Baseball, July 4th, it works. I'm not exactly sure why, or if this strange union of tradition and memory to a somewhat silly, screwed up modern game will last my time; but I also can't help feel that something will be lost if its not. Whats the alternative for the endless summer, NASCAR or soccer?
Last night was a clash of cultures, a collision of worlds and a conflict of character. The Good Royals, the pesky, good-hitting, OK pitching team that we've seen since the trip to Orange County in mid-June was around for the first 8 innings. Elarton was Elarton: he kept the hits down, didn't strike out anyone (OK one guy) and was burned by two homers. The Royals endured Santana, getting him to 103 pitches in the 6th inning and taking the lead off the Twins' bullpen. Hitting the 8th, all was good, with our boys holding a 5-3 lead.
The top of the 8th was the Bad Royals. The bumbling, error prone team that lets bad things happen to them by loading up on little mistakes.
Here's the sequence:
Walk (Elarton leaves, Wellemeyer in)
Walk Joe Mauer
Cuddyer FC to second, runners move to first & third
Bell brings in Sisco to face Morneau
Morneau singles, Cuddyer to second, 5-4
Burgos in, Sisco out
Runners move to 2nd & 3rd on wild pitch, then Cuddyer scores on errant throw by Buck to 3rd, 5-5
Torii Hunter hit by pitch
Shannon Stewart walked
Morneau scores on another wild pitch
Not the best way to give up a lead.Uggg
Let us pause and collect ourselves with some patriotic poetry:
Walt Whitman- "I Hear America Singing"
I HEAR America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deck-
hand singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing
as he stands,
The wood-cutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the morn-
ing, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work,
or of the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day--at night the party of young
fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.
So what did we learn last night? Well, Buddy Bell needs to start using Sisco differently for one. Andy's got a 7.79 ERA, and really hasn't strung together three straight good performances yet. Understandably, Bell doesn't have many options out there, but he's got to try something. Of course, we're already seeing Elmer and Burgos nearly every day, and Burgos hasn't exactly been great either. The good news is that Mac the Ninth is starting to pitch well in the minors, and will hopefully be back soon. Beyond that, Mike Wood went on the DL today, and will be replaced by Luke Hudson in the rotation.
Despite Wood's limitations, I don't see how this is a positive move. But, we'll see.
Today's game is #82. At the halfway point, the Royals are 27-54 and on pace for 54 wins. Its not good, but it looked much much worse for a loooong time.
The Royals send fan favorite and recently married (OK, in the offseason) Jimmy Gobble (2-1, 3.67 ERA) to the mound for his second start of the season. Gobble's been (dare I say it) very good as a low to medium leverage reliever, even getting almost a strikeout an inning, which would have been almost unimaginable two years ago. Gobble will be countered by Boof Bonser who's also 2-1, with a 4.68 ERA.
Post your in game comments here. And remember safety first with fireworks.