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Royal Blues


July 2, 2009 12:05 AM

ORoyals open July with a loooong loss

Sidney Ponson made the start for Omaha. I had kind of hoped John Buck would be the starting catcher, so we'd have an "all-rehab" battery, but he Buck was not in tonight's lineup. In Ponson's last appearance last Friday, he got through five innings at Memphis, giving up 2 runs on 7 hits.

Tonight, Ponson pitched six innings and gave up three runs - all earned - on nine hits. He only threw 11 pitches in the 1st inning and eight in the 2nd, but struggled in the 3rd. He needed 25 pitches to get out of that frame, and New Orleans scored two runs. He settled back down after that inning, though.

Meanwhile, Omaha's offense got off to a verrrry promising start when the first two batters walked, but neither of those runners scored and the offense did very little until the 8th inning. By that time, the Zephyrs had a 3-1 lead. Scott Thorman led off the inning by reaching on an error, and Brian Buchanan homered to tie the game. That was pretty much the last thing the offense did all night.

Back up the first for a moment. By taking a base on balls to lead off the inning, Irving Falu took more pitches than the Zephs had taken in the entire top of the inning. That made me smile.  Also in that inning, New Orleans' starter John Koronka threw more pitches before getting a single out than Ponson had needed in the top of the inning. Too bad nothing came of any of that.

Victor Marte relieved Ponson, and worked two scoreless innings. Yasuhiko Yabuta, who had not given up a run in his previous three outings, came in after that. He was again really good, striking out three and allowing no runs in two innings. And now, for some reason, he's not listed on the Omaha roster. I wonder what to make of that...trade? Callup? Release? Or just a clerical error?

Disco Hayes followed Yabuta, and wound up pitching three innings. He was great in the 11th, racking up two Ks and a groundout, then got a groundout and two popouts in the 12th. In the 13th, I went and sat with Mrs. Disco. The first batter of the inning lined out, then Michael Ryan* singled to left with one out. Ryan advanced to 2nd on a balk, which Mrs. Disco said was Chris' first career balk. Ryan ended up scoring, and Omaha couldn't answer with any runs in the bottom of the inning, so Disco was saddled with the loss.

*never trust a guy with two first names!

Still, despite the loss tonight, Disco has handled Triple-A hitters very well. He's struck out batters at the same rate he did in NWArk, and the walk he gave up in the 13th tonight was the first free pass he had issued since being promoted. These are good signs that Hayes' ability to get AA batters out was more strongly related to his ability and pristine control than it was the novelty of his submarine release point.

Bullet points:
  • Congratulations to Lenny DiNardo for being selected to represent the O-Royals in the Triple-A All-Star Game. I'm glad I'm not the only one who realizes what an awesome pitcher he is, and I would love to see him get some kind of shot in the Majors before this season is over. For those who wish to see our All-Star pitch in person, you will have to either travel or wait until the next homestand - DiNardo said his next scheduled start is Saturday, the first day of the upcoming road trip.
  • It's officially official - The Royals' new home will be in Sarpy County.
  • Check out my photos from the game here. If you can ignore the net, some of them are pretty decent(ish) pictures.
  • I talked to team president Alan Stein for a while about Alex Gordon's upcoming - and very short! - rehab appearance here. I'll have more about that in a separate post.

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