Posted on: May 22, 2009 3:27 pm
We've now completed 1/4 of the 2009 Royals season and in some ways, the more I learn about this team, the less that I know. What looks like a team strength one week becomes a weekness the next. The Royals have gone out and beat up on the three divisional leaders in the American Leauge, yet over the last 9 games where the Royals have played the last place team in each division they've gone a disappointing 3-6. For the first 39 games of the season the Royals bullpen looked like the best in the majors and they've new effectively lost the last two games. As a team over the past two weeks the Royals have turned a 3 game lead in the AL Central into being 3 behind in the Central. The Detroit Tigers are emerging as the team to beat. I, like many knew they could hit but felt their pitching was going to cause them despair this season. Now they've suddenly got one of the best starting rotations in the league. Justin Verlander appears to have regained his 2007 form and is striking out over a batter an inning and sppears to have command of all his pitches and is again looking like a solid ace. Edwin Jackson has been a very solid #2 man and Rick Porcello quickly shot up the minor league ranks and looks as if he'll be around to stay. Last year's ace for the Tigers, Armando Galarraga has actually been the weakest link in their rotation this season, but when he's on, he's still tough to beat. The wild card in the equation is Dontrelle Willis. In Willis' first start of the season, he looked like the pre-2007 D Train. One start doesn't convince me of a thing, but if the old D Train is back and the rest of the Tigers staff is healthy, this will be their year.
But I didn't come on here to talk about the Tigers. I came here to make a suggestion or two on how to help make the Royals a better team. At points of the season we've had starters pitch us out of a game early, at times our bullpen has blown leads and on many occasions we just couldn't put enough runs on the board to reward a quality pitching performance. The one prevailing thing that has reared its ugly head since the third week in the season has been Jose Guillen's inability to play right field. I'm not bagging on Guillen's effort, I'm sure he's running as hard as his legs will take him, but its gotten to the point that if he were to run a race against a pregnant woman that he'ld come in third place. Pun intended. We're going to have to consider sacrificing some extra base pop in our line-up for at least some major league quality defense in right field. As much as I like the idea of batting Butler, Jacobs and Guillen consecutively in the line-up, I think we're giving away more in defense with Guillen in right. As much as it pains me I think we need to make Guillen a DH and use Jacobs as part time DH/part time 1B. This will cost Butler, Guillen and Jacobs some at-bats, but we're not setting the world on fire with them anyway. I think we should go with a platoon of Willie Bloomquist and Mitch Maier in right field. Not only would we be better off defensively, it will add some speed to our line-up. It also will give us a big bat on the bench every day.
Posted on: August 13, 2008 7:34 pm
I think one of the biggest changes in the sport of major league baseball over the past century has become the role of the starting pitcher. I'm sure managers, like they have for the past 100 years have wanted their starters to go out and pitch the whole game and bring the team to victory, but a starting pitcher in 1907 was at least 12 or times more likely to go the distance in a game than a starter in 2007. What I decided to do to illustrate how complete games have declined over the past century, I took a look at the league leaders by team in complete games for every tenth year from 1907 to 2007. The results are interesting
1907 - (152 games played) St. Louis AL 129 CG, (153 games played) St. Louis NL 127 CG
1917 - (152 games played) Boston AL 115 CG,* (153 games played) Boston Braves NL 105 CG *=Babe Ruth led the AL with 35 CG.
1927 - (153 games) Chicago White Sox, AL 85 CG, (154 games) Pittsburgh NL 90 CG
1937 - (154 games) NY Yankees, AL 82 CG, (152 games) Boston Braves NL 85 CG
1947 - (154 games) Detroit Tigers, AL 77 CG, (154 games) Boston Braves NL 74 CG
1957 - (154 games) Chicago White Sox, AL 59 CG, (154 games) Milwaukee Braves NL 60 CG
1997 - (162 games) Toronto Blue Jays, AL 19 CG (162 games) Montreal Expos 27 CG
2007 - (162 games) Toronto Blue Jays, AL 11 CG (162 games) Arizona Diamondbacks, NL 7
I'll comment about how I feel and my beliefs on this later. I just want to let you know that of all these league leaders in complete games listed that those teams finished the season everywhere from last in the league to World Series champions, so as far as attaching importance on who throws the most complete games is sort of moot.
Anyway, happy reading, and please discuss what you think.