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Not Quite Lima Time


On a marvelous Opening Day that saw Carlos Beltran and Joe Randa – two players who were on the Kansas City Royals’ roster in 2004 – go a combined 5-9 with two home runs (Randa’s a game-winner) in the same contest, the Royals simply played like it was 2004 all over again. The pitching staff made damned sure of that by helping Dmitri Young become the first guy since Tuffy Rhodes to hit three home runs in his team’s first game.

Where to begin? For starters, I suppose I should color myself thankful because I didn’t even have the opportunity to hear the 11-2 butt-whoopin’ the Tigers put on KC. JOCK 98.7, the local radio station that’s carried the Royals’ radio broadcasts for the past several seasons, has apparently decided to not air Royals games ever again. I guess that’s disappointing from the standpoint that I’m a huge Royals fan and probably won’t get to hear Denny Matthews and Ryan Lefebvre call games from Kauffman Stadium this summer, but then again, it’s entirely possible that the only “good” I’ll be missing is 62 wins. At any rate, I’d encourage all of you Springfieldians to give JOCK 98.7 a call and encourage them to put Denny and Ryan back on the air.

Speaking of things being “back on (or in) the air,” Jose Lima started yesterday’s game, and the results (five earned runs in three innings) weren’t pretty. In typical Lima fashion, his problem keeping runs off the board didn’t stem from an inability to throw strikes, it stemmed from an inability to throw quality strikes. Aside from 2003, when he somehow only allowed seven home runs in 73 2/3 innings with the Royals, Lima Time!’s always had his troubles keeping the ball in the park. That issue came up and bit him once again in his “triumphant” return to Comerica Park, as he badly missed location three times, and predictably watched as Brandon Inge (once) and Young (twice) took him yard.

Tigers starter Jeremy Bonderman, on the other hand, was downright filthy. In seven innings, he allowed only one run, six hits, two walks, and struck out seven batters. His outing should serve as evidence to the Royals front office that pitchers with high strikeout totals aren’t necessarily pitchers who always have high pitch counts. Bonderman K’d a batter an inning, and needed only 102 pitches to do it. The formula is simple: if a pitcher has good stuff and gets two strikes on a batter, there’s no need for him to screw around by “wasting” a pitch or two. If he stays aggressive and goes right after the guy, throwing what would be a called strike on that third pitch, he can keep his pitch counts down while creating his own outs.

As far as positives go, Calvin Pickering hit a no-doubt homer to right field in the eighth inning, David DeJesus got on base twice in his four at-bats, and KRB favorite Shawn Camp was the only Royals hurler to not allow an earned run. All things considered, it was just a horrible, horrible way to start the season. They should have a better chance to win on Wednesday when they pitch Runelvys Hernandez against Mike Maroth, but more days like Monday is probably all Royals fans have to look forward to in 2005.
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