The Sox bring Griffey-mania

The Pale Hose are back in town for another three games. After failing to make a trip to Kansas City in the first three months of the season, the Sox made their first stop here during July’s first homestand.

And Royals fans will see them one more time next month. Stop number two for the South-siders starts tonight. The Royals have won their last four and are ready to take on the division leaders, so let’s go Around the Horn…

Griffey-mania has gripped Kauffman Stadium. Four huge names have changed teams within the last three days and a lot of that action has been in our division. The Tigers wanted bullpen help, so they dealt future Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez and we breathed a sigh of relief that Pudge left the division.

8-1 Griffey.jpgThen we woke up yesterday to find out Ken Griffey Jr. might be going to the White Sox. A couple hours later, it was official. The 600 home run club member formerly known as “the Kid” would be in the American League Central.

Griffey got the day off yesterday and will make his Chicago debut tonight. The media has descended upon us here at the K. Its tough to remember when that many media members filled the opponent’s dugout before the Sox took B.P. here in K.C.

They were all there to see Griffey wearing No. 17 (he’ll go back to his customary No. 30 tomorrow) and sporting white and black. Its the Kid’s first trip to Kauffman since July 29, 1999… when he was a Mariner.

One group of Royals who shouldn’t be daunted by the new power-hitter in the division is the starting rotation. Gil Meche set the standard with his win to open the Tampa Bay series last Thursday, hurling seven innings of shutout ball.

Since Meche’s turn, K.C. starters have gone 4-1 with a 2.38 ERA over seven games. The group has allowed just 11 earned runs in 41.2 innings with 12 walks and 33 strikeouts. Two Royals starters hit personal single-game strikeout records (though Brian Bannister tied his).

8-1 Hoch.jpgTonight’s starter Luke Hochevar gave up two earned runs in five innings last Saturday, but was pulled after an hour and 13 minute rain delay interrupted his work. Hochevar’s shortened start conveniently cut his season to this point in half.

Through his first 52.2 innings, Hochevar struggled some with control and walked 32 over nine starts. During his last nine starts, which also add up to 52.2 innings, he’s walked just 10. That’s 5.5 walks per nine innings over his first nine starts and 1.7 walks per nine over his last nine.

Jose Guillen was a late scratch from today’s lineup with tight hip flexors…Mike Aviles leads all American League shortstops, rookie or otherwise, with an 809 OPS (min. 150 at-bats)…David DeJesus is three RBI short of tying his career high (58 in 2007)…John Buck has hit five homers in his last 50 at-bats after hitting three in his first 209 at-bats to begin 2008.

This will serve as a final reminder that tomorrow’s game time has been changed to accommodate the FOX Network telecast. Kenny Albert and Leo Mazzone are in the house tonight to observe and have the call tomorrow. The game is scheduled for 2:56 p.m.

Tomorrow is also Military Appreciation Day. The Royals would like to encourage everyone to come out and support the troops. Camo caps will be given to the first 20,000.

Also: The Royals are sponsoring their 16th Annual Blood Drive next week from the 4th to the 8th at Community Blood Centers around the Metro area.

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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