Late inning antics
By now you’ve probably heard about Miguel Olivo pinch hitting in the ninth. Two outs, two strikes and he plants one over the fence. You’ve probably also heard about Alex Gordon being intentionally walked and Jose Guillen making the Orioles pay for it.
These are resilient Royals. Down four runs, they started scoring. On top of that, they shut off the Baltimore offense. The score was 6-5 last night and the Orioles didn’t score after the fifth. It’s the second time over their last eight games to come from behind to finish off an opponent. In a wild ride last Sunday, the Royals mounted a seven run comeback to beat the Giants. Even two days ago, they wouldn’t stop. It wasn’t enough to beat the Cardinals, but they started digging out of a five run hole and never gave in.
MLB.com quoted last night’s starter Zack Greinke talking about the resilient Royals: “That’s what we’ve been doing lately. We get behind, and we don’t quit and we come back” Greinke said. “This is several games now where we’ve been behind by a bunch and still find a way to come back.”
Greinke’s right. The Royals have 11 come from behind wins this season.
Sunday marked the first time the Royals had lost back-to-back games since June 11. What did they do last night? They made sure it didn’t become a losing streak. And where? Baltimore of all places, this is the same city in which they had a nine game slide. That’s two Oriole streaks the Royals have broken up this year. The Royals snapped a 12 game-losing streak to the O’s earlier this season at Kauffman and now they are looking to build a winning streak of their own. Right now K.C.’s streak over Baltimore is at two.
The All-Star game is July 16, which is two weeks from today. Tomorrow night, balloting closes. Jose Guillen and Joakim Soria should get huge props for their play the last two months. They were both named Player and Pitcher of the Month for May and June.
Their stats speak for themselves. Guillen tied for third with the most hits in the American League during June. His doubles total has trailed off some of late, but he’s also dealing with some leg issues and he still hit .345 for the month with seven homers (top 10) and 25 RBI (also tied for third). In May, he tied for the lead in double with 11 and knocked in 11.
Soria, at a completely different position, may have been even more dominant. He’s making teams afraid to face him (though the Orioles will probably think twice about intentionally walking someone to get to Guillen in the future). Soria was second in saves in the American League for June (10). Hitters only batted .182 against him during the month. More impressively, in one month, he allowed just eight hits. Eight. May was seven (with a .163 average against him). He has 13 strikeouts in each of the last two months in 25 innings. He’s only given up five runs since the season started.
Notes from Trey Hillman’s press conference: DeJesus is out again tonight but may be ready for late-inning duty and will hopefully be back in the lineup tomorrow…On the Disabled List front: Leo Nunez has live batting practices scheduled this week and could be on a rehab assignment as soon as next week if all goes well…John Bale is progessing, but not as fast as Nunez. He’s still looking at being back sometime after the All-Star break… Here’s a fun stat for the day: The Wilmington Blue Rocks have the top four leaders in stolen bases for the Carolina league, being paced by Derrick Robinson who has 38 steals in 73 games (the highest number not owned by a Blue Rock; 19 steals by John Shelby of the Winston-Salem Warthogs, which is tied with Wilmington’s Chris McConnell).
A few TV clarifactions for you in case you were curious/didn’t know. As we mentioned yesterday, Saturday’s game will be on FSN-KC. It will be a makeup from a rainout on May 22 in Cleveland earlier this season. Royals Live will start at 5:30 with regular coverage at 6.
For Direct TV subscribers in the KC area straight from Geoff Goldman, FSN-KC Media Relations Director: DirecTV is changing its channel numbers for regional sports networks. Beginning Wednesday (July 2), DirecTV subscribers will find Kansas City Royals telecasts on a new channel – 672 (the old channel, through July 1, is 648).
According to information provided by DirecTV, viewers will be directed to the new channel number in the on-screen guide. High definition channel numbers will move with the standard def channel number (i.e. – Royals HD telecasts will be found on 672-1).
Here’s today’s Official Game Notes.