Thanks to a dispiriting 11-6 loss to the Mariners, the Royals are now 8-6,and back in second place, continuing their unexpected early seasonwaltz with the White Sox. So much for grabbing a strangehold in The Battle for Grass Creek. Throwing last night's anomalous data out thewindow, what's stood out about this season has been the completelylopsided nature of the team's performance: essentially the Royals havehad the best pitching staff and the worst lineup in theAmerican League for two weeks.
On one hand, you could argue thatthey're fortunate to be 8-6, considering that the lineup has beenlimited to three runs or fewer five times already; or, alternatively,you might contend that in fact the team has missed a real opportunityto be 10-4, 11-3 or even better. Look at those aggregate numbers postedbelow for the previous game thread again, and remember, coming intothat game, the Royals had somehow lost five times. It'll be interestingto see what the reaction is, both on this site, and in the local media,if this split persists throughout the season. Suddenly, despite all theusual caveats we must unfortunately make, about it being early, itdoesn't quite look like it's going to take 95 wins to take the ALCentral. If that's the case, and the Royals finish around .500 with oneof the better pitching staffs in the league, then do we praise DaytonMoore, or decry the fact that he wasted an excellent pitching staff?
Of course, if Meche gets bombed again tonight, then suddenly the pitching staff won't look pristine -- as I stated before, I'm making the prediction that Meche hits the DL with some vague "soreness" by the end of this month -- and these strange, somewhat unimportant musings on hypothetical reactions to come will seem even more irrelevant. This has been an odd season thus far because it seems like the Royals have been alternating between little mini-streaks of complete dominance and incompetence. Then again, that may just be a function of over-analyzing and over-valuing every specific game, and you can cross-apply that to trying to get a hold on Hillman thus far. I wasn't thrilled with the two games he put in in Seattle.
On a happier note, there was a pleasing amount of feedback to the Royals Radio Affiliate Profile on Enid and Curtis Tucker of Enid Buzz.com was kind enough to answer a few more specific questions about Enid, the Royals, etc., which you can read here.