Sorry for the late post, but time slipped away. As it is, the Royals are leading 4-0 thanks to a David DeJesus triple, a Mike Aviles double and a Mark Teahen homer. Which flows perfectly into what we want to talk about tonight.
The Royals are playing some good baseball right now. They’ve won eight of their last ten and picked up three straight series wins in the process, including the sweep in St. Louis. The Royals are 9-3 against the National League this season after going 10-8 the last two seasons. We still have six games against the Senior Circuit.
Over this hot stretch the Royals have cut 4 games off their division deficit and with that we’re going to go around the horn…
Yesterday was a wild one. As we noted in this space, the Royals came back from a seven-run deficit. Only seven other times in team history have they been able to do that (six seven-run comebacks and a nine-run revival back in 1979).
On the other end of that stick, the Giants suffered their first seven-run collapse in eight years. The only reason, we even bring this up is because of the interesting coincidence involved here. In 2000, the Giants blew a pair of seven-run leads during the same week. One on June 28, a 17-13 final, and one on June 22, an 11-10 final. Yesterday’s date was, in fact, June 22, 2008. And the score, 11-10. Keep your eyes on the score tickers this weekend, the Giants play in Oakland on June 28, 2008.
Let’s talk about Joakim Soria. The kid is lights out. He’s picked up five saves during the Royals hot stretch.
He’s 20-of-21 in save situations and has a 1.32 ERA in 34 innings. That means only 5 runs have crossed the plate with Soria on the mound. That’s crazy-good. He’s got 35 punch outs. Normally strikeouts are compared to walks (Soria has walked only nine). Let’s try hits. Soria has allowed 18 hits. Opponents are hitting just .154 against him.
The San Francisco Chronicle had a story today about how they are happy the Padres left Soria off their 40-man roster before last season’s Rule 5 Draft. Well, so are we. Yesterday he became the ninth pitcher in team history to have a season with 20 or more saves (the 22nd time). And the last Royal to have 20 or more saves before the All-Star break? 2003 All-Star Mike MacDougal had 24. The Royals pre-All-Star record is 25 by Jeff Montgomery in 1993. We’ll say this, Soria’s got more than a chance to break it.
We’re welcoming two Royals’ alumni back during this series with Rockies Manager Clint Hurdle and Bench Coach Jamie Quirk in the visiting dugout this week in Kansas City…Notes from Trey Hillman’s pre-game press conference: Mark Grudzielanek is out tonight with a sore back and may be ready to go tomorrow…Also of note: Joel Peralta is back up from Omaha and Jeff Fulchino has been optioned…Hillman said: Fulchino did his job and he was not optioned because of poor performance, but after using so many pitchers in yesterday’s wild win, the bullpen was a little thin and needed help…Peralta is 1-0 with two saves and a 0.00 ERA (18.2 scoreless innings, 9 hits, 6 walks and 19 K’s) in 10 games over his two stints with Omaha .
The Community Relations department has been busy. Today they hosted a PLAY Clinic on the field here at “the K”. The event was co-hosted by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainer’s Society. With a goal of promoting exercise and a healthy lifestyle, members of the Royals Sports Medicine staff led the event, focusing on baseball fundamentals. They were joined by David DeJesus, Jose Guillen, Jimmy Gobble and Trey Hillman.
Also this week, the Royals will host a few baseball clinics and has big plans for the Royals off day.
Thursday will be the Diamond of Dreams event, which will be held on the field at Kauffman. Royals Charities will be raising money for The Dream Factory. Drinks, appetizers, player appearances, memorabilia auctions and a live band playing at second base are among the many events planned.
We’ll definitely have more on this event as the week progresses. And don’t forget about the Cardinals series this week. (How could you?) Plenty will be going on this weekend with giveaways, more silent auctions and Art Stewart’s Hall-of-Fame induction. Around the Horn will have an interview with the man behind all of the portraits you see in the Hall-of-Fame.
David DeJesus and Jose Guillen look on during a hitting drill.