Breaking out the brooms?
Two games done. Two wins in the bag. After the team’s second late-inning win in a row, Royals fans in St. Louis and around the world, need to break out the brooms in hopes of a sweep today.
KC is now 6-2 in Interleague play this season and 8-8 in June with 11 games left, 10 of which are against National League opponents. Last season the Royals went 15-12 in June and 10-8 against the Senior Circuit.
But back to the task at hand – sweeping St. Louis. The last time the Royals were in position to sweep the Cardinals was in 2006, when Ambiorix Burgos and Luke Hudson won two straight in St. Louis. The Royals only sweep of the Cards was in 2001 in Kansas City.
With that said, let’s see how the Royals have been doing it and go around the horn…
Alex Gordon’s go-ahead homer last night was the Royals 50th long ball of the season. Gordon’s homer came just one batter after David DeJesus parked his eighth of the season to tie the game at two.
If you’ll recall, Tuesday night Mike Aviles put the Royals on top with a homer. Sunday, DeJesus hit his first career grand slam and Saturday, the Royals knocked three over the fence. They have lived by the homer lately. In the last 17 games, the Royals have homered 24 times, failing to hit balls out of the park only two times.
In contrast, the Royals hit only 26 homers in their first 55 games. During the first 55, the Royals were able to homer in back-to-back games just three times. During this homer happy run they had a streak of homering in five straight, then six straight and are now riding a four-game homer streak.
Despite the important homers, lock down pitching has been the story of this series. Kyle Davies allowed one run over seven in game one and Brian Bannister earned his first nighttime win since August 28, 2007 last night. Bannister allowed two runs in seven innings, keeping the Royals close enough to strike late.
Joakim Soria has been other worldly this season and earned his 17th save of the season in 18 tries. Two nights. Two 1-2-3 innings. And two saves. Soria shut the Cards down after Ron Mahay and Ramon Ramirez combined on a scoreless eighth.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals’ rotation has been in flux, flip-flopping their starters for the first two games of the series. Now they have changed their probable starter for the second time for today’s game. Brad Thompson (1-1, 4.58) will now take the mound in place of Anthony Reyes. Reyes was slotted for the start on Tuesday after ex-Royal Todd Wellemeyer was scratched due to elbow inflammation. The injury bug has certainly bit St. Louis this year.
Jose Guillen recorded his sixth outfield assist and turned his second double play this season, helping the Royals to a win despite ending an 11-game hitting streak…John Buck has been the man with runners in scoring position this season, hitting .426, which is tops in the Majors for hitters with a minimum of 45 at-bats in that situation… Prior to this series, the last series loss for the Cardinals was May 13-15…They had won or split nine straight series before the Royals came to town.
As we posted yesterday, a lot of Royals minor leaguers made their professional debuts with the Rookie Leagues on Tuesday night. Some of those players were drafted just a few weeks ago in the 2008 June Free Agent Draft.
Late Tuesday, the Royals announced southpaw Mike Montgomery signed and is heading for the Arizona Rookie League which will begin play on Sunday. Montgomery was the 36th overall pick and the top pitcher selected by the Royals. The new Royal is 6 feet 5 and 190 pounds and possesses a mid-90s fastball.
To date, the Royals have signed 28 of 51 picks from the 2008 draft, including seven of their top 10 selections and 21 of the top 25.
Out of Left Field
Because sometimes when you throw the ball around the horn, it ends up in left field. The Media Relations department recently noticed that two Royals associates would form a very apropo name if they were to get married. Kasey Schweitzer, the Royals Coordinator of Game Entertainment, and Vic Royal, the Royals Manager of Creative Services, would make the perfect couple name-wise. Why? Because, if she chose to, Kasey’s name would become Kasey Royal. Get it? How perfect is that? Too bad Kasey just got married last October to former KU baseball player Jared Schweitzer and Vic has been happily married to Connie Royal for several years.
Today’s starting lineup
Remember, today’s a day game. 1:15 PM CT start in St. Louis.
And here’s the link to the Royals official game notes, which should be up about an hour and a half before the game.
Let’s use those brooms and get our fifth straight win in the process.