Odalis Perez's line tonight: (W, 5-8) 5 IP, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
And then there are those who went after him:
David Riske (H, 10) -- 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R
Jimmy Gobble (H, 8) -- 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R
Joakim Soria (H, 9) -- 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R
Octavio Dotel (S, 10) -- 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R
Perez almost didn't make it through five, but once he did, I sent this series of messages to a Red Sox fan:
Me: royals lead!
Me: it's over!
Me: bullpen taking over
That's how good it's been: I get positively cocky when Buddy Bell goes to the pen. And why not? In three games against the Red Sox, who lead the Majors in on-base percentage and are sixth in runs scored, Royals relievers threw 11 innings and gave up all of two meaningless runs, from Joel Peralta.
Furthermore, the Royals aren't just good; they're deep. So deep, in fact, that Dayton Moore can execute this series of moves within two days and not blink twice:
-- Neal Musser, who threw two innings of shutout ball on Monday, gets replaced on the roster by Leo Nunez.
-- Nunez, who threw four innings on Tuesday and had just one run charged to him, gets replaced by Ryan Braun.
-- Braun's last 11 games in Omaha: 16.2 innings, seven hits, four walks, 16 strikeouts, 0.00 ERA.
Sure enough, true to my words, it was over (a scary image of Manny Ramirez hitting a walk-off two-run home run did cross my mind, however; and the Red Sox, putting their smarts on display, obviously watched tape of Soria after last night's game, because they were actually able to get the bat on a few of Soria's curveballs). Royals 6, Red Sox 5. The season series is even at three games apiece.
And that sound in Fenway is the sound of silence, sweet for the victors. Incidentally -- panic, Sox Nation, panic! -- the Yankees are just seven games back.
POSTSCRIPT: If you get a chance, check out The Royal Treatment's comprehensive catching-up-with post featuring former Royals. Impressive work.
POSTSCRIPT 2: Don't look now, but Kid Butler's been mashing of late.