White Sox Series Summary (4/7-4/9)


This afternoon the Royals completed their series against the White Sox and walked away with a 2-1 record to start the season.  That record is enough to have the Royals in first place in the division for the time being.

Tuesday 4/7
Royals lost 2-4 on the back of Hillman’s managerial gaffe bringing in Farnsworth for the 8th inning.  Hillman amplified his mistake by keeping Farnsworth in the game to face the LH hitting Jim Thome with runners on 1st and 3rd.  Sadly we knew the ending of that story before it was written.  The duo of Hillman and Farnsworth cost the Royals a game right out of the gate.  It was a game that they could not afford to give away in light of who their 4th and 5th starters are.

Wednesday 4/8
Royals win 2-0 largely on the arm of Zack Greinke.  Hillman obviously learned from his mistake the previous day.  Cruz came into the game in the 7th and more importantly was sent back out to pitch the 8th.  Cruz and Soria combined for 3 innings of work allowing no hits and no walks.

Thursday 4/9
Royals win 2-1 again on the strength of their starting pitching.  Hillman again avoided Farnsworth in the 8th inning and instead went to Ron Mahay who pitched a clean inning.  Soria made the 9th interesting.  His curveball was missing badly so Soria simply went to his slider instead to end the game with a strikeout.  Having a closer who can legitimately throw four pitches for strikes is a luxury few teams have.  Fortunately for us the Royals are one of them.

Series Impression:
The starting pitching was almost flawless.  Meche, Greinke and Davies combined to throw 20 innings allowing only 13 hits, 1 run, 5 walks and struck out 21.  Those stats are good for a ridiculous 0.45 ERA and 0.90 WHIP.

Their hot Arizona bats went silent in the cold weather of Chicago.  The Royals collectively hit .214 in the series.  The weather and the quality opposing pitching make their .214 average understandable, but what is concerning is the fact that the Royals struck out 31 times in their 103 at bats.

The bats better come to life this weekend against the Yankees.  We will now be subjected to the starting antics of Sidney Ponson and Horacio Ramirez on Friday and Saturday.

Ponson starting the home opener got me to thinking about the state of the Royals.  I have come to the conclusion that it would be better for the team and organization if Ponson pitches terribly tomorrow.

My reasoning is Livan Hernandez.  Last year the Twins saw fit to include Hernandez in their starting rotation.  In his opening start on 3/31 the Twins won 3-2 against the Angels.  In that game, Livan threw 7.0 innings allowing only 2 runs.  After his first 10 starts Hernandez had a respectable ERA of 3.88.  It was respectable enough that the Twins kept running Hernandez out every fifth day even though the wheels had come off.  By his 20th start his ERA had ballooned to 5.44 but based on his first 10 starts the Twins kept running him out here every fifth day.  By his 25th start his ERA was up to 6.07.  It took another 6 starts after that before the Twins finally pulled Livan Hernandez and put Francisco Liriano into the rotation.

The moral of this story is that if Ponson pitches well to start the season, the Royals will assuredly continue to run him out every fifth day like the Twins did with Hernandez.  The longer Ponson stays in the rotation, the more games the Royals have a higher probability of losing.  The more losses that pile up the less likely it is that Kansas City could win the division.  In 2008 Livan Hernandez’s good 10 starts cost the Twins the division because they delayed bringing up Liriano.  Had he been brought up earlier they likely would have had the division in hand and would not have needed to play a one game playoff for the division title.