Trailing 4-1 in the 4th inning, the Royals faced long odds: starting pitcher Joe Mays had already left the game, and the boys in blue seemed overwhelmed and outmanned against the home standing Yankees. The Royals are pitching deficient to begin with, and against a lineup likely on pace for 950 runs a comeback seemed unlikely. Still, the Royals got two plus good innings from Mike Wood as well as another two scoreless innings from Elmer Dessens. After a three run inning in the 4th -- thanks to another Reggie Sanders homer and some good work from the bottom of the order -- the Royals had earned a 4-4 tie.
Even more miraculously, the team squeezed out another run in the 6th (albeit on a Berroa double-play) and two more in the 7th courtesy of a Shane Costa homer (two already!!) and a Grudz double followed by a Sanders single. 7-4 Royals.
You knew it wouldn't last.
Andy Sisco appeared in the 8th to face the lower hald of the Yankee lineup. One of last season's brightest stars, Sisco has been unspeakably ineffective thus far. Hows this performance: walk, single, walk, groundout (RBI), single. We can quibble with Buddisimo's decision to stay with Sisco I guess, but its likely irrelevant: he did eventually goto Burgos, and we might as well let Sisco have chance to recover.
Sisco promptly K'ed Royal Traitor Johnny Damon, leaving the Royals only one Derek Jeter out away from leaving the inning still ahead.
Instead, Jeter hit a three run homer, allowing Joe Torre to bring in Rivera (no more awful Yankee relivers), which reduced the Royals' chance of winning to somewhere between 0 and 1%.
Amazingly -- although fittingly -- the Royals weren't done. With one out Grudz grabbed his second hit of the day, followed by a nice HBP on/at/from Sweeney. Two men on, one out, two runs needed. The Royals sent Reggie Sanders up, unquestionably their hottest hitter early on. Sanders struck out, leaving the game in the hands of... of... of...
Who'd Matt Stairs insult to have earned yet another game on the bench?
Your humble internet has no answers yet regarding Stairs. Is he hurt? Is he being punished? Did he tell Bell he wasn't ready? Was Bell "saving" Stairs for another AB post-Minky? No one seems to know.
Minky lifetime against Rivera? 0-3. Although He has hit well at Yankee Stadium in his career, posting a .324/.425/.559 line.
Meanwhile, Stairs waits for his first plate appearance of the season.
Postgame, Buddisimo offered this wisdom, "We battled back and we just -- ahhhhhhhh, it was a tough loss," Bell said.
One of his more eloquent post-game comments.
Tomorrow we're treated to Jeremy Affeldt's second start of the season. Be sure to check out the Daily Lancer on Affeldt's current status in Royals Nation. Good stuff.
The beat goes on. If anyone has info regarding persona non grata Matt Stairs, post below.