Royal Blues

April 13, 2010 7:30 PM

A sign of what's to come? Bullpen blows it for Banny

DAYMAN.jpgI vaguely remember an exercise I used to do when I was being overly grumpy. At the end of the day (or whenever), I would get out a piece of notebook paper and write down 10 good things about whatever person/event/class that was bothering me.

After a loss like today's Royals game, it's tough to think of good things, isn't it? These losses hurt, and they are embarrassing. How hard can it be to put together a bullpen that can hold a 5-0 lead, right? But there were some positives. Let's try to find 10 of them.

1.) Day Banny - Brian Bannister continued his baffling day/night schizophrenia with another awesome day outing. Banny pitched into the 7th inning and only gave up one run before he left. (Roman Colon let an inherited runner score, so that was also charged to Bannister.)

I know this is supposed to be the positive part of the post, but I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that this outing could have been a disaster before the bullpen came in. Of the 14 balls put in play by the Tigers, ELEVEN of them were air outs. When the baseball leaves the ground that often, some of those are bound to turn into doubles or homers. Luckily the defense was underneath a lot of the balls hit in the air today.

2.) JoGui - I like this version of Guillen, the version that doesn't botch plays in the outfield because he isn't out there. And the version who put together several decent at-bats today, two of which ended up as extra base hits, and one of which was a walk. A walk! From Guillen!

3.) Thievery - I know that you're not supposed to attempt to steal unless there's something like an 80% chance you'll be successful. (So, like, it was OK for Tim Raines and Rickey Henderson to steal, but few others). But dang, the way the Royals have been stealing - successfully and often - is flat-out FUN to watch. Scott Podsednik stole his 6th of the season today.

Ryan LaFebvre was talking during the Monday broadcast about how the sabermetric crowd think steals are overrated. I don't necessarily like it being framed that way, though. There's a difference between calling something overrated, and using data to show that steals are attempted too often, and they don't help teams as much as people traditionally thought. I know it's a tiny difference, but it's those small linguistic differences that can drive a large wedge between traditionalists and seamheads. The SABR crowd isn't like a bunch of drunken college kids in the student section chanting "over-rated" at their opponent. It's just a matter of taking an honest look at how effective the stolen base really is, and minimizing the dumb risks on the basepaths.

But again: All these steals by the Royals have been a joy to watch, even if the success rate is an anomoly!

4.) Billy Being Billy - Butler's "whoopsie!" haircut* hasn't hampered him at the plate this week. He added on another 2 hits today. Though today's hits were both singles, I honestly believe Butler can put together another season like last year. He really is a special hitter.

*I had a haircut disaster in kindergarten. One day in art class, I decided to chop of a chunk of my fairly long hair, somehow thinking my mom wouldn't notice. When she saw it at home that evening, I lied and said some bully came up behind me and cut it. I have no idea how long it was before the truth came out, but I felt awful about lying, AND had to get the rest of my hair chopped off to match the length of the part I cut off. It was traumatic.

Bort.jpg5). Bort! - I'm so glad that Trey had found a way Alberto "Bort" Callaspo to get some plate appearances. Though his first at bat - a flyout with the bases loaded and 2 down in the 1st - was disappointing, he did end up with two hits today. Also, the "Bort" nickname that my brothers established seems to be catching on. Woo!

Going into today, he was batting just .200/.259/.360. That average and OBP are super-low for our favorite underappreciated MIF. I keep looking back at his sudden power last season and wondering if it will come back this year. He has one double and one homer so far, so it could be another power year...or maybe not. I can't wait to find out, though.

Also, I really love the new(ish) FanGraphs layout. I never did understand why batting average was in a whole 'nother section than OBP and SLG. Putting together lines is so much simpler now.

6.) DDJ Dinger - DeJesus only had one hit today, but what a hit it was. D-Train couldn't find the strike zone with the slider or the changeup, so he had to go back to his 4-seamer for the last few pitches of the at bat. DeJesus punished him for it.

I'm going to stop at 6, because it's time to go pay more attention to the ORoyals game against Nashville. So far, Omaha is up 4-0, heading into the 5th. Here's the Gameday link. Oh, and Kila Ka'aihue has homered already tonight, as has Wilson Betemit.

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