July 19, 2009.
It doesn't seem like that long ago. I mean, we might feel a touch older, we might be a few pounds heavier, but it was less than 4 years ago. But in baseball, that can be a lifetime. We all know that Getz was playing for the White Sox, 1063 plate appearances ago,and hit his home run off Jeremy Guthrie, but what was going on with the Royals that day?
The Royals took the field against the Rays on a cool July Sunday afternoon in Kansas City. The high was only 81 degrees. It was the finale of the first post all star break series. Zack Greinke was a little more than halfway through his Cy Young season. Gil Meche was 33 days removed from the 132 pitch shutout that started his downhill slide, and was finally on the DL after the Royals had started him 5 consecutive times on regular rest after that day, ignoring his complaints of a "dead arm."
It was the year of the 18-11 start, but the Royals had gone 19-42 since, and entered the game having lost 5 straight games on their way to a 10 game losing streak, 11.5 games back of first place Detroit. They would finish the year 65-97.
- David Dejesus- LF
- Willie Bloomquist- CF
- Billy Butler- 1B
- Mark Teahen- 3B
- Jose Guillen- RF
- Mike Jacobs- DH
- Alberto Callaspo- 2B
- Miguel Olivo- C
- Yuniesky Betaancourt- SS
Ryan Freel was a defensive replacement in right field in the 8th, and John Buck pinch hit for Jacobs in the ninth. Luke Hochevar was the starting pitcher, relieved by Jamey Wright, John Bale, Roman Colon, and Ron Mahay. Only Butler and Hochevar remain of the Royals that were on the field that day, and 7 of the 16 Royals that day are out of baseball now.
The Royals struck first in the bottom of the 2nd. Guillen singled, Jacobs Walked, and Callaspo singled to load the bases. But then Olivo fouled out, and Betancourt popped up to short centerfield before Dejesus drew a bases loaded walk. Bloomquist lined out to end the inning.
In the 5th, after Bloomquist grounded out, and Butler struck out for his only out of the game, (he was 4-5 with a double, but was not involved in the scoring) Teahen walked, Guillen singled, and Jacobs walked, loading the bases again. Callaspo delivered with a 2 run single, and Olivo caused a little excitement with a warning track shot to the deepest part of the ballpark, but it was caught to end the inning. The Royals had a 3-0 lead.
Luke Hochevar had a pretty good day, going 6 and a third, giving up 2 runs on 7 hits with 9 K's to lower his season ERA to 5.09. His first run was not allowed until the 6th, when he opened the inning allowing a single to Jason Bartlett and a double to BJ Upton. He struck out Carl Crawford, allowed a run scoring groundout to Evan Longoria, then struck out Carlos Pena to end the inning.
In the 7th. Ben Zobrist opened with a single, and Luke wild pitched him to second on the way to a strikeout of Pat Burrell. Gabe Gross doubled to make the score 3-2, and Hochevar was done. Jamey Wright came in and got Willie Aybar and Bartlett to end the inning.
Wright came back out for the 8th, and after Upton flied out to start the inning, the wheels came off. Crawford singled, but he left too early trying to get a good jump and when Wright stepped off, he was picked off in no man's land- but then Wright threw the ball away, and Crawford ended up on third. Hillman called for an intentional walk to Longoria, and then for John Bale out of the pen. Bale gave up a run scoring single to Carlos Pena, and walked Ben Zobrist to load the bases, then was pulled for Roman Colon. Colon struck out Burrel, but then walked Zobrist to walk in the go ahead run before getting Michel Hernandez to fly out.
And that was pretty much it. The Rays loaded the bases again in the ninth against Colon and Mahay, but did not score. The two teams had 10 PA's with the bases loaded, and went 1-8 with 2 walks combined for 4 runs. The Royals scored all 3 of their runs with the bases loaded, (1-5 with a walk) and the Rays got the go ahead run on a walk but went 0-3 otherwise.
As for the Royals, they went quietly after relinquishing the lead, only a Butler single in the 8th to break the monotony of the six quiet outs. Grant Balfour got the win in relief of starter Matt Garza, and former Royal J.P. Howell got the save with a 1-2-3 ninth.
This part is just kind of an epilogue showing what the current Royals were doing then. It is kind of dry and listy, so read through if it interests you.
Sal Perez was in Idaho Falls, in the rookie pioneer league. George Kottaras was sitting on the bench for the Red Sox. (But had played the previous day, and Yost may never let him see the field) Eric Hosmer was in A ball in Burlington. Butler we spoke of. Chris Getz was hanging dong. Alcides Escobar was playing for Milwaukee's AAA affiliate in Nashville. Mike Moustakas was in high A Wilmington. Elliot Johnson was playing For the Rays AAA affiliate in Durham. Miguel Tejada went 0-4 with 3 K's in a loss for the Astros. Alex Gordon was on the bench for the Royals, having just been called up at the all star break after an injury and 30 games in the minors. He was still a 3rd Baseman. Lorenzo Cain was playing for the Brewers AA affiliate in Huntsville. Jeff Francouer, a week after being traded from Atlanta to the Mets, went 1-4 and drove in the Mets' only run in a 7-1 loss to his old club. Jarrod Dyson was in AA in northwest Arkansas for the Royals.
James Shields had pitched for the Rays against the Royals two days earlier. He got knocked around for 7 runs in 5.1 innings, but the Rays won 8-7. He was 6-6 with a 3.75 ERA. Ervin Santana would pitch for the Angels against the Royals two days later, giving up 5 runs in 6 innings but getting the win in an 8-5 victory. He was 3-5 with a 6.79 ERA. Jeremy Guthrie, despite his neck hurting from his head whipping around to watch Getz' majestic shot, went 8 innings, allowing only 2 runs in a 10-2 Baltimore victory. He was 7-8 with a 5.12 ERA. Wade Davis was in Durham, and would make his major league debut for the Rays later that year. Luis Mendoza was pitching for Ranger's AAA affiliate in Oklahoma City.
Hochevar we spoke of. Bruce Chen had made four starts for the Royals, with his bullpen debut coming the day before. His ERA was 6.86. Greg Holland was in Northwest Arkansas. Kelvin Herrera was injured in 2009, and pitched in only 1 game for Burlington in A ball. Tim Collins was at Toronto's High A affiliate in Dunedin. Aaron Crow had been drafted by the Royals only a month earlier and would not make his debut for the organization until 2010. J.C Gutierrez pitched one inning of scoreless relief for Arizona in a 2-1 loss to the Cardinals to lower his ERA to 4.95.
I wonder where they will all be four years from now? I wonder how the Royals will be doing then, as well.