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Game 127- Royals 7, Yankees 8 (42-85)

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Editor's Note: This game recap was started in the top of the 9th inning...

Buoyed by the successful return of Texas Longhorn J.P. Howell, the Royals used a big 5th inning to beat the Yankees 7-3 saturday afternoon. Howell, making his return to the rotation after a July demotion, allowed 3 ER in 6.0 IP, using a low hit total by the Yankees to his advantage. There's something to be said for the element of luck here, as Howell's 4 walks and 3 strikeout line belies a basic problem going forward, but today, for these 6 innings, it worked.

Buddy Bell stuck to his robotic guns, using -- stop if you've heard this before -- a combination of Sisco/Burgos followed by a combination of Affeldt/MacDougal to end the game. I guess some measure of retraction might be in order, since <u>Royals Review</u> ripped Bell for not trying to stay closer last night by using one of these guys; only to see the strategy "work" today. Umm, OK I guess, although it seems like a misallocation of resources. Having four good pitchers out of the bullpen is nice, but if you only use them on those 2-3 days a week in which you're ahead after 6 innings, then it seems like you're shutting yourself off a tad.

But, alas, the bullpen has its own strengths. If the Royals were a relevant MLB team, Bell's usage patterns might have the slightest bit of relevance, but as such, they don't. Remember this however, Joe Torre essentially did the same thing last season, and by late August Tom Gordon and Rivera had nothing left.

By the way, in two games against the Royals the Yankees have posted a pretty absurd hit-total, have they not? Only 5 hits hits today?

Ohh wait, I've gotten ahead of myself, Tino Martinez is now the tying run, facing Affeldt still...

Affeldt's content to just throw fastballs endlessly and ole tino makes him pay... 7-4 Royals. Some guy named Jeter is now due up...

Drama.

OK, I'm not sure who's pitching exactly for our Royals now? Camp or MacDougal? Sheesh... if only I had more money, more time and better hair, I might be able to watch this... The internet still seems to suggest Shawn Camp. Not being Buddy Bell, and also not really knowing whats going on, I can offer not a single justification for this move. Not one. Still, I'll give Bell the benefit of the doubt, maybe something was wrong with Mac.

Two outs now, Martinez on third. Not sure why you don't pinch-run for him here.. even with a pitcher... Ahh... No matter, Sheff doubles, 7-7 game. Wow. Un-f#^%ing-believable. Now its up to the un-clutch (sic) A-rod to deliver us from the horror of extra-innings...

It is done. Single for A-rod, Royals lose. Incredible game... Really not sure what happened. With one out in the 9th the Yankees had 4 hits for the game, then an Affeldt error preceded 5 more hits, including a double from Sheffield with two outs to tie it.

Well, now there's egg on everyone's face... The call to Camp is almost entirely incomprehensible, but I'll wait for further word as to why he was in there. Someday, someone, might want to consider using Sisco and/or Burgos for more than an inning, especially if we're only using them with a lead anyways. What? Bell's expecting a 4-3 lead tomorrow afternoon or something?

Egad... All bitching aside, Affeldt's error probably single-handedly lost the game. That non-second out probably reduced the Royals' winning % from something like 99% down to 82% or thereabouts, if I had to guess. Ohh well. We'll always have memories of the glorious sweep in May.