Results tagged ‘ Jose Guillen ’

Sunday Lineup

Bannister2-28.JPGThe Royals and Padres played to a 2-2 tie on Saturday. Brian Bannister worked two scoreless innings on his birthday. Both KC runs came via the longball as Jose Guillen and Ross Gload went deep. Today, Gil Meche makes his spring debut as the Royals play the Angels in Tempe. The game can be heard on Gameday Audio at royals.com. Here’s the lineup and a look at yesterday’s home run swings:

GuillenHR2.28.jpgCrisp  CF
Bloomquist 2B
DeJesus  LF
Butler  1B
Jacobs   DH
Gordon  3B
Buck  C
Pena, Jr. SS
Maier  RF
Meche  RHP

 

GloadHR2.28.jpg
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The Final (Con)Quest

The Royals opened their final road trip last night with a 6-2 victory over the Tigers. They are now one-game back from the Bengals as Trey Hillman’s club continues to play well in September.

Hillman has said he wants to finish out of the cellar and the team is responding. 9-23 DeJesus.jpgThey have shaved 7.5 games off their fifth-place deficit since August 31. How? Let’s go Around the Horn…

First
David DeJesus placed the Royals on his back last night, collecting seven total bases and falling a homer shy of the cycle. In his seventh career four-hit effort, DeJesus scored twice and added his 73rd RBI of the season. He’s hit in 13 straight, averaging .420 over his streak.

That has been an absolute key to the September surge. Timely hitting has carried the Royals with three separate players compiling hitting streaks of 10 or more games this month. Joining DeJesus is Jose Guillen who had a career-high 14 gamer from Sept. 4-17 and has hits in 17 of his last 19 games. The Royals also have found a regular second baseman in the wake of Mark Grudzielanek’s season ending early with Alberto Callaspo, who has both looked solid turning the double play and is in the midst of a career-high 16-game hitting streak. Callaspo’s streak is tied for the longest by any Royal this season. 9-23 Guillen.jpgGuess who has the other 16-game hitting streak in 2008? Here’s a hint, his initials are D.D. and he wears No. 9.

Thanks to these three, the Boys in Blue are delivering for their manager in a big way. They are 8-2 in their last 10 and 14-7 in September. They own the highest American League September batting average at .295, they are second to only Cleveland in the A.L. in wins this month and the pitching staff’s 3.88 ERA is third with their .239 opponent’s average second.

Second
The Royals may have only three game left on FSN-Kansas City, but it turns out they have four more TV games. Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Twins, who are 2.5 games behind the White Sox at the moment, has been moved to FOX. The Twins, who are home against Chicago now, may still be vying for their playoff lives.

Instead of a 6:10 start, the game will now begin at 2:55 with Gil Meche making his last start of the season. The change will mark the Royals second exposure to the FOX spotlight this summer. You may recall the blisteringly hot day in Kansas City on August 2, when the Royals played the White Sox on FOX.

In the first of two-straight 19-hit affairs, the Royals beat the Pale Hose, 9-7. 9-23 Meche.jpgThe temperature at first pitch that day was 95, but the heat index soared to over 110. So don’t miss it this Saturday, the Royals will get in on the playoff action again, playing the second game of a three-game season-ending series.

Short
David DeJesus’ four-hit effort last night is his third at Comerica, where he is hitting .357 in 36 career games…Gil Meche became the Royals first 13-game winner since Paul Byrd notched 17 wins in 2002…The team’s 14 September wins are the most since 2000 (14-14) with a 15th victory being the best since 1987 (15-13).

Third
Around the Horn would like to announce that due to the ongoing renovations at Kauffman Stadium, we had to vacate yesterday, leaving behind our old press box and working environment. The only thing left populating the offices where we once worked are construction workers who are busy tearing those offices apart. It was a sad day for all of us who were moving yesterday. That press box was the original, created in 1973. We just thought you, our loyal readers, would like to know what’s up with us.

Reminders: The Royals Charities car auction on September 26. Vote for Mark Teahen for the Roberto Clemente Award and Buddy Blattner, Fred White and Ryan Lefebvre for the Ford C. Frick Award

Today’s lineup:
DeJesus CF
Aviles 2B
Guillen RF
Shealy 1B
Teahen LF
Butler DH
Gordon 3B
Olivo C
Pena SS

Greinke P

Today’s <official a NotesOfficial Game Notes.

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We appreciate you

It’s fan appreciation night/weekend and we can’t express enough gratitude that the Royals have for all of you out there. We’ve got a lot going on this weekend to show you how much we appreciate you.

Unfortunately last night the team couldn’t keep the roll going, but with the beauty of baseball, they’re back at it tonight. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get to it and go Around the Horn…

First
Shirts off their backs” Night should be huge. Around the Horn is in fact a little disappointed that we aren’t allowed to win a jersey. They only cost a buck. And you thought Buck Night last night was good deal because you could get a soda, peanuts or a hot dog for a dollar?

Dollar scratch tickets will be on sale throughout the stadium – each one is a chance to win a jersey which will be worn for tonight’s 6:10 game versus Chicago. Just over 40 jerseys will be up for grabs. Each one will be handed out on the field after the game to the lucky winner complete with the autograph of the coach or player who wore the jersey.

All of the proceeds will go to Operation Breakthrough, which helps children who are living in poverty receive a safe, loving and educational environment. The organization has been around since 1972, serving Kansas City faithfully.

If that wasn’t enough, the Royals are also giving out FSN-KC stocking hats to the first 20,000 fans. It’s at this point we’d like to say thanks to the crew here at the Stadium for the wonderful work they’ve done all season long bringing you the games at home. Last night was the last 2008 home telecast, which also signaled the end to Frank White’s FSN season. Around the Horn heard nothing but good things all season long about the Royals Hall of Famer. His work ethic and dedication to his new craft could be seen all summer long.

Second
David DeJesus has the chance to accomplish two milestones in his career that we’ve not seen a lot of around here. Currently he’s hitting .300 and .408 with runners in scoring position. DeJesus hasn’t accomplished either of these achievements during his career. But where he sits at the moment, DeJesus would be one of 10 Royals to hit .300 since 2000 and one of four not named Mike Sweeney (four times) or Carlos Beltran (twice).

His RISP statistics are much more impressive. He went 1-for-1 last night with runners at second or third and raised his average to .408. He’s second in the Majors behind only Ian Kinsler, who’s stuck at .413 because of a season-ending injury. But more importantly, he would be one of three Royals in franchise history to end the season over .400. George Brett hit an amazing .469 in 1980 (the year he challenged a .400 overall average for the season) and Mike Sweeney hit .402 in 2002. For DeJesus to be lumped into such rarified air would be a huge boost to his career.

We’ve talked a bunch about his breakthrough season, in which he’s set career highs in homers, RBI and stolen bases. He’s just six hits shy of another career high (a virtual lock if he ends the season hitting .300). His runs production is down from 101 last year to 66 this season, but that load has been spread out some as his role has changed (Mike Aviles has picked up where DeJesus left off, having scored 64 runs which is three behind Alex Gordon, the team leader).

How’s he do it? Work is what hitting coach Mike Barnett will tell you. But DeJesus says he has changed his thinking at the plate. He doesn’t look at the scoreboard. He just tries to put together one at-bat at a time. Runners on base? No problem. The pressure is on the pitcher not the hitter.

Short
Jose Guillen combined with Alberto Callaspo to nail Alexei Ramirez at the plate last night in the third. It was the 100th outfield assist of Guillen’s career and his 10th this season, his third double-digit season…Mark Teahen went 2-for-2 with a walk against Mark Buehrle, belting his first homer off the Sox starter. Teahen is getting the better end of this lefty-lefty matchup, hitting .419 against Buehrle during his career…Robinson Tejeda exited last night’s game with a left hip flexor strain and will be re-evaluated in the next few days…Callaspo, who again extended his career-high hitting streak, now at 13 straight games, has scored eight runs over his last six games.

Third
The dates for Royals FanFest have been announced. The second annual event will be held Jan. 17-18 at the Overland Park Convention Center.

This is the first of many plugs for the Alumni Fantasy Camp. It’s a great time and a chance to live out those dreams of being a ball player.  Royals Alumni serve as the coaches and managers for the teams. For a week, you will be treated like you are in the Majors. It’ll be at the Royals facility in Surprise, Arizona from February 2-7. Expenses include five days and nights in Surprise, as well as the experience of a lifetime.

We’d also like to mention that the Royals Charities are having a car auction on September 26. And VOTE VOTE VOTE…Mark Teahen for the Roberto Clemente Award and Buddy Blattner among other KC broadcasters like Fred White and Ryan Lefebvre for the Ford C. Frick Award

Today’s lineup:
DeJesus CF
Aviles SS
Guillen RF
Shealy 1B
Teahen LF
Olivo C
Gordon 3B
Ka’aihue DH
Callaspo 2B

Davies P

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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Dazzling Davies

9-16 Davies.jpgKyle Davies pitched arguably his best game as a Royal – if not his career – last night. As he dominated the Mariner hitters, the Royals got on the board and secured a solid victory.

Last night was an example of how the Royals want to win ballgames. Strong starting pitching, followed by a shut down bullpen and then an offense which will get the job done. To look at how that happened last night, let’s go Around the Horn…

First
He’s had two other eight strikeout efforts and he’s had two other eight inning games (one complete game). He’s also held opponents scoreless before. But Kyle Davies had never brought all of those elements together in one outing before last night.

The other impressive number about Davies’ four-hitter? Zero walks. He didn’t walk anyone, something he has not done this season. In fact he’s only recorded two other walkless starts, both of which were less than six innings.

Davies retired the first 12 batters he faced until Jose Lopez singled to lead off the fifth inning. Davies also combated another problem he’s had this season. He kept his pitch count low. He threw 98 pitches during his eight innings of work.

Manager Trey Hillman called Davies performance the best he’s seen.

9-16 Guillen.jpgSecond
Jose Guillen has hit in a career-high 13 games. Since his career started in 1997, he hadn’t hit in 13 straight, but he’s on that kind of a roll now.

Maybe more impressively, he has nine multi-hit games during his current hitting streak, including a 2-for-4 night last night with a double and a run scored.

Guillen is hitting .418, banging seven doubles and two homers with 12 RBI during his 13-game streak. He’s also scored six runs. With his recent surge, he has repositioned himself for a shot at 100 RBI and if he stays hot, he’ll have a chance to eclipse his career high of 104 (set in 2003). His 2003 season is his only 100-plus RBI season, though he reached 99 last year in Seattle.

The slugger leads the Royals in hits (147), doubles (40), homers (20), RBI (93), total bases (249) and multi-hit games (44).

Short
One strikeout is all the Club needs to tie its single-season record. The 1990 pitching staff fanned 1,006 batters compared to this season’s 1,005, which is the sixth-highest total in the American League this season…Alberto Callaspo also has a career-high hitting streak going at nine games…Ryan Shealy has reached base in seven of his eight games and is hitting .387…Mike Aviles has scored nine runs during his seven-game hitting streak and is one of five Royals with over 60 runs this season…David DeJesus snapped a 127-game errorless streak with his throwing error in the sixth…Mark Teahen is hitting .338 since August 27 with nine extra base hits…From Trey Hillman’s pregame press conference: “Nothing is more powerful to the atmosphere than winning,” Hillman said in response to the environment in the Royals clubhouse before today’s game (the lights were dimmed, music was pumping and some players were dancing)…Also: “Pitching is as contagious as hitting,” Hillman said voicing his hopes for Brandon Duckworth’s start tonight following last night’s four-hit shutout.

9-15 Tee.jpgThird
How can you beat the deal we got going here tonight? $3 tickets and a long-sleeve tee upon entering.

Tomorrow, the 17th, of course is Halfway to St. Paddy’s. Flannigan’s Right Hook will be on hand to play before the game starts and get the crowd primed.

Plenty of other great promotions are left this week and there are just six home games including tonight’s ballgame. You should come out and join the fun.

Also: The Royals will be announcing their 2009 home schedule (no game times) tomorrow at noon. Keep an eye out for that!

Today’s lineup:
DeJesus CF
Aviles SS
Guillen RF
Shealy 1B
Teahen LF
Gordon 3B
Ka’aihue DH
Olivo C
Callaspo 2B

Duckworth P

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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Southpaw Success


9-12 DeJesus2.jpgThe Royals last eight wins have come when a lefty starts for the opposition. Even though Francisco Liriano didn’t factor into the decision, the Royals secured the win.

And tonight they see another southpaw, though Cliff Lee has been Cy Young-caliber all season. Without further ado, let’s get into it and go Around the Horn…

First
With a 30-21 record, the Royals have the best record in the Bigs versus lefties. Going back over the last eight wins, Francisco Liriano started yesterday, before him was Cleveland’s Zach Jackson, all three game versus the A’s (Dan Meyer, Joey Devine and Gio Gonzalez), Detroit’s Kenny Rogers (two times in a row) and New York’s Andy Pettitte (though he wasn’t charged with a loss). 

The Royals, despite at times being left-handed hitter heavy, have racked up some nice numbers versus southpaws. They lead the Majors in hits and doubles (the only team over 100 two-baggers) versus lefties. They’re also third in the American League RBI and batting average (fourth in the Majors in both categories).

As individuals go, Mike Aviles and Billy Butler are both in the top ten in the AL for batting average versus lefties, with Aviles leading all qualifying batters and Butler coming in at sixth. Aviles is also third in slugging and fourth in on-base percentage. 9-12 Guillen.jpgButler and Jose Guillen are hitting for power off lefties as well, ranked fifth and sixth respectively for slugging percentage versus southpaws. Guillen is tied for second in the AL with 37 RBI, tied for fifth with nine homers, tied for sixth with 13 doubles off lefties and tied for second with 22 extra base hits. Butler is tied for eighth with 12 doubles and 10th with 19 extra base hits. Finally, David DeJesus has connected 52 times which is tied for seventh in the AL for hits against left-handed pitchers.

Second
The bullpen stood strong again yesterday. As of late the Royals’ relief hurlers are tossing some solid innings. As a unit, they’ve only allowed three runs in their last 16.2 innings for a 1.62 ERA with just three walks, and 14 strikeouts, which equals 7.6 K’s per nine innings. Opponents are hitting just .175 against them, with only 10 hits in 57 at-bats (only one of which was extra bases.

Over the five games, they have a 1-0 record with two saves and allowed all three runs on Wednesday. Ramon Ramirez has not allowed a run in his last nine appearances and struck out two of the three batters he faced yesterday. John Bale entered yesterday with two on and two out to get a pop-up during the tied game. Ron Mahay shut the door on a Twins’ chance in the sixth with after the Royals starter had given up two straight singles. Mahay struck out his first batter and then induced the rally-killing double-play.

9-12 Tejeda.jpgWith that said, Robinson Tejeda has been announced as the starter for tomorrow’s second game in Cleveland.  Zack Greinke will start Game 1 and Tejeda, who started some for the Rangers earlier this season, will start the game in what most likely will be a “go as long as you can” scenario. The Royals were forced to put Tejeda into action because of a lack of off-days. Monday was a travel day for the team and their next break will be the 25th (13 days and 14 games from now).

Short
Four of their last five extra inning games have been wins for Kansas City and they are 7-6 when playing past nine…Joakim Soria made history two more times yesterday with his 36th save. He’s tied with Jeff Montgomery’s 1998 save total for sixth best in franchise history and sits all by himself with 53 during his career, which is one shy of Roberto Hernandez for fourth place on the team’s all-time saves list. His 36 saves and 92.3 conversion rate are both second in the American League…Don’t forget about the FSN-KC make-up broadcast on Thursday at 1:10 versus Seattle…Or “Shirt Off Their Backs” night on September 20, when you could win a game-worn jersey for just a dollar raffle ticket…Also, next Wednesday at 11:30 at is the next Legends Luncheon. Manager Trey Hillman and General Manager Dayton Moore will be speaking.


9-12 Bees.jpgThird
Now at 6-0 in the playoffs, the Burlington Bees need just one win to secure the Midwest League crown. Johnny Giavotella homered for the second straight day and led a 16-hit Bees’ barrage with three hits and three RBI.

Alex Caldera combined for a four-hit shutout as the Bees’ cruised to a 12-0 win in their final game at Burlington’s Community Field this season. The series moves to South Bend tonight and will play on Saturday and Sunday if necessary in Indiana. (Bee’s broadcast available here).

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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Not feelin' blue in blue


8-25 Duckworth.jpgWhen it was announced the Royals would be bringing the powder blue back, fans were rabid. Everyone seemed excited.

Why? Powder blue symbolized the World Series, the playoffs and the glory of the franchise.

This year is a “New. Blue. Tradition.” And we can assure you, something good is going on with this color. We’ve decided that today we’re going to chat about light blue, so let’s go Around the Horn…

First
Mark Teahen and Jose Guillen powered the powder blue-clad Royals to a win yesterday. Light blue is apparently a strong statement for the Royals and we’re not talking about just fashion8-25 Teahen.jpg. Teahen had a big role in the Royals’ last blue beatdown. He scored the winning run on Tony Pena’s walk-off single in extras versus the Twins. And yesterday he provided again, knocking in three.

Guillen apparently likes blue as well, as he’s contributed 12 homers during day games (not all of those have been at home), including his monster shot into the construction area in left during the second inning (if you haven’t been paying attention and missed Around the Horn’s renovation update a few weeks back, that ball will be a souvenir next year).

The powder blue jerseys were set to be alternates. They were planned to be worn just on Sundays. But they became a home day game staple and have been on the backs of the Boys in Blue for every game under the sun minus the home opener. And what have they done in them? 11wins. 5 losses. Yep. The Royals are 11-5 wearing powder blue.

Those jerseys have provided some memorable moments too from the moment they debuted in their lone night game back on April 12… including the first home run of Mike Aviles career, Pena’s walk-off winner and back-to-back 19 hit attacks versus the White Sox, one of which was showcased on the FOX national broadcast.

Second
Royals fans have been clamoring about Kila Ka’aihue all season. Now that the end is near for the Minor Leagues, 8-25 Kila.jpgthe Hawaiian is seeing some of the positives from his monster season. He was named Texas League Player of the Year today in a vote by managers, beat writers and play-by-play announcers. In case you forgot, Ka’aihue was promoted to Triple-A about a month ago. He was that good.

His 26 home runs still lead the Texas League (he’s up by three) and his 80 walks are tied for the lead entering today’s play. As Billy Butler (a former Texas League batting champ) might say and did while he was in the Texas League, Ka’aihue raked this season. He compiled 79 RBI and scored 64 runs in 91 games with a .463 on-base percentage and a .624 slugging percentage. With Triple-A Omaha, Ka’aihue hasn’t missed a beat. Hitting .341, he has nine homers and 17 RBI in 25 games.

Dan Cortes, 9-4 with a 3.98 ERA was also named to the Texas League Post-Season All-Star Team. Cortes’ nine wins are tied for the most in the league and he’s fifth with 106 Ks. He’s gone 7-1 since the All-Star break and is 3-0 with a 2.67 ERA in five starts this month.

Short
Alex Gordon is also a former Texas League Player of the Year, taking that title in 2006…Brandon Duckworth’s win yesterday was his first as a starter since June 24, 2006 and his first win in the Majors since September 25, 2007…Duckworth was the 15th different Royal to record a win this season…Robinson Tejeda’s August numbers: He is averaging 12.4 K’s per nine innings and opponents are hitting just .093 against him….Mike Aviles is hitting .448 during his current seven-game hitting streak…The Royals are 12-4 during day games at home…12-4 is also the Royals record when Jose Guillen homers.


8-19 Soria.jpgThird
Texas is in town for three and tomorrow is Joakim Soria T-Shirt night. The shirt is a tribute to his All-Star appearance and Around the Horn is a big fan of the tagline “Closing Soon”.

With three left this week/this month, the Royals home dates are dwindling down. Just four clubs come to town in September and only 13 games are slated to be played before we close our doors…until the Grand Re-Opening event next April!

Upcoming events: Be a Weiner. Viva Los Royals.

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

Meche P

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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Hittin' the road

8-12 Bannister.jpgThe Boys in Blue left K.C. yesterday afternoon and square off against the White Sox. Brian Bannister is on the mound tonight to start the three game set. 

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…

First
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.

8-12 Yanks.jpgAs 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.

Second
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 Wilmington8-12 Blue Rocks.gif 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.

Wilmington’s amazing speed doesn’t end there. Their 47 triples are 12 more than second place Winston-Salem and their 233 stolen bases are 82 ahead of the Warthogs.  

Short
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.

Third
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). 8-12 USA.jpgUnfortunately 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.

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Bumps 'n' Bruises

8-8 Grud.jpgWe’ve played 115 at this point and the season’s injuries are starting to add up a little.

The Royals woes have been nothing compared to some teams, who’s pitching staffs have been shredded to bits like the Cardinals, the Orioles or the Yankees. And the K.C. position players have been relatively healthy with only two players actually going on the Disabled List this season. But these are the dog days, so let’s go Around the Horn…

First
The latest development was Ron Mahay. Mahay is day-to-day with plantar fasciitis, a bruise to tissue that supports the arch of the foot, on his left foot. The bruise causes pain in the arch and heel on each step as the tissue transmits weight across the bottom of the foot.

8-8 DeJesus.jpgDavid DeJesus, who had a sprained ankle and sore back, is back in the lineup tonight after missing five games. He, as well as Mark Teahen and Jose Guillen, have been fighting back stiffness and other bumps. With the month of August rolling along, it’s not surprising the wear of playing everyday is getting to players.

The most recent serious injury was to Mark Grudzielanek, who was placed on the D.L. last Saturday after a collision with Ross Gload while chasing down a pop-up. Earlier this week, the team found that he has a torn deltoid ligament on the left side of his right ankle. Grudzielanek should be out four to six weeks, which might cost him the rest of the season.

Some good news on the injury front though, two players are in Triple-A Omaha on rehab assignments. Jimmy Gobble pitched earlier this week and throws again on Monday. Joey Gathright joined the O-Royals today and is most likely a lock to play until he’s ready to re-join the big club.

Also on the D.L. is John Bale, who will miss his 100th game tonight. Bale had a rehab assignment which he completed but he is still having some problems and is being re-evaluated. 

Second
Billy Butler is back at DH tonight. But not because he played poorly at first 
8-7 Butler.JPGbase over the last few days. In fact, manager Trey Hillman said Butler’s play was outstanding. He commented on Butler’s good glove work and a few plays where he showed good footwork moving around the bag as well.

Hillman said he wants to field the best offensive and defensive lineup he can. With Jose Guillen able to play the field tonight, that puts Ross Gload at first and Butler at DH.

Short
The Royals have a chance to even their record out to .500 on trifecta days (like 08/08/08). They won last year on 07/07/07 but lost the two previous years on 06/06/06 and 05/05/05 (they didn’t play on 04/04/04)…If you haven’t noticed, the Hall of Fame building in left field is taking shape with two stories of steelwork completed now…From Trey Hillman’s press conference: Opposing managers have commented that the 2008 Royals are fulfilling some of Hillman’s wishes, they are more fundamentally sound…Also from Trey: As an organizational stance, players who can play multiple positions like Mike Aviles, Esteban German and Ross Gload have a high value and are great options to have on the bench…On the Farm: Lefty Danny Duffy and Juan Abreu combined to throw a no-hitter last night for Single-A Burlington (IA).

Third
It was just brought to Around the Horn’s attention today, but the Royals had another All-Star in New York. Danielle Menzel was honored as the 2007 Designated 8-8 DD.jpgDriver of the Year. Menzel frequents Kauffman Stadium and signs up for each game’s Good Sport drawing. By signing up each game, she unknowingly entered herself into the Responsibility has its Rewards drawing. She was selected to be the Royals DD of the Year. She won an all expenses paid trip to New York for the 2008 All-Star game.

Around the Horn might smell a Touch ‘em All interview, who knows. But regardless, huge congratulations to Danielle. Hope you had a great time in the Big Apple!

One final All-Star note today. Your 2008 Royals All-Star currently has a vote going on. The Royals are letting you pick his nickname. The choices are El Lobo (The Wolf), El Castigador (The Punisher), The Mexicutioner and The Terminator. Around the Horn isn’t ready to support one of the candidates just yet. We need to hear the debate and weigh the options. So it’s all up to you.


8-8 Soria.jpgTonight’s lineup:
Aviles SS
Teahen RF
DeJesus CF
Guillen LF
Butler DH
Gordon 3B
Olivo C
Gload 1B
German 2B

Davies 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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The Kickoff of a Rock 'n' Roll Homestand

7-21 vs Det.jpgThe Detroit “Rock City” Tigers are here. And this week, we’ll welcome Emerson Drive back for a full-length concert after their gig singing the National Anthem on Opening Day.

The Royals are rollin’ a bit after their first series win in Chi-town since 2003. And they are poised to take on the Tigers for three followed by a four-game set against the American League East-leading Tampa Bay Rays. To gear up for this homestand, let’s go Around the Horn…

First
It’s been said by people smarter than us that pitching is the currency of baseball. And if so, the Royals just got a little richer. Power-arm Leo Nunez, the 175-pounder with mid 90s stuff, is off the Disabled List and back in the bullpen, shoring up one of the more solid parts of the Club. Nunez made five rehab appearances after being placed on the D.L. May 29th. In his final appearance on Friday for Double A Northwest Arkansas, he pitched two hitless innings, striking out two.

Nunez brings a 1.71 ERA to the pen, joining Ron Mahay’s 1.78, Horacio Ramirez’s 1.15, Ramon Ramirez’s 37-21 Chicago.jpg.06 and closer Joakim Soria’s 1.43. The K.C. pen as a collective whole holds a 3.76 ERA in 296 and 2/3 innings. Opponents are hitting only .237 against Royals relievers.

The other side of Nunez’s activation is that Joel Peralta was optioned to Omaha. Manager Trey Hillman said that he was just the odd man out, someone who has options remaining. Hillman stressed in his pre-game meeting with the press that Peralta was impressive in his last outing and he’s starting to look like the pitcher he heard about when he first came to Kansas City – the trusted man out of the pen who led all relievers with 87 and 2/3 innings in 2007 and ended the season with 3.80 ERA, the lowest total of his Major League career.

Second
If Around the Horn mentions Jose Guillen, it’s usually because of his offensive numbers, but manager Trey Hillman was asked today if he thinks Guillen’s defense is underrated. He said it probably is and shouldn’t be.

7-1 Guillen.jpgAround the Horn checked the numbers. He’s currently tied for seventh in the American League with seven outfield assists (the A.L. lead is 10 by Ben Francisco). Guillen picked up number seven after gunning down Chicago’s A.J. Pierzynski yesterday in the eighth. Pierzynski would have tied the game but instead he was an easy out for catcher Miguel Olivo. Guillen’s throw one-hopped Olivo and beat Pierzynski by several feet.

Now defense is hard to judge. And outfield assist numbers can be a jaded number. Mark Teahen was second in the A.L. with 17 last year, but has only four this season. Why? Because baserunners and coaches figured out they can’t run as often. Guillen on the other hand has always had a reputation for having a rocket of an arm and he’s still among the leaders.

Hillman also applauded Guillen’s reads on fly balls (this video is from the Tampa series) saying the slugger probably takes fewer false steps than any outfielder on the team.

Short
Mike Aviles is riding a career high 10-game hitting streak in which he’s batted .432…Billy Butler homered Friday and Saturday, the first time he’d ever homered in back-to-back games…Notes from Trey Hillman’s pre-game press conference: Look for Leo Nunez to ease back into his bullpen role as an eighth inning guy. He’ll probably be used in earlier innings at first…Also from Hillman: Horacio Ramirez is not available today unless absolutely necessary because he pitched on back-to-back days and threw multiple innings in both games.


7-21 Girls.jpgThird
Lots of news on the television and promotions side. This homestand is packed with specials, starting with 20,000 powder blue Frank White tees to be given out tomorrow, Ink College Night on Wednesday, Girls Night Out on Thursday, Fireworks and Buck Night on Friday, Dan Quisenberry Bobbleheads and Emerson Drive playing on Saturday and finally the Sprint Fun Run and Autograph afternoon on Sunday.

The Royals announced earlier this month that the August 2 game versus the White Sox is being moved from a 6:10 start to a 2:55 game to accommodate national coverage on FOX. Because of the loss of a TV date, FSN Kansas City is adding September 18 versus Seattle. The game time for that game is 1:10, with Royals Live starting at 12:30.

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.

Here’s tonight’s lineup:

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

Hochevar P

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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