“Today was that game that (general manager) Dayton Moore had in mind when he put this team together,” [John] Buck said. “If we can get to our strength, which is the back of our pen, we’re in good shape."
The early-going of 2009 sure resembles '08, with Dayton Moore's bullpen locking down games for a methodical and effective starting corps. (Here's to hoping it gets better when Luke Hochevar and Brian Bannister come back). With Meche-Greinke-Davies at the top, one has to feel good about this season.
As of yesterday:
Royals' team ERA: 2nd in AL
Strikeouts: 1st (tied)
Walks: 2nd (tied)
Earned runs: 3rd
And the money stat:
Wins: 4th (one behind the leaders)
On the subject of pitching -- specifically the bullpen -- apologies to Old Man Duggan and anyone who thinks Joakim Soria needs to be moved into the rotation, but he's the savior. Savior. God what a filthy curveball. Yes, I'm still shuddering about that 68-mph knee-buckler he threw to Jhonny Peralta on Monday on a 3-2 count. With the bases loaded. Excuse me for this: GAH-GAH-GAH-GAH-GAH.
On a still-related note, when it comes to evaluating baseball, the feeling vs. stats debate rages on, as with the question of whether to use Soria in the bullpen or rotation. On this I will only say -- as one who wouldn't mind, necessarily, seeing him get a try in the rotation -- I think anyone who takes Joe Posnanski literally and decrying him when he writes, "But it is true, as far as I know, that no statistic can measure the feeling of knowing that you have a game won in the ninth inning" (emphasis mine), needs to take a breath and ask himself why he follows sports. And I don't want anyone to accuse me of being a "traditionalist" in the Joe Morgan-type sense, but honestly, if your first reaction to words like "no statistic" and "feeling" is to denounce the writer, and if you don't think things like "confidence," which Soria inspires when he enters the game with a lead -- what Buck was getting at, what Poz was hinting at, what Royals management is counting on -- are tangible -- the difference between fairy dust and believing in fairy dust, between a sugar pill and the placebo effect -- then you've been brainwashed. You've officially crossed into that zone where baseball is no longer played by people but trading cards and dice. And, pardon me for saying so, but that's a sad state to exist in, better left for the professionals who get compensated for their enjoyment-nullifying efforts.