The win-loss number is starting to get ugly again, as the Royals inch closer to being 30 games under .500. With the Marlins and Pirates each playing better baseball of late, the Royals are now the only team still stuck in the teens, and it doesn't look like they'll be at 20 wins for a very long time.
Maybe my memory is shotty, but I can't recall too many loses like the one we saw last night this season. Usually the Royals fall behind for good by the 5th or 6th inning (I wonder why Starting Pitchers??) and then cruise through the last 4 innings impersonating the Boston Media's impersonation of A-Rod. Last night was different, and predictably a crueler way to go down: watching Texas score 4 runs in the 9th before an angry 11,246 at the K.
To be honest, it wasn't a particularly well played game by either team: the Royals ground into three double-plays, the Rangers two, which only partly stemmed the tide of runners left on base by both teams. Keppel -- who's season ERA is now at 2.11 -- was effective in an almost passive way through 8 innings: only two walks, no homers allowed, let the Royal defense and the inherent difficulty of stringing together hits do the rest. Everything was going according to plan until the 9th, before the predictably meltdown ocurred.
After Keppel allowed a leadoff single to Blalock the wheels completely came off. Enter Burgos, exit chance to win. After a single-strikeout-HBP sequence the Rangers had the bases loaded with one out. Burgos scored a victory in getting Kinsler to fly out, albeit its status as a sac fly. The true awfulness was allowing a game-tying two-out single to Rod #(*&# Barajas (a career .236/.279/.405) hitter. Just terrible.
So for no clear reason Bell took Burgos out of the game, brought in Dessens and watched Elmer immediately give up a double to Gary Matthews Jr.
Isn't it wonderful how we've managed to thoroughly ruin Ambiorix Burgos in less than 100 big-league innings? Here's his month-by-month ERA:
For the season, he's at 7.90 and is allowing a walk (17) or homer (7) just about every other inning (27). Sure, he's been a little hit unlucky behind a bad Royals defense, but clearly he's been less than effective.
As for Keppel, its all a matter of perspective. On one hand, we've found a competent innings eater (at least for the time being) who's not putting himself in bad positions (only 5 walks, two homers allowed) on the mound. He's now thrown 21.1 innings of 2.11 ball, helped a bit by a low BAA of .247 which will inevitably go up a bit as time goes on. So, it is what it is: a young but not young guy who's bounced around and been discarded by a few teams now pitching the 20 innings of his life. As we began, one on hand, this is a great thing, and stands as possibly a kind of posthumous tribute to Allard's ability to dumpster dive. Allard was great at finding guys off the street and turning them into competent players (Ibanez, Guiel etc). But, on the other hand, its a fairly large indictment of the organization when Bobby Keppel is better than anything you've been able to come up with.
And so it goes. For one fan's reaction, check out GrimsleyFan's Diary on "The Royal Way".
Futility Watch: Through 57 Games
2006 Royals: 14-43