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The Royals
2005-08-26 15:10
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Entering this weekend's series against the Kansas City Royals, the Yankees remain in a three-way tie with the A's and Indians for the Wild Card lead. They are also three games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East. Those three games are a haunting number as the last time the Yankees met Kansas City, the Royals swept the invading Yanks. That's the Royals, the team that currently owns the major leagues' worst record (their .331 winning percentage is fifty points worse than that of the second-worst Rockies) and, entering that series at the very end of May, sported an even worse .260 winning percentage.

In retrospect, that series came at exactly the right time for the Royals. Kansas City had just hired Buddy Bell as their manager and proceeded to win their first four games under their new skipper on their way to a 10-4 run. Meanwhile, the series came at exactly the wrong time for the Yankees. Their season-saving May had just been rudely interrupted by a pair of brutal home loses to the Red Sox (total score 24-3). The Kansas City sweep came in the middle of a six-game losing streak for the Yankees, five straight series loses, and a 1-9 team slump in which the Yankee offense scored 23 runs in 10 games (easy math: 2.3 runs per game). In that series in Kansas City, the Bombers were held to six runs by the Royals staff.

Things are a bit different now. The Yankees scored six runs in yesterday's game alone and 23 in the just-completed four-game series against the Blue Jays (more difficult math: a representative 5.75 runs per game against a season average of 5.40). They're also on a 10-4 streak of their own. Meanwhile, the Royals are just five games removed from a 19-game losing streak.

Ah, but what a five games they've been: 4-1 against two of the Yankees' primary postseason rivals the A's and Red Sox. As was the case in the initial meeting between these two teams, when the Royals win its usually in a low-scoring game. They broke their losing streak when tonight's starter, Mike Wood--then making just his third start of the year after a respectable stay in the bullpen--and the top four men in the Royal pen (Andy Sisco, Ambiorix Burgos, Jeremy Affeldt and "Mac the Ninth" MacDougal) out-dueled Barry Zito and Justin Duschsherer to deliver a 2-1 win. Last night's 7-4 victory in Curt Schilling's first start since April was the first time the Royals had scored more than five runs in their last ten games.

Opposing Wood tonight is the Big Enigma, Randy Johnson, who has just one quality start in his last four attempts, that coming in a game the Yankees lost anyway (4-3 to the Devil Rays last Tuesday). Randy Johnson's last start, in which he gave up six runs on four home runs in the third inning against the White Sox, spawned more speculation, aggravation, and rumination than I care to get into right now, but I did find a pair of articles particularly informative. The first is actually more than a month old: Jonah Keri's Baseball Prospectus Game of the Week column on a game Johnson pitched against the Indians the day after Old-Timer's Day. Keri's article is particularly enlightening regarding Johnson's pitch selection and approach to getting men out this year.

The other is from SG at the Replacement Level Yankee Weblog, who wrote about something I had noticed but forgotten about regarding the similarity between Randy Johnson's performances this season and in 2003, when he had mid-season knee surgery. Personally, I've been convinced for some time that Johnson's back has been the source of his trouble, robbing him of the velocity on his fastball and the break on his slider that he's needed to be his dominating self. To my mind, that this season so neatly matches 2003, when he also struggled with injury, lends some credence to that belief.

Here's hoping the Yanks can put enough good wood on Mike's pitches tonight to compensate, as they can ill-afford another loss to the Kansas City Royals.

Kansas City Royals

2005 Record: 42-83 (.336)
2005 Pythagorean Record: 43-82 (.346)

Manager: Buddy Bell
General Manager: Allard Baird

Ballpark (2004 park factors): Kauffman Stadium (95/96)

Who's replaced whom?

Denny Hocking replaces Ruben Gotay (minors)
Chip Ambres replaces Tony Graffanino (Red Sox)
Paul Phillips replaces Alberto Castillo (released)
Aaron Guiel replaces Eli Marrero (Orioles)
Jonah Bayliss replaces Matt Diaz (minors)
Jeremy Affeldt (DL) replaces Ryan Jensen (minors)
Jimmy Gobble replaces Leo Nunez (minors)
Shawn Camp replaces Steve Stemle (DL)

Current Roster:

1B – Matt Stairs
2B – Denny Hocking
SS – Angel Berroa
3B – Mark Teahen
C – John Buck
RF – Emil Brown
CF – David DeJesus
LF – Terrence Long
DH – Mike Sweeney

Bench:

R – Chip Ambres (OF)
R – Joe McEwing (UT)
R – Paul Phillips (C)
L – Aaron Guiel (OF)

Rotation:

R – Zack Greinke
R – D.J. Carrasco
R – Jose Lima
R – Mike Wood
R – Runelvys Hernandez

Bullpen:

R – Mike MacDougal
L – Andy Sisco
R – Ambiorix Burgos
L – Jeremy Affeldt
L – Jimmy Gobble
R – Shawn Camp
R – Jonah Bayliss

Typical Line-up

L – David DeJesus (CF)
L – Terrence Long (LF)
R – Mike Sweeney (1B)
L – Matt Stairs (DH)
R – Emil Brown (RF)
R – Angel Berroa (SS)
L – Mark Teahen (3B)
R – John Buck (C)
S – Denny Hocking (2B)

DL:

R – Donnie Murphy (IF)
R – Steve Stemle (60-day)
R – Ken Harvey (1B/DH) (60-day)
L – Brian Anderson (60-day)
R – Denny Bautista (60-day)
R – Scott Sullivan (60-day)

Comments (77)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2005-08-26 16:14:07
1.   yankz
Ok, who tipped Kay off about turning his mike off between innings?!
2005-08-26 16:19:59
2.   Cliff Corcoran
I'd like to think you guys did. ;)
2005-08-26 16:23:27
3.   rilkefan
I wonder how often ARod will get plunked if Giambi doesn't start homering again.
2005-08-26 16:32:34
4.   tocho
This is really very bad, its what I was always looking for in Friday night games at UPN. No more open mikes between innings. Well at least you can hear the stadium during innings... but no more Singleton singing of Kay's pigging out.
2005-08-26 16:37:00
5.   watziznehm2
Jeez.... another 1 pitch at bat by Cano.
2005-08-26 16:39:13
6.   bobtaco
I heard him at the beginning of the broadcast say "How is it possible the Yankees are drawing 50,000 people palying the Royals?"

Maybe they turned it off after that...

2005-08-26 16:41:48
7.   Cliff Corcoran
He repeated that on the air anyway.

So much for the no-hitter. ;)

(sorry, too many winkies lately)

2005-08-26 16:57:03
8.   yankz
It was a pretty hard play for Bernie. Still, he's slow as molasses.
2005-08-26 17:04:47
9.   yankz
Flaherty got robbed. At least the Yankee bats are coming around with the top of the order coming up soon.
2005-08-26 17:05:31
10.   Cliff Corcoran
Anyone other than Flaherty, Posada or Giambi going down the line on that DP and the game is 1-0 Yanks.
2005-08-26 17:06:03
11.   randym77
So many wasted opportunities. Arrghh.
2005-08-26 17:07:58
12.   yankz
Anyone else worried by RJ's 8 flyouts?
2005-08-26 17:10:51
13.   randym77
These days, I'm always worried about RJ.

But he's safely through the 5th!

2005-08-26 17:19:35
14.   tocho
I guess there are no easy wins anymore are there? I have a bad feeling about this game.
2005-08-26 17:27:23
15.   singledd
OK! Who hid our bats?
2005-08-26 17:27:56
16.   randym77
Finally! Thank you, A-rod!!!
2005-08-26 17:28:24
17.   watziznehm2
Way to go A-rod
2005-08-26 17:28:34
18.   Cliff Corcoran
Man, he hits the ball far.
2005-08-26 17:29:23
19.   bp1
Yo Alex B - now that looked like a home run off the bat. It also had that mushy "middle of the sweet spot" sound. Into the black. Whoo hoo!!

BP

2005-08-26 17:32:33
20.   bp1
Boy did Bernie crush that. Double whoo hoo!!!

BP

2005-08-26 17:32:36
21.   randym77
Bernie!!!!

Now this is more like it!

2005-08-26 17:32:41
22.   watziznehm2
Bernie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
2005-08-26 17:32:51
23.   Cliff Corcoran
What has gotten into Bernie!? Awesome!
2005-08-26 17:35:43
24.   Marcus
The story of the first 5 innings was wasted opportunities. The 6th inning is all about home runs.

This looks like payback for Mussina's last start.

2005-08-26 17:50:11
25.   watziznehm2
phew... I was wondering if he was gonna implode again...
2005-08-26 17:52:28
26.   randym77
Me, too. Is Torre gonna let him go back out?
2005-08-26 17:53:09
27.   watziznehm2
I hope not..... would be pushing our luck.
2005-08-26 17:57:33
28.   singledd
Official BB Test:
1) who was the last Yankee to lead the AL in HRs?
2) who was the last Yankee to have a year akin to:
.315ba / 1.000ops / 45 hrs / 120 RBIs

NO Looking up the answers!!
the Winner gets as many free posts on this site as they like!

2005-08-26 18:01:46
29.   rilkefan
1) Maris?
2) Giambi, 2002 (maybe 2003?)
2005-08-26 18:06:21
30.   sabernar
Randy has <100 pitches. Is he coming out for the 9th?
2005-08-26 18:07:36
31.   watziznehm2
wow.. a 1-2-3.. a nice surprise. :)
2005-08-26 18:12:21
32.   singledd
Maris 61:
.269 / .992 / 61 / 142.... unspeakable
Giambi 02
.314 / 1.033 / 41 / 122 .... pretty amazing
2005-08-26 18:12:41
33.   monkeypants
1) Reggie Jackson
2) Depends what you mean by "akin"--Tino (BA and OPS probably a litle low) or maybe Mattingly ('85 and '86), though again, Donnie's OPS was probably .900+ not 1.000, and his HRs were less than 45 but he finished in the top few once or twice. Hmmm...maybe the answer is also Reggie.
2005-08-26 18:13:50
34.   sabernar
I don't remember Reggie batting .315, but of course I could be wrong.
2005-08-26 18:13:54
35.   singledd
PS: As Maris set the HR record in 61, I'll go out on a limb and say he led the league!
2005-08-26 18:15:37
36.   monkeypants
Reggie hit .300 exactly one season--maybe in 1980 or 1981, I can't recall.
2005-08-26 18:19:05
37.   singledd
Reggie 80:
.300 / .995 / 41 / 111. Did 41 lead the league?
Donnie 85: .324 / .938 / 35 / 145
Donnie 86: .352 / .967 / 31 / 113
2005-08-26 18:19:39
38.   randym77
Go, Bernie!!!!

I guess Torre was right - this is his time of year!

2005-08-26 18:20:10
39.   watziznehm2
whoa... whats up with Bernie!!!!!!!!!!!
2005-08-26 18:20:17
40.   Cliff Corcoran
Bernabie!!!
2005-08-26 18:20:57
41.   Cliff Corcoran
(er, Bernabe)
2005-08-26 18:21:01
42.   singledd
What popular Yankee veteran was proclaimed dead but still hit 2 HRs in a game?
2005-08-26 18:25:00
43.   watziznehm2
The Tigers up by 2.
2005-08-26 18:25:14
44.   sabernar
How many Yankees besides Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Maris and Mantle ever hit > 45 home runs? That one category would automatically trim down the possible candidates to a very select few.
2005-08-26 18:26:26
45.   Cliff Corcoran
Reggie's 41 in '80 was tied with Ben Oglivie for the AL lead.

Would y'all believe me if I said I knew both answers (Reggie and Giambi 2002), and knew Reggie was a co-leader, but thought it was '81?

Need I comment on using Mo here up four runs yet again, having also used him up 4 yesterday?

2005-08-26 18:27:06
46.   bp1
Wow. Bernie. Geez!!!

Bern, baby. Bern. Those two balls were hit hard (stating the obvious here). No taking advantage of the short porch at all. Those were crushed. And he knew it. Awesome.

Man!

BP

2005-08-26 18:29:08
47.   pmarcig
Cliff, I had no problem with Mo last night as you know, but tonight I don't get it either. Unit, FRod, Proctor, Small, almost anybody else.
2005-08-26 18:30:18
48.   sabernar
If anyone is interested, I can post all the players in the history of baseball that had BA of .315+, 45+ HR, 120+ RBI, and OPS of 1.000+ (38 players). I have the list right here waiting for the word.
2005-08-26 18:30:41
49.   nick
okay, maybe Gameday is lying, and not telling me that Rodriguez/Embry is in? WTF?! Every inning like this, that replaces a hypothetical tied 8th inning against a decent team, is just a crime....if you only get 80 innings, make em the important ones....Cliff beats me to it, but I needed to vent....this is why Mo, much as I love him, is not one of the 20 most valuable players in the AL...
2005-08-26 18:31:47
50.   monkeypants
Tino had 44 and Reggie and Giambi had 41; did Winfield ever top 40 (I don't think so)?
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2005-08-26 18:32:11
51.   singledd
DiMaggio's best HR year was (1937)46 HRs. Next best was (1948) 39 HRs. Gehrig did it 4 times, the Babe 8 times!

Is Cliff bragging again?

2005-08-26 18:32:13
52.   Cliff Corcoran
There have been 17 45-homer seasons in Yankee history by five players:

Ruth (9)
Gehrig (4)
Mantle (2)
Maris (1)
DiMaggio (1)

So the answer to sabernar's question is none.

The only other Yanks over 40 are Tino with 44 ('97) and Reggie and Giambi with 41 (Jason did it twice). Barring disaster, Alex Rodriguez will join them this year.

2005-08-26 18:33:14
53.   randym77
Gak. What an ending.

Phew!

2005-08-26 18:34:29
54.   sabernar
And only 4 Yankees with >= 145 RBI
2005-08-26 18:35:10
55.   singledd
Oops. 9 it is for the Babe
2005-08-26 18:35:45
56.   Cliff Corcoran
Do I brag a lot? Cripes, someone shut me up if I do (not that I know what the hell I have to brag about).

Sabernar, if the list isn't crazy long, drop it like it's hot.

2005-08-26 18:36:17
57.   sabernar
And only 9 Yankees with OPS > 1.000 (if you cound the strike shortened 1994 season).
2005-08-26 18:36:48
58.   monkeypants
(Beating a dead horse) Didn't Nettles lead the AL in HRs as a Yankee (30+ HR)? Was this also a tie?
2005-08-26 18:36:58
59.   sabernar
Not crazy long, but the formatting won't be that great. Give me a minute to see if I can format it decently.
2005-08-26 18:39:13
60.   Cliff Corcoran
Quick, easy win. As it should have been. Nice to see that happen with Johnson on the mound.
2005-08-26 18:40:23
61.   Cliff Corcoran
Nettles, yes, with 32 in 1976, not a tie. Before that it was Maris in '61.
2005-08-26 18:41:08
62.   sabernar
This is as best as I can do without become totally anal about it.

HOMERUNS......................YEAR......HR.......AVG......OPS......HR.......RBI
1....Barry.Bonds..............2001.......73......328....1.379.......73......137
2....Sammy.Sosa.............2001.......64......328....1.174.......64......160
3....Babe.Ruth................1927.......60......356....1.258.......60......164
4....Babe.Ruth................1921.......59......378....1.359.......59......171
T5...Jimmie.Foxx..............1932.......58......364....1.218.......58......169
T5...Hank.Greenberg........1938.......58......315....1.122.......58......146
7....Luis.Gonzalez............2001.......57......325....1.117.......57......142
8....Hack.Wilson..............1930.......56......356....1.177.......56......191
T9...Mickey.Mantle............1961.......54......317....1.135.......54......128
T9...Babe.Ruth................1928.......54......323....1.172.......54......142
T9...Babe.Ruth................1920.......54......376....1.379.......54......137
T12..George.Foster...........1977.......52......320....1.013.......52......149
T12..Mickey.Mantle............1956.......52......353....1.169.......52......130
T12..Alex.Rodriguez..........2001.......52......318....1.021.......52......135
15...Willie.Mays................1955.......51......319....1.059.......51......127
T16..Albert.Belle...............1995.......50......317....1.091.......50......126
T16..Sammy.Sosa.............2000.......50......320....1.040.......50......138
T16..Jimmie.Foxx..............1938.......50......349....1.166.......50......175
T19..Lou.Gehrig...............1936.......49......354....1.174.......49......152
T19..Albert.Belle...............1998.......49......328....1.055.......49......152
T19..Larry.Walker.............1997.......49......366....1.172.......49......130
T19..Ted.Kluszewski..........1954.......49......326....1.049.......49......141
T19..Lou.Gehrig...............1934.......49......363....1.172.......49......165
T19..Babe.Ruth................1930.......49......359....1.225.......49......153
T19..Todd.Helton..............2001.......49......336....1.116.......49......146
T19..Frank.Robinson.........1966.......49......316....1.047.......49......122
27...Jimmie.Foxx..............1933.......48......356....1.153.......48......163
T28..Lou.Gehrig...............1927.......47......373....1.240.......47......175
T28..Babe.Ruth................1926.......47......372....1.253.......47......146
T28..Rafael.Palmeiro..........1999.......47......324....1.050.......47......148
T31..Babe.Ruth................1929.......46......345....1.128.......46......154
T31..Babe.Ruth................1931.......46......373....1.194.......46......163
T31..Babe.Ruth................1924.......46......378....1.252.......46......121
T31..Joe.DiMaggio.............1937.......46......346....1.085.......46......167
T31..Barry.Bonds..............1993.......46......336....1.136.......46......123
T31..Lou.Gehrig................1931.......46......341....1.108.......46......184
T37..Hank.Aaron...............1962.......45......323....1.008.......45......128
T37..Willie.McCovey...........1969.......45......320....1.108.......45......126

2005-08-26 18:51:27
63.   rilkefan
Ted Kluszewski?

Where did McGwire's best year fail that selection?

Lot of Albert Belle, too...

2005-08-26 18:54:56
64.   singledd
sabernar... Thanks for that list. Great DB you have. Man.... some amazing numbers there. How do you get 175 RBI!
2005-08-26 19:00:56
65.   monkeypants
"Where did McGwire's best year fail that selection?"

I assume it's because his BA was not usually that high. Did he ever bat .315+?

2005-08-26 19:28:31
66.   brockdc
I just learned this recently, but apparently, in '32, Foxx had two homers that weren't counted due to rainouts. Is this common knowledge? It sure as hell was news to me.
2005-08-26 21:03:43
67.   mikeplugh
One of the amazing years on that list is George Foster in '77. He hit .320 with 52 homers and 149 RBIs! That's in a year when he led the 2nd place hitters in HRs by 11 and RBIs by 19. He was 4th in average. To be that far ahead of the field in any given year is really a one in a million season.

Albert Belle stands out in 1995 and 1998. He put up unreal numbers year after year. He had a terrible temper and his body broke down on him early.....hmmmmm.

Luis Gonzales in 2001 is sick. Fitting that he impacted the WS title in that year. Seriously sick.

Todd Helton and Larry Walker should be taken with a grain of salt. They are both terrific ballplayers but put them on any other team in any other city and they wouldn't be on this list. They'd probably still be on some notable lists, but not this one.

2005-08-26 21:09:54
68.   Cliff Corcoran
Yeah, McGwire never hit for enough average to make that list. Here are his three best seasons:

'97: .274-58-123 1.039
'98: .299-70-147 1.222
'99: .278-65-147 1.120

McGwire did hit .312 in 423AB in '96, but he also fell short on RBIs that year:

'96: .312-52-113 1.198

He never hit .300 in any other season of more than 236 AB (.305 in 236 AB in '00)

2005-08-26 21:11:35
69.   Cliff Corcoran
Luis Gonzalez . . . hmmmmmm.
2005-08-26 21:12:51
70.   mikeplugh
I want to make a comment on the Royals uniforms today. This is not a knock on the Royals but rather an impression I have, personally, about a lot of teams that come into Yankee Stadium to play.

The Royals wore their 3rd alternative, road, batting practice, reversible, rain-proof, stain resistant, limited edition, night vision uniform tops today. A lot of teams come to the Stadium with a few uniforms to showcase over 3 or 4 games. I hate it. Just my opinion, but I hate when they do this.

It's not just that I really hate the 3 or 4 uniform/cap thing....which I do.....but more that a team would come into Yankee Stadium wearing it. You gotta be you, and if you wear your neon pink and green road uniforms every 3rd Sunday of the month then by all means.....but to me it's embarrassing.

Fenway and Yankee Stadium are kind of baseball cathedrals. It's like living baseball history. I wish teams would come in to play us in their most traditional uniforms and match the Yankees' reverence for the continuity of the game. It's just a personal pet peeve, but I wonder if anyone sees where I'm coming from....

You can always show up in Toronto at the SkyDome and wear the caps with the propellers and the uniform tops with collars, but when you come to play in the House that Ruth Built, where the home team wears the same uniforms that Yankee teams have worn for almost a century (no names on the back), maybe it would mean something to your franchise to take a lesson and build a tradition of your own, starting with some uniform continuity. Damn the marketing profits.

Just my opinion....I could be wrong.

2005-08-26 21:55:26
71.   carl
Mike- Can't agree with you more. Enough said.
2005-08-26 22:27:12
72.   Cliff Corcoran
Just to be a jerk, baseball uniforms had collars before they didn't, check the original 1869 Red Stockings:
http://www.baseballhalloffame.org/exhibits/online_exhibits/dressed_to_the_nines/pictures/stockings_red.jpg

Otherwise, I share you dislike of current unform trends, but I don't think the Yankees deserve special treatment. Rather, I think the offending teams should clean up their unform schemes for all 162 games. I'm especially upset with the Royals because they had such consistancy over the years (just one cap before they added the black), and because I can't stand the use of black as an accent color. If your team has black as a primary color (Pirates, Giants, even the Rockies) then fine, but otherwise (Mets, Rangers, Royals, Reds etc.) NO!!!

For more on this sort of thing, check out Paul Lukas on the side bar (under columnists).

2005-08-26 23:28:37
73.   brockdc
Mike,

For whatever it's worth, that's the post of the day.

2005-08-27 04:25:23
74.   singledd
Hey Cliff,
I was only kidding about the 'bragging again' comment. There is no question that your baseball acumen is quite high, and that your joining forces with AB has helped to create one of the best baseball blogs in Netdom.

We here always like to lament on who 'got away', although upon careful study, I don't think we have done that badly.

Javier Carlos Vazquez: $11,000,000
REC 10-13 | SV 0 | ERA 4.59 | WHIP 1.24
And this is in the NL, where I think for pitchers you have to increase numbers 10% or so to compare performance to the AL.

For us, it's not that Javy, El Duque and Contraras have done that well, as much as how poorly our 'big 3' acquisitions have done.

Would it be an interesting read (oh Cliffy) to look back on who we let get away in the last 2 years and see how they are doing?

And lastly, I am looking at ARod vs 'Manny the Clown' numbers this year. While I am very glad we have ARod, I'm REALLY glad the Sox did not get him. While ARod is not a pull hitter, I can't help think he would be playing ping-pong off the Green Monster if he played in Fenway. Where might ARod's numbers be if he played in Fenway and not the Stadium?

2005-08-27 04:59:43
75.   jkay
Now playing left field....Matt Lawton!

Hitdecki moves to CF.

Cashman strikes again.

2005-08-27 05:22:33
76.   jameson and water
Lawton, eh? This is good.
2005-08-27 05:39:27
77.   randym77
Getting an outfielder is good. Dunno about moving Matsui to center. Didn't they try that before?

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