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Game One


With their season-opening 6-4 win over The Fighting Showalters, the Kansas City Royals are over the .500 mark for the first time in 323 days, or since April 14, 2004. While such a thing wouldn’t be just cause to start a ticker-tape parade in 28 other baseball cities (with the noted exception of fellow basement-dweller Tampa Bay), make no mistake: I’m VERY psyched that the Royals are actually not sucking at the present time.

Things didn’t start to not suck right away, however. Brian Anderson, presumably struggling with his new, Guy Hansen-induced delivery, walked the bases loaded in the first inning before escaping after allowing just one run. In fact, BA started a trend. Nathan Field was the only Blue Wave pitcher who didn’t allow a baserunner, which proves that some things – namely the Royals’ pitching – never change.

Offensively, the day was much, much better. Mike Sweeney got three hits, John Buck almost hit one out of the yard (he had to settle for a double), and the Official Free Talent Pickup of KRB, Matt Diaz, was 1-1 with two runs scored. It’s concerning, however, that the Royals found time to give two at-bats to both Brian Hunter and Andres Blanco, but couldn’t send Calvin Pickering up there for a pinch-hitting appearance. FREE CALVIN PICKERING! marches on.

After the game in a kcroyals.com article, Tony Pena talked about what he considered to be the most important play of the day.

There was no doubt what made manager Tony Pena the happiest in the Royals' 6-4 win over the Rangers.

"I think the big play of the day was John Buck putting down the bunt to move the runners over. And then (Chris) Clapinski put the ball in play to score the runner from third. Those are the little things that we're talking about. We've been working on it, and it's nice to see those guys execute," Pena said.

That happened in the sixth inning, after Terrence Long and Abraham Nunez each singled. Buck sacrificed, and Clapinski got pinch-runner Matt Diaz home with a grounder to first.
Every fan hates his team’s manager for one reason or another, and this sums up why I don’t particularly like the way Pena thinks. The Royals have admitted that they’re going to have a hard time scoring runs this season, and yet they think the solution is giving away outs to advance baserunners. Seems to me that if a team doesn’t have very many good hitters, they’d try to avoid outs at all costs as opposed to giving them away like candy. Why do the “little things” like laying down sacrifice bunts in the sixth inning when a team can do the “big things” like hitting home runs and maximizing the number of baserunners in an inning?

The sabermetric evolution still has some work to do in Kansas City.

Spring Training in Pictures:


Matt Diaz deserves Abraham Nunez's job
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