THE weekend is here.
The Royals and the Redbirds. We swept them last week on their side of the state. They were missing a few key players who are back and looking for revenge this week. We’re ramping up to have a huge weekend here at the K. It’s the “Eye”-70 Series 2008 2.0, presented by Silverstein Eye Centers, and to get inside the match up, let’s go around the horn…
Gil Meche is on the hill tonight. Meche leads a Royals team that’s playing some of its best baseball of the season. They are still the hottest team in baseball, winning 10 of their last 11 (along with the Twins). The Royals and their division foes to the far North also share the distinction of the best interleague record in the Majors.
With one of their top twirlers on the mound, the Royals are looking for a season series win over the Cards and the positive end to this homestand. Meche’s strikeout numbers, a key to his success, have seen a jump in the last month. He’s punched out 51 batters in his 49 and two thirds innings, including 10 a few weeks back in Arizona. Over his last 11 starts, he has a 3.69 ERA.
He’s been solid of late and he will look to continue his run of strong starts tonight in his second career appearance against the Cards.
Tomorrow in front of an already sold out crowd, Mitchell Boggs (2-0, 5.40) goes against Kyle Davies (3-0, 3.12). Davies downed St. Louis last week with 7 strong innings of work. As a note to those lucky enough to have tickets, the Royals are asking everyone to be in there seats by 5:45 p.m. for the special pre-game ceremonies of Art Stewart’s Hall of Fame induction. Tomorrow, we’ll talk a little about Art and what he’s meant to this organization and Sunday we’ll have a full recap of the ceremony plus the second installment of Touch ‘em All, this time with Hall of Fame portrait artist John Martin.
Then on Sunday for the final game of the series and the nine-game homestand, Braden Looper (9-5, 4.22) draws the Royals daytime dominator, Brian Bannister (7-8, 4.47). Bannister is 5-1 during day games this season and opponents are batting .228 against him under the sun.
The Royals offense is here and in gear. They are hitting .278 over the last 13 games with 30 doubles, 2 triples and 15 home runs. Going homerless on Wednesday, the Royals have still hit 30 in their last 24 games and at least one in 10 of their last 13 contests. The team’s 47 extra-base hits over 13 games are tied for fifth in the Majors over that span.
Ross Gload, David DeJesus and John Buck all have longer hitting streaks coming into tonight’s game with DeJesus looking add on to his Major League leading .451 average with runners in scoring position. Only one other player (Cleveland’s Casey Blake at .415) in either league is hitting over .400 in that situation right now.
As we mentioned with the Rockies in town earlier this week, Hal McRae, a Royals Hall of Famer, is the Cards hitting coach (McRae wears No. 8 for the Cards but wore No. 11 here in KC)…Notes from Trey Hillman’s pre-game press conference: Mark Grudzielanek is making a return to the lineup after missing a few games with a sore lower back…Also of note: Jose Guillen is at DH tonight because of some leg trouble which has been bothering him off and on for a while…The Royals on-going chat series will have another installment on Tuesday. Royals’ Senior Director of Scouting, Deric Ladnier, will be online at 3 p.m. CT to take questions from fans.
Our Diamond of Dreams charity event took place last night. We’ll have specific figures as soon as we can about the attendance and the money that was raised for the Dream Factory, but we’d like to thank Dodge, the event’s primary sponsor along with Teva Neuroscience, Sliverstein Eye Centers, VML, Tiffany & Co., Sprint, Swiss Re, Fox Sports Net, HOK, Aramark, Better Ideas, Budweiser, C&C Produce, Glazer’s, Hitchin Post, Larry Moore, Miller Brewing Co., Pepsi, Shotbee Photography, Sysco Foods, The ZEROS, US Food Service, Village Gardens and all of the volunteers who helped. We’ll have a full report and pics up soon, so please check back.
Here’s today’s Official Game Notes.