As we eagerly await the resumption of the old Brewers-Royals American League rivalry, the news this afternoon is that the Royals have signed John Thomson to a one-year contract. (Don't call him "Thompson", the Thomsons and the Thompsons don't see eye-to-eye on a lot of things, this goes back to the sixteenth century, when the Thompses sided with the Holy Roman Empire, while the Thoms aligned themselves with the Hapsburgs.) Perhaps most importantly, something about the Thomson signing pushed the heretofore mysterious and straight-laced annoymous writer behind the team's official front office blog over the edge:
As for tonight's game, it'll be started -- as you know doubt already know -- by the man who brought Wednesday's classic to an abrupt end with his fifth pitch to Ryan Ludwick in the 14th inning. Interestingly, skipping away from Jorge de la Rosa (4-8, 5.33 ERA) for a second, Buddy Bell cited Royal passivity as the culprit behind the offensive shutdown in extra innings Wednesday night:
What game was he watching?
Perhaps this is just a question of definitions, as "aggressive", especially in the world of jocktalk, can mean just about anything I suppose. Nevertheless, if Bell seems to think that the Royals were passive or overly patient at the plate, then I think he's mistaken.
Cardinal Pitchers in Ex. Innings Wed.
-Izzy: 8 batters faced, 41 total pitches (5.125 P/PA)
-Cate: 6 batters faced, 20 total pitches (3.333 P/PA)
-Wells: 8 batters faced, 30 total pitches (3.75 ERA)
That data for Wells is also including an intentional walk to Mark Teahen. In a 14 inning game started by Todd Wellemeyer, the Royals drew one non-intentional walk and struck out 11 times, so maybe he's trying in his own Buddy-way to complain about strikeouts. Still, I'm not sure what conception of aggressiveness is an answer here.
To return to tonight, the matter at hand is the question of George of the Rose's ability to be a functional major league starter. As Bob Dutton so wonderfully put it, Rosey's on a month-long slide from "reliable starter to ragamuffin". Meanwhile, the Brewers counter with our old league-average, robotically consistent friend Jeff Suppan (7-7, 4.69 ERA).
Incidentally, "ragamuffin" is a very old word. The earliest known usage is by Langland -- "ragomoffyn" actually -- in Piers Plowman back in 1393. While Langland was using the word to describe a demon, as a noun for "a ragged, dirty, disreputable man" ragamuffin shows up as early as 1581. In Dekker and Webster's The Famous History of Sir Thomas Wyatt (1607), we get the line "What set of Villaines are you, you perpetuall Ragamuffins?"
Be us ragamuffins or not, clearly, we'll cherish our memories of tonight's game well into our dotages.