|B. Bannister (W, 1-0)||7.0||2||0||0||0||4||0||0.00|
|K. Rogers (L, 0-1)||6.0||5||2||2||1||4||0||3.00|
An offseason of Brian Bannister chatter followed by a poor spring, and what does he do in his first outing? Just about what he'd have you believe we should expect: seven innings, two hits, four strikeouts and no walks. The closest he came to allowing a base on balls was when he went ahead 3-0 on Gary Sheffield, who walked four times on Monday. Bannister dug in, threw a strike down the middle for strike one because he knew Sheffield doesn't swing on 3-0 counts, then went up-and-in with a fastball that Sheffield couldn't lay off (check-swing foul tip, strike two). With a much more favorable count, Bannister came back with a two-seamer to induce a groundout to end the 4th.
And who says an 89 mph fastball isn't fast? Ask Magglio Ordonez, who swung right through a fastball in the 7th. It was the last batter Bannister would face, and the 12th consecutive he set down.
Leo Nunez and Joakim Soria came in to complete the shutout. Soria, it should be noted, was particularly filthy while striking out the side, combining 92-mph fastballs with slow, loopy curves that buckled knees. He did allow one hit though, to Edgar Renteria -- who accounted for all three of the Tigers' hits for the day.
The mighty, vaunted Detroit offense, reduced to this: three hits by its lead-off man. If you take him out of the picture, here's the Tigers' box score:
|P. Polanco 2b||4||0||0||0||0||1||3||.000|
|G. Sheffield dh||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.000|
|M. Ordonez rf||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.250|
|M. Cabrera 3b||3||0||0||0||0||1||0||.125|
|C. Guillen 1b||2||0||0||0||1||1||0||.429|
|I. Rodriguez c||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.125|
|J. Jones lf||3||0||0||0||0||1||0||.000|
|B. Inge cf||3||0||0||0||0||2||0||.167|
It might be too early -- not to mention dangerous -- to look ahead, but with Zack Greinke on the mound tomorrow against a beatable Jeremy Bonderman, the Royals could start 3-0. Imagine that: a sweep to begin the season against the prohibitive AL Central favorites. That'd catch some attention, don't you think?
POSTSCRIPT: My unabashed enthusiasm for this team and my unadulterated joy over this recent win has converted at least one of my officemates, nee an Astros follower, into a Royals fan. "You'll be following the Royals this year, right?" I asked. His reply: "Oh yeah."