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The Greinke Scare


  • Mariano Rivera’s reign of having the most scrutinized right arm of the 2005 baseball season to date was short-lived. Royals fans and fantasy baseball owners of Zack Greinke alike will be collectively holding their breaths to see if he’ll be able to make his next start (and, more importantly, pitch effectively) thanks to Carlos Guillen’s line drive that hit Zack's arm in the third inning of yesterday’s 7-3 Detroit win.

    The good news here is that Greinke’s optimistic about taking his turn in the rotation next week, the X-rays came back negative, and the Royals medical staff diagnosed his ailment as a bruised right forearm. The bad news is that almost no pitcher in the history of baseball has been anything other than “optimistic” about making his next start after an injury, so Greinke’s opinion should be taken with a grain of salt. Additionally, the medical staff in Kansas City is worse than any other in Major League Baseball, so a bruised right forearm could easily turn into a misdiagnosed bone fracture in the matter of a few days.

    I’ve long believed that if anything were to ever happen to Greinke that would hamper his long-term outlook towards superstardom, that success just isn’t in the cards for the Royals. Ever. Of course, that fear came from a belief that the Royals themselves would do something irresponsible with his arm, not that he’d take a liner off it. Regardless, for the sake of the future of the club, it’s imperative that Greinke recovers from this in time and continues to pitch like he has.


  • Speaking of Greinke, here’s a very interesting article about him from Sunday’s edition of the Kansas City Star. Check out that side-by-side picture of him and Bret Saberhagen; the similarity in their deliveries is just spooky.


  • Well before yesterday’s game, I expressed a real concern to friend of KRB Dave Sanford about the terrible approach I thought the Royals hitters would take against Tigers starter Jason Johnson, and unfortunately, my concern proved to be a valid one. There’s nothing magical about Johnson or how any members of Thursday’s lineup have hit against him in the past. However, too many times in the past five or six seasons I’ve seen the Royals be extremely patient and work themselves into hitters’ counts one game, and score a ton of runs in that game as a result. So what’s the problem? More often than not, every hitter’s so pumped up over winning a ballgame with their bats the previous night, they completely forget their plan of attack and swing at anything in the strike zone. Invariably, they usually end up scoring about as much as NHL teams are as we speak, can’t figure out why, and keep on swinging without any sort of restraint.

    Johnson looked like a Cy Young candidate yesterday, and a big reason why was KC’s willingness to help him out by putting the ball in play early in the count. Royals hitters put the ball in play 16 times on the second or first pitch of the plate appearance, and made at least one out in 10 of those at-bats. John Buck swung at the first pitch in two of his four times up. As a result, Johnson needed only 76 pitches to get through 6 2/3 innings, which is a ridiculously-low figure and isn’t at all excusable. They got better against Ugueth Urbina (20 pitches in one inning) and Troy Percival (23 pitches in one inning), frames in which they scored their only runs of the game. Coincidence? I think not.

    It’s nice that the Royals have an organization-wide belief that working the count and drawing walks is important, but the philosophy doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot if they won’t put it into action on the field.


  • I was going to blow a gasket after seeing that the official hitter of Kevin’s Royals Blog, Calvin Pickering, wasn’t in the lineup against the righthand-throwing Johnson. After all, Tony Pena made a commitment to correctly utilize his platoon situations this season, and putting a guy who’s helpless against righthanded pitching in Eli Marrero over a lefty masher like Pickering had me wanting to fly to Detroit and berate Pena in front of his entire team.

    Fortunately, no berating was necessary, as I found out later that was Pickering was absent because his wife is expecting their child to be born very soon. Hopefully, all will go well, and Calvin will use the happiness his son or daughter will bring him as a springboard towards a very successful year.


  • I was right about Tony Graffanino and Ruben Gotay in yesterday's entry. Pena, managing once again on a gut feeling rather than logic, had the veteran starting over the kid. Hopefully, Pena’s nonsense will stop this weekend in Anaheim, because Gotay has to play almost every single day whether it’s with Kansas City or Omaha.


  • By the way, here’s Rotoworld.com’s hilarious reaction to Pickering and Gotay not being in the lineup before we knew all the facts:

    Despite homering in his final two games of the spring and on Opening Day, Calvin Pickering didn't start versus a right-hander today.

    Ruben Gotay was also absent again. Maybe Tony Pena thought that since the Royals scored seven runs with a lefty pitching yesterday, he should use the same lineup today. Maybe Mike Sweeney was achy and had to DH. Maybe Pickering, upset with the lack of a pregame spread, ate Gotay this morning and was benched as punishment. Either way, we don't like this one bit.

  • I went to a friend of mine’s birthday party at Nakato Japanese Steak House last night, and was it ever one cool experience. Using chopsticks, the chef making a volcano-o-fire out of a stack of onions, and the exquisite Japanese cuisine made for a heck of a good time. You haven’t lived until an expert chef has turned cooking a meal into an entire performance right before your eyes.


  • How about the Indians? A day after a demoralizing 4-3 loss to the White Sox, the Tribe returned the favor by hitting three bombs off of Chicago closer Shingo Takatsu to tie the game at five in the ninth inning, and won by the score of 11-5 in extras. Coco Crisp was one of the guys who tagged Takatsu, so in the aftermath of Sanchezgate, I’m sure that rumors of Crisp taking performance-enhancing drugs will start circulating sometime today.


  • And for all you Springfield basketball fans out there, the word on the street is that former Kickapoo High School standout guard Spencer Laurie is coming home. Laurie, who was granted his release from Quin Snyder's program at Mizzou, might be on his way to Missouri State next season. I'm understand the rules of college athletics transfers about as well as I understand baseball's waiver policy, but I've been led to believe that he'll have to sit out this season to suit up for MSU in the 2006-2007 season.

    While I'm definitely not any sort of a close friend of Spencer's, I became acquainted with him over the years through high school, and I'm not at all surprised he chose to transfer out of Columbia. He kept getting hurt, wasn't getting any playing time when he was healthy, and was involved in a program that's quickly becoming the biggest off-court soap opera in Division I men's basketball. At MSU, if he chooses to play here, he'll get to play in a more comfortable environment with a former KHS teammate, Deven Mitchell.

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