That was a way to lose a ballgame.
While Mark Teahen blistered his way towards a .302 average and a .918 OPS, while Mike Sweeney turned back the clock with a vintage game, while Paul Bako somehow drew two walks in a game, the picthing staff was slowly conspiring to ruin the evening.
As you all know by now, the Royals took a 10-1 first inning lead (which actually could have been more, as Shealy left runners at 2nd & 3rd) only to eventually lose 15-13. After the first inning, they were outscored 14-3.
With a 10-1 lead I wrote:
the indians will get the tying run to the plate?
by royalsreview on Wed Aug 23, 2006 at 07:04:33 PM CST [ Reply to This ] (delete)
Amazingly, Cleveland accomplished this by the 6th inning, as Travis Hafner came to the plate with one out representing the lead run. Still, the Royals seemed to get things back under control with a 3-run bottom of the 6th that left the game 13-9.
Lets goto the win expectancy chart:
You really should check out fangraphs.com
The Royals spent the 2nd, 3rd and 4th innings with well over a 90% chance of winning the game. (As well as most of the bottom of the 1st). Even at 10-7 in the 5th, the Royals still held a dominant advantage. While the Michaels double in the 6th briefly made the game only about a 65% winnder for the Royals, the three run 6th in return quickly reestablished an overwhelming advantage.
And then we got to the 9th.
Losing a 4-run lead, after retiring the leadoff man in the 9th? Incredible. Here was Joe Nelson's night:
-Strikeout of Michaels
-Walk to Hafner
-Garko double (still about 90% likely to win the game)
-Peralta strikeout (95%)
-Hector Luna double: 13-12
So, thats two strikeouts, a walk and three doubles. Strange line.
From there Buddy made a somewhat sensible decision to bring in Burgos. I've always liked the idea of having a power pitcher face a guy who's pinch hitting, although I'm not sure who was anticipating whom in setting up the Burgos-Choo showdown.
And then Choo tripled.
Of course, this was something of a failure on Burgos part, but the real damage had been done by Nelson, who couldn't get three outs before giving up three doubles. In the 9th inning the Indians scored 4 runs without a Royal error and without a home run. You can imagine a double, single, error, homer sequence happening pretty fast, but to pound out three doubles and a triple after a one-out walk is impressive.
Still, Aaron Boone prolonged our misery by stranding Choo at third.
I must admit that I half-expected the Royals to score in the 9th and win 14-13. Teahen was 4-4 for the second straight night, and Sweeney and Brown were just behind him. It was, as if, we were an actual big league team with a real "heart of the order"... So of course a resurgent Rafe' Betancourt mowed them down 1-2-3.
And then the Indians poured on two more runs in the 10th, leaving us only with an incredibly horrible bottom frame to endure.
Would you believe Reggie Sanders struck out as a pinch hitter in the 10th?
Were you shocked when Gathright did the same?
A part of me was happy to see Cleveland win, they came back in two distinct ways: first, chipping away at a large early hole, then dramatically pulling off 4 runs in the 9th. Imagine how the 10 remaining Cleveland fans would have felt if Choo had popped out to Burgos to end the 9th 13-12? On balance, it was cool enough for Cleveland that I couldn't help not being irate.
As President Bush is fond of saying, the game was a "clarifying moment".
We've now wasted 5 starts pretending Jorge de la Rosa (7.48 ERA) has something to offer. He's having just a dandy 2006: a 8.60 ERA in 30 innings of horrible National League competition, a 7.48 ERA with the Royals.
All this guy needs is another chance. He's on pace to post a 6.20 ERA with his next team!
But, anything to make the Graffanino Trade look like anything other than the low-level salary dump that it was. At least with Setherton and Keppel we didn't have to pretend that there was something exciting about their brand of below-average pitching.
Jorge was followed by fellow Moore pickup Wellemeyer, who's actually been OK as a Royal. He melted down a bit, and couldn't get out of the 6th, this after being saved by an idiotic Hector Luna play which bailed him out in the 5th. Nevertheless, Gobble and Peralta cranked out three innings of scoreless ball, setting up the Nelson-Burgos explosion in the 9th-10th.
All told the Royals allowed: 15 runs, 7 doubles, 1 triple, 3 homers and 6 walks.
It is now clear just how awful our pitching is. Team ERA? Still worst in baseball, at 5.73.