Results tagged ‘ Jose Guillen ’

The Second Season

Whether you count the All-Star break as the halfway point or you’re technical about it and measure the year in 81 game halves, the season is past its halfway point.

The Royals have 96 games in the bag. Tonight is 97 and the start of a short three game trip to Chicago. Trey Hillman said it yesterday when he noted that we have a tough stretch ahead.

7-18 Grienke.jpgTo look a little further at what’s to come and where we’ve been, let’s go Around the Horn…

First
General Manager Dayton Moore and manager Trey Hillman addressed the media yesterday before the team’s workout at Kauffman. The biggest thing they stressed is more consistency from the bats and the arms. To get started off right, Zack Greinke will get the ball tonight. Greinke earned the No. 1 slot with consistent pitching. They want him pitching to both divisional foes, throwing tonight in Chicago and again on Wednesday in the last game of the series against Detroit.

He’s been nasty to hitters, striking out 104 so far this season and becoming the first K.C. pitcher to record 100+ punch outs before the All-Star break since 1997. Greinke also holds a .188 batting average against when there are men in scoring position, which is second in the A.L.

Trey said that pitching coach Bob McClure and the starters worked throughout the All-Star break at the Stadium. Trey cited a reason for the streaks the team has rattled off – both good and bad – has been because of the pitching, specifically the starting rotation which holds a 31-39 record. Last season the starters were 28-39 through 96 games.

Consistency is the motto and there is improvement. The biggest difference between 2007 and 2008, however is that seven pitchers have started games this year. 13 pitchers started at least one game last season.


7-3 DeJesus.jpgSecond
The state of the position players was also addressed by General Manager Dayton Moore. He said the organization is looking for Billy Butler to continue to improve, Alex Gordon to become more consistent and Mark Teahen to build upon the improvements he’s shown over the last month. Moore also mentioned David DeJesus and acknowledged the outfielder’s continuing success.

DeJesus is among the elite in the game right now. He entered the break with a .460 batting average with men in scoring position, which leads the Majors and is 41 points higher than Rangers’ All-Star Ian Kinsler who is second. In fact DeJesus’ mark is the eighth best entering the All-Star break since 1974 when RISP became a stat. Among those higher than DeJesus at the Midsummer Classic, Tony Gwyn’s .500 in 1997, Barry Bonds’ .500 in 1990 and Rod Carew’s .467 in 1975. Needless to say, DeJesus established a Royals record, topping Mike Sweeney’s .438 in 2000 and Hal McRae’s .427 in 1982.

It should be noted that John Buck is 10th in the Majors with a .361 RISP average, the highest catcher in the Majors.

And as we wrap position players, Jose Guillen has to be mentioned. He’s had an outstanding season at the plate. So far: he’s tied a single game RBI record with seven in June 7, eclipsed last year’s RBI season high with 65 this year (tied for fourth in the A.L.), belted 13 homers (seven of which have given the Royals the lead) and he’s ranked in several other offensive categories. 

As a team, the Royals have four players at 10 or more home runs with another sitting on nine. In 2007, only two players hit 10 or more and four hit 10 or more in 2006. 

Short
Dayton Moore mentioned that the team is always looking to improve itself through trades or signings but does not want to compromise the current core of young players for a few months of service time or even a year of service unless the team felt it absolutely necessary…The team hired Sports Psychologist Andrew Jacobs, who was introduced to the team before yesterday’s workout…Leo Nunez was moved to Double-A Northwest Arkansas for rehab, because of Triple-A Omaha’s All-Star break. He pitched two innings of relief last night, recording a pair of strikeouts. 


7-18 Emerson.jpgThird
The Royals return home for seven games on Monday. Plenty of promotions are in the works for the home stand including Frank White powder blue T-shirts Dan Quisenberry bobbleheads an Emerson Drive concert and the return of Girl’s Night Out.

Tonight marks the first of 28 straight games against opponents with winning records, 16 of which are at Kauffman. The combined record for the seven teams is 368-297 for a .553 winning percentage.

Hope you didn’t miss the All-Star game coverage here from our man Swanee who was in New York on Monday and Tuesday for the festivities and in the dugout during the game.

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

Thanks for your help.

Tonight’s Lineup:

DeJesus 8
Aviles 6
Teahen 9
Butler DH
Grud 4
Gordon 5
Gload 3
Buck 2
German 7

Here’s today’s Official Game Notes.

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The most exciting play in baseball

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But what does he think about them?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for your help.

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

Tonight’s Lineup (a change from earlier):

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

Hochevar P

Here’s today’s Official Game Notes.

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Milestone Night?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Thanks for your help.

Tonight’s Lineup:

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

Greinke P 

Here’s today’s Official Game Notes.

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Vote Jose

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for your help.

Tonight’s Lineup:

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

Bannister P

Here’s today’s Official Game Notes.

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Bringing the Rain

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

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

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


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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 
7-8 USA 3.JPG

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today’s Lineup:

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

Davies P

Here’s today’s Official Game Notes.

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Two Times

Four games in Baltimore with two wins and two four-run comebacks. Twos are wild. And four as well, we suppose. We had a big sixth inning last night. Seven runs big and it led to a 10-7 win.

7-4 Grud.jpgAfter dropping two games in which they had their chances, the Royals bounced back to split the series with the Orioles and take a little momentum to Tampa for their showdown with the first-place Rays. For a look back on the series before we play our first-ever game against the Tampa Bay Rays (they had been the Devil Rays until this season), let’s go Around the Horn…

First
Since we’ve established that two is the number of the day, the Royals all-around “two guy,” the second baseman and typical No. 2 hitter is more than worth mentioning.  Mark Grudzielanek posted his second four-hit game in five days. Last night he collected five total bases, Sunday he had six. Grudzielanek’s average is up to .315, which is ninth in the American League, and he has a five-game hitting streak, collecting 11 hits in 22 at-bats, a .500 batting average during the streak.

Grudzielanek has three 4-hit games this season and 31 in his career He is dominating lefties and at home (last night’s starter was a lefty and Sunday’s four-hitter was at home). He’s hitting .371 at home this season, good for third best in the A.L. and his .403 average against lefties is second best in the A.L.

Should we remind you, the guy turned 38 on Monday. Like Trey said, he sure isn’t playing like a 38-year-old.

Second
So yesterday under Second, we mentioned two guys who are putting together big seasons for the Boys in Blue. Both helped the Royals to victory last night and both are worth mentioning again.

Jose Guillen knocked in three RBI last night and has 64. Emil Brown’s team-leading total last season was 62. For the record, Brown held the previous two year’s RBI highs with 81 in 2006 and 83 RBI in 2005. For a higher total than 83, you have to go back to 2003 when Carlos Beltran knocked in an even 100. So here’s to seeing just how high Guillen can go.

The other guy we mentioned? David DeJesus, who is on a mission at the plate right now. He tied a career high last night by hitting in his 15th straight game. To extend his streak, he knocked in Mark Teahen from third base – yet another hit with runners in scoring position. DeJesus leads the Majors with a .473 batting average with runners in scoring position.

Short
Billy Butler is in the midst of a three-game hitting streak after a double and a home run last night, his second homer of the season and first since April 14 at Seattle…Tony Pena broke a span of 180 at-bats with his solo shot last night…Mark Grudzielanek is eight hits short of 2,000, so he may break that over the weekend with how he’s hitting, although with the artificial turf in Tampa, he may get a day or two off…Omaha’s Jason Smith was named to the Pacific Coast League’s All-Star team, the only O-Royal to make the squad…Joakim Soria is two saves shy of tying the Royals pre All-Star record of 25 set by Jeff Montgomery in 1993.


White,Frank_defense6.jpgThird
This is a little way out there, but the Royals were notified today that the August 2 game versus Chicago has been changed from a 6:10 start to a 2:55 start to allow for national coverage by the FOX network. The game will still be Military Appreciation Day with the first 20,000 fans receiving camouflage Royals caps.

Please Vote: Jose Guillen is up for the Pepsi Clutch Award for June. Vote here.

Reminders: The Frank White special on FSN-KC will air after tonight’s game. Tomorrow’s game is on TV as a makeup for a previous rainout with pre-game starting at 5:30 p.m. CT.

Also: The Royals will sell View Level Infield seats for $12 during two games next weekend, donating $5 from each ticket to the American Red Cross on Friday July 11 and the Salvation Army on Saturday July 12..

Please have a safe and happy 4th of July.

Tonight’s Lineup:

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

Bannister P

Here’s today’s Official Game Notes.

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Going Deep

7-3 DeJesus.jpgThe Royals have dropped four bombs in three days at Oriole Park in Camden Yards. Last night David DeJesus didn’t wait to let the entire stadium and all the Royals fans at home watching know that he was fine.

DeJesus deposited a 2-2 pitch into the right field seats. After missing two games because of bruised ribs, the Royals centerfielder made his bat heard last night, going 3-for-3.

The Royals may have lost, but they have been torrid at the plate lately. To look at just a couple of those contributor’s numbers, let’s go Around the Horn…

First
DeJesus’ leadoff homer last night was his ninth home run this season, tying his career high from 2005. He played in 122 games in 2005. He’s seen action in just 69 this year.

DeJesus is putting together a career year. His batting average is currently tied for 6th in the Majors – not just the American League (where he’s tied for 2nd) but the Majors. The names ahead of him are the names you expect to see leading the Majors in batting average. Atlanta’s Chipper Jones is No. 1 and still flirting with .400, then comes Houston’s Lance Berkman, the Cardinals’ Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday from the Rockies and the Twins’ Joe Mauer are the only guys in the game who have seen the ball better than DeJesus in 2008.

As expected with his homers and average, DeJesus’ current .382 on-base and .496 slugging percentages are also at career highs. Here are the rest of his 2008 numbers followed by his career bests in parentheses 84 hits (157 in ’07), 12 doubles (36 in ’06), three triples ( nine in ’07), 42 RBI (58 in ’07) 22 walks (64 in ’07) 30 strikeouts (70 in ’06; had 53 in ’04 but played only 96 games) six stolen bases (10 in ’07), and 37 runs (101 in ’07). His career highs for average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage all came in 2006 (.295 AVG, .364 OBP, .446 SLG).

Second
David DeJesus was one of two Royals to receive votes for American League Player of the Month in June. The other Royal, 
7-3 Guillen.jpgJose Guillen has been on a tear since May 1 and leads the Royals in most categories. For today, we’re going to focus exclusively on homers and RBI. Guillen sits at 13 and 61.

Those numbers are huge. How huge? The Royals leaders for 2007 were 18 and 62, by John Buck and Emil Brown respectively.

If Guillen were to really, really get hot over the last 11 games before the All-Star break he could eclipse them both and still have the remaining two and a half month to spare. The RBI number is almost without a doubt in the bag. The homer number would be tough, but he’s gone on stretches like that in his career before.

Maybe not that hot, but it’s something to cheer for right?

Short
Hope everyone made it through the DirecTV channel switch last night, if you didn’t you can find the Royals on 672 now…Notes from Trey Hillman: Joey Gathright will sit tonight to recover some after re-dislocating his shoulder bringing back a ball from the great beyond…However he is available…And: Mike Aviles is also sitting tonight to get a breath of air and relax because he may be pressing…Lastly: Trey wants to see more consistency out of Davies tonight…Congratulations is deserved, the Royals named J.J. Picollo as the Assistant GM/Scouting and Player Development.


Third
Reminder about a couple of things coming up:

In My Own Words with Frank White will air on Friday night after Royals Live. The show will detail his journey from a kid in K.C. to a hero in K.C. Again, that will air immediately after the coverage of Royals-Rays ends on the 4th.

Saturday: The Royals game versus Tampa Bay is on TV. Coverage starts at 5:30 with Royals Live. This is a makeup from earlier this season.

Also: Hats Off weekend is back and looking to help out some good causes. Special ticket deals were detailed on the blog yesterday. The short of it, the Royals will sell View Level Infield seats for $12 and donate $5 from each ticket to the American Red Cross on Friday July 11 and the Salvation Army on Saturday July 12.

Please have a safe and happy 4th of July.

Tonight’s Lineup:

DeJesus CF
Grudzielanek 2B
Gordon 3B
Guillen 7
Butler DH
Olivo C
Teahen RF
Gload 1B
Pena SS

Davies P

Here’s today’s Official Game Notes.

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Late inning antics


7-1 Olivo.jpgRoyals fans have no fear, the Underdogs are here. Losing streaks? They can bounce back. Seven-run deficits? Done that. Jinxes? Not a problem.

Miguel Olivo, Jose Guillen and company struck back late last night. You may have gone to bed. To find out what is going on with these Royals let’s go around the horn…

First
By now you’ve probably heard about Miguel Olivo pinch hitting in the ninth. Two outs, two strikes and he plants one over the fence. You’ve probably also heard about Alex Gordon being intentionally walked and Jose Guillen making the Orioles pay for it.

These are resilient Royals. Down four runs, they started scoring. On top of that, they shut off the Baltimore offense. The score was 6-5 last night and the Orioles didn’t score after the fifth. It’s the second time over their last eight games to come from behind to finish off an opponent. In a wild ride last Sunday, the Royals mounted a seven run comeback to  beat the Giants. Even two days ago, they wouldn’t stop. It wasn’t enough to beat the Cardinals, but they started digging out of a five run hole and never gave in.

MLB.com quoted last night’s starter Zack Greinke talking about the resilient Royals: “That’s what we’ve been doing lately. We get behind, and we don’t quit and we come back” Greinke said. “This is several games now where we’ve been behind by a bunch and still find a way to come back.”

Greinke’s right. The Royals have 11 come from behind wins this season.

Sunday marked the first time the Royals had lost back-to-back games since June 11. What did they do last night? They made sure it didn’t become a losing streak. And where? Baltimore of all places, this is the same city in which they had a nine game slide. That’s two Oriole streaks the Royals have broken up this year. The Royals snapped a 12 game-losing streak to the O’s earlier this season at Kauffman and now they are looking to build a winning streak of their own. Right now K.C.’s streak over Baltimore is at two.

7-1 Guillen.jpgSecond
The All-Star game is July 16, which is two weeks from today. Tomorrow night, balloting closes. Jose Guillen and Joakim Soria should get huge  props for their play the last two months. They were both named Player and Pitcher of the Month for May and June.

Their stats speak for themselves. Guillen tied for third with the most hits in the American League during June. His doubles total has trailed off some of late, but he’s also dealing with some leg issues and he still hit .345 for the month with seven homers (top 10) and 25 RBI (also tied for third). In May, he tied for the lead in double with 11 and knocked in 11.

Soria, at a completely different position, may have been even more dominant. He’s making teams afraid to face him (though the Orioles will probably think twice about intentionally walking someone to get to Guillen in the future). Soria was second in saves in the American League for June (10). Hitters only batted .182 against him during the month. More impressively, in one month, he allowed just eight hits. Eight. May was seven (with a .163 average against him). He has 13 strikeouts in each of the last two months in 25 innings. He’s only given up five runs since the season started.

Short
Notes from Trey Hillman’s press conference:
DeJesus is out again tonight but may be ready for late-inning  duty and will hopefully be back in the lineup tomorrow…On the Disabled List front: Leo Nunez has live batting practices scheduled this week and could be on a rehab assignment as soon as next week if all goes well…John Bale is progessing, but not as fast as Nunez. He’s still looking at being back sometime after the All-Star break… Here’s a fun stat for the day: The Wilmington Blue Rocks have the top four leaders in stolen bases for the Carolina league, being paced by Derrick Robinson who has 38 steals in 73 games (the highest number not owned by a Blue Rock; 19 steals by John Shelby of the Winston-Salem Warthogs, which is tied with Wilmington’s Chris McConnell).

Third
A few TV clarifactions for you in case you were curious/didn’t know. As we mentioned yesterday, Saturday’s game will be on FSN-KC. It will be a makeup from a rainout on May 22 in Cleveland earlier this season. Royals Live will start at 5:30 with regular coverage at 6.

For Direct TV subscribers in the KC area straight from Geoff Goldman, FSN-KC Media Relations Director: DirecTV is changing its channel numbers for regional sports networks.  Beginning Wednesday (July 2), DirecTV subscribers will find Kansas City Royals telecasts on a new channel – 672 (the old channel, through July 1, is 648).
 
According to information provided by DirecTV, viewers will be directed to the new channel number in the on-screen guide.  High definition channel numbers will move with the standard def channel number (i.e. – Royals HD telecasts will be found on 672-1).

Lineup:

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

Hochevar P

Here’s today’s Official Game Notes.

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Game 2 – A Royal Event

Yes, tonight is a big one, with a sold out crowd and an intrastate showdown. But tonight is more than that. Tonight, we are honoring one of the best men in baseball. The Royals are inducting their 23rd member to the Hall of Fame, Art Stewart. 6-28 Gordon.JPGEach time one of these events comes around, it’s always a special moment and tonight promises to follow that mold.
For more on the special night, let’s go around the horn…
 
First
Art Stewart is the Royals’ longest tenured associate. He’s been with the club for 39 years. Over 50 years of his life has been spent in baseball. Stewart currently holds the position of Senior Advisor to the General Manager, a post he’s held since 1997. Before that, Stewart served as Director of Scouting from 1984-96. He’s also helped in the organization of the baseball academy in the Dominican Republic and served as a scout in the Midwest for a number of years.
 
Stewart may not be the most visible person in the Royals organization to fans, but his work most certainly is visible. Over 70 players Stewart drafted or scouted reached the Majors, including Bo Jackson, Kevin Appier, Brian McRae, Mike Sweeney, Johnny Damon, Joe Randa and Carlos Beltran.
 
During Spring Training, the Royals dedicated three fields, naming them for the retired numbers in the organization, Dick Howser, George Brett and Frank White. At the same time, the Club dedicated the observation tower, naming it Stewart Tower.
 
If you’re curious who Stewart is, he can be seen at most Royals home games, sitting a few rows behind home plate holding a radar gun and jotting notes.
 
Second
During a pre-game interview with the media earlier this week, manager Trey Hillman talked about ‘slug.’ Very simply, ‘slug’ is a lineups ability to hit the ball and hit it hard. The Royals are showing quite a bit of slug lately, with the most recent example being Alex Gordon’s 416-foot shot in the fifth last night. Gordon has hit five homers in his last 16 games.
 
Gordon’s recent surge can be attributed some to the protection Jose Guillen provides hitting right behind him in the lineup. Hitting in the three-hole, Gordon has seen better pitches to hit and taken advantage of it. Last season he ended with 15 homers. 6-20 Teahen.jpgLast night he joined Guillen as the only double-digit Royals so far this season. But three more players are chomping at the bit to join them, with David DeJesus, Mark Teahen and Miguel Olivo all sitting at eight homers.

Short
As a team, the Royals have gone 11-1 over their last 12, homering in all but three games, including going homerless in their lone loss…Of note: Hot hitting Billy Butler has been recalled from Omaha and Alberto Callaspo moved to the Disabled List. Butler was hitting .337 with six doubles, a triple, five homers and 13 RBI while with Omaha.
 
Third
A few reminders of what to watch out for…
 
On Around the Horn: Tomorrow a complete recap of tonight’s festivities and a Touch ‘em All interview with John Martin (no regular around the horn).
Monday: A recap of the “Eye”-70 Series, presented by Silverstein Eye Centers.
Later this week: A renovations update and more daily content.
 
On royals.com: The Royals Relay 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 question from fans.
 
On the field: The Royals finish up with the Cards tomorrow at 1:10 (tickets still available) and head out to Baltimore on Monday for a four game set. You can catch all four games on FSN-KC at 6:05 p.m. CT.
 
 
Tonight’s Lineup:
LF David DeJesus (l .317-8-41)
SS Mike Aviles (R .313-3-14)
3B Alex Gordon (L .266-10-39)
DH Jose Guillen (R .285-13-60)
2B Mark Grudzielanek (r .302-2-14)
RF Mark Teahen (L .256-8-26)
C Miguel Olivo (R .257-8-27)
1B Ross Gload (l .263-1-14)
CF Joey Gathright (L .245-0-14)
 
P Kyle Davies (3-0, 3.12)

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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