"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Kansas City Royals

The Kansas City Royals have lost their last thirteen games. In April they had a streak of eleven straight losses. They’ve won just ten games all year. All totaled, they have a 10-35 record. That’s a .222 winning percentage. While the Royals aren’t quite that bad, even their Pythagorean winning percentage, a comparatively robust .261, would rank as the sixth worst since 1901, the twenty-first sub-.300 winning percentage in those 106 seasons, and just the fourth since 1945.*

Amazingly, the Royals, who are scoring an average of 3.78 runs per game, do not have the most inept offense in baseball. That distinction is held by the Cubs, who may soon add Tony Womack to the mix. Of course, the Cubs should also get Derrek Lee back in about a month, which should vault them past the Royals. The Royals, meanwhile, are playing without Mike Sweeney and David DeJesus, but the former is frequently disabled anyway and the latter has been sufficiently replaced by Shane Costa. No, what’s really dragging the Royals down is their pitching. The Royals are allowing 6.36 runs per game, which is to say that their pitching is so bad that it makes every team they face look like the pre-injury Yankees. Indeed, the Royals are on pace to allow 1030 runs this year, which would make them the first team since the 1999 Rockies and the first sea-level team since the 1996 Tigers, who lost 109 games while playing their home games in hitter-friendly Tiger Stadium, to allow more than a thousand runs in a single season.

Tonight the Royals will start Scott Elarton, the only Royals pitcher who has thrown enough innings to qualify for the ERA title thus far this season. Elarton has walked more men than he’s struck out this year and has yet to register a win, in part due to receiving just 3.3 runs of support per game (he does have four quality starts in ten tries).

The Yankee line-up he faces will be without Jorge Posada, who had an MRI yesterday that revealed a torn hamstring tendon. Posada has not been put on the DL, yet, but the Yankees are expected to call up either Wil Nieves or Koyie Hill to back-up Kelly Stinnett, which likely means Matt Smith will be on his way back to Columbus. I hope he didn’t bother unpacking. Neither Nieves nor Hill has hit a lick in Columbus this year. Alarmingly, Nieves, who has slugged just .289 thus far (yes, that’s actually his slugging percentage in triple-A), is clearly the better choice. Get well soon, Jorge!

With Posada out of commission, Stinnett will be catching Mike Mussina for the second time this season. Their last pairing was this past Saturday, when Mussina held the Mets to two earned runs on five hits, including a pair of homers by Carlos Delgado and Cliff Floyd, and no walks while striking out seven, Mussina’s tenth quality start in ten tries on the year.

Last year, the Yankees needed a tie breaker to win the division in part because they went 11-14 against the Royals and Devil Rays, a record that was much uglier before they swept their final three games against each team. This year the Bombers have gone 7-1 against those two clubs. The Yankees have done well to split the 14 games they’ve played since Hideki Matsui’s injury, but with Gary Sheffield back in the line-up (and despite Jorge Posada’s absence), they need to pad their win total against the historically awful Royals this weekend.

*The Terrible Twenty:

.235 – 1916 Philadelphia Athletics
.248 – 1935 Boston Braves
.250 – 1962 New York Mets
.252 – 1904 Washington Senators
.257 – 1919 Philadelphia Athletics
.265 – 2003 Detroit Tigers
.273 – 1952 Pittsburgh Pirates
.276 – 1909 Washington Senators
.278 – 1942 Philadelphia Phillies
.279 – 1932 Boston Red Sox, 1939 St. Louis Browns, 1941 Philadelphia Phillies
.283 – 1915 Philadelphia Athletics, 1928 Philadelphia Phillies
.291 – 1911 Boston Braves
.294 – 1909 Boston Braves
.296 – 1911 St. Louis Browns
.298 – 1939 Philadelphia Phillies
.299 – 1937 St. Louis Browns, 1945 Philadelphia Phillies

Kansas City Royals

2006 Record: 10-35 (.222)
2006 Pythagorean Record: 12-33 (.261)

Manager: Buddy Bell
General Manager: Allard Baird

Home Ballpark (2005 Park Factors): Kauffman Stadium (99/99)

Who’s Replaced Whom?

  • Matt Stairs has replaced Mike Sweeney (DL) at designated hitter and Joe Nelson has replaced him on the roster
  • Shane Costa has replaced David DeJesus (DL) in center field and Aaron Guiel has replaced him on the roster
  • Tony Graffanino has replaced Mark Teahen (minors) at third base and Andres Blanco has replaced him on the roster
  • Runelvys Hernandez has replaced Joe Mays (released)
  • Jimmy Gobble is holding Mark Redman’s place in the rotation (bereavement list) and Leo Nunez is holding his spot on the roster, Redman had replaced Steve Stemle (DL)
  • Joel Peralta replaces Luke Hudson (minors)

Current Roster

1B – Doug Mientkiewicz (L)
2B – Mark Grudzielanek (R)
SS – Angel Berroa (R)
3B – Tony Graffanino (R)
C – John Buck (R)
RF – Emil Brown (R)
CF – Shane Costa (L)
LF – Reggie Sanders (R)
DH – Matt Stairs (L)


L – Aaron Guiel (OF)
R – Esteban German (IF)
S – Andres Blanco (IF)
L – Paul Bako (C)


R – Scott Elarton
L – Jeremy Affeldt
R – Runelvys Hernandez
L – Jimmy Gobble
R – Denny Bautista


R – Ambiorix Burgos
L – Andy Sisco
R – Elmer Dessens
R – Joel Peralta
R – Mike Wood
R – Joe Nelson
R – Leo Nunez

Bereavement List: L – Mark Redman
15-day DL: R – Mike Sweeney (DH), L – David DeJesus (CF), R – Chris Booker
60-day DL: R – Zack Greinke, R – Mike MacDougal, R – Steve Stemle, L – Bobby Madritsch

Typical Lineup

L – Shane Costa (CF)
R – Mark Grudzielanek (2B)
L – Doug Mientkiewicz (1B)
R – Reggie Sanders (LF)
L – Matt Stairs (DH)
R – Emil Brown (RF)
R – Tony Graffanino (3B)
R – Angel Berroa (2B)
R – John Buck (C)

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver