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The Day After

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A day after the Cardinals completed their three-game sweep of the Royals the strings of Kansas City baseball are starting to fray. Last night we were treated to a fairly typical guys need to step up story, spearheaded by Scott Elarton and sundry others. Today, David Glass speaks, asserting "there is no paralysis".

The paralysis isn't his own, at least according to the premise of the article, but rather whatever paralysis might be caused at an organizational level due to the waiting and apprehension caused by the threat of changes that haven't yet come.

Umm... OK.

Here's Glass, courtesy of the Kansas City Star,

"I don't see any of that," he said before Sunday's 10-3 loss to the Cardinals at Kauffman Stadium. "I've been meeting with people in the organization, and everybody is working really hard on the draft.

"There is no one sitting around and saying, `Well, by gosh, we've got to wait for that big decision out there to see what's going to happen.'

"I've been all over this building and visiting with everybody. There is no paralysis. There isn't anybody who has any concern about that. So that's not a problem."

According to Dutton, Glass swung and missed on an unidentified candidate. Presumably, this leaves Team Baird around for at least one more draft. If this isn't an awful leadership model, an awful accountability model, I don't know what one would be.

The Royals are an unspeakably bad 2-20 on the road, but somehow 8-11 at home. (Yea KC fans!!) The Royals are 3-15 in day games, and most incredibly, 0-9 against the AL East, 0-2 against the AL WEST and, of course, 0-3 in interleague play. Thats 0-14 against non AL Central teams. Wow. So who is to blame, for the current team's 10-31 record?

Mike Sweeney: I don't believe that injuries are a sign of moral or mental weakness, at least not the vast majority of them. It doesn't bother me one iota that Sweeney is overpaid, or that he's a bit Churchy. He's made numerous commitments in the local area, and by all accounts is a decent guy. He's also the closest thing the Royals have to a legitimately very good offensive player, and he isn't playing. Now granted, if he was still around, we'd still be treated to lots of Minky and almost no Stairs. Nevertheless, his absence has put extra pressure on guys like...

Emil Brown: Emil is tied for second on the team with 150 plate appearances, and his repaid the Royals financial and playing time loyalty with an awful .231/.307/.377 line. This, complete with his standard awful OF defense, and Emil stands as a decidedly below-average corner outfielder. Emil is in the middle of the lineup, behind such "table-setters" as Dougie Mientikiewicz, throwing up 0-4's, 1-4's and the like. Additionally, like nearly all Royals, Emil has struggled under the sunlight, posting a putrid .185/.243/.338 line in 70 day-game PAs. One of Allard's merits has been his ability to dumpster dive and find guys like Aaron Guiel, Ibanez and Emil... But Emil is playing well enough for anyone to get excited about how interesting his road to the Royals was.

Angel Berroa: On the bright side, at least we've moved past the Tony Pena era, with its infatuation with batting Berroa leadoff, or 2nd. Buddisimo's been content to throw Berroa down at the bottom of the order and let him strikeout and fly out down there. This, my loyal readers, is the Royals idea of progress. Berroa's settled into his standard grove, .238/.248/.327, a deadly combination of no-average, no-walks and not much power. The good news is that he's not running much, although this is perhaps simply a byproduct of his never being on base. Angel's only attempted two steals this season.

Doug Mientkiewicz: The unquestioned Whipping Boy of the Blogosphere. Its hard to dislike "Dougie" (as Buddisimo lovingly calls him) personally, he's an alert, superficially hustling player. He's also awful. His hitting ability has totally decayed from his early '00s peak, and he now is left as an half-way decent singles guy who can't do anything else, .256/.342/.341. He's still working counts, and drawing a fair share of walks, but this positive aspect of his game is not supported by anything else. Worse, Buddisimo's taken to batting him 3rd, letting his inability to post an ISO higher than Rod Carew drag down the few rallies that Emil doesn't kill stillborn. Wonderful stuff. Whats maddening about Dougie is that he's a) apparently not being held to any kind of performance standard and b) he's blocking Justin Huber. He was always an overatted guy, now he's an emblem of office pets everywhere who rise to the top for no apparent reason.

Paul Bako: I know he's a backup catcher, a breed expected to hit about as much as, as... as... guys like Paul Bako. He's only had 46 PAs, but damn, we can't find a guy who can do better than .200/.217/.200? Like Minky, Bako is a guy the Royals sought out and paid good money for. So we're left either indicting the decision to sign him, or the sad state of the franchise that necessitated it. John Buck is a maddening player, but he's Jorge Posada compared to Bako.

Even the Royal hitters who are having a somewhat good season aren't tearing the cover off the ball. Grudz's .306/.344/.396 line is nice, and he does lead the team with 154 PAs (congrats on the resource allocation Buddisimo) but this isn't even Junior Spivey's peak season here, and hardly something that propels a team towards a .500 record. Royals Review has long admired Matt Stairs but .225/.325/.423 is hardly acceptable for an immobile slug with no position.

Not surprisingly, the Royals are last in the majors in total runs (154), 25th in batting average (.250), 27th in OBP (.309) and 28th in SLG (.379). Every National League team besides the Cubs is slugging more than the Royals, and those guys bat pitchers.

The Royal pitching this season has been odd. The team memorably started horribly, posting a team ERA in the 7.00s fairly deep into the season. Shortly therafter, the Royal pitching, led by a strong middle innings core of Wood-Gooble-Dessens and some decent starts from Elarton and Affeldt the team actually looked impressive on the mound from time to time.

Still, the pitching hasn't been good. The team ERA is the worst in baseball at 5.91, buoyed by a lifeless K-rate (5.43 per 9) which rates 28th in baseball. Thanks to the lack of strikeouts, the staff's K/BB ratio is also terrible, tied for 30th with Baltimore at 1.23. The White Sox have a K-rate in the Royal range, but also cut the walks way down, something the R's don't do. Because the pitchers allow and endless stream of balls-in-play (their fault) the bad defense gets to participate, producing an opponent's BAA of .285, 27th "best".

Individually, the staff blame can be spread around. So, who's to blame here? Royals Review points to:

Joe Mays: You knew it had to begin here. Mays, signed to a one-year contract in the offseason, completely imploded as a Royal, posting a 10.27 ERA in 23.7 innings, hurting the Royals every single time he took the mound. Mays allowed an absurd 14.45 HR/9, walked more guys than he struck out and "benefited" from some questionable unearned runs. His RA stood at 12.55. DFA'ed by the Royals, Mays declined and is now in the Reds minor league system. Fare thee well, Joe. No hard feelings...

Andrew Sisco: Lets see, in 2005, he was the team's best short-usage pitcher, posting a 3.11 ERA in over 70 innings. Sisco was also the rare Royal who could strike guys out, posting 76 Ks on the season. This year, Sisco is the team's worst pitcher, a devastating development. In 16.3 innings Sisco has a 7.71 ERA and a 8.27 RA. He's still striking guys out (10.27 K/9) but he's also allowing hits like a MOFO (over 12 per 9) and is walking guys. Not good.

Mark Redman: Brought in in a salary motivated trade, Redman continues to frustrate, something he's done his entire non-Florida career. Redman's allowed a 6.88 ERA in a 35.3 innings, Red's allowing a homer per game, and is walking nearly as many men as he's somehow manages to strikeout (this should sound familiar). Complete with Elarton and Mays, Redman fulfills the underwhelmingness quotient of the Royals offseason starting pitching acquisitions.

A curious pattern of this season has been the tendency of one of the new guys to meltdown by the 4th, then to see the underappreciated Mike Wood and Jimmy Gobble come in and throw 3 good innings. Without efforts like that, the Royals might lose 10-4 instead of 7-4. Sweeeet. Wood's the team team leader in Wins (3) and has a nice 3.21 ERA to show for it. Newlywed Jimmy Gobble hasn't been as good, but his 5.14 ERA looks shiny compared to half the staff. Even more incredibly, Gooble's striking out 8.57 per 9 which is incredible, considering he once hovered in the two-range as a starter. Just more evidence on how much more effective almost any starter could be as a short-usage guy...

Of course, there's more blame and faint praise to go around. As Royals fans following this wreck on a daily basis, we know the story. This team has a real life winning percentage of .244 but has probably played a little better than that. Then again, this is almost a mathematical guarantee. Given their run differential, they're probably something closer to a 12 win or even a 14 win team. Nevertheless, 45 days in, this team looks like it may be headed for the worst kind of history.