitch, but the ball finds right field. Just one of four hits for him on the night.

Joey Gathright's next. The sequence of events, in bullet form:
  • 3-2 walk on a pitch just low. Bases loaded, one out.
  • David DeJesus turns his leg into an 0-2 pitch. It's the sixth time this year he's been HBP, which cements him at second on the team, behind Alex Gordon, who's been hit 10 times. The team's suffered (drawn?) 40 HBPs this year, which leads the Majors. After 38 pitches, the Royals have two runs on two hits.
  • Esteban German, who has excellent plate discipline, looks at three pitches, fouls off the next two, then smokes a single to left. So Taguchi had no chance to get Joey Gathright going home from second. Tie game. Meanwhile, Elarton looks downtrodden for some reason as he picks at something on his hand.
  • Randy Flores comes in, and if you think that'll stop these Royals, you're wrong. Mark Teahen -- who had two triples and five RBIs -- settles for a single to center, driving in Pena. German goes to third, Teahen advances to second. The Royals, by the way, are tied for the league lead with 23 triples.
  • Emil Brown doubles down the third base line to drive in two. It's 7-4.
  • Alex Gordon hits a hard shot off Albert Pujols's glove. Infield single. His average goes above .200 for the first time all year: .202. Someone's heating up...
  • Ryan Shealy drives in a run through a fielder's choice to second.
  • LaRue, up again, hits a ball past Scott Rolen, who looked awful lunging for it. "That's almost no range at all," said Paul Splittorff.
  • Adam Kennedy swipes at a Pena grounder that goes through. The Royals' eighth run of the night comes across the plate, a season high. There've been no errors charged, but can we give the Cardinals' a collective error for their all-around crappiness? I don't just mean their defensive effort tonight, which has been horrendous -- I mean overall: they look like a terrible team. And where do they sit in the standings? One game behind the Cubs for second place (!) in the NL Central. Honestly -- and I'm not just saying this because the Royals have scored 17 off an NL opponent twice this week -- but honestly, I think the Royals can contend for the Cardinals' division.
  • A tapper back to the plate from Gathright for the third out.

The Royals Review commentators begin stirring, by which I mean royaldaddy, perhaps the only guy still watching the game, posts nine straight messages in a span of 10 minutes.

the whale comes back at 8:02 CT, after the Royals' eight-run 2nd, and says, "What did I miss? wow."

Wow indeed. Let there be no doubt, this still belongs to us:

Sorry about the amateur quality of the picture, but trust me, that's the original 1985 World Series trophy.

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