10 May 2009

Royals on the Farm 5/9

The Royals' offense in KC is troubling me. Zack Greinke and, to some extent, Gil Meche, are the only ones in the rotation I see as fairly certain to stay consistently good, but even they can't win when the offense struggles. We'll see what happens when Luke Hochevar inevitably steps up in Ponson's slot. As great as it's been to watch the pitching staff pitch like it has, currently atop the AL in ERA, it's been equally frustrating to watch the offense flail around in the bottom 4 in the league in BA. They're in the middle of the pack in HR but the runs total is also lacking. They need to pick it up or Royals fans will be remembering a good April while counting themselves out of the race come July or August. It frustrates me that Hillman can't seem to decide whether he wants to play for one-run innings or big innings. Sometimes he bunts, sometimes he doesn't. I favor the big inning approach.

AAA - Omaha: O-Royals 6, Nashville 5

DH House 3-5, 2 RBI (16), K -- .323, hit walkoff single
C Tupman 2-4, 2 RBI (3), E (2) -- .300
LF B. Pena 2-5, 3B, 2 RBI (3), K, RS, picked off -- .333
1B Ka'aihue 1-3, 2 BB, K, RS, E -- .226
SS Hulett 1-4, BB, 3 K, RS -- .294
3B Metcalf 0-4, K -- .263

Phillips 5 2/3 IP, 5 R (4 ER), 11 H, BB, 5 K -- 6.52 ERA
Yabuta 2 1/3 IP, 5 K -- 0.00 ERA, nice
Hamulack IP, H, K -- W, 2-0, 6.30 ERA

*** Omaha took a 3-0 lead, fell behind, 5-3, and then came back in the 9th to win it. The O-Royals loaded the bases with 1 out in the 1st and got an RBI single from J.R. House before a 2-out, 2-run single by Matt Tupman made it 3-0 Omaha. Three hits and a walk brought in a Nashville run in the 2nd off Heath Phillips but he left the bases full. Two more Sounds hits scored a run in the 3rd to cut the lead to 3-2 and then 3 hits brought in 2 runs in the 5th to make it 4-3 Nashville. Two hits made it 5-3 in the 6th to chase Phillips but Yasuhiko Yabuta got the final out to escape the inning. Meanwhile, Sounds SP Nick Green retired 13 of the last 14 he faced and handed the ball to the bullpen in the 6th. The Royals stranded 2 that inning but Brayan Pena hit a 2-out RBI triple in the 7th to cut the lead to 1 at 5-4. A walk and then a throwing error by P Ryan Houston on a sac bunt gave the Royals 2 in scoring position with none out in the 9th. RP Chris Smith came in, walked Tug Hulett to load the bases, then gave up an RBI forceout to Pena to tie the game. Pena got picked off but, after Kila Ka'aihue was intentionally walked, House came through with a walkoff single to give the Royals the win. Smith blew his 1st save and Houston took the loss with 2 UER on a hit and walk with 2 K over 1 IP to drop to 0-1 with a 0.00 ERA. Green allowed 3 ER on 4 hits and 2 walks with 3 Ks over 5 IP to move his ERA to 4.36. Five Sounds had 2 hits. 3B Mat Gamel was 2-5 with his 11th double, 1st triple, 30th RBI, a K and 2 RS to improve to .350.

The O-Royals are 16-12 and 1 1/2 games back of first. They make up a rainout today as part of a doubleheader with Nashville. Game 1 starters were Brandon Duckworth (1-1, 5.40) and Sounds righty Tim Dillard (5-0, 2.48). Game 2 will feature spot starters lefty Josh Newman (1-0, 6.48) versus Nashville righty Matt Ginter (1-1, 2.38). The Royals got a shutout win in game 1.

AA - NW Arkansas: Tulsa 7, Naturals 6

SS Lisson 2-4, 2B (3), K, RS, SB (4) -- .204
3B C. Smith 1-4, HR (3), 2 RBI (15), RS -- .224
RF Parraz 1-4, 2B (6), RBI (13), K, RS -- .338
LF Dickerson 1-4, 2B (6), RBI (9), K, RS -- .247
DH Mertins 1-4, RBI (12), K -- .264
1B McFall 1-4, RBI (22), 2 K -- .255
2B McConnell 0-2, BB, K -- .143

Lerew 4 2/3 IP, 7 ER, 10 H, 2 BB, K, HRA -- L, 1-2, 6.00 ERA
Sencion 1 1/3 IP, H, 3 BB, 2 K -- 3.72 ERA
Hayes 2 IP, H, BB, 2 K -- 0.87 ERA

*** The Naturals came back with a big 5th inning rally but just as quickly lost the lead and couldn't recover as Tulsa took the opener of the teams' season series. Anthony Lerew didn't get in a rhythm on the mound as the Drillers opened with 2 runs in the 1st on 3 hits. NWA stranded 2 in the 3rd and Tulsa rallied again off Lerew for 2 runs on 4 hits before stranding 2. The Nats were being shut out on 1 hit by Tulsa SP Sam Deduno entering the 5th but strung together a 6-run rally in the inning on a Joe Dickerson RBI double, a Kurt Mertins RBI single, a Jordan Parraz RBI double, a 2-run homer by Corey Smith for his 3rd of the season, and a Brian McFall RBI single, although McFall was thrown out at second on the play to end the inning. With 2 out and 2 on in the bottom of the 5th, the game swung on one pitch as Lerew gave up a 3-run homer to RF Ryan Harvey for his 4th of the season to give the lead back to Tulsa, 7-6. Carlos Sencion came in and stranded 2 in finishing the inning. Unfortunately, the Drillers pen sat down the last 12 Naturals in order to lock down the win. RP Andrew Johnston struck out 2 in the 9th in picking up his 8th save. Deduno got the win with 5 IP of 6 runs (1 ER) allowed on 7 hits, 3 walks and 5 Ks to improve to 3-1 with a 3.68 ERA. Four Drillers had 2 hits. Harvey's homer gave him 3 RBI to get to 16 on the season, but he was hitting only .229 after the 1-4 game. DH Mike Paulk was 2-4 with a walk, K, his 10th RBI, 3 RS and his 3rd SB to improve to .328.

NWA is 13-15 and 3 games back of first. Game 2 is today as Matt Kniginyzky (0-2, 7.71) faces Tulsa lefty Keith Weiser (1-2, 3.14).

A-Adv. - Wilmington: Frederick 7, Blue Rocks 6

RF Orlando 3-4, RBI (8), SB (5) -- .195
SS Bianchi 2-5, RBI (14), RS -- .303
1B C. Robinson 2-4, 2B (11), K, RS, CS (2) -- .337
LF Ortiz 2-4, RS, CS -- .284
3B Moustakas 1-4, BB, 2 RBI (20), RS, E (5) -- .272
CF D. Robinson 1-4, S, RBI (11), 2 K, CS (6), E (2) -- .224
2B Giavotella 0-3, 2 BB, K, RS -- .220
DH Lough 0-4, K -- .289

Paulino 3 IP, 4 ER, 7 H, 3 BB, 2 K, balk, E -- 6.63 ERA
Chavez 4 IP, ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 5 K, WP -- 2.79 ERA
Swaggerty 1 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 2 BB -- L, 0-1, 3.60 ERA
Sisk 0 IP, H -- BS, 2, 4.50 ERA, rough stretch lately

*** The Rocks took a narrow lead into the 9th but Frederick got a dramatic comeback for the win. The Keys scored a run on a walk and single off Eduardo Paulino in the 1st before Paulino left 'em loaded in the 2nd. The Rocks got in the game in the 3rd with a Mike Moustakas 2-run single before also leaving the bases loaded. The Keys answered with 3 runs in the bottom of the inning on 4 hits and a Paulino throwing error. Derrick Robinson hit a 2-out RBI single in the 4th to cut it to 4-3 but the Keys got the run back on 2 walks and a single off Chris Chavez in the bottom of the inning. Wilmington stranded 2 in the 6th but rallied in the 7th for 3 runs on a Jeff Bianchi RBI single that scored 2 thanks to a Keys error and a Paulo Orlando RBI single that made it 6-5 Rocks. Chavez stranded 2 in the 7th but, in the 9th, Ben Swaggerty allowed 2 singles with a Derrick Robinson fielding error putting runners at the corners with none out. An intentional walk loaded the bases with 1 out and Brandon Sisk came in and allowed a 2-run single to DH David Cash to give the Keys the walkoff win. RP Chris Salberg pitched a perfect 9th for the win to move to 1-2 with an 8.24 ERA. Starter Pedro Beato pitched 5 innings of 3 ER on 7 hits and 2 walks with 2 Ks to move his ERA to 4.85. LF Kraig Binick and 1B Brandon Waring had 3 hits for the Keys as Waring drove in his 15th RBI and made his 4th error while improving to .311 and Binick scored twice and stole his 7th base while moving his BA to .280. 3B Tyler Henson had 2 hits for the Keys. Cash's 2 RBI gave him 5 on the season.

The Rocks are 13-16 and 6 games back of first. The series finale is ongoing as Ray Liotta (1-2, 5.89) started versus Keys lefty Zach Britton (0-1, 1.82).

A - Burlington: Bees 17, Great Lakes 12

C Bonilla 4-5, 2B (3), 2 RBI (10), 3 RS, SB (3), 2 E (3) -- .246
2B F. Garcia 3-4, 2 BB, RBI (2), 2 RS, SB (5) -- .333
RF Francis 2-5, BB, 2B (8), HR (5), 4 RBI (20), 3 RS -- .303
CF-LF Van Stratten 2-5, BB, 2B (4), 3 RBI (12), 2 RS -- .368
SS Martin 2-6, 2B (5), 2 RBI (9), 3 K, 2 RS -- .194
LF D. Wood 2-4, BB, 3B, 2 RBI (7), 2 RS -- .271, hot lately
1B Hosmer 1-5, BB, RS -- .220
DH S. Perez 0-3, 2 BB, RBI (4), 2 RS -- .150
3B Jimenez 0-4, SF, RBI (7), K -- .188

Runion 3 IP, 6 R (5 ER), 7 H, K -- 8.67 ERA, I hate to say it, but if he can't pitch well in the MWL....
C. Arias 2 IP, 5 ER, 6 H, HRA -- 22.50 ERA, bad Bees debut
Saito 4 IP, UER, H, 2 BB, 4 K, WP, balk -- W, 1-1, 4.35 ERA

*** A 10-run 3rd was the key frame for the Bees as they moved within a step of their first sweep of the season. Nick Francis got it started with a 3-run homer in the 1st for his 5th of the season but Sam Runion got knocked around for 4 runs on 4 hits and a catcher interference call on Jose Bonilla to make it 4-3 Loons. Burlington tied it in the 2nd as Nick Van Stratten hit an RBI double but the Bees left 2 in scoring position. Runion stumbled again in the 2nd as Great Lakes scored 2 runs on 2 hits to take a 6-4 lead. Thirteen Bees would bat in the 3rd as the offense enjoyed unprecedented success this season with 10 runs on a bases-loaded Salvador Perez walk, a 2-run Bonilla double, a 2-run Van Stratten single, a 2-run Kyle Martin double and a 2-run triple by David Wood that ended up scoring Wood, too, on a Loons error to make it 14-6 Bees. Fernando Garcia hit an RBI single in the 4th but the Loons weren't done as newest Bee RP Carlos Arias allowed 5 runs over the next 2 innings to cut the lead to 15-11. A Bonilla error scored a run in the 8th to cut the lead to 15-12 but the Bees scored 2 in the 9th on an Antonio Jimenez sac fly and a Francis RBI forceout for some insurance. Derrick Saito pitched a solid 4 innings after Arias to pick up his 1st win of '09. Starter Bobby Blevins took the loss for Great Lakes with 7 ER allowed on 7 hits and 2 walks with a K over 2 IP to fall to 1-3 with a 9.13 ERA. SS Devaris Gordon had 3 hits for the Loons with 3 others getting 2 hits. Gordon hit his 4th double and drove in his 11th run while scoring 3 times and stealing his 17th base to move to .336. Four Loons also drove in 2 runs. RF Kyle Russell was 1-4 with a HBP, his 7th homer, 2 RBI (28) and his 2nd SB to move to .314. 2B Jaime Pedroza was 2-5 with his 5th error, 2nd triple, 18th RBI, a K and 2 RS to move to .354.

The Bees are 11-17. The series wraps up today as Blaine Hardy (1-2, 2.66) makes his 2nd start of the season versus Loons righty Justin Miller (2-1, 5.53), who hails from Scott City, KS, and went to Johnson County JuCo.

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