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Odalis is Hungry Like the Wolf (37-69)

THe debuts of the new Royals didn't go exactly as planned, as the Royals dropped their third straight game last night before 11,000 captivated fans at the K.

Odalis Perez labored through an uneven 4 innings on Tuesday night, allowing 2ER (3 Hs, 2 BBs, 1 HR) but also managing 4 strikeouts. One of the hopeful transformations taking place is the move towards a staff that isn't in the bottom 5 every year in strikeouts. If we can tighten up the defense, a moderately high-strikeout staff could really have a cascade effect, dramatically improving the Royals run prevention.

Well, he looks like a Royal.

Right now, the Royals rank dead last in strikeouts, notching only 551 Ks, 62 behind the next worst team, which is Cleveland at 613. Surprisingly, if you look for an explanation of the White Sox ills, you should note that they're only 28th in baseball, with 614 strikeouts. As they almost always do, the Cubs are tops in baseball at the moment, with 786 Ks. For the curious, the Cubs have led the majors in strikeouts every season since 2003.

From there, the Royals got OK work from newbie Scott Dohmann, and Joe Nelson (1.25 ERA) worked another 1.2 innings of shutout ball to keep the game in reach. Yes, the Gobbler allowed a run in the 8th, but all in all, you take 2 runs allowed from your pen when the starter leaves after the 4th inning. Needless to say, we all remember what happened in the 10th.

Offensively, Mark Teahen continues to be one of the best hitters on the planet (Teahen for All-Star!), going 3-5 with a double. His season line is now at .282/.360/.518 and he's raised his OPS .072 points since July 22nd (he's now at .878). I guess I should also mention Berroa, who hit homer #7 in the hopeless bottom of the 10th.

And of course Sanders, who in his first game since July 15th went 2-4 with a homer 302 on the career), becoming the only active player with double-digit homers in his last 15 seasons.

Futility Watch:

Nationals: 48-59
Indians: 46-59
Devil Rays: 44-63
Cubs: 44-62
Pirates: 40-67

Royals: 37-69

Current season projection from BP's Playoff Odds Report: 58-104.