So how about that David DeJesus trade?
OK, sorry, that's a cheap shot, but you knew it was coming. Still, when a guy allows fourteen runs, becoming the first player to do so since 1998, you don't have many options for your opening. Statistically speaking, Mazzaro had one of the worst games in the history of baseball, as he became the first player in Major League history to allow fourteen runs in less than three innings. Given that there have been thousands of games played each season, for over 100 years, that's saying something.
However, Mazzaro's nightmare also reminded me of the Jimmy Gobble Game. In 2008, Trey Hillman left Gobble to suffer through a ten run inning in a strange game that also featured Tony Pena Jr. pitching a scoreless ninth. In 2008, I strongly felt that Hillman's actions violated baseball ethics, as there was no good reason to leave Gobble out there for so long. It seemed punitive, like Hillman wanted to show the world how bad Gobble was.
Mazzaro, on the other hand, was in a different situation. The injury to Kyle Davies threw off the entire game, and Mazzaro entered the game in the 4th inning. There were innings there to be filled, and seeing as how Mazzaro is a starter, he's the right man to be filling them. Gobble was a bad reliever pitching in the 7th and 8th innings.I do feel bad for Mazzaro, who we can only meekly add, isn't this bad. No one is this bad. He had a bad day at a bad time against a good lineup. He's all but guaranteed now to have a very bad ERA in 2011, and the sad fact is, that will have real world consequences affecting his pay and maybe even his future.
Although this was not a repeat of the Gobble Slaughter, it ended up being a bizarre night from Ned Yost. Yost sending Mazzaro back out for the 5th inning, after he had allowed 10 runs in the 4th, is a curious move. Clearly, Yost was desperate to get through the game with as few pitchers as possible. And maybe he wanted Mazzaro to "pitch through it" or "finish strong" or whatever cliche Baseball Men like him think in. In any case, that decision ended up sending Mazzaro into infamy, yet solved none of the game's pressing problems. The Indians ended up scoring four more runs and Yost had to go to the bullpen anyway.
The injury to Davies put the Royals in a difficult spot and essentially the worst possible outcome happened: the bullpen got burned out to begin the week, they sent Mazzaro into the history books and then back to AAA, and they got humiliated on the scoreboard. Unlike the Gobble Game, this loss was a more complete disaster and the Royals wake up tomorrow down two starting pitchers.
While I don't think Yost deserves to be completely ripped for his actions tonight, there's very little justification for using each of (arguably) his three best relievers in the lowest leverage possible. I'm sure he feels its a huge injury risk or "disrespecting the game" or whatever, but the 9th inning of a 19-1 game is precisely when you have Mitch Maier or Brayan Pena or whomever pitch an inning. If Blake Wood isn't healthy enough to pitch in a 19-1 game, then maybe he shouldn't be on the roster anyway. 'Cause you know, he's Blake freakin' Wood. Blake Wood is useless when he's healthy. The Royals got dealt a very bad hand tonight, but they aren't blameless either. I wrote over the weekend that the Royal roster is pretty poorly constructed, and tonight's game reinforces that claim. The Royals somehow don't have enough pitchers or hitters on a nightly basis, which simply shouldn't happen. You've got 25 roster spots to work with and about a zillion interchangeable parts between AA and MLB. At least have options with one side of the game.
The loss sends the Royals back to .500 at 20-20, six games behind Cleveland. While we'd all take 20-20, this team doesn't look like much of a contender at the moment. Of course, this moment is also the worst possible time to be looking. For better or worse, there's another game today.