Its not easy being the worst team in baseball. Not easy on the fans, not easy on the players, not easy on the janitors at Glass Headquarters. Its also not literally easy. Being the worst is like being the best, only inverted, you've gotta fail in the expected ways, but also in the unexpected ones. You've gotta lose games that normal teams win, you've gotta have small innings where a normal team has a big one, and you've gotta allow silly 4 run meltdowns when even a bad team shuts the door and calls it a series.
Still, even though we all know, both objectively and emotionally that the Royals are quite quite terrible, today's 9th inning collapse was a tough one to take. The Orioles seem to be a lifeless franchise, and they played terribly today, surrendering an early lead to a punchless Royals offense. Then, just like that, against the Royals best pitch-for-pitch thrower, the O's threw a 4 on the board.
Although it wasn't all bad. Thanks to an inept Oriole pitching staff, the Royals stepped backwards into 7 runs. The missing augment to our singles-based attack was finally discovered: if you draw 12 walks it sorta works. Spotto!
Hell, even Kerry Robinson drew a walk, just like a real leadoff hitter. Four guys really carried the water, two from Grudz & Graffy, along with three from Stairs and three from Guiel. The Royals augmented these walks with 8 awesome singles and one double. Just imagine how many runs the R's might have scored had Emil Brown not been an out factory in the middle of the lineup??
The pitching... ahh the pitching. Well, we got to see Denny Bautista continue his run of unassuming sub-adequacy, that watery waste somewhere between Joe Mays and an actually effective pitcher. Mike Wood did what Mike Wood does, keep the team in the game, although he bounced around some hits and probably did more of whatever it is that makes Buddy Bell not like him. The best sign, hands down, was a scoreless inning from Andy Sisco featuring three strikeouts. Niiiiiiice. Hopefully its step one on the long road back to effectiveness for Andy.
That leaves us to simmer over Burgos (well, and spot duty from Gobble and Dessens... Gobble's not exactly blameless here either, despite who the official scorer credits the run to). Burgos walking three in the 9th is just one of those totally inexcusable, yet shrug-inducing things that happen in this game that enters a realm of failure that's beyond comment. Clearly it wasn't his plan, but he couldn't get the job done. Walk. Walk. Walk. Getting a sac fly from Conine was a victory, followed by a ballsy strikeout of Patterson. That left us needing only one out. Single, single and it was a one-run game.
So naturally you bring in Jimmy Gobble.
`Cause if we're gonna be senseless, we might as well go all out. So the Orioles make the requisite move to Kevin Millar, who, ex-Red Sox Clutch God that he is singled to win the game.
I'd forgotten how fun it was to be swept.