Unless the Pirates or Cubs are in town, the Royals face a talent disadvantage every night. Through 90 plus games, there have probably been less than 15 matchups in which the Royals definitively threw a better lineup/pitcher combination onto the field. As such, the team's season -- at least in my memory -- has been more a season of despair than true heartbreak. If you truly suck, your failure's less a problem of method than of constitution. In the Falklands War, did it truly matter if the Argies lost because of their WWII-era Air Force or because their conscripts were ill-trained or even because the British sank the Belgrano outside the combat zone? Hell no.
Similarly, beyond an insane week when Buddisimo ordered about ten sac bunts in four games (the Angels series) I've left the tactical nitpicking to someone else. Nevertheless, call it chance, call it a trend or call it a curse (hey, we're in the Sports Fan Self-Indulgence Capital this week) but the Royals have started losing in a familiar way: they're blowing big leads.
July 13th @ Detroit: Royals lose a 4-0 4th inning lead. Lose 6-4.
July 14th @ Detroit: Royals lose a 4-0 2nd inning; 6-3 5th inning lead. Lose 10-9.
July 17th @ Boston: Royals lose a 4-0 7th inning lead. Lose 5-4.
In all three cases, the Royals lost to a wildly superior team, on the road. Not even close talent-levels actually. Beyond DeJesus, the Royals don't have a single player that would or should crack the Red Sox lineup regularly. And considering the irrational love for Coco Crisp, David would probably struggle for playing time himself. Moreover, the three games are actually fairly dissimilar in terms of execution: the July 13 loss was a Tiger lead by the 5th, the loss on the 14th was a back-and-forth game that featured one of the clutchest hits of the season (David's two-out, bases loaded double in the 8th) while tonight's loss was a more typical stomach-punch loss.
There aren't really valuable lessons to be learned here, beyond broader reassertions of what we've known all along: this team can score runs every so often, but can't pitch worth a lick. Luke Hudson, Joel Peralta, Andy Sisco and Todd Wellemeyer threw 8 innings tonight at Fenway, if anything we should be pleased to have allowed only 5 runs.
Hey, anyone wanna guess what Buddy's post-game quote was?
"Man, that was a tough one. We've lost alot of games like this. But Boston is a solid, veteran team, and they know how to win. Hopefully, we're learning that."If you chose the second quote (where he throws Peralta under the bus) you win a signed Juan Gonzalez Royals jersey.
"We just can't seem to make a pitch when we need to, he has been throwing good for us. He went 3-2 on Mirabelli. He had to come in there."
One last thing. Someone needs to send David Ortiz and the Rest of the World to seperate showers. I can't take the coverage of this guy anymore. The festival-like atmosphere after he stole a base in the 8th inning was sickening. I know the Royals are the Garden City Junior College to Boston's Harvard, but damn, this isn't little league. Again, its the same problem with the clutch mythology and the steroid's hysteria (as Joe Sheehan has religiously pointed out): the double-standard is so thorough that you can see it like a phone-book. Some guys are good guys, likeable, even lovable. Some guys are cheaters, chokers and Satanic representations of all we hate. Often, they've done the same things, performed exactly the same and said the same non-quotes postgame. Terrell Owens is Public Enemy Number One for calling attention to himself but Big Papi is just a huggable demiGod.
Someday I'll stop caring. Lets not blow a 4-0 lead tomorrow, better yet, lets send the Red Sox into second place.
Seriously, this paddy-cake-esque joking around isn't cool. We're being disrespected.