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Behind Hillman & Farnsworth, the Royals Blow it on Opening Day

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Bad decisions have a way of compounding. You sign Jose Guillen for all the wrong reasons, and a year later you're playing Mark Teahen at second base. You sign Horacio Ramirez and Sidney Ponson for depth, a comforting, though abstract concept, and a suddenly they're your #4 and #5 starters. Less comforting. You realize Ross Gload isn't the answer, so you decide you have to have Mike Jacobs. And on and on.

You sign Kyle Farnsworth to the worst contract of the winter (non-Ibanez division) and then, amazingly, you end up announcing that he'll be in the setup role over Juan Cruz, a demonstrably better pitcher.

So this one is a team effort.

Half of the "credit" goes to Dayton, and half to Hillman. Hillman, frankly, has shown that he can't be trusted to just do the generic, easy, thing. To be your standard issue blah twenty first century Manager Bot. Last year, we spent a month trying to be the '82 Cardinals because... because... well, something about Japan. Last year, we saw an extra month of TPJ's personal re-creation of the Deadball Era for way too long. Alex Gordon is seemingly the #7 hitter for life because he's more "comfortable" there. I mean, just look at Gordon, he looks like a guy with confidence problems, doesn't he? As much as a I rag on Hillman, even I wasn't making jokes about Farnsworth being the eighth inning guy after Cruz came in. I didn't want to kill my ethos by being too extreme. It's just a completely baffling decision. Honestly, it's akin to say, Bannister being named the #2 starter.

Maybe, if this game was played yesterday, we might have seen Soria in the eighth, another perfectly reasonable idea that was washed away by the bizarre Farnsworth move. Maybe Soria isn't physically ready for that. I don't know. All that matters is that it didn't happen. I'm also not sure why Meche didn't pitch the eighth himself. He was at, what? 91 pitches? Again, as with Soria, maybe physically, Meche isn't stretched out enough yet to do so. We're still left with why Cruz didn't start the inning and why he didn't finish it.

Bringing in Kyle Farnsworth was the wrong decision and it killed an otherwise wonderful day at the Cell.

Look, its just one game. Last year the Royals started 3-0 and it meant nothing. Two years ago the Royals punked the Red Sox on Opening Day, and it really meant nothing. The important thing is that the leadership team realizes, and quickly, that the bullpen alignment needs to change. And fast.

I wouldn't advise holding your breath.