July 2008

Final Game before the All-Star break

Walkoff DeJesus.jpgCouple notes:
David DeJesus delivered with a walk-off game winner last night. DeJesus hit the first pitch he saw from Brandon Morrow 371 feet into the Royals’ bullpen. Joey Gathright scored and then the Royals mobbed DeJesus.

It was the Royals first walk-off since April 19, 2005 when Alberto Castillo hit one against Cleveland. And for DeJesus it was his 10th homer of the year, a new career high. His previous high was nine in 2005.

Mark_Grudzielanek_2000_hit_0942.jpgNot to be overshadowed, Mark Grudzielanek connected for hits number 1,999 and 2,000 in his first two at-bats last night. Around the Horn covered his milestone some already and for you stat geeks, expect a full break down later this week with regular season play at a halt.

The Royals will be presenting Joakim Soria with an All-Star jersey. But Soria isn’t the only Royal who will be in New York. Director of Community Relations Ben Aken has already been in the Big Apple for a couple of days. He’s working with Major League Baseball’s community relations staff and was the only team representative chosen to work the game.

Vice President of Communications and Broadcasting Mike Swanson hopped a plane today to head to New York. He’ll be working in the press box and helping with the Media Relations staff to support the huge media contingent covering the game. So congratulations go out to both Aken and Swanson.    

Today’s Lineup:

DeJesus CF
Aviles SS
Teahen RF
Guillen LF
Grudzielanek 2B
Gordon 3B
Butler DH
Gload 1B
Buck C

Davies P

Here’s today’s Official Game Notes.

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2,000 for Grud

Mark_Grudzielanek_2000_hit_8570.jpgMark Grudzielanek singled in his first two at-bats, collecting career hit No. 2,000 on the second pitch he saw in his second at-bat.

Mark_Grudzielanek_2000_hit_8571.jpgHe is the 251st player in Major League history to reach 2,000 hits and the 18th active player.

Mark_Grudzielanek_2000_hit_0948.jpgHe is the sixth player to reach 2,000 in a Royals’ uniform, following George Brett, Hal McRae, Lee May, Amos Otis and Frank White who was the last to accomplish the feat on September 11, 1990.

Mark_Grudzielanek_2000_hit_8601.jpgAccording to Stats Inc., entering today, 13,098 players had recorded at least one hit in the Majors. That doesn’t include Seattle’s Tug Hulett who got his first big league hit tonight.

Mark_Grudzielanek_2000_hit_0942.jpgGrudzielanek has played for five different organizations, collecting 553 hits with Montreal (1995-1998), 673 hits with the Dodgers (1998-2002), 230 hits with the Cubs (2003-2004), 155 hits with St. Louis (2005), and 389 hits with Kansas City (2006-present).

Thumbnail image for Mark_Grudzielanek_2000_hit_8626.jpgMike Aviles congratulates Grudzielanek after the end of the inning (Grud was thrown out at second on a double play).

Grud’s first hit was on May 4, 1995 in the bottom of the 10th inning versus the Mets, when he doubled off lefty Mike Remlinger.

Grudzielanek went 2-for-3 against Seattle lefty Jarrod Washburn and is hitting .391 (25-for-66) against southpaws this season.

 

 

Mark_Grudzielanek_2000_hit_0956.jpgGrudzielanek’s two hits give him 29 multi-hit games this season and 564 during his career.

Big congratulations go out to Grud and a big thank you to team photographer Chris Vleisides.

Around the Horn purposely did not mention Grud today to hopefully lift the jinx. We’d like to think we had a little part to play in tonight’s big moment for him. (kidding) But really, Grudzielanek’s first hit of the night snapped a 0-for-7.

 

 

 

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Christmas in July – Game 2 vs. Seattle

Just a couple notes: Good win last night for Luke Hochevar…Joakim Soria tied a pre All-Star Break franchise record with his 25th save in his 27th try. Jeff Montgomery had 25 in 28 opportunities in 1993.

Tonight’s Lineup:

DeJesus CF
Aviles SS
Teahen RF
Guillen DH
Grudzielanek 2B
Gordon 3B
Buck C
Gload 1B
German LF

Meche P

Here’s today’s Official Game Notes.

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The most exciting play in baseball

It happened again last night. Mark Teahen can motor around those bases. He has a pair of inside-the-park homers this season. Teahen’s gallop around the base paths was the icing on the cake for a come-from-behind win over the Sox.

A lot of plays in baseball can be exciting. Around the Horn double plays are a favorite here, for obvious reasons. Triple plays are much rarer and maybe more exciting.

7-11 Teahen.jpgAround the Horn did a little informal Internet research today, scouring a few Internet message boards, random polls and listening to some talk radio and the consensus is in on baseball’s most exciting play. To find out what we found, let’s go Around the Horn…

First
The common theme for the most exciting play was quick action. Close tags, snap throws, quick thinking in tight games and late innings were present in almost every answer Around the Horn found. Teahen’s journey last night provided a little of all of that.

During the eighth inning, with Jose Guillen on at second after doubling Mike Aviles home for the go-ahead run, Teahen laced a 3-2 pitch into the right-center gap that bounced to the wall. Guillen scored easily. Teahen got on his horse (we love that phrase!). He said he was looking for a triple. So did some of the White Sox fielders.

When Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski tagged Teahen on the forearm, it was just after the Royals’ right fielder touched home. And the crowd exploded.

In a matter of five batters and almost no time, the Royals scored four runs and were set to win the game. After all, we have an All-Star named Joakim Soria to bring in for the ninth.

Teahen’s inside-the-parker was his second this season and the second of his career. His first was May 27 when the Twins were in town. The last Royal hit a pair in a season was Brian McRae in 1992. Willie Wilson holds the Royals inside-the-park records with 13 during his career and five in 1979 alone. So Teahen has some running to do.

But what does he think about them?

To quote MLB.com: “They’re starting to get kind of boring,” Teahen deadpanned.

For some fun stats about inside-the-park homers, check out Baseball Almanac.

Second
Not to be overlooked in last night’s eighth inning heroics is Jose Guillen. The Royals slugger had a hand in two of the runs the team scored. He has 22 go-ahead RBI which is first in the American League (tied with Texas’ Josh Hamilton). San Diego’s Adrian Gonzalez has 24 RBI to lead the Majors, with Guillen and Hamilton tied for second. Hamilton and Gonzalez are heading to New York next week.

His RBI-double was his 29th, which is fourth in the Majors and it came with two outs. Guillen has been exceptional with two outs, knocking in 29 RBI with two men down. That’s third in the A.L. He’s also tied for third in the League with 65 total RBI.

Short
The Royals have snagged two pitchers in the last few weeks off waivers with Robinson Tejeda already making a difference in the bullpen and now lefty Josh Newman being assigned to Omaha today after Colorado put him on waivers…Zack Grienke, who sits at 104 K’s, is the 13th pitcher in Royals history to top 100 strikeouts before the All-Star break(he’s 10th on the list and Dennis Leonard holds the record with 133 in 1977)…Notes from Trey Hillman’s pre-game press conference: Hillman and his staff have already started evaluating the first half of the season. They had a three-hour meeting last Saturday in Tampa to begin the process…Mark Grudzielanek when 0-for-4 last, still leaving him two hits shy of 2,000. Around the Horn blames itself for jinxing him with yesterday’s post. Our bad, Grud.

Third
Limited spots remain for the Royals charity golf tournament. It will be held on August 7 at The National in Parkville, Mo.

7-11 Hats off.jpgTwo more games follow tonight for the “Hats Off” weekend. That also means two more games of relief support and one more night of discounted “relief tickets.”  Make it a point to get out here (if you can) and support your fellow Midwesterners in need.

Extra Innnings
The Royals are working on a number of things for Military Appreciation Day, which is August 2. Around the Horn would like to request some help from our faithful here at mlblogs.com. If you have pictures of loved ones overseas wearing Royals gear, you can send them to blog@royals.com and we might be able to use them for a presentation during that day’s events.

If not, Around the Horn is also working on a special post for that day and may post some of these photos right here. Please include the name of the person, hometown, where they are stationed and what branch they are in.

Thanks for your help.

Questioning the Call
Around the Horn would like to ask you, what do you think is the most exciting play in baseball?

Tonight’s Lineup (a change from earlier):

DeJesus LF
Aviles SS
Teahen RF
Butler DH
Grudzielanek 2B
Gordon 3B
Gload 1B
Buck C
Gathright CF

Hochevar P

Here’s today’s Official Game Notes.

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Series Opener, Seattle – SUPPORT THE RED CROSS

Tonight starts the “Hats Off” weekend. Free cowboy hats to the first 20,000, sponsored by AT&T.

Tonight also kicks off the weekend relief efforts. Donations can be made tonight to the American Red Cross. And Infield View Level tickets are $12 with $5 of that going to the Red Cross to help with support the relief going on in the Midwest after the flooding and severe weather.

Tonight’s Lineup:

DeJesus CF
Aviles SS
Teahen RF
Guillen LF
Grudzielanek 2B
Gordon 3B
Butler DH
Gload 1B
Buck C

Hochevar P

Here’s today’s Official Game Notes.

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Milestone Night?

Mark Grudzielanek is on the verge of the elite. Just under two percent of all Major League Baseball players who had a hit make it to 2,000 hits. Grudzielanek is sitting at 1,998. The Royals second baseman had a three-hitter last night against the Sox, inching him closer to a mark that’s been 15 years in the making.

7-10 Grud.jpgTo find out more about just how special 2,000 is, let’s go Around the Horn…

First
We said it yesterday as a little extra nugget, but it’s a pretty big deal. Entering today, 13,096 players in Major League history have gotten at least one hit. That number is subject to change at any moment. Already this year, 131 rookies have collected their first hits, including the Royals Mike Aviles who has 38 in 32 games and Matt Tupman who has one in his only game as a big leaguer.

That number doesn’t take into account non-rookies who have picked up their first career hits. The Royals don’t have anyone who falls into that category but Joel Peralta smacked a game winning double to pick up his first career hit in Colorado last season – his third season in the Bigs.

So Grudzielanek will be in an elite category. Only 1.9 percent of Major Leaguers get to that point. Even more elite, he’ll be only the 22nd second basemen to reach the milestone. The Royals have another second baseman on that list, and he will be in the building tonight. Frank White ended his career with 2,006 hits. White was the last player to reach the feat as a Royal, doing it in 1990.

Grudzielanek has a lot going for him. He’s been great against lefties, like Sox starter Mark Buerhle, hitting .397 versus southpaws, which is tops in the American League. He leads the A.L. with a .383 home batting average. And his .319 overall average is fifth in the League and 10th in the Majors.

Tonight might be the night. Are you gonna watch history tonight?

Second
In the Monster All-Star Final Vote, Jose Guillen couldn’t overcome the strength of Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria, who is putting together a Rookie of the Year caliber season. Longoria has collected a pair of awards this week over Royals players. He also snagged Rookie of the Month for his solid June – an award for which Mike Aviles was a candidate.

So Joakim Soria will go it alone to New York. But Around the Horn can’t thank the fans enough for your support.

Short
The Royal announced a two-year extension with Wilmington (Del.) to be an Class A affiliate through 2010…Brian Bannister tied a season high with his six strikeouts last night; it was the second game in a row he’s punched out that many…Notes from Trey Hillman’s pre-game press conference: Hillman was asked if David DeJesus might be better suited elsewhere in the lineup and he replied that while DeJesus might be great elsewhere in the lineup, ultimately he is comfy in the leadoff spot and is the spark plug for the Royals’ offense…Also from Hillman: Hillman says he is looking for consistency from the rotation to give the bullpen some rest; the Royals bullpen has seen a lot of action over the last week in helping shut down opponents so the team could make comebacks like the two in Baltimore.

Third
The Royals also announced today the extension of the relief efforts this weekend. Heart to Heart International will be on hand Sunday to collect donations to support the severe weather relief in the Midwest. Tomorrow was already slated for donations to be given to the American Red Cross and Saturday is the Salvation Army’s night.

For the first two nights of the Seattle series, fans can buy discounted tickets for $12, $5 of which will be given to that night’s organization.

Remember, the “Hats off Weekend” kicks off tomorrow with cowboy hats sponsored by AT&T. Saturday, it wouldn’t be Christmas in July without Santa hats sponsored by MLB 2K8. Finally Sunday, is the New. Blue. Tradition. visor. All giveaways are limited, so make sure we see you out at the K.7-10 Hats off.jpg


Extra Innnings
The Royals are working on a number of things for Military Appreciation Day, which is August 2. Around the Horn would like to request some help from our faithful here at mlblogs.com. If you have pictures of loved ones overseas wearing Royals gear, you can send them to blog@royals.com and we might be able to use them for a presentation during that day’s events. If not, Around the Horn is also working on a special post for that day and may post some of these photos right here. Please include the name of the person, hometown, where they are stationed and what branch they are in.

Thanks for your help.

Tonight’s Lineup:

DeJesus CF
Aviles SS
Grudzielanek 2B
Guillen LF
Teahen RF
Gordon 3B
Butler DH
Gload 1B
Buck C

Greinke P 

Here’s today’s Official Game Notes.

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Vote Jose

Thumbnail image for 7-8 Vote.jpgJust under 24 hours are left in the Monster 2008 All-Star Game Final Vote (polls close at 4 p.m. CT tomorrow) and we’re in full campaign mode.

You may have noticed a temporary new look to the team Web site and the ad in today’s Kansas City Star.

Folks, it is crunch time and Jose needs your help. Around the Horn can only vote so many times. Joakim Soria is in. But it’s going to be a lonely plane ride to and from New York if he goes it alone.

Jose deserves this. Kansas City deserves this. Let’s get him into the game and, let’s go Around the Horn…

First
Ok. It’s campaign speech time. And since Jose Guillen is getting ready for tonight’s game, Around the Horn will take over.

7-9 Final Vote.gifDear People of Kansas City, the American League and the World. Jose is an excellent candidate for the 32nd roster spot on the A.L. All-Star Squad. He’s currently third in the League in RBI. The two men in front of Jose and the one behind him on the list are all All-Stars already. His 64 total RBI has already passed the Royals season high from 2007 and he’s on pace for one of the top RBI seasons in Royals history.

Guillen is third in the A.L. with 28 doubles. The Royals team high for doubles in 2007 was 36. The man is a masher. He is the epitome of the word slugger for the Royals. He allows the players around him in the lineup to see better pitches, a positive impact that can’t be tracked by stats.

Yes, Jose Guillen is a star. He can be an All-Star. Now it’s up to you, the fan, to put him in that game. The slogan shouldn’t be “No way, Jose.” Think “Yes way, Jose.” Put him in the game. You have the power.

7-3 Guillen.jpgThank Thank you for your time.

Ahem. Now that Around the Horn is off its soap box, there are two ways for you to put Jose into his first All-Star game: online now at MLB.com, or on-the-go from your cell phone. You also can text the word “VOTE” to 36197 to have the All-Star Final Vote candidates sent to your phone. To vote for a specific player, simply reply with your choice. In Canada, fans should text the word “VOTE” to 88555. Standard rate text messaging rates apply — please check with your mobile carrier for details.

P.S. Guillen is still up for the June Clutch Performer of the Month presented by Pepsi.

Second
The 2,000 hit watch is on at Kauffman Stadium. Mark Grudzielanek should provide a little history this week. With just five hits left, he would become the 18th active player with 2,000 and the 251st in the history of the game.  The last player to reach the 2,000-hit mark in a Royals uniform was another second baseman, Frank White, who reached the mark in 1990.

The current Royals second baseman is in tonight’s lineup in the five-hole after resting the previous two games, though he pinch-hit last night. 7-4 Grud.jpgGrudzielanek is having a heck of a season. He is a career .290 hitter. And the 15-year veteran has been a steady force at second base since he signed in 2006. His calling card as a Royal has been his glove, earning his first Rawlings Gold Glove in year in Kansas City.

However, this year, Grudzielanek has stepped it up even more with his bat. He boasts the 3rd best home batting average in the American League, hitting .367 and his .312 overall batting average is in the top 10 in the A.L.. He leads the League with a .397 batting average against lefties.

If you’re curious, the Sox have lefty Mark Buehrle on the hill tomorrow and Seattle throws another lefty, Jarrod Washburn on Saturday. And for the even more curious13,096 players have gotten at least one hit in the Majors.

Short
Mike Aviles and Esteban German had four-hit games, tying career highs for both (two times for Aviles and three for German)…Notes from Trey Hillman’s pre-game press conference: Hillman applauded David DeJesus’ pair of “outstanding” catches in the outfield last night, noting the fact that the surface was still soggy and each catch came playing a different position…Two Minor League notes: Omaha’s Jason Smith will be one of six Triple-A hitters to take part in the 2008 Papa John’s All-Star Home Run Derby on July 14 in Louisville…And: Jake Kuebler, Alex Gordon’s cousin, hit his first professional home run today for the Surprise Royals. The Royals selected Kuebler out of Lincoln (Neb.) Southeast High in the 17th round of the 2008 June Free Agent Draft…Around the Horn usually focuses on the Royals, but some congratulations goes out to the White Sox Jim Thome who walked for the 1,508th time in his career last night, passing Mike Schimdt and moving into a tie with Lou Gehrig for 15th all-time.

Third
Tonight is Ink College Night. Discounted tickets are available with a student ID. And this weekend, everyone can get discounted tickets while helping out a good cause. The “Hats off Weekend” kicks off with cowboy hats sponsored by AT&T and donations will go to the Red Cross. Saturday, it wouldn’t be Christmas in July without Santa hats sponsored by MLB 2K8 and proceeds going to the Salvation Army. During both of these nights Infield View Level tickets will be on sale for $12 and $5 will go to the night’s organization to help with the severe weather relief efforts going on in the Midwest.

Finally Sunday, is the New. Blue. Tradition. golf visor. All giveaways are limited, so make sure we see you out at the K.

Extra Innnings
The Royals are working on a number of things for Military Appreciation Day, which is August 2. Around the Horn would like to request some help from our faithful here at mlblogs.com. If you have pictures of loved ones overseas wearing Royals gear, you can send them to blog@royals.com and we might be able to use them for a presentation during that day’s events. If not, Around the Horn is also working on a special post for that day and may post some of these photos right here. Please include the name of the person, hometown, where they are stationed and what branch they are in.

Thanks for your help.

Tonight’s Lineup:

DeJesus CF
Aviles SS
Gordon 3B
Guillen LF
Grudzielanek 2B
Gload 1B
Butler DH
Teahen RF
Buck C

Bannister P

Here’s today’s Official Game Notes.

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CWS Game 2: College Night at the K

Today’s Lineup:

DeJesus CF
Aviles SS
Gordon 3B
Guillen LF
Grudzielanek 2B
Gload 1B
Butler DH
Teahen RF
Buck C

Bannister P

Here’s today’s Official Game Notes.

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Bringing the Rain

7-8 Buck.jpgAfter 10 innings and two homers, the Royals secured the series finale in Tampa. They left the Rays only to find themselves staring down the White Sox, another first place team, back in Kansas City.

John Buck and Mike Aviles provided a little pop to seal the win late yesterday as the Royals return home after 3-5 trip. Tonight starts a six-game homestand at Kauffman, as we welcome the White Sox to town for the first time this season. The Mariners will also make their first visit this weekend before the team takes a break and Joakim Soria leaves for New York (Jose Guillen can join him, if you help).

It poured for a little while today, flooding both bullpens and making the field nice and soggy. But the grounds crew is still working on it and we expect to play baseball. To break down the week that was and will be,  let’s go Around the Horn…


7-8 USA 2.JPGFirst
Happy birthday John Buck. Buck should turn 28 everyday, with his three-run game winner in the 10th yesterday. Mike Aviles added some insurance directly after Buck and the Royals captured a three-run victory.

Buck also got to hang out with some of our troops before the game. The U.S. Military All-Stars were invited by the Rays to take batting practice at Tropicana Stadium. When the Boys in Blue saw them, they started chatting and some, like Buck and manager Trey Hillman became the Boys in Camo.

The USMAS shagged balls during the Royals batting practice and took several pictures with the team.
7-8 USA 1.JPGThe USMAS with some of the Royals.

 

 

 

 

 

 
7-8 USA 3.JPG

 First Base Coach Rusty Kuntz chatting with some of the USMAS team.

 

 

7-8 USA 5.JPGJose Guillen and Third Base Coach Luis Silverio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second
7-8 Vote.jpgIf you haven’t yet, you should Vote for Jose. And Mike. And Jose again.

Joakim Soria is the Royals All-Star representative. But with Major League Baseball’s Final Vote, you can help Jose Guillen make his first All-Star appearance while representing Kansas City in the Big Apple.

Each league has five candidates up for the 32nd spot on the All-Star squad and fans have until Thursday afternoon to vote. There are two ways for fans to vote in the 2008 All-Star Game Final Vote — online now at MLB.com, or on-the-go from their cell phones. Fans also can text the word “VOTE” to 36197 to have the All-Star Final Vote candidates sent to your phone. To vote for a specific player, simply reply with your choice. In Canada, fans should text the word “VOTE” to 88555. Standard rate text messaging rates apply — please check with your mobile carrier for details.

Guillen is also up for the June Clutch Performer of the Month presented by Pepsi. Mike Aviles is also up for the June MLB Rookie of the Month presented by Gillette.

Short
Mark Grudzielanek is five hits shy of 2,000 which he should be able to accomplish this week, although he’s not in the lineup tonight. He has a .371 home batting average (3rd best in the American League) and has a .313 overall batting average (which is in the top 10 in the A.L.)…Mike Aviles broke out of a slump to go 3-for-5 yesterday, with his fourth homer of the season and 11th multi-hit game in only 30 career games…Notes from Trey Hillman’s pre-game press conference: Yesterday’s dramatic win takes some of the sting out of the road trip, after splitting with Baltimore and running into a the Rays who boast baseball’s best record…On Joakim Soria: He was excited about his All-Star recognition and applauded by his teammates; Hillman said he’s done some miraculous things in his short career and deserves the honor…Also of note: Mark Grudzielanek is still a little sore and his body needs another day so he will sit tonight which might prove to be an even better move depending on the field conditions after today’s downpour.

Third
Remember this weekend is the “Hats off Weekend” with a hat giveaway each game. Also the Royals will be donating part of the ticket sales to the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.

Friday night is the Royals cowboy hat giveaway sponsored by at&t and donations will go to the Red Cross. Saturday, it wouldn’t be Christmas in July without Santa hats sponsored by MLB 2K8 and ticket proceeds going to the Salvation Army. During both of these nights, Infield View Level tickets will be on sale for $12 with $5 going to that night’s selected organization to help with the severe weather relief efforts going on in the Midwest.

Finally Sunday is the “New. Blue. Tradition.” Royals visor. All giveaways are limited, so make sure we see you out at the K early.

Today’s Lineup:

DeJesus CF
Aviles SS
Gordon 3B
Guillen LF
Teahen RF
Butler DH
Gload 1B
Olivo C
German 2B

Davies P

Here’s today’s Official Game Notes.

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Game 1 versus the White Sox

Today’s Lineup:

DeJesus CF
Aviles SS
Gordon 3B
Guillen LF
Teahen RF
Butler DH
Gload 1B
Olivo C
German 2B

Davies P

Here’s today’s Official Game Notes.

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