Of last night's game, the less said the better. It was essentially the 2007 season writ small: non-functioning offense, good starting picthing, horrendous relief pitching. Loss.
Bell's lay-down lineup -- in deference to the immortal Ho' Ramirez apparently -- didn't do the Royals any favors, especially the decision to sit Mark Teahen. Not finding a place in the lineup for Esteban German (now a career .302/.388/.412 hitter) wasn't particularly helpful either.
The problem of course is that the Royals have an oddly composed roster, which can lead to odd things like Jason LaRue playing 7 innings at third base. Worse still, none too many of the overlapping, defensively challenged parts can actually hit (and German isn't trusted with his glove). With a sick fascination I've watched Bell trot out almost every lineup (20 total) and batting order (22 total) mathematically possible through the first 23 games. Honestly, I love it, and wish he would become even more creative/random. Still, it doesn't matter much when the lineup is full of out-machines.
Small Sample Size Horror Theatre
-Ryan Shealy: .096/.172/.173 (really glad Sports Weekly immortalized me with a picture of Shealy with the caption "Blogger likes Shealy")
-Alex Gordon: .153/.282/.278
-Tony Pena: .207/.253/.317 (Jalepena's got a fighting chance to lead the AL in outs)
-Jason LaRue: .111/.175/.194
-Emil Brown: .190/.224/.238 (glad you spent the offseason bitching about being disrespected, Emil!!)
And this list leaves out Mike Sweeney (.258/.333/.371) and Ross Gload (.255/.309/.431) who at least have passable batting lines -- well, at least in a Royals context. I'll admit it, I thought Gload was a pointless pickup. Little did I know Shealy would fall off the face of the Earth... I'm not sure if we should give Dayton Moore credit for this, however, seeing as how Shealy was one of the showcase moves. Hmmm...
Of course, the story tonight is Meche's return to Seattle. In a shocking development, Meche has told Chris Hester of MLB.com that he's "looking forward to it." Meanwhile, Dutton's story takes a different angle. No hard feelings, sure. But Meche simply felt the need for
cash, cold, hard, cash rotational and organizational devotion:
"I needed to be the guy," he admitted, "and that’s created a different mind-set for me as far as being a pitcher. I’m not trying to overpower anybody any more."
Does that really make sense? I have no doubt Meche is speaking from some version of "the heart", but its quotes like these that make me cast a wary eye towards the proliferating pseudoscience of sports pyschology in all its forms. That last sentence could have ended completely differently ("I'm confident that I can overpower guys now"), and it would have made as much sense.
Seattle, not generally thought of as a insanely crude sports town, has a surprisingly crass history with regards to returning prodigals. In 2001 Arod was greeted with boos, numerous signs and the inevitable tool-in-the-stands-throwing-fake-money-around. Still, the Meche signing is of a different order of magnitude, although perhaps equally foolhardy. At the moment, after glancing at the Seattle side of things, I don't think Gil should have to omuch to fear.
The important thing is beating the Mariners, and keeping our rightful place as the dominant partner in this great rivalry. We cannot lose fans in the 1,800 mile stretch of land between KC and Seattle. They'll certainly be watching tonight, especially the children.
THINK OF THE CHILDREN, BUDDY!!!