Results tagged ‘ Gil Meche ’

Would the real Billy Butler please stand up


9-3 Butler.jpgHe’s tearing up opponents right now. Last night he hit his third homer in the team’s last three games.

Not surprisingly they’ve won 2 of 3, notching victories in the games in which he’s gone yard.

Today we’re going to talk about Butler, who has the second highest average in the Majors over his last eight since August 24 (.500, Boston’s Dustin Pedroia is at .512) and note something that hasn’t happened since 1999. To do that, let’s go Around the Horn…

First
Part of Billy Butler’s surge can be attributed to “letting go.” Manager Trey Hillman told reporters that Butler said twice during batting practice in Detroit that he needed to “let it go.” Hillman said Butler felt like he was feeling for things too much. He repeatedly said to himself “I got to let it go.”

Apparently he has. Butler is in the midst of an eight-game hitting streak, though you could call it a hitting barrage. He’s 16-for-32 during the streak and has an RBI for every game in the streak. Last night he cracked a deep shot to left-center for a three-run homer and added another RBI later, tying a season high with four RBI. He also put together his seventh three-hit game.

Butler has been pretty solid since the All-Star break, though his average drooped slightly, he’s re-adjusted to the league and is turning things on in a big way. He’s raised his batting average a full 20 points since the streak started and is now at .281.

Last season Butler hit eight dingers and 52 RBI. This year he’s at 10 and 50 and the team has 25 games left.


9-3 Greinke.jpgSecond
Zack Greinke pitched his way to his 10th victory of the season last night. Not only is that good news for Greinke, who continues to add to his career year (he’s at career bests in wins, quality starts, strikeouts and after last night, ERA), but it’s great news for the Royals.

Greinke is tied with Gil Meche in wins and it’s the first year the Royals have had two double-digit game winners since 1999, when Jose Rosado and Jeff Suppan both tallied 10. Greinke’s strikeouts are also the most for a Royal since Kevin Appier put down 196. If Greinke punches out an average of seven or eight an outing for the rest of the season, he’s got a shot to challenge Appier’s total or even push for 200.

It’s a tall order, but he’s been mowing them down all season and produced eight K’s last night. So he’s definitely got the ability to do it.


6-23 Soria.JPGShort
Joakim Soria recorded the 51st save of his career and moved into fifth all-time on the Royals career saves list, passing Mike MacDougal who had 50. Soria needs 3 more to catch Roberto Hernandez at fourth and seven to match Doug Bird in third. After Bird, the all-time saves list gets a little tougher. Soria is 187 shy of Dan Quisenberry in second and he needs 253 to catch Jeff Montgomery who sits in first…Billy Butler became the sixth Royal to reach double-digits in homers. It’s the most since the 2003 team had eight guys with 10 or more…Ryan Shealy hit his first home run in his first game back in the Majors. His last MLB game was June 27, 2007 and his last homer was June 6, 2007…From Trey Hillman’s Press Conference: Hillman trusts Ron Mahay when he says he’s ready to pitch, but he will be careful in using Mahay. Expect to see him in less stressful situations and earlier in ball games to start…Also: Hillman said he studies the statistics and compares his club with others. As far as bullpen usage, he said the Royals are comparable and he likes where the relievers are set up at the moment and will continue to “go with the hot hand in the eighth”…Finally: There’s been a lot of speculation about Mike Aviles’ status next season. Hillman said he’s comfortable playing Aviles at short or second. During Spring Training he would have said he’d prefer to have Aviles at second, but Aviles didn’t play much short in Arizona. Now Hillman would say short, but he’s seen more of Aviles at short than second now. Hillman also complemented Alberto Callaspo on his defensive work at second, specifically the double play he turned on Saturday.

Third
Having the A’s in town doesn’t totally feel like a road trip for a few of their players. Mike Sweeney, the 13-year Royal9-3 Sweeney.jpg and one-time captain in Kansas City, was activated today from the Disabled List. Sweeney chose to wear No. 5 this season for the Athletics, in honor of the lone Royal player in Cooperstown, George Brett. Sweeney exchanged lineup cards last night during the pre-game conference.

Sweeney has a familiar face in the visiting clubhouse. Former Royal Emil Brown is now with Oakland, but he was not in the lineup last night.

Other A’s with local ties: Reliever Brad Ziegler pitched at Odessa High School and Missouri State University in Springfield. Reliever Josh Outman, who made his Major League debut last night, pitched at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg. And reliever Joey Devine is from Junction City, Kansas, and we noticed a littler cheering section for him during last night’s game.

Tonight’s lineup: As Around the Horn was finishing this post, we heard the game was called. You can still enjoy the notes which were for today’s game.

The game will be made up tomorrow at 4:10. Brian Bannister is still scheduled to throw and Kyle Davies will throw the second game of the double-dip.

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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A Look Inside: The Royals Clubhouse

8-28 Clubhouse.JPGGood afternoon Royals fans. Hope all is well today and you’re ready for a nice long Labor Day weekend. Around the Horn is ready for some baseball after the off day. We’ve got three in Detroit and then another off day Monday before the Royals open their second to last home stand.

Since there wasn’t any baseball for us yesterday, today is the perfect opportunity to give you a look inside a place many people don’t get to see. Today, we’re going inside the Royals Clubhouse. We didn’t want to intrude on the team’s privacy too much so we waited for the team to hit the road before we snapped our photos. So here we go…

8-28 Gordon's Locker.JPG

The first picture is a general overall shot of the clubhouse. For the most part position players are along one row and pitchers on the opposite side of the clubhouse. To kill time, you’ll often find the guys playing cards at the tables in the center.

Here’s a close up view of Alex Gordon’s locker. He’s got a few pairs of spikes, some turf shoes and some regular workout shoes in there. And you can see the pile of batting gloves.

8-28 Trainer's Room.JPGThe trainer’s room is a place a lot of guys will go when they get to the park. Many get massages before the game, after BP or after the game. Despite the recent rash of injuries, the team has been healthy this season and that’s a credit to Head Athletic Trainer Nick Swartz and his staff.

8-28 Whirlpool.JPGThe whirlpool/hot tub is a nice place to soak the bumps and bruises and aches that come from the grind of 162 games in 180 days.

8-28 Mailboxes.JPGThese slots are the player mailboxes. Now you might be saying, there’s not really any mail in those boxes. Well, Around the Horn was informed after taking this picture that all of their fan mail had been moved to the actual boxes which sit below the mail boxes on the wall.

Each box is numbered, so you can see the No. 4 which is sitting on top of another box. Yep, that’s Alex Gordon’s and yes he needs two boxes. He gets a lot of fan mail. Apparently he’s popular in Nebraska.

You can also clearly see David DeJesus (No. 9), Alberto Callaspo (No. 13) and John Buck (No. 14).

8-28 Player's Lounge 1.JPGThe player’s lounge is just down the hall from the Clubhouse. Like the trainer’s room, this area is off limits to the media and other Clubhouse visitors.

8-28 Player's Lounge 2.JPGIt’s a neat room. Photos of former players adorn the walls, many of them with their kids or candid shots of them just hanging out. There’s a cooler with plenty of cold drinks for them to relax with before going out to the field. The recliners are also vibrating, so you’ll often see pitchers using them and collecting themselves before starts.

8-28 Food Room.JPGThe food room is right next door to the lounge and is a heavily trafficked area. Often times, the players will eat two or three meals a day at the stadium. So having a full service room is a nice way to monitor what they are eating, making sure its healthy and a place for them to grab a bite to eat anytime they need a little extra.

8-28 Jars.JPGAlthough most of the food in the food room is healthy, a little snack never hurt anybody. And when you’re trying to serve 25 guys plus a handful of coaches, you never know what they might have a sweet tooth for, so they’ve got a little of everything in there. It’s almost like a candy store.

8-28 Clubhouse Enter.JPGAt the end of the hallway joining the Clubhouse to the players lounge, food room, trainer’s room and weight room, this stands. It’s a tribute to two of the greatest Royals of all-time and the only two players with retired numbers, George Brett and Frank White.

Hopefully its a bit of an inspiration too, to see the two greats who once lockered where the likes of DeJesus and Gordon and Gil Meche and Zack Greinke do.

8-28 Video Room Monitors.JPGJust before heading to the dugout, an essential room is always buzzing. Mark Topping, the Royals Video Coordinator and his staff work diligently to make sure all the high tech needs of a baseball team competing in the 21st century are met.

This state of the art room is decked out with computer monitors and TV screens everywhere.

It’s all to allow the players and staff to watch or review anything that might help, be it a previous at-bat, an opposing pitcher or a minor leaguer in the Royals system.

8-28 Video Bank.JPGThe whole room is controlled through this bank. It’s home to the servers, tape decks, recorders and a host of other equipment that Around the Horn isn’t up to speed with.

The room was one of the first pieces to be re-done as a part of the renovation process.

8-28 Video Room Stacks.JPGWe had to take a picture of this. Around the Horn had never seen so many DirecTV boxes in one place. Each one is responsible for receiving a game to be recorded and each is marked with a Post-It note.

Everything from the high school prospect games, collegiate games, minor league games or even the Colorado-San Diego game tonight is recorder through this bank.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Minor Mashers

8-26 Hosmer.JPGThe Minor League seasons are winding down. But with the end of the season come a lot of things that shed hope on the future. Yesterday we mentioned some of the post-season awards which have already been won, but today we have two more things to celebrate down on the farm.

September is next week and that means September call-ups aren’t too far away, and with so much success going on in the minors, we’re not even going speculate what might happen, but we can talk about the positives in the system right now. To do that, let’s go Around the Horn…

First
The first moment of celebration for the organization was the debut of Eric Hosmer (wearing No. 21) last night at Idaho Falls. Hosmer was hit in his first professional at-bat – as if to say welcome to the pros Mr. No. 3 overall pick. But Hosmer showed some of what earned him his draft position, ending the night 1-for-3 with a double, a run scored, a run batted in and a walk. Hosmer’s Chukars mustered 10 hits, but could not hold off the Raptors. ATH expects he’ll be back out there again tonight as Idaho Falls finishes its season series with Ogden. The Chukars have 10 games left after tonight, a five-game series versus the Orem Owls through the weekend and then five game in Casper to face the Ghosts (we still love that Casper nickname).

8-26 Bees.jpgThe other big celebration for the organization includes another First Rounder. 2007 first round pick Mike Moustakas and his Burlington Bees are in the playoffs. They officially entered the postseason on Sunday despite losing. They are still in contention for their division title but are guaranteed a playoff spot and a postseason series starting next week in Burlington. Moustakas leads the Midwest League with 21 homers, is second in total bases, sixth in slugging and is in the top 10 in hits and runs.

While we’re mentioning high draft picks, this year’s sandwich pick is tearing up his first professional assignment. Michael Montgomery is throwing very well in Surprise for the Surprise Royals. He owns a 1.91 ERA in 37.2 innings and has 31 strikeouts to 11 walks. Opponents are hitting just .217 off him.

Finally, yesterday we devoted some space to Kila Ka’aihue, the slugging first baseman who won Double-A Texas League Player of the Year despite playing the last month in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. The pronunciation of the Hawaiian’s name has been a question mark among several media outlets. Well, we’ve got an official ruling on how to say his name. It’s Kila (KEY-luh) Ka’aihue (Ky-uh-HOO-A). Or, you can call him K.K., which is what manager Trey Hillman and the baseball operations people call him. And for those curious on his status because he left Sunday’s game after being hit by a pitch, Ka’aihue hit a double in going 1-for-3 with a run and two walks last night. He has walked 98 times this season and struck out 62 times and owns a .462 on-base percentage with a .635 slugging (combined Double-A and Triple-A stats).

Second
Manager Trey Hillman has his rotation set – hopefully – for the remainder of the season. The current quintet is locked in to finish out. Tonight’s starter is Zack Greinke, with Brian Bannister throwing tomorrow. Kyle Davies will open the Detroit series on Friday followed by Brandon Duckworth on Saturday and last night’s starter Gil Meche draws Sunday’s assignment.

8-26 Rotation.jpgHillman said he’s comfortable with the rotation as it is. He said last night Meche just didn’t have the same he has of late and it probably wouldn’t have mattered as much if he were facing a lesser hitting team. Hillman said tonight, Greinke needs to have all of his pitches working to have success.

This group has combined to start all but 35 games for the Boys in Blue this season. Duckworth is the low man on the totem pole, making his first start last Sunday, while Gil Meche leads the team with 28 starts.

Hillman said Kip Wells is probably stretched out the most in the bullpen and would merit the emergency start if need be, but that’s without knowing exactly which players will get the September 1 call-up. Triple-A Omaha finishes its season on Monday the 1st, an off-day for the big league Royals.

Currently nine players on the O-Royals are on the 40-man roster. Of those players, five are pitchers and four have spent time in the Majors this season (Jimmy Gobble – 31 MLB games, Tyler Lumsden – no MLB experience, Neal Musser – one MLB game, Josh Newman – four MLB games and Carlos Rosa – two MLB games). Although Rosa is on the 7-day D.L. and Gobble is finishing a rehab assignment.

Double-A Northwest Arkansas, which is still in the playoff hunt, has two players on the 8-26 NWA.jpgRoyals 40-man. The lone pitcher is Julio Pimentel, who threw a scoreless inning in the 2008 MLB Futures game during the All-Star festivities. But with the Naturals entering today’s play tied for the division lead and fighting for the post-season, Around the Horn doubts the Royals will subtract any players from their roster on Sept. 1.

Two other quick Naturals notes: Pitching Coach Larry Carter was selected as the Texas League coach of the year…Veteran Minor Leaguer Cory Aldridge drove in seven yesterday with two homers.

Short
David DeJesus knocked in his 58th run last night, tying his career high set last season…10 of John Buck’s last 15 hits have been for extra bases including six doubles, a triple and three homers…Alberto Callaspo collected his first RBI since before going on the Disabled List in late June. His last RBI was June 22 versus San Francisco…From Trey Hillman: He does not expect Alex Gordon back anytime soon. He told Gordon there is no timetable because there is no precedent for how the third baseman heals from an injury of this type since he’s never had one…Also from Hillman: With Gordon out and veteran Mark Grudzielanek out, Callaspo will see a the majority of the time at second…Last word from Hillman: He thinks instant replay will be a good addition and will take pressure off of umpire crews. He respects the umpire’s way of life, living on the road for the sixth-month season and anything that can help alleviate their stress and is good for the game is a good thing in Hillman’s opinion.

Third
Yesterday we mentioned in passing the Hot Dog Derby contest. You, yes you, can sign up to be either Relish, Mustard or Ketchup.8-26 Derby.jpg If you’d like the opportunity to don the color of your condiment, you can do so right now, all you have to do is enter.

The last weekend of the season, nine lucky fans will become hot dogs and compete for the ultimate glory – winning the Kauffman Stadium Hot Dog Derby Race. September 19-21 is your chance.

Tonight’s lineup:
Aviles SS
Callaspo 2B
DeJesus LF
Guillen RF
Teahen 3B
Butler DH
Gload 1B
Olivo C
Gathright CF

Greinke P

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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Starting another lap

8-5 Gordo.jpgThe Royals are running, not on the base paths or away from opponents. But right at them…with their arms. The pitching is showing fans what they should be able to expect for several years with three 24-year olds, a second-year pitcher who drew Rookie of the Year consideration and a 2007 All-Star who’s signed for three more years after this one.

Gil Meche (the 2007 All-Star) went right after the Red Sox last night and the Royals won their third in a row and eighth in their last 11, dating back to Meche’s win on July 24 over Tampa Bay. To catch up with the rolling Royals rotation, let’s go Around the Horn…

First
The starters are starting their third lap around since the pitching surge began. Gil Meche has compiled three victories, allowed just four earned runs in 20 innings (1.80 ERA) and struck out 21 during his three turns. 8-5 Meche.jpgMeche’s win last night put him over .500 for the first time this season, thanks to his 7-1 record and a 2.66 ERA over his last 11 starts.

While Meche has been the horse, the rest of the rotation has done its work as well. Their composite record over the 11-game stretch is 7-2 with a 3.03 ERA. Meche, Zack Greinke, Kyle Davies, Luke Hochevar and tonight’s starter Brian Bannister have allowed 22 earned runs in 65.1 innings with 52 K’s.

Tonight Brian Bannister is looking to extend the stretch and get a win for himself. Bannister recorded a career-high for strikeouts last Wednesday in Oakland, but settled for a no decision in a game the team eventually won in extras. He’ll face a Boston team which fell one K short of its season high (13) last night.

Second
Mike Aviles may not qualify for the official batting title, but he qualifies for the rookie title and he sits 30 points higher than any other first year player – in either league. The White Sox’ Alexei Ramirez entered today at .308 compared to Aviles’ .338.

With his honors as Royals player of the Month for July and Co-American League Player of the Week being announced yesterday, 8-5 Aviles.jpgAviles officially announced himself to the rest of the Majors. But he’s been hurting opponents for virtually all of his two-month career. Once he got his feet settled under him, he busted out.

As always, the League adjusted. He slumped briefly (his average never dropped below .273) and then he adjusted back. Around the Horn overheard hitting coach Mike Barnett talking about Aviles earlier today. He said he told Aviles what pitchers were doing to him to frustrate him by pounding him with fastballs inside and then getting him to chase sliders out of the zone, down and away. Barnett told Aviles to return to what he does best. Aviles went out the next day in Tampa and, in a 10th inning at bat, laid off three fastballs up and in. All were called for balls. He laid off another slider down and away which caught the plate for a strike. Then he made the Rays’ Dan Wheeler pay by depositing the next pitch – a mistake to Aviles’ power zone – into the stands.

Within a few days, Aviles was back to doing what he has established his does best, praying on opponent’s mistakes and spraying the ball all over the park.

Short
The Royals were notified of their pending suspensions for Sunday’s incident with the White Sox. Zack Greinke and Miguel Olivo are both appealing their five-game suspensions…Manager Trey Hillman, however, will serve his one game suspension tonight. Bench coach Dave Owen will take his place at the Royals helm…Mike Aviles has scored at least one run in eight straight games…Joakim Soria has at least one save versus every American League team after picking up his 32nd of the season last night over Boston.


8-5 Gura.jpgThird
This week is the 16th annual Royals Blood Drive. Around the Horn is planning on donating Thursday during the team’s off day. Needles? We’re not scared of needles!

As for promotions this week, Larry Gura will be in town Saturday, both as a Bobblehead (it’s the giveaway that night) and in person (signing autographs from 4:30 to 5:15 on the Royals dugout). Then Sunday is Sluggerrr kids T-shirt day. Hope to see you out here.

Tonight’s lineup:
Aviles SS
German 2B
Teahen RF
Guillen DH
Butler 1B
Gordon 3B
Buck C
Gload LF
Maier CF

Bannister P

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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Another: The Finale in Oakland

Short
Another solid offensive game last night for the Boys in Blue…Another multi-homer game…Another strong start from Gil Meche and the Royals rotation…Another shave of the head for John Buck…And another save for Joakim Soria who now owns the record for most saves in a single season by a Mexican born pitcher.

It all added up to another win for the Royals, their third in a row.

Tonight’s lineup: Off day tomorrow, so we’ll try to give you another Touch’em All on Friday. Don’t miss our last Touch’em all interview with Hall of Fame broadcasters Denny Matthews and Dave Niehuas.

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

Bannister P

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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Day in, Day out

7-29 Guillen.jpgIt seems like each day, someone new steps to the front of the line to be the hero for the Royals. Last night, Zack Greinke led the way. He was boosted by the offense from Jose Guillen early and Alex Gordon late, but Greinke shut the A’s down.

Tonight, Gil Meche, with a two-game winning streak steps to the front of the line to hopefully be that hero. To see what’s been going on with the Boys in Blue, let’s go Around the Horn…

First
Zack Greinke set his career strikeout high earlier this season (actually he tied it), but last night he upped it by one. Greinke punched out 11 A’s. Greinke struck out 7 of the nine hitters he faced at least once. Only Kurt Suzuki and Carlos Gonzalez ended the night without being fooled by Greinke.

7-29 Greinke.jpgMore than his K’s though, Oakland hit only .231 against him for the night. That includes the two hits he gave up before being relieved by Ramon Ramirez. In the eighth, Greinke struck out the first batter, allowed his first walk of the night and then gave up the two hits.

Fans can be encouraged by the fact that Greinke wasn’t satisfied with his outing. After the game he told reporters he was rolling and then in the eighth he walked a batter “for no reason,” which got him into trouble.

Greinke’s solid performance came on the heels of good starts by each member of the rotation, which has owned a collective 2.12 ERA over the last five games. During the last turn, Royals starters have allowed just seven runs in 29.2 innings. Oh, and you know what the best thing about a rotation is? It comes back around again. So good news, tonight’s starter is Gil Meche, the man who started the recent starting surge and the man who has a 2.67 ERA over his last nine starts.

Second
It’s said that hitters will feed off each other. The Royals are doing that right now. They have 10 homers since the break, nine of which have come during multi-homer games. Billy Butler and Mike Aviles did the job on Sunday. Last night it was Jose Guillen and Alex Gordon with homers of their own.

7-29 Gordo.jpgGordon and Aviles both racked up three-hit games last night and Butler, who’s been strong since the All-Star break, was also on base three times, reaching once with a walk.

Butler was at first for Gordon’s homer and Aviles was on when Guillen powered one out despite fighting a nagging groin injury. For Aviles, it was just another run scored.

But statistically it was more than that. He’s the second best hitter in the Majors during the first inning (minimum 25 at-bats). He holds a .467 average which trails only San Diego’s Scott Hairston who is hitting .471 during the first frame. Aviles is 10-for-15 in his last 15 first inning at-bats, a .667 average.

A big Around the Horn shout-out goes to the Elias Sports Bureau for that fun fact.

Short
Mike Aviles is tearing things up among American League rookies (he’s mentioned about half-way through this video which was produced at the break and escaped Around the Horn until now) despite having played about half as many games as the leaders. He’s sixth with 17 multi-hit games, fourth with seven three-hitters, fifth with 22 extra base hits, second with a .489 slugging percentage and he’s first with a .314 average…Joakim Soria tied the single-season saves record for a Mexican-born pitcher with his 28th last night. The record was set by Juan Acevedo in 2002 with Detroit…The temperature at first pitch last night was 57 degrees in Oakland.  A far cry from the hot and stickiness of KC recently.

Third
A big homestand against three playoff contenders starts this weekend. First it’s the Sox (of the white variety) for three, then its the Sox (red this time) for three and then the Twins close the stand out with a weekend series.

7-29 Military Hat.jpgAs we’ve been mentioning, this Saturday’s game is special for two reasons. It’s Military Apprecitation Day with camo hats being given out to the first 20,000. Around the Horn heard today there will be an enlistment ceremony on the field before the game. What is the other big news about the game? It’s been moved from a 6:10 start on FSN-KC to a 2:55 start on FOX.

If you missed it, Around the Horn posted its Touch’em All interview on Sunday with Hall of Famers Denny Matthews and Dave Niehaus. Check out the Ford C. Frick Award winners.

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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Pitch It, Catch It and We'll Find a Way to Score

It was a solid win last night over a first place team. Timely hitting, great starting pitching from Gil Meche and a couple glamorous defensive plays and viola! Its the recipe to beat a team which, even after the loss, holds a slight edge over the defending World Series champs. And even better it came on Girls Night Out, which by all accounts was another huge success.

True, its just one win and we talked just the other day about being able to move on from 7-25 Meche.jpgone game to the next, but on the same token, its good to enjoy the team’s high points. That’s what being a fan is all about right? To do that, let’s go Around the Horn…

First
Gil Meche never went anywhere, but a rough start skewed his numbers. Now he’s back on track and poised to pass his win total from last season, when he was undoubtedly the Royals ace and won Pitcher of the Year. Meche did not allow a run for the first time since May 4 at Cleveland, when he also pitched seven shutout innings. After that start, he dropped his ERA to 5.98. One rough start later and he jumped back up to 6.31.

Then he started whittling it down. After logging so many innings, it took a while, but he’s shaved a full two runs off his ERA since his May 9 start versus Baltimore. Over his last 14 starts, Meche has a 3.27 ERA in 88 innings with 69 strikeouts, which is 7.06 K’s per nine innings.

For a little more prespective, the 2007 Gil Meche set a career best with a 3.67 ERA with 156 punch outs in 216 innings, which is 6.5 K’s per nine innings. Granted, Meche kept his numbers up over 34 starts in 2007, but it looks like we’ve seen the return of the real Gil Meche.

Second
Defense is just as important to a win and three times already this homestand (we’ve only got video evidence of two), David DeJesus has made a spectacular play down the left field line. He’s laying out down there to save his pitchers runs.

His catch last night in particular – a head first layout onto the warning track gravel – became an instant replay on SportsCenter’s Top Plays, Baseball Tonight’s Web Gems, FSN’ Final Score, The Baseball Report and MLB.TV’s highlights. He literally stole a base hit or an extra base hit from the Rays’ Dioner Navarro.

Baseball Tonight’s Buck Showalter had some praise for the Royal, saying with him in the corner outfield position puts him among the elite defensively at that position. Oh and national media, his last name is pronounced “duh-HAY-soos” with the accent on the middle syllable, not “duh-hay-SOOS” with the accent at the end.  Mispronunciation is kind of a pet peeve of ours.  While we’re at it, it’s “WA-keem SORE-ee-uh”, not “Joe-uh-KIM” or “Sore-eye-uh” or whatever.

7-25 Maier.jpgNot to be completely overshadowed by DeJesus’ night, Mike Aviles also made an outstanding throw to first to help cut short the Rays rally in the eighth.And Mitch Maier* recorded six putouts in the first five innings in his first game in the big leagues this year.

*Maier went 1-for-4, recording his first hit in the Majors since he went 2-for-4 against Minnesota on September 28, 2006.

Short
Speaking of Mike Aviles, he has hit safely in 13 of 14 games after having his career high 12-game hitting streak snapped two days ago…The Royals induced a double play from Rays second baseman Akinori Iwamura in the fifth, his first of the season. He’d gone 392 at-bats without hitting into a double-play, which led the Majors…Joakim Soria (did you pronounce it correctly?) picked up his first save against the Rays last night, leaving Boston as the only American League team he hasn’t recorded a save against…Notes from Trey Hillman’s pre-game press conference: Mark Teahen is still stiff and out of the lineup again. Hopefully he will resume outside workouts tomorrow…Also from Trey: Hillman saw the rehab DVD for John Bale, who is starting for Omaha tonight. He said Bale’s velocity is not back to where is was but the arm action looks okay…Finally: John Buck shaved his head last night before the game, reportedly because Gil Meche said he’d stay locked in better if his catcher had a shaved head. Hillman said Meche, who did the shaving, wasn’t going to come anywhere near him with the clippers.

Third
Minor League Notes:

Triple-A: Mike Aviles is still 5th in the Pacific Coast League in triples (six in 51 games), the leader, Tucson’s Tim Raines, Jr. has 11 in 98 games.

Double-A: Kila Kaaihue of Northwest Arkansas leads the Texas League in homers with 25 and is third in slugging percentage (.615) and RBI (71). He also leads the league with 79 walks and has 39 strikeouts in 87 games.

Single-A Advanced: The Wilmington Blue Rocks, or 7-25 Robinson.jpgRunnin’ Rocks are tops in the Carolina League in stolen bases. They’ve stolen 200 bases in 102 games, 79 more than any other team in the league. They’ve broken a team record already, lead the league in walks (359) and have five of the top six base stealers in the CL. Derrick Robinson (pictured left) leads the league with 48 steals, followed by Jarrod Dyson at 33, Joseph Dickerson at 24, Winston Salem’s Paulo Orlando at 22 and Chris McConnell and Kurt Mertins at 21…Josh Johnson (11 SB) is third in the league with a .423 OBP and tied for second with 65 walks…Dickerson also leads the league in triples at 10 

Single-A: Burlington, Iowa’s Adrian Ortiz leads the league with 128 hits in 99 games…Jason Taylor lead the Midwest League with 60 walks…Mike Moustakas’ 12 homers is tied for 11th, but the league leader only has 19 in the pitcher’s league. Two are tied for second at 16, five players have 14 and two more have 13, so he’s not far off the pace…David Lough is second in the League with nine triples…Alexander Caldera is fifth in the league with 113.1 IP.

Rookie League-Advanced: Burlington, North Carolina’s Kelvin Herrera is second with a 1.83 ERA in 34.1 IP. He also leads the Appalachian League in WHIP with a 0.84 mark.

Rookie League-Advanced: Idaho Falls’ Nicholas Francis has a .582 slugging percentage, which is fourth in the Pioneer League. He’s also fifth with a .978 OPS and first in triples with five…The Chukars also have some runners with three of the top five base stealers, including the leader, Patrick Norris who has 14 in 31 games. Norris also leads the league in walks with 23…Bryan Casey holds a 1.93 ERA which is second in the PL. 

Rookie League: The Arizona Royals Jose Bonilla is fourth in the Arizona League with a .390 average, fifth with a .688 slugging percentage and fifth with a 1.129 OPS…Deivy Batista is fifth in doubles with eight…Deybi De La Cruz is tied for third (two tied at four) with three wins and is sixth in the league with a 2.73 ERA. He also has 26 K’s which is sixth and only one strike out behind teammate Carlos Fortuna who is tied for fifth. 

Tonight’s lineup: Remember, Emerson Drive and Dan Quisenberry Bobbleheads tomorrow. 

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

Meche P

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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THE weekend is here.

6-27 Meche.jpgThe 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…
 
First
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.
 
Second
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.

Short
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.
 

6-23 Diamond of dreams.jpgThird
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.
 
Tonight’s Lineup:
DeJesus LF
Aviles SS
Gordon 3B
Guillen DH
Grudzielanek 2B
Teahen RF
Buck C
Gload 1B
Gathright CF
 
Meche P
 
Here’s today’s Official Game Notes.

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The Show-Me-State rivalry begins in '08

The team had a successful trip to Arizona,winning the series over the Diamondbacks. And they are enjoying their day off in St. Louis.

This week is the first of two Cardinals weeks. It’s blue versus red – the I-70 Series 23 years later. The Royals encourage all of you to sport your blue this week and attend the watch party tomorrow in the Kansas City Power & Light District.

Meche 6-16With that said, let’s go around the horn…

First
How about that starting pitching of late? Gil Meche threw four perfect innings yesterday. Yea, perfect. Meche did eventually allow three runs, but he got the win and finished off a nice series win over the Diamondbacks.

As for the rest of the rotation…They’ve delivered. Meche, rookie Luke Hochevar, Zack Greinke, Brian Bannister and tomorrow’s starter Kyle Davies have been sharp over the last week. In pitching 46.1 innings, the group has a 2.53 ERA. That’s 13 earned runs during a seven game span. Royals’ starters have allowed just 3 homers and struck out 36 (big thanks to Meche for his 10 K’s yesterday) during those seven games. Now that is quality pitching.

Second
6-16 DeJesus.jpgRoyals broadcaster Ryan Lefebvre said it during yesterday’s FSN-KC broadcast. David DeJesus is locked in right now. The praise came after the Royals outfielder hit his first career grand slam into Arizona’s version of a splash down – the pool in right-center field. DeJesus is hitting .350 over his last 20 games, which includes a 12-game hitting streak. DeJesus has 11 extra base hits during that span including four homers.

Short
Recently recalled Mike Aviles is killing the ball with a .368 average and a .711 slugging percentage over his last 10 games…Jose Guillen is too, extending his hitting streak to 10 games and upping his average to a season high .288.

Third
This weekend spells a ton of great stuff for fans. Three games versus the San Francisco Giants and three great promotions.

Friday: The Royals present Kansas City’s largest firework show ever, The Sky Show hosted by Pepsi and 99.7 The Boulevard…The Royals are 4-2 in interleague play this season.

Saturday: Alex Gordon Bobblehead Night…The Royals are 1-0 on Bobblehead nights this season, winning 4-2 on Big John Mayberry night versus Cleveland

Sunday: Salute to Negro Leagues Day and Kansas City Monarch Caps…For one day, it’ll be the Monarchs versus the San Francisco Seals as both teams will wear Negro Leagues throwbacks.

 

Royals Vice President of Sales and Marketing said seats are going fast for Friday and Saturday

Hope to see you out at the K this weekend and remember, it’s the first of two Cardinals weeks…WEAR YOUR BLUE.

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Back in Kansas City…

Some news and notes to get us ready for the longest homestand of the season…

Chat with Meche: He tossed seven shutout innings to lead the Royals to a 2-0 win over The Tribe on Sunday. On Tuesday, Gil Meche logs on to chat with you about the big victory, pitching for Kansas City and his thoughts on the season thus far. The right-hander is the next participant in the Royals Relay Chat Series, chatting at 2:30 p.m. (CST) on May 6 prior to our 7:10 p.m. game against the Angels. To chat online with Meche, you need to register here on royals.com.

News from Mexico City: Closer Joakim Soria, who worked a scoreless ninth inning Sunday to pick up his eighth save of the year, is getting some news coverage from back home. Monday morning, a devoted Royals fan living and working in Mexico City sent us the link to a story that ran in Monday’s sports page of the Mexico City-based newspaper, Reforma. As many of you know, Soria is a native and resident of Monclova, Mexico. Here’s the story if you want to check it out…and can read Spanish:

Soria_Mexico Clip.pdf

All-Star Ballots: The 2008 All-Star Game is just around the corner! Okay, not really just around the corner since the game is not until July 15 at Yankee Stadium, but filling out your ballot is! Online voting on royals.com began a week ago and, starting with Monday’s game, ballots will be distributed at The K during the third inning of every home game until June 24. Therefore, you can fill out a ballot every time you are at the stadium (up to 25 games), plus up to 25 times online per email address. That’s means each of you could conceivably cast 50 votes (or more) for Alex Gordon and Billy Butler and David DeJesus and the six other Royals on this year’s ballot. So, the question is, who do you think should be our Royals All-Star this season?

Garth Brooks Goes Pink: We mentioned this before, but as a reminder…starting Thursday,
when you are out at the ballpark from May 8-11, you’ll have the chance to purchase Garth Brooks’ “Pink Edition” of The Ultimate Hits album for $16 with a portion of every CD sold benefiting Susan G. Komen for the Cure. If you can’t make it out to Kauffman Stadium during that time, you can still help out the cause and purchase a CD by visiting http://ww3.komen.org/garth/.


Umbrella.jpg
Kauffman Stadium Promotions:
 Great promotions this weekend…

  •  
    Friday, May 9: Fireworks Friday after the game (weather permitting)!
  •  
    Saturday, May 10: Royals Golf Umbrella to the first 15,000 fans age 21 and older – it’s presented by Budweiser.
  •  
    Sunday, May 11: In honor of mom on Mother’s Day…Royals Pink T-Shirt to first 10,000.

Pitching Probables: Here are the pitching probables for the three-game set against the Angels to open the homestand:  

  • Monday at 7:10 p.m.: RHP Brett Tomko (1-3 and 6.26 ERA) vs. RHP Ervin Santana (5-0 and 2.47 ERA).
  • Tuesday at 7:10 p.m.: RHP Brian Bannister (3-3 and 4.04 ERA) vs. RHP Nick Adenhart (0-0 and 22.50 ERA).
  • Wednesday at 7:10 p.m.: RHP Zack Greinke (3-1 and 1.47 ERA) vs. RHP Jered Weaver (2-4, 4.36 ERA).

Hope you can all make it out to The K this week to welcome your Royals back to town!

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