Thursday, May 22, 2008

I Hope Trey Hillman Learned His Lesson...

The bases are loaded. The Royals trail the Red Sox, 7-3, because Jimmy Gobble had just walked a batter, and then allowed Dustin Pedroia to crush a double off the Green Monster. Gobble then intentionally walked Manny Ramirez to load the bases with two outs. Time for a right-hander -- like Ramon Ramirez, maybe -- to come in and face right-handed batter Mike Lowell, wouldn't you think?

I'm standing in my living room, in front of the TV, pacing back and forth and saying to myself, "Don't let Gobble face another right-handed batter...don't let Gobble face another right-handed batter..."

So, what does Royals manager Trey Hillman decide to do? You got it -- he leaves Jimmy Freakin' Gobble in there to face Lowell with the bases packed.

To better understand my frustration with this decision, here are some facts about Jimmy Gobble. Entering today's game, left-handers were just 2-for-22 (.091) against him this year, with eight strikeouts and a .312 OPS. But right-handed batters?, they were batting .389/.455/.556 with three doubles and a .500 BAbip. For his career, batters have a .343 average against Gobble with the bases loaded.

I swear on my life, I mumbled to myself, "The score will be at least 9-3 after this at bat." Then I corrected my thought by thinking that it might just be 8-3, because the chances of Gobble walking Lowell were just as bad.

The result? Lowell blasts one over the Green Monster for the second grand slam the Royals allowed in the game, and all of a sudden it was 11-3.

And the moral of this, I mean, rant? Never, EVER, EVERRRRRR allow Jimmy Gobble to face right-handed batters again! Ever!! He should be a lefty-lefty specialist, and that's it.

I don't like Jimmy Gobble! I'm not commenting on Jimmy Gobble the human being, because I would bet that he's one of the nicest guys on the team. He just seems like he'd be a good friend, and a great person. But Jimmy Gobble the baseball player? I'd pick countless other relievers to use -- against a right-handed batter -- before I'd choose to go with the "Gobbstopper" in that situation.

I hope Trey Hillman learned a lesson from this, and uses Gobble ONLY as a lefty specialist.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

This Day-Night Thing With Bannister Is Odd

If you're a Kansas City Royals fan, and you've been reading Royals-related blogs this week, then you might have already read about right-handed pitcher Brian Bannister and his bizarre stat splits between his performances during day games, and those at night.

I believe it was initially pointed out in the reader comments section on Joe Posnanski's blog, and then written about by Rany Jazayerli on his Rany on the Royals site.

For those who haven't seen this yet, Brian Bannister's stats during day games and night games are as follows:

Bannister in the Daytime (2008): 4-0, 0.62 ERA, 29 IP, 12 hits, 3 R (2 ER), 0 HR (no extra-base hits), 7 BB, 18 SO, 1 CG, .126 BAA, .320 OPS, -10 OPS+, .156 BABIP

Bannister at Night (2008): 0-5, 8.13 ERA, 27.2 IP, 40 hits, 25 R (25 ER), 6 HR (14 extra-base hits), 7 BB, 16 SO, 0 CG, .325 BAA, .914 OPS, 147 OPS+, .337 BABIP

Well, Mr. Bannister pitched again last night for the Royals, and wouldn't you know, he lost. Bannister worked 6.1 innings against the Florida Marlins, allowing seven hits, six earned runs, and one home run, while walking two and striking out five.

The odd thing was, when the game started, it was still light outside, and Bannister was faring pretty well until that daylight faded. Through six innings, he had limited Florida to a pair of runs on just four hits. That was, until the seventh inning -- yes, when it was dark -- and the Marlins struck for four runs on three hits, including the decisive three-run blast by pinch-hitter Wes Helms.

And, the good news out of this? Bannister's next scheduled outing comes Thursday at Fenway Park against the defending World Champion Boston Red Sox and Daisuke Matsuzaka.

And, you're probably wondering, how is there any good news in that? Well, first pitch is slated for 12:35 p.m. CT.

Brian Bannister Photo Credit: Wilfredo Lee/AP
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