Ugly April continues for Royals

Ugly April continues for Royals

Ugly April continues for Royals
April 27th, 2007

(Sports Network) - With the season's first month coming to a close, the Kansas City Royals have plummeted to the worst record in baseball at 7-15, tied with the Washington Nationals.

Although there are several months of baseball still to be played, the Royals have left little to be desired on the diamond. On Thursday against the Minnesota Twins, for example, Kansas City stranded 14 baserunners and was blanked, 1-0. The Royals drew 10 walks in the game, but also struck out a whopping 13 times.

The loss came just one night after Royals pitcher Odalis Perez picked up his second win of the season against Minnesota, scattering five hits and three runs over six innings. It was the second time Perez beat the Twins in a five- day span. Last weekend, Kansas City won two of three against Minnesota. But that was followed by a disappointing two-game set against the Chicago White Sox, in which Kansas City dropped both games.

In the opener of that series, reliever David Riske spoiled a quality start by Gil Meche, as Riske surrendered the deciding two-run home run to Paul Konerko in the eighth inning.

In the second game, Kansas City's bullpen had another meltdown and squandered an early Royals' lead. With the scored tied, 7-7 in the ninth inning, reliever Joakim Soria coughed up two runs on a wild pitch and a throwing error. Soria was part of a trio of relievers that allowed five runs in 4 2/3 innings of work.

Following the loss, Kansas City's bullpen fell to 1-7 with a 6.33 ERA. Manager Buddy Bell, for the record, said after the game that he is tired of answering the same questions every night about his bullpen. He did, however, say he intends to stick with his guys.

In either case, things are getting testy in Kansas City. Zack Greinke, the starter in Thursday's game, pegged Twins outfielder Torii Hunter in the mouth in the second inning. The beanball nearly caused un ugly scene at Kauffman Stadium when Hunter began to make his way toward Greinke, but then thought better of it and continued down the first baseline. Reggie Sanders was then hit by Twins reliever Matt Guerrier in the seventh inning, and Sanders took a step toward the mound before making his way to first.

At the moment, things may be looking bleak for the Royals. But they appear to have figured out the Twins, and with a little competitive fire already on display, the two teams may be staring at a bitter rivalry this summer.

A CALL TO ARMS

Pitchers Octavio Dotel, Luke Hudson and Scott Elarton, all of whom were placed on the disabled list at the outset of the season, are now on the mend and are working their way back to full strength. Considering how things have been going for the Kansas City pitching staff, any additions would be welcomed with open arms.

Hudson made his second rehab start this week and could be back with the team by next week. Elarton has made three rehab starts and is awaiting the call-up perhaps by next week also. Dotel is further behind in his rehab, but he was expected to begin throwing from the mound this week and will soon be looking to make his first rehab assignment.

Kansas City is ranked 24th in the majors with a team ERA of 4.48. Hudson went 7-6 last year in 15 starts, while Elarton went 4-9 in 20 starts.

"We're inching closer to making some decisions," Bell told the Kansas City Star. "We're not there yet. It usually all works out for itself, but we've got to start considering what we're going to do."

BELL NOT READY TO COMMIT TO A CATCHER

Catcher John Buck is hitting .349 with four home runs. Fellow catcher Jason LaRue is hitting .121 with no homers. Despite the disparity, both will continue to split time, according to Bell.

"I'm going to wait a while," Bell told the team's website on Tuesday. "Their primary job is to handle the pitching staff. I think both of them have done a good job with our starters. I still like the makeup of our catching situation. We need to get Jason going offensively a little bit. He's not going to do that on the bench."

Bell added that Buck's role is not to hit for average, but rather to take his hacks and drive the ball to the gaps, which he has done. Buck leads the team with six doubles and has a team-best .767 slugging percentage.

WHO'S HOT


Buck and David DeJesus (.315) on offense, and starter Gil Meche, who has a 1-1 record with a 2.55 ERA through five starts.

WHO'S NOT

Anyone on the Royals' roster with the designation 'relief pitcher' in front of their name.

A LOOK AHEAD

The Royals travel to Seattle for a three-game series with the Mariners over the weekend, beginning with Jorge D La Rosa (2-1, 3.04) facing Horacio Ramirez (1-1, 6.30) in the opener. Meche, who was acquired from Seattle in the offseason, will face his former team in the second game, starting opposite Jeff Weaver (0-3, 13.91). And on Sunday, Brian Bannister (0-0, 6.23) gets the start versus Cha Seung Baek (0-0, 8.31).

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Re: Ugly April continues for Royals

mvbski wrote:



Ugly April continues for Royals

What else is new  big_smile

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