Lost time is not found again.
(From "Odds and Ends", The Basement Tapes)
A few things I've been chewing over while enjoying a road sweep of the Royals' rival...
First off, Cardinal fans will undoubtedly point to Albert Pujols' absence as the main reason for the sweep. They have a case. But they should be more worried about their bullpen, if you ask me. Also, Rick Ankiel, Ryan Ludwick and Chris Duncan are all capable bats; their presence wasn't much help to the Cardinal offense.
Second, Brian Bannister kind of stole my thunder with his solid start Wednesday night. I had started kicking an idea around in my head. Given his career day/night splits (11-2, 3.48 ERA, .239 BAA in sunshine; 9-14, 4.66, .266 under the lights), I was prepared to offer a modest proposal: make Banny a Sunday/day game starter. Back in the days of doubleheaders and more frequent off days for travel, teams often used a Sunday starter. It seemed somewhat appropriate to me to try Banny in this role; he strikes me as a throwback type of guy--very intelligent about his craft (in Brian's case, very intelligent, period). It would take some juggling on the Royals' part, but this organization needs to try more creative problem-solving thinking than other teams with more money. In addition to juggling, the Royals would probably need a true swingman in the bullpen; now that Brett Tomko is thankfully gone, perhaps Carlos Rosa can fill that role, but I don't think the Royals are comfortable with him pitching meaningful innings just yet.
Looking at the schedule, if the Royals did this starting at the All-Star Break, Brian would start 7/20, 7/27, 8/3, 8/10, 8/16, 8/21, 8/31, 9/7, 9/14, 9/21 and 9/28. That's 11 starts; he would probably get 12 or 13 in a normal rotation. He could start in middle of the 10-day layoff in late August, too. He could also pitch an inning or two in relief in some of the longer stretches, if he were really needed. This would give KC the added bonus of being able to look at Rosa as a starter; let's be honest, we should have an eye on the near future, too.
I know this is a crazy idea. Brian's night struggles may just be a matter of small sample size. And it may not make sense to mess with the starting pitching, which has been the strength of the team so far.
Finally, I would like to say I believe the Royals are closer to being a good team than their record might indicate. Maybe the NL is weaker and therefore the Royals look better, but they have been playing some of the best teams in the NL. My summation of the Royals right now? They have the pitching to have nice winning streaks, but not the offense to prevent losing streaks. I believe that developing the offense is the next step to getting where we want to go. The pitching is already much improved from when Dayton Moore took over. The time to find some hitting is near.