Anyway, let's look what's gone on since I last posted!
The Royals fell 4-2 on Tuesday, with 3 of those runs coming from a shot by Jim Thome. Personally, I was distraught when Meche wasn't run back out to pitch the 8th after he only had 91 pitches in the 7th (this was a pitcher who led the league in pitches last year), but I was even more distraught when Hillman left Farnsworth (the king of giving up HR.. or at the least the Prince to Joel Peralta's King) in to face one of the best HR hitters of all time. Farnsworth throws hard and straight, Thome hits hard straight balls a long ways.. Bad combo. I fully expected Hillman to put in Mahay or Soria or even Cruz in after Farnsworth K'd the righty Quentin. It just didn't make much sense to me for Farns to stay in. But by not posting yesterday I mostly missed out on this discussion so I'll let bygones be bygones. Anyway, there were only two pitchers yesterday and one ended up with an ERA of 9, the other ended up with an ERA under 2. For those reasons I'll anoint Gil Meche as the first PoG. As for hitters, I'll name the only player to drive in a run (he drove in 2) to be the HoG. Gil Meche and Alex Gordon, if those two players are the most important for a lot of games this year I expect we'll do pretty well.
As for today's game, I felt like it was a slightly worse game for the Royals than yesterday, even though they won. The offense was slightly less patient and the pitching was slightly less good. Don't get me wrong, it was a great game. In fact, I think one of the most important plays of April happened this game. In the 8th inning, Mark Teahen ranged far to his right and scooped a ball up on the run and threw out Dewayne Wise. While Mark Grudz probably would have made this look routine even with his reduced range, I was pretty impressed. I know it's early, but so far Mark Teahen has not been embarrassing at 2nd base. Listening to his interview today on 810 with Soren Petro, he makes me want to believe that playing 2nd base is something he will work even harder at than learning the OF. This is because it is something he enjoys. Mark Teahen will probably never have the career he could have had if the Royals had drafted Ryan Braun and moved him to the OF while keeping Teahen at 3B. But that doesn't have to be a bad thing. Teahen is only 27 this season, and while he may not be that pull hitter everyone wants him to be, by playing 2B and having Kevin Seitzer as a pitching coach, I really feel like the stars are in line for Teahen to have another breakout year. He may not do this by hitting for a ton of power, but look for a player who will hit for around .290 with a lot of doubles, a lot of walks, less strikeouts, and around 15 home runs. Maybe a player similar to Jose Lopez with a few more walks? That may be something to hope for. Probably not as good defensively as Jose, however.
Anyway, the PoG of today's game has to be Zack Greinke. Greinke looked like good ol' vintage Zack. I had hoped he could get through 7 innings, but let's be honest, in today's world 6 innings of shutout ball and 3 hits is pretty good for a starting pitcher. Add in the fact you're pitching AT the home of one of the better offenses in the league, and he had a downright great performance. The hitter of the game will be Mike Aviles. Mike had a nice bounceback day after going 0-4 in his '09 debut yesterday. Mike was the only Royal to score a run, as he scored both of the runs today. He also started the only double play of the game.
Another thing I just remembered that somewhat irks me is the sac bunt that Crisp had to lay down today. I know Hillman used to manage in Japan, but c'mon! There simply isn't a Tony Pena Jr. in the starting lineup (hopefull there won't be in ANY starting lineup this season!) The Royals lineup is clearly aligned for offense, otherwise Gload will still be here and playing 1B, Bloomquist would be playing 2B Guillen would be the DH with Teahen in the OF. But, that's not the case, the lineup is catered to offense, so let them hit! What irked me even more was there was a wild pitch to move Aviles to 2B while Crisp was trying to bunt. Did Trey decide to then let Crisp swing away with a 2-0 count? NO. He made Crisp bunt Aviles over to 3rd. Ouch. This is the leadoff hitter we're talking about. A player capable of 35 doubles and 15 home runs, not to mention a .300 average. And we're bunting over to 3rd with no outs.. Really?
This nonsense has to stop!
On the plus side, there haven't really been any baserunning gaffs yet, and no stolen bases, so that's a good sign. (I think only Crisp and Teahen should be green-lighted on the basepaths.. everyone else is probably too much of a liability. And I'm not saying Teahen is as good at stealing as Crisp, I just think he is as smart on the basepaths as any other player in the majors, so the trust should be there to allow him to know when to run and when not to run.)
Anyway, the game tomorrow starts at 1:05 p.m. with Kyle Davies taking on John Danks. Should be another pitcher's duel.. (or so we hope!)
Thanks for reading!
p.s. I picked 77 in the poll question..