The Royals took 2 out of 3 against the Texas Rangers in the series. They now sit at 7-5 and are tied for 1st place in the division with the Tigers and White Sox.
1st game of the series featured Matt Harrison vs. Gil Meche. The Royals offense showed up in a big way as the Royals cruised to a big 12-3 win. They pounded out 19 hits including 4 doubles and 3 home runs. Teahen led the way with a 5 hit game but 6 other Royals had multi-hit games. As a team they drew 7 walks, struck out only 6 times and hit 7-21 with RISP. Not to be outdone by the offensive outburst, Meche was again brilliant throwing 6.0 innings of 6-hit shutout baseball. He struck out 6 and walked only 2. The only negative of the game was the 3.0 innings of work the bullpen put in. They allowed 6 hits, 3 runs, 3 home runs, no walks and struck out 3. Clearly they were pitching to contact which explains some of it but Doug Waechter and Horacio Ramirez were real hittable even considering the circumstances they were pitching in. Jamey Wright again threw the ball well in his 1.0 inning of work.
You don’t see it very often these days, but Zack Greinke and Kevin Millwood both threw complete games in the Royals 2-0 win. Greinke was absolutely brilliant going the distance allowing only 7 hits, no walks and struck out 10 Rangers on the night. I applaud Trey Hillman for letting Greinke pitch the 9th inning, and for sticking with Zack when he had a little bit of trouble finishing the game. Millwood held the Royals offense to only 5 hits while walking 3 and striking out 3. Butler’s double in the 6th to drive in Crisp was all Greinke needed. Olivo contributed an insurance run with his solo home run in the 7th. Alberto Callaspo was the only Royal to have a multi-hit game going 2 for 3. As a team the Royals were 2-7 with RISP. This night, however, was all about Zack Greinke.
Things were going so well heading into Sunday’s game as Kyle Davies matched up with Vicente Padilla. It became apparent early in the game that Davies did not have his best stuff, but he still pitched well enough to deserve a win. He allowed 3 hits, 3 runs, 5 walks, and struck out 8. When Davies left the game after pitching 6.0 innings, the Royals had a 5-3 lead. Some bad bullpen work and a Mike Jacobs error in the 8th resulted in a 5-5 tie game. Kyle Farnsworth threw 2 pitches to Michael Young in the 9th inning. His first pitch was a ball, and his second pitch went for a game-winning home run for the Rangers as the Royals lost 6-5. The offense did a decent job in the game hitting .273 with 2 home runs and 2 walks, but it wasn’t enough. DeJesus and Jacobs were the only Royals to have multi-hit games on the day. It is hard to get mad at Jacobs for his defensive play since he did hit a 2-run home run in the game, but the Royals need to do something late in games if Jacobs starts the game at 1B. My preference at this point, since Gordon is out and Teahen is needed at 3B, would be to play Billy Butler as the everyday 1B and DH Jacobs. Butler already seems to be better at the position despite having very limited in game experience there. Jacobs, for his part, doesn’t seem to mind being the DH and the role suits him. It is easy and justified, however, to get mad at Farnsworth. The guy’s fastball is straight as an arrow and anytime he enters a game with any sort of pressure, he implodes. If this were a new trend in his career, it would be reasonable to think he could pitch his way out of his funk. Unfortunately for us, this is a several year trend that is continuing to unfold. Unless they want to keep blowing games, Farnsworth needs to be moved to mop-up duty until Bob McClure can get him to make some sort of positive adjustments.
The starting rotation threw 21.0 innings with a 1.29 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 24 SO.
In 5.0 innings of work the bullpen posted a 9.00 ERA, 2.20 WHIP, and 5 SO. They also gave up 4 home runs.
For the series the Royals hit .311 (33/106) while drawing 12 walks and striking out 17 times. They left 20 men on base while scoring 19 runs. In the series they hit 5 2B, 0 3B, and 6 HR.
Like the Indians in the previous series, the Rangers pitching is bad so what the Royals did on offense is hard to evaluate. Are they getting better or just feasting on bad pitching? Unfortunately we won’t find out the answer in the next series either since they again play the Indians. Still they have gone from .188 to .247 to .311 in their last three series so they are getting results regardless of the factors.
The mark of this series was the work of Greinke, Meche, and Davies. Coming into the series, the Rangers were averaging 6.5 runs per game. The Royals staff, bullpen included, held Texas to 9 runs total in the three games.
The Royals have Monday off before beginning a 3 game series with the last place 4-9 Cleveland Indians. They again need to take 2 out of 3 against an inferior team.
4/21 Aaron Laffey (0-0, 3.38) vs. Sidney Ponson (0-1, 4.50)
4/22 Cliff Lee (1-2, 6.75) vs. Brian Bannister (0-0, 0.00)
4/23 Anthony Reyes (1-0, 5.73) vs. Gil Meche (1-0, 2.25)