Things getting downright ugly in Kansas City

Things getting downright ugly in Kansas City

Things getting downright ugly in Kansas City
June 1st, 2007

(Sports Network) - These days, it seems the Kansas City Royals are like a car stuck in the mud; the harder they spin their tires, the deeper they sink.

Try as they may, these Royals simply cannot catch a break. When they take the field for this weekend's four-game series on the road against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, they will be trying to snap a season-long seven-game skid. The starting pitching has been mediocre at best, and the offense is seldom able to come up with a timely hit to ignite a rally.

Granted, the Royals have fallen into a tie with the Texas Rangers for the worst record in the majors at 19-35, but it's not as if this team was in complete disarray all along. In fact, just prior to the current skid, Kansas City had won eight of its previous 10 games and was actually gaining some ground in the American League Central. And the fact that those wins came against the White Sox, Athletics, Rockies and Indians hinted that the ballclub was perhaps ready to turn a corner.

So, where did it all go wrong?

Backtrack to last Thursday, when the Royals were shooting for a three-game sweep of the division-leading Indians at home. Coming off an 11-7 win over the Tribe the previous night, Royals starting pitcher Jorge De La Rosa issued seven walks and was battered for nine runs. Goodbye sweep. Goodbye momentum.

In the following two games, Kansas City was outscored by a combined score of 19-3 to the suddenly percolating Seattle Mariners. And on Sunday, Seattle rolled to a 7-4 victory, and a series sweep of the Royals.

"It's bad," said catcher John Buck after the game. "Obviously we had some good momentum going, but it got stopped real quickly."

Buck and the Royals were hoping a three-game set with the Baltimore Orioles this week would provide an opportunity to stop the downfall. The Orioles had other ideas.

Royals' starter Scott Elarton spotted the O's seven runs in five innings, while the Kansas City bats could not solve the mystery that was Baltimore starter Steve Trachsel. The result: a 9-1 Orioles victory and a lot of head scratching in the Royals clubhouse. That game seemed to set the tone for the remainder of the series, as Kansas City could only muster two runs on seven hits -- over the next two games.

"We're not getting the big hit," Buck told the team's official Web site, thus submitting his nomination for understatement of the year.

WHO SAID HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS?

At front and center of the Royals' struggles has been their inability to get the job done at home. Entering Friday, the Royals have treated their fans to a Major League-worst 9-21 home record.

"Maybe it's the wind coming off the water fountains," outfielder Mark Teahen jokingly suggested to the Kansas City Star.

Manager Buddy Bell has other thoughts. Specifically, that perhaps the team is trying too hard to take advantage of a notoriously hitter-friendly Kauffman Stadium.

"Just trying to hit it longer and farther, I think that is part of it," he said. "I think that is being part of it. Trying to hit the ball too hard. You just need to keep swinging through it. Hopefully, you can get a couple of hits and get your confidence."

WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, VENT

Prior to Tuesday's game, the Kansas City hitters held a team meeting to try and iron out some of the kinks. Didn't work.

The team had been outscored 45-11 over its previous five games leading up to the meeting. And following the meeting, the team has been outscored, 9-2.

"Usually when you're having a meeting, it's because something isn't going the way it needs to be going and, offensively, we've struggled," Bell said.

Bell did his part by tinkering the lineup a bit for Tuesday's game, though it yielded little results. A few more home losses, and the team may need to hold a meeting with the ticket sales office to try and figure out how to fill the stadium.

WHO'S HOT

The Royals are hitting .186 as a team over the last seven days. No one is hot.

WHO'S NOT

See: who's hot. 

Rookie "sensation" Alex Gordon, who continues to be slotted in the starting lineup despite his .185 average on the season.

A LOOK AHEAD

Against Tampa Bay, Brian Bannister (0-3, 4.54) will take the hill in the opener against Scott Kazmir (3-2, 3.95). On Saturday, it will be Odalis Perez (2-5, 5.61) versus Edwin Jackson (0-6, 7.12). Elarton (1-1, 7.65) gets the start opposite Casey Fossum (3-5, 7.89) on Sunday, and on Monday, De La Rosa (4-5, 4.97) will close out the series against James Shields (4-0, 3.13).

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Re: Things getting downright ugly in Kansas City

mvbski wrote:


WHO'S HOT

The Royals are hitting .186 as a team over the last seven days. No one is hot.

WHO'S NOT

See: who's hot. 

Rookie "sensation" Alex Gordon, who continues to be slotted in the starting lineup despite his .185 average on the season.

big_smile

mvbski
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43759 Posts
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