...Take heed of this and get plenty of rest.
(From "Nothing Was Delivered," The Basement Tapes)
Nothing is better than a walkoff homerun. So of course I missed David DeJesus's game-winner Saturday night, due to a family commitment. Silly family, get your priorities in order! Just kidding. I can only hope it won't be three more years until the next Royals' walkoff. Yes, that sums up recent Royals history nicely. Last walkoff homer--April 19, 2005.
On a side note, DeJesus's development this year is definitely one of the bright spots in this season. He has already set a career high in homers, and could have his first .300 season this year. He has also provided his usual solid defense and had played all three outfield positions, without complaining about being moved. And he does this for a relatively paltry $2.5 million. He has the highest OPS+ on the team (122), even better than Jose Guillen. Of course, this is the Royals we're talking about, so there has to be a black cloud for this silver lining. That would be David's age, 29 in December. Since most players peak between 26-29, it would seem that David will be declining over the next few years. This doesn't mean he won't be valuable in those years, but it is something the Royals will hopefully consider if they receive trade interest for DeJesus. If KC is really aiming for contending in 2010, it might be more helpful to receive a prospect who will be on the upswing then. I would prefer to keep him, because he is a fun player to watch and there is not a readily available replacement for him.
In today's game, it's too bad Trey Hillman apparently started his All-Star break early. Up 2-1 after the 6th, Hillman let Kyle Davies start the 7th. I have no problem with this move. Davies was pitching well. But after the tying run singled with two outs, it was time to bring in Ron Mahay to face lefty Jeff Clement (or whichever pinch-hitter was summoned; Mahay is effective against righties, too). Instead, Davies surrendered a homer to Clement. That would be .165-hitting Jeff Clement.
Trey, this is simple. You have a lead after 6 innings. Mahay. Ramon Ramirez. Joakim Soria. Win.
So when the Royals scored in the 8th, that should have made it a 3-1 game. Then the 9th inning's misplays (dropped popup, botched rundown) would not have mattered. Instead, they led to a loss to the AL's worst team.
So here we are, at the All-Star break. Due to a scheduling quirk, the Royals do not play again until Friday. That seems like a long time away. But the players deserve some time off, and I hope they will be able to come back and keep the weekend's momentum going. On the bright side, KC hits the break outside the AL Central basement, one game ahead of Cleveland. And at last year's ASB, the Royals were 38-50, 15 games back. This year, they are 43-53, 12 games back. So there has been a little improvement.
Fear not, loyal readers (both of you). I am planning to blog about the All-Star Game. Perhaps this year the Royals' representative will actually get to play.