...It's inconceivable it could happen to you.
(From "Unbelievable," Under The Red Sky)
So, I wake up today, after a pleasant night at the K and a solid 5-3 win over San Francisco. I open the Star and am greeted by the following words of wisdom:
“We still (stink),” (Jose) Guillen says. “How about that? We still (stink), simple as that. We still (stink). You got it. If you want to know the truth, you got it.”
I was wrong about Jose. I thought it was a mistake when the Royals signed him, that he was a malcontent who was past his prime. Now it appears--after his memorable tirade, after he told the Star last week how happy he was after a KC win even though he went 0-4, and after he told the Star, "We still (stink)"--that Jose Guillen is a team leader. He is what this team needed: a fiery personality who will not accept shoddy play or poor preparation.
I loved Mike Sweeney. I never blamed him for getting hurt or for not blasting teammates; injuries happen, and by all accounts, Sweeney wanted to play. And it's not like he was surrounded by the '27 Yankees, or even the '80 Royals. But his personality became the team's personality, and I don't think that helped the dire situation KC was in the last few years. Now I am hoping that fire in Guillen becomes this team's personality. It seems like most of KC's youngsters are pretty quiet guys who could use a little fire.
So we were out at the K again today, and it looked like Guillen had an excellent point: "We still (stink)." Kyle Davies couldn't locate the postage-stamp sized strike zone, threw wildly on a pickoff at first, and couldn't get out of the second inning. The comedy of errors continued, with a bad throw from the outfield, a dropped popup that was generously scored a hit and two meek offensive innings against NL Cy Young contender Tim Lincecum.
What happened over the next 3 hours proved why baseball is the most fascinating of all our games. While the other major sports are governed by the clock, baseball is the sport where the only limitation is getting 27 outs, even if it takes all freakin' afternoon, like it did today.
Down 6-0, KC started chipping away, getting to within 6-3 after the fourth inning. However, the Giants were able to score four runs in the fifth inning, against the soft spot of the Royals' bullpen, the middle relief guys. So we packed up and headed home, as it was a warm day and we had spent a good five hours at the ballpark last night. Thus, we missed the second-largest comeback in Royals' history, an 8-0 run over the next three innings, more good relief work from Ron Mahay and Joakim Soria, and an unbelievable 11-10 win.
It appears KC's biggest pitching problem is that middle relief area. If the Royals' starter lasts into the sixth or seventh inning, we're in good shape. If the bullpen is involved in the fourth or fifth, we're in trouble. Yasuhiko Yabuta, or Ya-Brutal as I like to call him, is looking like a terrible signing. Jeff Fulchino hasn't done much impressive yet, and who knows about Carlos Rosa? Luckily, the rotation has been solid enough lately to minimize their workload, which is how the Royals will need to win until the offense is improved.
Up next, the defending NL Champion Colorado Rockies, who have had a terrible year but are playing better lately. It should be fun.