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Game 67 Open Thread- Royals (18-48) at Astros (35-33)

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Good thing Clemens is coming back to those guys. The Royals cruised to a 7-2 victory last night, despite the awful scheduling MLB placed over them. Elarton got his revenge on all the haters in Houston, to the tune of a perfect game for 5 innings, and a final line of 6.0 IP: 4 Hs allowed, 0 walks and even 4 strikeouts. Ohh, and he hit a double as well.

Umm, have you checked out the Houston lineup lately? Did Allard Baird secretly oversee this team as well? Preston Wilson is a signing straight out of the Royals' playbook, and the Astros look to be well on their way to ruining Jason Lane after years of refusing to play him because his beard wasn't gray. Lane's completely cratered as a hitter, producing a season line (.209/.345/.403) in homage to Aaron Guiel. Add in non-hitters which the organization loves, like Everett, Taveras and Ausmus, and you've got a problem.

Sure, they're still loads better than the Royals, but that isn't really the standard is it?

But all in all, a nice outing from Elarton, despite the shakiness of the 6th, or the inability to pitch more than 6 innings for a worn out and not very good bullpen. Ohh well, a win's a win.

Offensively, All-Star choice Mark Teahen rebounded from a rough series in Anaheim with a triple, but the real hero was Sanders and his 3 hit, two double game. Hey, maybe he's not done after all! The Royals as a team pounded out 14 hits, including the 9 singles that really make the Royal-version of offense go. For good measure, the Royals even drew a walk. A walk.

But when Buddy's got the boys playing Buddyball, you have no chance, Houston. They ran into a Royal buzzsaw. And did anyone else notice Minky's pinch-hit single? He's now hitting .333 as a PH.

Tonight its another epic Royal-Astros matchup, pitting Bobby Keppel (0-2, 3.04 ERA) against some guy named Taylor Buchholz (3-6, 6.06 ERA). Buchholz is actually fairly strong in Houston, posting a 4.71 ERA there.

While we're here, is anyone in the National League any good? Just a strange grouping of teams in the NL the last few seasons, with two divisions frequently disintegrating into muddy bastions of mediocrity and no good teams.

Keppel, meanwhile, has yet to allow more than 4 earned runs this season, unfortunately, his worst outing was that said 4 run performance earlier this week against the Angels. As a starter, he's starting to slip into Gobble-as-a-starter category, with declining strikeout numbers (4 then 2 then 1) and rising walk totals (1 then 2 then 3). Hopefully he can reverse those trends tonight against those scruffy, veterany, wise and wizened old school Astros.

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