Results tagged ‘ Chicago White Sox ’
Today the Royals called up Paulo Orlando and optioned Cheslor Cuthbert to Triple-A Omaha. Prior to the start of August, Manager Yost and the rest of the coaching staff planned on having Orlando sent down for the first half of the month and then swap him with Cuthbert for the second half of the month to keep them both sharp. This plan became possible after the acquisition of Ben Zobrist from Oakland, who can play anywhere in the infield and corner outfield. “It just gives us more protection to start giving guys in the outfield breaks,” said Yost. Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas will be getting the day off today, as a result of this plan.
As of 10:30 a.m., Wade Davis’ availability for today is still unclear as Yost takes it day-by-day to see how Davis is feeling. Danny Duffy takes the mound today on ‘Star Wars Day at The K’, as the Royals go for a sweep of the White Sox. After struggling early on in the season, Duffy has won three of his last four decisions and Yost feels that, “he (Duffy) is back to where he was last year”.
By Sal DeFeo
The I-70 Series presented by Sprint returns to Kauffman Stadium as the Royals host the St. Louis Cardinals in a three-game weekend series, June 24-27, to complete Interleague Play for 2010. The series includes a special Saturday afternoon game set for 1:10 p.m. The Royals then welcome the Chicago White Sox to Kansas City for a three-game set, June 28-30.
TRAFFIC UPDATE: The Royals would like to alert fans that Stadium Drive is currently closed at Raytown Road. To access parking on the west side of Kauffman Stadium, fans may proceed on Raytown Road past Stadium Drive and will be able to enter the Truman Sports Complex through Gate 5. To access parking on the east side of Kauffman Stadium, fans may continue on Raytown Road approximately one mile past Gate 5 and enter the complex through Gate 4.
Friday, June 25 – St. Louis Cardinals vs. Royals presented by Sprint, 7:10 p.m.
? Hy-Vee/Pepsi Fireworks Fridays – A spectacular fireworks show after every Friday home game.
Saturday, June 26 – St. Louis Cardinals vs. Royals presented by Sprint, 1:10 p.m.
? 610 Saturday – Enjoy great food, live music and activities for fans of all ages prior to the game in the Outfield Experience. www.royals.com/610saturday.
? Salute to the 1985 Royals World Series Poster presented by James Printing to the first 20,000 fans. As an added bonus, a limited number of posters that will be distributed at the gates have been signed by Royals Hall of Fame second baseman Frank White.
? Fun Run presented by Sprint. All fans can run the bases after the game (conditions permitting).
? Bases Loaded 4-Pack – www.royals.com/basesloaded.
Monday, June 28 – Chicago White Sox vs. Royals, 7:10 p.m.
? Hy-Vee Royal Nite – All Hy-Vee Level tickets (excluding Hy-Vee Reserved Box) are just $5. www.royals.com/fanvalue.
Tuesday, June 29 – Chicago White Sox vs. Royals, 7:10 p.m.
? T-Shirt Tuesday – The first 20,000 fans receive a retro All-Star t-shirt commemorating the 1973 All-Star Game in Kansas City courtesy of Commerce Bank.
Wednesday, June 30 – Chicago White Sox vs. Royals, 7:10 p.m.
? 1985 World Series DVD – Relive one of the most dramatic games in club history with a commemorative copy of Game 5 of the 1985 World Series, a 2-0 win for the Royals over St. Louis which staved off elimination and set the stage for the club’s dramatic seven-game series win. The DVD is part of the Kansas City Royals 1985 World Series Collector’s Edition DVD box set, featuring complete TV broadcasts of all seven games and available beginning July 27.
? 1980s Special Edition INK College Night – The Royals are celebrating the decade of break dancing, jellies and the Rubik’s Cube with a special 1980s edition of INK College Night. An ’80s-themed costume contest and trivia showdown will take place in the Outfield Experience prior to the game with special prizes awarded to contest winners in both categories. www.royals.com/college or www.royals.com/80snight.
? All You Can Eat Seats – www.royals.com/allyoucaneat.
Fans may purchase tickets online at royals.com, by calling 1-800-6ROYALS, at area Hy-Vee stores or at the Kauffman Stadium Box Office.
We’ve come to that point. Just three games left and one final full-length regular season post. The Royals already closed out their home schedule and now they begin their final series of the regular season inside the Metrodome.
It’s going to be a playoff atmosphere in the dome as both teams are in a race of sorts. The Twins and the Royals hold leads in their respective races and control their own destiny, let’s control the destiny of this post and go Around the Horn…
To set things up right, here’s a quick team profile for the series:
The Twins: They are 5-5 over their last 10 and 8-7 in their last 15, boasting a current four-game winning streak. However, the three most important victories of the season – to this point – were their last three.
Their sweep of Chicago took them from 2.5 games behind the White Sox to a half-game lead for the divisional crown. Minnesota’s magic number is four. That means any combination of four White Sox losses and wins for the Twins gets them into the playoffs without a tiebreaker or a make-up game (Chicago has played one less than Minnesota). Chicago is back at home playing out the season versus the Indians. A sweep by Cleveland means the Twins need just one win over the weekend. Likewise, if the Sox sweep their series and the Twins lose one game, Chicago is in. If the two teams are separated by a half game, the White Sox have to make up their rainout on Monday. Should the teams tie, they will play a tiebraker on Tuesday in Chicago. The Twins have been playing playoff baseball for about a week and they are tough in the dome, owning a .667 winning percentage at home.
The Royals: They’ve been as tough as any team in the Majors this month. After sweeping the Tigers under the rug for the third time this season,
the Boys in Blue are riding a three-game winning streak and are 8-2 in their last 10 and have taken 11 of their last 13. September has been good to the Royals who have posted a 16-7 record. It’s their highest win total for the final month since the 1985 World Championship team won 18. The Royals race has much less riding on it, but its become big news over the last few weeks. The team’s goal is to finish out of last place for the first time since 2003. As it stands, Detroit is half a game back, and would only have to play the missed date if the Sox are within a half game of the Twins. Without taking into account their possible game against Chicago on Monday, the magic number for the Royals and Detroit is also four. So scoreboard watching is a must this weekend as the Tigers welcomed Tampa Bay to Comerica yesterday, winning the first of a four-game series.
It will be a playoff atmosphere (in more ways than one) with large crowds on hand in the Metrodome. For their crucial series with the White Sox, the Twins hosted 120,952 fans. They drew no less than 35,000 each game and posted consecutive games with 42,000-plus.
So there it is, the final showdown of the season. The red-hot Royals versus the streaking Twins. Minnesota holds the season edge with a 11-4 record and a 4-2 mark in the Metrodome. But they haven’t faced the September Royals, featuring the second-highest team batting average in the Majors (.299), the second lowest ERA in the American League (3.71) and the Majors’ second lowest opponents’ batting average (.237). Other notable September figures include: David DeJesus leading the A.L. in hits (33), while hitting .388 (fifth in the A.L.) and he’s tied for fifth in triples (2). He’s ninth in on-base percentage (.443). Alberto Callaspo is also tied for fifth in triples, as is Mike Aviles, who is second in runs (19). Jose Guillen is tied for fourth in doubles (8). Ryan Shealy’s seven homers are tied for the A.L. lead and his .661 slugging percentage is fifth-best.
This team also knows a thing or two about playing well in the final series of the season and keeping divisional crown hopefuls from achieving their goals. The title spoiler is bittersweet, but the Royals played it in 2006 when the Tigers needed one win for the Central Championship. Instead, the Royals swept them and the Twins snuck by.
Mitch Maier had a career night two days ago. His bases-clearing triple – just the second extra base hit of his career – helped the Royals in producing their biggest inning of the season during the fifth, when they plated seven (it tied their other seven-run inning on July 3 at Baltimore during the sixth).
Maier joined Mark Teahen as the only Royals to get two hits in a single inning this season. In fact, Teahen joined that club only a week prior versus Seattle. Previous to Teahen, the Royals had not accomplished the feat since Tony Pena, Jr. did it in 2007.
Maier, a Petoskey, Michigan native, had at least one fan in the crowd on Wednesday. His father stood up from his seat to cheer his son after the big triple – he was the lone fan in his section applauding the hit. Maier graduated from Novi High School – a suburb of Detroit, approximately 35 minutes from downtown.
Maier has played in 12 games since returning from the three facial fractures he suffered in August. While his average is not high in his return, his production has been there. In games when he’s registered at least four at-bats, Maier has five hits, four runs and five RBI. His three RBI night on Wednesday was a new career high. The only double and triple during his career have come since returning on September 13.
David DeJesus’ 13-game hitting streak came to an end on Wednesday. He tweaked his right hip flexor and was taken out of the game after one at-bat…
Alberto Callaspo’s career high 16-game streak is still alive and he is likely to make his return this weekend…Alex Gordon has hit in 10 straight, including all nine since returning from the Disabled List…Mike Aviles leads all rookies in batting average with just three to play (.322)…DeJesus, who may not see playing time this weekend, leads the Majors in batting with runners in scoring position (.419)…Kyle Davies will have his last start tonight, looking to build on two lights-out performaces during his last two starts in which he compiled a 15-inning scoreless streak, a season-high for a KC starter…The Royals pitchers have had 10 quality starts in their last 11 games.
I am going to be a tad bit selfish right now, something I have never tried to do while writing and covering the team for this blog. But it was suggested to me to be a little self-indulgent with my final entry (by our team President Dan Glass, no less). I am going to “out” myself as one of the team’s bloggers to say good-bye (don’t worry, the blog isn’t going anywhere, just one of its writers). I have taken a position at the National Baseball Hall of Fame (and I’m hoping I can blog there too).
From my days on K Crew, shooting T-Shirts and running in the Hot Dog Derby to working under the great people in my department, my time with the team has been amazing. It has been a privilege working on Around the Horn all summer and I’ve gotten the chance to meet some amazing people and tell the story of this team each and everyday. It’s been a lot of work but to sound a bit cheesy, it’s been a labor of love (for this team).
Thanks for reading. (Again, please keep checking the site. This is not the end of ATH, just the end for one, singular writer. In fact, I will even have one more post sometime next week. It’s one last Touch ’em All interview for the 2008 season.)
– Trevor Hayes, Media Relations Assistant (that’s my K Crew picture from 2007)
Couple quick notes: Just one more FSN-KC game left, with coverage starting today at 6:30 pm. Tomorrow is the Royals final televised game of 2008, with a 2:55 start scheduled on FOX.
Today’s lineup: Check back later today…and all weekend…Go Royals!
Today’s Official Game Notes.
Touch 'em All: Jerry Krause on the drive for a ninth ring, catching batting practice as an intern for the Cubs and signing a one-eyed pitcher
Kauffman Stadium sees its fair share of celebrities – both sports related and a few non-sports stars – throughout the season. But you’d be a little surprised to see a guy with so much bling sitting out in the heat of an early August game against the White Sox.
Jerry Krause is a scout for the New York Mets and has been involved with baseball for most of the 47 years since he interned with the Cubs in 1961. But you probably recognize his name from his work in basketball. Krause was the mastermind behind the 1990s Chicago Bulls and their six championships. But since his retirement as General Manager of the Bulls in 2003, he’s back in baseball.
Around the Horn caught up with Krause and sat down with him for a Touch ’em All interview before one of the Boston games. We figured today’s off day was as good a time as any to post our interview with Krause, since he’s a current Mets’ scout and the Royals just finished their final series of the season in New York yesterday, plus we made our last trip to Chicago (he’s worked for three of the five franchises in the Windy City) last week and tomorrow we start a three game set with Cleveland (you guessed it, he spent time with the Indians too).
Around the Horn: Everybody knew who you were for so long and now you’re under the radar. So the first question is, what are you doing these days?
Jerry Krause: What am I doing? Scouting for the New York Mets. Got Major League Clubs, our farm system and whatever Omar Minaya wants me to do.
ATH: You did basketball for so long. What’s your baseball connection?
JK: Oh, I started baseball long before. I started baseball actually at the same time I started basketball. I started baseball in 1961, started in the NBA in 1963. Before I took the Bulls job, I had 16 years as a full-time Major League Baseball scout and 18 as a basketball scout.
JK: Well, I took a sabbatical. Yea, I obviously – I went to games, but I had a full-time situation for 18 years running a club.
ATH: So which one is better…
JK: I like to scout. I enjoy scouting. I scouted both sports for such a long time. I enjoyed running a club. I enjoyed building a club. That was fun. I like them both.
ATH: …actually the question was about which sport.
JK: It’s easier to scout basketball than it is to scout baseball because in baseball, you’re in a much different scenario. In basketball, everybody is running up and down in front of you all the time. You see offense, defense and everything that guy has to be able to do quite a bit during a game.
In baseball, you may go see a guy hit and he gets walked three or four times. Or you go see a pitcher and he may have an off day. There’s less time to judge in baseball than in basketball. In basketball, you’re going to see a guy all the time.
I like the challenge of both of them though, sure. That’s why I do it.
ATH: I read a bio that I found on you and it doesn’t give much information on your baseball career. Can you just talk about your baseball career.
JK: Was it in one of those wookie-uh, things on the net.
ATH: (slightly embarrassed) Yea.
JK: Oh geez. Some of those – I read a couple of those things. There’s so much wrong about those things its unreal. Nobody with any brains could have written any of that stuff.
I saw a couple of them that had me doing things that I’ve never did before and some of them with things I’m not doing that I did. You couldn’t get much from that.
ATH: (in defense) I just try to get a little background any way I can before an interview. (the New York Mets have Krause’s picture in their media guide, but no bio)
JK: No problem. Baseball. I started with the Cubs in ’61 as what would now be called an intern. I played at Bradley University.
What would now be called an intern, it was a flunkie. I did everything around the office. I ran for coffee, wound up catching batting practice, doing all kinds of stuff.
My first full-time job in baseball scouting-wise was with the Cleveland Indians in 1967. I had run the Portland club in 1966 for Cleveland. I was General Manager of the Portland club in ’66 in the Pacific Coast League for Cleveland. My first full-time scouting job was in ’67 with the Indians. I spent five years with Cleveland. Then Hank left and I left, Hank Peters. Then I went two years with Oakland, two years with Seattle. Then I had six years with the White Sox.
ATH: So you bounced around a lot?
JK: Not really. (editor’s note: apparently five – technically four because Portland was affiliated with Cleveland – clubs in the span of 11 years is not “bouncing around a lot” to Jerry) During that time I also worked basketball. Twelve of those years I did both sports back-to-back, so I worked year round. (pondering the question again) Uh… Bounced around? Cleveland, when somebody else left, I left for personal reasons. Went to Oakland for a couple of years and was fortunate enough to win a couple of championships. Took a couple of years off that I knew I needed. Seattle started up as an expansion team, joined them. I stayed there a couple of years and then Bill Veeck asked me to come to the White Sox. It was like my father calling me home, I couldn’t turn it down. So I went with Bill and was with him two years and then Jerry Reinsdorf bought the White Sox from Bill. I was with Jerry for the next four until he asked me to run the Bulls.
But during that time, I had scouted in basketball for Baltimore for five years and I was with the Bulls for four or five. And then with Phoenix, five I think, Jerry Colangelo. And then I was with the Lakers for two. When I joined Bill and I joined the White Sox, I was the head scout for the Lakers and the Midwestern Supervisor for Seattle. When I joined Bill, I gave up the basketball and stayed with him. I couldn’t go back to basketball until Jerry asked me to run the club. (editor’s note: if this isn’t “bouncing around a lot” ATH isn’t sure what would constitute bouncing around a lot to Jerry)
ATH: During your time in professional sports, both basketball and baseball, what would you say is your crowning achievement?
JK: (laughs) There’s an old saying about perseverance. I think when you scout, if you scout very long, you’ve made mistakes. To stick around you’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to make positive things. You’ve got to persevere.
I’m proud of the individual players that I’ve been associated with and drafted. I’m proud of the time with the Bulls. We were able to win six world championships and took a team that was Michael (Jordan) and – at the end of Michael’s rookie year – 11 other guys that we didn’t want. And had to get rid of all those 11 other guys. And five years later, we were fortunate enough to win the first championship.
I’ve had a lot of fun through the years. To pinpoint me on individuals, certainly Earl Monroe, Jerry Sloan, Wes Unseld, guys like that, that you take personal satisfaction drafting those guys. Earl and Wes are in the Hall of Fame, Jerry should be and I think will be.
Baseball-wise, some of the deals we were able to help make, some of the guys you sign. I was able to help bring Ozzie Guillen to Chicago, was able to help bring (A.J.) Pierzynski there. Signing Eddie Farmer for what we signed him for was a lot of fun. Jackie Heidemann was another player that played in the big leagues for a while. The thing I think I’ve enjoyed the most is the individual players in the sense of kids, you see them as kids and in the end they become men. Some of them you have friendships with, some of them you don’t. Dealing with them is much different that it used to be.
I don’t think I can pinpoint one thing. I haven’t worked yet. I haven’t worked nine to five yet. I haven’t had to do the things that the average guy does in life. It’s life’s toy store in a lot of ways. I’ve been very, very fortunate. I’ve worked under great people. If I could pinpoint one thing, it’s probably the people I’ve been associated with. The Veecks, certainly Jerry and some of the great scouts I’ve been associated with.
ATH: So the people make the job?
JK: My wife tells a story on me. I once signed a little left-handed pitcher with one eye out of a small town in Southern Illinois. He never got past Double-A. He’s given me so much satisfaction. I signed him for $500. Today he tells me, “No, you gave me $750.” He’s a friend after 35-40 years now. He’s very successful in business. He’s been really successful. He’s grown up; he’s done just a heck of a job. I signed him off a farm and he never got past Double-A. But he’s given me great personal satisfaction.
My wife and I were sitting a few years ago at a game and he’s a Bulls’ season ticket holder. He drives 150 miles up and 150 miles back to see every game. He came in the room where we were sitting and eating and he left and I said “He’s a great kid.” She looked at me and said, “He’s a 40-year old man now. He’s not a kid. You still think he’s 17.” And I probably do.
But people like that, who you sign or have something to do with; they are special in your life. Billy Cartwright is another one. He’s very special in my life. We acquired Billy in a trade. Billy’s a friend, he’s a special human being. They don’t make people like Bill Cartwright. And many, many others like that.
ATH: How do you go about signing a one-eyed pitcher?
JK: At that time, there was one other scout that knew about him. And a friend of mine who was coaching the legion team in central Illinois, who I played with, called me. He said the Cubs were in on this guy – it was a scout who I knew very well. So I went and saw him. The other scout went and saw him. We set a date up at the house where we went in and made bids. I think he bid $250 and I bid $500.
The funny part of it was, I signed him twice. He got to High-A and I want to say Baltimore drafted him in the Minor League draft. We were about to release him. And Baltimore drafted him. They released him in spring training and I think the scout that drafted him got fired. I went to Hank Peters and said, “Hank, my boy is out there again.” And “He said, go sign him Jerry, what the hell.” And so I did.
But you do what you have to do. I’ve signed guys for $500 or $30 million a year or more than that. It’s part of what you do. The thing about it is that $30 million a year guy is just as human as the guy who you signed for $500. It’s good to keep that in mind. Professional sports are a people business. It’s just like General Motors or any other business in the world because if you can’t judge people, you’ll be a lousy scout and you won’t last very long. I’ve given motivational talks on that and I learn just as much from them as I hope they’ve learned from me.
ATH: How does your wife put up with you being on the road so often?
JK: That’s why we’ve stayed married so long (jokingly). I’ve been home about half the time. She’s raised the kids and done a heck of a job with it. We kid, we’ve been married 30, I’ve probably been home 15. But she’s special. When we got married, I was making nothing and she was making nothing. We were scrapping. I don’t think she ever thought that we’d be able to do what we’ve done in life.
Certainly I hoped I would, but who knew. I had some goals in life. I think there’s a certain part of me that was driven. People who know me say I was driven. I don’t know if I’m as driven now as I was then. I’m driven now in the sense that I’m still a perfectionist in scouting. I think there is a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it.
Both games, life has been good to me. I grew up in a tough neighborhood that you wouldn’t want to go back into right now. If you went into the neighborhood where I grew up – spent most of my childhood – you wouldn’t want to go in there at night. It’s a tough neighborhood. It’s in the middle of Chicago and it’s a tough neighborhood. I came out of there with very little natural ability and I’ve been very fortunate to the people that took a liking to me.
If it ended tomorrow, I’m fine with it.
JK: Well, it’s been very easy. I don’t have to deal with the media. I don’t have the pressure. My health got a lot better when I quit general managing. I don’t have that stress. That pounding – that only general managers can understand. I don’t think you can understand it unless you do it. And when young guys get general managers positions, I don’t think they understand it until one day it hits them and they’re like “Oh, God.”
I’m more at ease with myself than I was. I’m a grandfather now. That’s a big difference. I wasn’t a grandfather 10 years ago. I have two grandchildren who are the light of my life, both of them. I’ve had a long marriage. That woman has put up with me for over 30 years now, that’s pretty good.
10 years ago, we probably won our last championship 10 years ago. The rebuilding of that club was a tough thing to do. I’m probably a little more content in life. I’m older. I’m 10 years older. I’m not the crazy kid I used to be. And when I say crazy kid, I mean I never asked anyone to do anything I never did, so I did it all myself. The guys who worked for me, hopefully learned something. I learned at the feet of the great scouts and the older people in the game. And the game – both of them, when I say “the game” – you have to treat the game with reverence. I still get a tremendous kick out of talking with the old-timers. I sit here with Art Stewart here in Kansas City, and really enjoy Art. I’ve know Art since I was 14-years old. I got to Pittsburgh and spent time with Chuck Tanner. You go places around the country and see old friends. That’s a fun part of my life right now.
ATH: Is that part of what keeps you going? The other day for one of the White Sox-Royals games, it was 114 outside at first pitch and you were still sitting out there, working.
JK: I think the competitiveness of it probably keeps me going. I enjoy the competition. I really enjoy working with Omar Minaya and John Ricco and the Mets’ staff. It’s my fourth year over there. I like the people I work with, I enjoy the atmosphere. I work with some young kids over there and I enjoy being able to teach them the things which were taught to me.
The competitor in me, there’s still a drive. I want to get another ring. I’ve got eight and I’m not satisfied with them. I want another one.
Yea, I want this one bad with the Mets because I know what Omar’s gone through and what he’s had to battle. I really want it for him and for our younger guys so they can understand that.
I want it for myself, selfishly, I want another one. And it isn’t the ring itself. It’s the fun in winning it. Every fall now, since I’ve been with the Mets, I’ve had the opportunity to advance scout – prepare for the World Series. That’s fun. That really gets down to the nitty-gritty of scouting. That’s where you can help a team win a championship. The good ones have that effect and you like to put yourself in a position where you’re one of the good ones and you can have an effect. So that’s fun. Every year you’re competing to win a championship, that’s important.
Somebody asked me the other day what I did and I said I was a private in Omar’s army. The lady looked at me like I was nuts. I said “I’m a private in Omar Minaya’s Army.” I like being a private now. I enjoy it. My days of being a general are over.
ATH: As a general you can do a lot. But in your current role, you’re on the front lines. If a guy tips a pitch or something like that, you can catch it and help the team in a very specific way.
JK: Well those things, I like the scouting part of it. Omar’s sent me around the world. I’ve been to Japan and I’ve done projects for him. I like that idea that I can be versatile enough to help him.
I enjoy the competition. My health is better than it has been in a long time. Towards the end with the Bulls, it got rough. It got mentally and physically tough at the end because you battle your head off for 18 years. You just fight the battle and you’re the face of the franchise for so long. I don’t have to deal with agents. I don’t have to deal with media people and you reach a certain point of your life that you don’t want to deal with that stuff.
The thing that, as you’ve been sitting here talking to me, the thing that probably strikes me more than anything else, it’s a “we thing” in this game, it’s not an “I thing.” People who use the word I, we try not to use it too much. You’ve got to keep reminding yourself sometimes. It’s a “we” game. Both of them are “we” games. Both of them are team games. Sports should be a “we” thing, unless you’re a golfer, or a tennis player. Competitive team sports are “we” things.
When the Royals leave Chicago after Thursday’s day game, they will have played the Sox 12 times in 38 days. During those that time, the Royals have played a total of 10 series (four against the White Sox) and had a four-day break for the All-Star festivities..
These two teams are getting to know each other well (and they may not like what they’re finding out?), but have just one matchup left after this week (Chicago comes to town September 19-21). To take a look at the next Sox series and the nine-game, three-city road trip the series starts, let’s go Around the Horn…
The 28-game stretch against .500 clubs that started on July 18 has just two stops and six games left (three against the White Sox and three with the Yankees over the weekend). Despite the tough schedule, the Royals have come away with a respectable 11-11 record.
The Royals can still do some damage in their final two series and despite their position in playoff hunt, they can play spoiler. The Sox are tied in the loss column with the Twins and are a half game back from the division leaders. The Sox, who have controlled the Wild Card and the Central Division at times this season, are two games off Boston’s pace in the race for the final American League playoff spot.
Meanwhile New York had started surging to make a push for the A.L. East, but have now lost four in a row and sit nine games back from first-place Tampa Bay. The Yankees are five back in the Wild Card standings. Time is of the essence for them.
As for the Boys in Blue, we had a good run in each city last time we were there. The Royals split with the Yankees back in early June (and could have had at least one more), creeping back into the final game and slapping future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera a loss, thanks to homers by Miguel Olivo and a game-winner from Jose Guillen. In fact, Guillen blistered the Yankees with four homers, 10 RBI, two doubles and a .563 average over the four games.
Billy Butler was the story last time the Royals were in the Windy City. Butler helped lead the Royals to a 2-1 series win, homering twice and knocking in seven with a .386 average.
It’s tough to know what the Royals will get in either town. Both teams have been riddled with injuries lately. The most notable losses for the two were starters Jose Contreras (White Sox, out with a ruptured left Achilles’ tendon) and Joba Chamberlain (Yankees, out with rotator cuff tendinitis in his pitching shoulder). Both teams are trying to cope with their losses while trying to stay in the playoff picture.
Around the Horn needs to clean up a few loose ends we’ve neglected the last few days on the pitching side of things. If you haven’t heard, Zack Greinke dropped his appeal. He began serving his suspension (five games for hitting Nick Swisher after a bench clearing incident versus the White Sox) on Sunday and is scheduled to miss his start on Friday. He will be pushed back one day and start Saturday’s day game in New York.
The Royals also traded Horacio Ramirez to the White Sox late Saturday night. In return, the Royals got outfielder Paulo Orlando. Orlando was playing for the Carolina League Winston-Salem Warthogs (the Sox’ Class A Advanced affiliate). Last night he made his Wilmington debut and went 3-for-4 with a double and a triple against his former mates. The Brazilian native is the Carolina League’s leader in triples and he upped the speed quotient of the Blue Rocks.
You might remember Around the Horn posting a while back about the Runnin’ Rocks. Well, Orlando just adds more speed to their lineup. Derrick Robinson leads the Carolina League with 55 steals, followed by teammate Jarrod Dyson with 37 swipes and in third is Orlando with 28. Wilmington has six of the top eight base stealers in the Carolina and six of the top eight triples hitters as well.
The Royals are riding a five-game winning streak on the road and start a nine-game road trip tonight…Mike Aviles has 23 multi-hitters in 55 career games (42 percent of his games)…Lefty Josh Newman was called up Sunday to replace the traded Horacio Ramirez. Newman is wearing No. 63…Tony Pena broke a 0-for-17 slide with his two hits on Sunday…Pena is one of four players to enter a game as a pinch runner this season and deliver a walk-off winner…Joakim Soria tied a career high with four strikeouts in a single outing.
We have some housekeeping of our own to do here at Around the Horn. The long-awaited renovations update is coming as is our Clubhouse photos sneak peak. The media relations staff held a hard hat tour yesterday of the stadium, so we’ve got plenty of material. And as for the sneak peak, the pictures are taking a little longer to edit than we’d hoped (plus the Olympics are distracting!).
Speaking of the Olympics, have you guys been watching? We have. We’ve been watching Team USA basketball rolling and seen Michael Phelps break three world records already. We’re also excited for USA baseball to start tomorrow (TV schedule). Unfortunately the Royals don’t have anybody on this version of team USA or any of the other Olympic teams, though we have in the past. In fact, pitchers Neal Musser and Matt Wright, who are with Triple-A Omaha right now, were members USA Baseball team which won the gold medal over Chinese Taipei during the 2007 World Cup. And Billy Butler helped the USA in a qualifying tournament following the 2006 season.
One final note: The Royals have put together a new ticket package which sells for $40 and includes four View Level tickets (valued at $15 a piece) and a $20 QuikTrip card. The card can be used on gas or merchandise and the retail value of the entire package is $80, but you only pay $40. Is there anything better than getting a deal on both baseball AND gas?
We’ll have a lineup for you later.
Today’s Official Game Notes.