Royals look to continue the American League dominance tonight in St. Louis, while maintaining their miraculous run at "non-Worst Team in Baseball" Status.
Earlier today "JC" posted his grades for the pitching staff in the comments, and I think it merits som front page attention, especially as we shift to tonight's game.
Taking the season as a whole to this point, pitchers with more than 33 innings:
Gobbler (B+) - Very good Inn/Hits (41.2/36) and BB/K (13/35). So far a genuine surprise. Will the floor cave in when he moves into the rotation? Fingers crossed.
Everyday Elmer (B-) - 4.19 ERA and used in about half the games. Probably what the Royals hoped for when they signed him.
Peralta (B-) - Another nice surprise. 37 innings of decent relief work. Good BB/K (11/24). Who saw a contribution from this guy coming? Seasons like this are what allows a team to win 63 games in a year.
Woody (D) - He is worse then his ERA and W-L record indicates. Very hittable, unable to pitch deep into his starts and no real "out" pitch. 57.1 Innings, 75 hits, 24 K's. I hope he gets better, because I think he has used up all his luck already. That ERA should be pushing 6.
Burgos (D) - Pitching much better lately, but his overall numbers are all over the place, and half the time he seems to have no conception of where life has brought him at such a young age. Unlike Wood, he probably is better than his ERA. 37.1 Innings, 39 Hits, 41 K's. The ugly, 20 BB's and 9 HR's.
Elarton (D-) - 98.1 Innings, 99 hits, this is good. 44 BB's and 22 HR's, this is awful. 45 K's, he has no out pitch when he inevatably wanders into trouble. He put together some good work early, I hope he returns to form now that he seems to have stopped feeling sorry for himself.
Redman (D-) - How has this guy achieved a winning record? 69 Innings, 75 hits, 30 BB's and only 25 K's? And he plays for the Royals?
Keppel (D-) - As expected, reason has returned to Earth and centered Keppel's season where at the point of reasonable expectations. I hope with some perspective at Omaha he regains his confidence and becomes a contributor next year.
And the F's as a group - Bautista, Affeldt and Sisco. Three arms the Royals counted on to carry about 400 decent innings this year. Not going to happen. (What is wrong with Sisco? I understand the Bautista meltdown, and never expected anything other than a meltdown from Affeldt, but Sisco, that was a punch in the gut.) Add in Hernandez and Grenke, and you have the horror of the 2006 pitching staff.
Notice, no C ratings. Not a mistake. A few nice surprises from middle releavers, nothing to work with at the start or end of the games. I think things will improve, but I am basing that prediction on the groundless optimism of a fan, not on anything tangable. Duckworth, Wellemeyer and Hudson were released by three very bad pitching staffs for a reason. If the last decade has taught us anything there is nothing magic about Kauffman that allows a bad pitcher to become a good pitcher by donning the powder blue. That said, I'm happy to have these three below-average-never-to-get-better-but-not-truely-horrible pitchers to call on. I think they will prove to be an upgrade to the alternatives.
So, what do you think?
Indeed, what do you think?
Consider Elarton's season: he's allowing relatively few hits, but isn't striking out anyone, and has nearly as many walks as Ks. Moreover, he's getting bombed by the home run. Whats his approach? He's pitching to contact successfully (behind a poor defense) but allowing the twice a game very hard hit ball? Just strange.
Tonight its the above-mentioned Mark Redman (5-4, 5.35 ERA) against the weird as hell Sir Sidney Ponson (4-3, 4.95 ERA). Seriously, how do you even think about this guy, where do you start?
The Cardinals will be no match for our brilliance tonight. Post your in-game comments here, and, of course, your pitcher grades.