First in an occasional series.
The first Totally Random Royals Game is the July 26, 2005, battle between the Royals and the Chicago White Sox, which happened to be a Tuesday night game at the K. The White Sox came in as the first place team in the AL Central, and owners of a 65-33 record, while the Royals stood at 36-63. At the time, the White Sox were still flying high, and owned what looked like an insurmountable lead in the standings. Those standings, on the morning of July 26, looked like this:
As the Royals reached game 100, they were still trying to avoid being historically bad. Kansas City went 6-18 in April and 8-19 in May, slamming the door on the Tony Pena Regime. The Royals had begun to play better baseball by midseason however, going 12-4 in June and 12-16 in July. Nevertheless, the Bell Boys still had a major hurdle ahead of them, in the form of the epic 19 game losing streak that would run from late July through August 19th. The Royals would go 5-21 in August, and 13-18 in Sept/Oct, finishing at 56-106. Considering everything, its remarkable they reached 56 wins.
The White Sox of course, would go 34-30 and the rest of the way, holding off a late charge by the Indians, thanks in part to Grady Sizemore losing a flyball in the sun at the K. Then, proving once again that momentum and "who's playing the best at the end of the season" are so critical, the White Sox were swept out of the playoffs by the Red Sox (who knew how to win) and Ozzie Guillen was fired.
Part of that late season slide was at the hands of the Royals, who would go 5-3 against the ChiSox the rest of the way. However, none of this seemed apparent at the time. The night before, in the Royals 99th game, the Sox had ganged up on the Boys in Blue for a 22-hit, 14-6 beat down. Facing Jose Lima the next day, while sending their beloved "ace" Mark Buehrle to the mound, it seemed like another walk-over for the Sox. Amazingly, the White Sox had started the season 10-0 against the Royals. So our boys had no chance, right?
19,175 loyal Royal rooters at the K knew differently however.
Against this Royal lineup, how could anyone expect to succeed?
1. D DeJesus CF
2. C Ambres LF
3. M Sweeney DH
4. E Brown RF
5. M Stairs 1B
6. A Berroa SS
7. M Teahen 3B
8. D Murphy 2B
9. A Castillo C
While Scotty Pods led off the game with the walk, he subsequently didn't distract or encite fear and loathing from Lima Time, who then retired the next two batters. For the third out, a stone-cold Alberto Castillo threw out Podzilla at second, sending a loud roar through the Missouri night. As far away as Raytown, citizens could feel the ground shake.
Although Chip Ambres and Matt Stairs reached base in the first two innings, the Royals didn't draw blood until the fourth, when, trailing 1-0, Sweeney led off the inning with a double, and was eventually driven home on a Stairs sac fly.
The game stayed tied until the bottom of the sixth, when the Royals pounced on Buehrle. Ambres-Sweeney-Brown, went single-single-double, to make the game 2-1. Sweeney's single, amazingly, was a bunt. Matt Stairs then drove home his second runner of the game with a groundout, and the runners moved to second and third thanks to an error. With still nobody out, the Sox intentionally walked Angel Berroa to load the bases and setup the force play. Considering Berroa was one of the worst hitters in the universe, this was a questionable move.
So with the bases loaded and nobody out, a young Mark Teahen stepped to the plate, and delievered one of the biggest hits of his career. Teahen doubled to right field, clearing the bases, and, thanks to yet another White Sox throwing error, he came home to score himself. The score was now 7-1.
It looked like the line would just keep on moving when Donnie Murphy ripped a single as the next man up, but unfortunately, the Royals would do nothing else. Nevertheless, the damage was done. Buddisimo sent Jeremy Affeldt out to handle the 7th, and he struck out two, allowing only a Pods single. In the bottom of the inning, Sweeney reached via another White Sox error, but nothing became of it.
Am. Burgos worked an interesting but ultimately harmless 8th, and Leo Nunez, already a Royal for no real reason, slammed the door in the 9th.
- Lima Time, thanks to scattering five hits and three walks over six innings, moved to 4-8, and lowered his season ERA to 6.63.
- Chip Ambres would see consistent action the rest of the season, hitting .220/.307/.364 in his next 153 PAs, finishing the year at .241/.323/.379. Never appearing in a big league game with the Royals again.
- 2005 would also mark the end of the Donnie Murphy era with the Royals. Murphy hit .156/.241/.260 that season, and appeared in only 32 games.
- Finally, that season was also Alberto Castillo's last with the Royals. After hitting .210/.292/.310 as the team's backup catcher, Castillo was released on August 5th, and later surfaced with the A's, as did Murphy, with whom he appeared in one game. As of 2007, at age 37, Castillo was still bouncing around the minor leagues.
- Box Score
- Ironically, there is no Game Thread for this memorable tilt, as it seems I was on the road at the time. There is a post for Game 99, which I posted from Ruston Louisiana, which was actually something of a game recap as well. Then, a day and a half later, there is a post, from Oxford Miss, for Game 101. Odd. Well, now I've given Game 100, 2005, its proper due.