After the heartbreaker last night, the Royals really mended our relationship today with their 3rd shutout of the season. By comparison, the Royals didn't get their 3rd shutout until May 4th, last season. It came against the Indians, of all teams.
Mr. Bannister was not amazing tonight, but he didn't walk too many hitters, and his pitch count stayed decent. He probably needs to continue to attack more / nibble less, but it's hard to pick on a guy for 6 shutout innings and 4 singles allowed. He might not be one of the "big 3" who can pick up a strikeout almost at will, but if he maintains an ERA sub 4.15 then the Royals will have the best pitching staff in the A.L. (assuming the big 3 continue to pitch at their ridiculous paces.)
This brings up the question.. when is Hoochie mama coming up? Soon, I hope..
Read yesterday's post if you want to see what I said about how well Cliff Lee would do against the Royals.. It wasn't the 3 hit 9 k shutout he threw last year, but no one will deny Mr. Clifford Phifer Lee pitched a very good game today.
The offense needs to draw more walks, period. Billy's in the first inning was nice, because it came after falling behind, but seriously, one walk? Pathetic. Cliff Lee threw 122 pitches, 85 of them were for strikes.. While he was pounding the strike zone, if the Royals decided to not swing first pitch so often we would have a better chance of making Cliff throw more outside the strike zone and getting to the bullpen more quickly, which should be every offense's goal.
Hitter of the Game
Like yesterday, I really struggled with this one today.. DDJ drove in the "winning" run but was 0-3.. Bloomquist drove in the other run on a bloop single.. Callaspo had 2 hits but no runs or RBI.. I think I'll settle with Coco Crisp, who really set the table today in the first with his second leadoff double in as many days. Coco ended up with 2 hits in 4 at bats, and while he didn't walk for what seems like the first game this season (it's not..) he also didn't strike out. He scored a run but didn't capitalize on an opportunity to drive some in during the 7th inning, oh well, he earns today's award. In reality, the offense wasn't that great and the award should probably go to Butler, if anyone, simply for taking the lone walk.. Oh well.
Pitcher of the Game
I was considering using Soria simply because he finally got to pitch, but we'll go with the Professor, he wasn't dominant, but he was very good and threw 6 innings of shutout, 1 walk, 4 hit baseball in the big leagues. Something that is very commendable and earns him the pitcher of the game award.
It's an early game tomorrow, with Gil Meche facing Anthony "I wear my hat low" Reyes. First pitch as at 11:05 central time, so don't forget!
Also, I fully intend to include some minor league stats/analysis very soon, I just haven't quite picked a format and had the time to start it yet. Fear not, it shall arrive!
Thanks for reading!