I had to force myself to stay away from the computer for awhile after tonight's game, because that was just a sorry effort on the part of the Kansas City Royals. Pathetic. Awful. Anemic. Horrendous. And definitely, embarrassing.
For the past week, the Royals have looked an awful lot like last year's team, with very little offensive punch, and spotty pitching. What happened to the new attitude? Where's the team that opened with three wins in Detroit, and was on such a roll until heading to the West Coast last week?
Here are some thoughts:
--Something has to be wrong -- physically -- with Gil Meche. I mean, he gave me a glimmer of hope when he avoided trouble to escape with a 3-2 win against the Angels last Wednesday, but he was back to looking very hittable tonight. His ball was up in the zone, which resulted in only one ground ball out, and seven fly ball outs. He allowed two home runs, including the grand slam to Casey Blake in the fateful fourth inning. Meche is certainly not C.C. Sabathia. But I guess it helps me deal with his 8.00 ERA by realizing that even the best pitchers can get off to dreadful starts. Then again, I guess the Royals (and a temperature of 69 degrees at first pitch) were just the tonic that Sabathia needed to get his season back on track, and Meche can't face the Royals.
--My patience with Jose Guillen is starting to wear thin. The guy went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in the game tonight, and I see absolutely no emotion from him. Does he care that he's sucking? He just strikes out, and then casually strolls back to the dugout like it's no big deal. I want to see some fire in this guy! I want to know that he's pissed off that he just earned the Golden Sombrero. WTF, Jose?
--I think it's time to move Mark Teahen back to sixth or seventh in the order again. Since Teahen was moved up to third in the lineup, he's batting .254 (15-for-59) with 15 strikeouts and just two runs batted in.
--Yasuhiko Yabuta is obviously struggling with the transition to using the larger baseball (the ball used in Japan is slightly smaller), and I'm not sure how his contract works, but if it's possible to let him go figure things out in Omaha for awhile, that might not be a bad thing to do. Yabuta has appeared in seven games, allowing 11 hits and eight earned runs in 7.1 innings pitched, striking out four, but walking seven and compiling a 9.82 ERA.
--Jimmy Gobble needs to solely remain a lefty specialist out of the bullpen. He is most effective in that role, and performances like tonight's -- allowing three hits, three earned runs, walking two, and striking out two in two-thirds of an inning -- are commonplace when he is asked to face more than just a left-handed batter or two. He had good numbers last year for one reason, and that's because he was primarily expected to come in and retire lefties.
I'm hoping this five-game losing streak can be halted soon, before the Royals once again find themselved buried in the standings at the end of April. Such a promising start to the season has quickly become another frustrating first month of the season.
I am fairly patient, and tend to maintain a positive outlook, for the most part. I've read people's comments on some of the Royals message boards, and there are already people wondering if this season is over. There's even a poll which asks whether the Royals will get back to .500 this season. Even with tonight's horrid performance, that seems a little absurd, given that Kansas City is just two games below .500 at this point.
The ball will be in Brett Tomko's hands Wednesday night. Maybe one of these days the offense will bust out and score more than six runs to give the pitchers a little breathing room. I don't know if my heart can stand too many more 15-1 embarrassments.