Quantcast 2008 Kansas City Royals: Guillen guides Royals to split with Orioles
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Royals rolled by Rays in Series 3-1

Tampa Bay continued its improbable run as MLB’s best team by rolling the Royals 11-2 in the series opener at Tropicanna Field. The game never really was close as Edwin Jackson started this 4th of July off with a booming performance, pitching 8 strong innings of 4 hit, 2 run ball. Carlos Pena delivered the knockout punch, if the Rays really needed one, with a 3 run homerun in the 5th inning off of Brian Bannister. 2B Mark Grudzielanek was the only Royal to hit with any authority, slamming a HR in the 7th off of Jackson.

Kansas City Royals hats & merchandiseGame 2 saw KC put forth a much better pitching performance from Zach Greinke, but it was all for naught. Most of the year the Royals pick each game and either hit really well, or pitch very well, but have trouble putting an ENTIRE game together. This game had to frustrate Grienke, pitching in his home state, and allowing just 2 ER in 6 innings. Grienkie did have his electric stuff going, striking out 7, but his pitch count was up to 113 after only 6 innings. Again, Mark Grudzielanek was the only Royal with more than 1 hit, and Jose Guillen continued to struggle with an 0-4 night. Andy Sonnanstine, the Rays 4th starter, picked up his TENTH win of the year. On a side note, it was reported that Jose Guillen and a pitching coach got into a heated argument and almost came to blows before the game. Guillen remained in the starting lineup, but, as noted, struggled. Is Guillen going to be more trouble than he’s worth? Time will tell.

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The struggling Royals, losers of 2 straight to the Rays, sent Luke Hochevar to the mound Sunday afternoon to try to stop the bleeding against Rays co-ace, James Shields. Much a mirror of Friday’s game, the Royals were limited to 2 runs, and dominated by the Rays starting pitching. Shields struck out 8 over 7 IP, and was rarely threatened. Ross Gload led the Royals with 2 hits this time, but it wasn’t nearly enough as Rookie Luke Hochevar gave up 7 ER in just 4 innings pitched. Superstar rookie Evan Longoria had a 2 run HR for the Rays, as they continue to put distance between them and the Red Sox in the east. The Rays quickly are becoming the baseball darlings of the first half, and are gaining momentum quickly. I cannot help but to see many similarities between the Rays and Royals. Both teams are incredibly young, but the Ray’s talent level is up a notch or two on the Royals. Both teams are scrappy, can play small ball, and have some quality starting pitching. The Royals should look to the Rays as a blueprint of success for what they can base their organization on in the future.


Royals find Ray of Hope in Series Finale

K.C. sent Gil Meche to the mound today to face red hot Matt Garza of Tampa Bay, looking to sweep the Royals in the 4th and final game of the series. Gil Meche came through in a big way for the Royals constantly pitching out of jams, allowing 2 ER in the 1st inning, but no more after that in 5 1/3 IP. Red hot Matt Garza gave up 3 ER to the Royals, but this game lacked no shortage for dramatics as the game got late. The Royals took a 3-2 lead into the 9 th against MLB’s hottest team, and figured to close the door with ace closer Joakim Soria on the hill. Soria prompltly struck out Carl Crawford on 3 pitches. Carlos Pena, the Rays heated up slugger, took Soria deep to tie the game at 3 going into the 10th. Birthday boy John Buck, the Royals catcher provided the heroics for KC. With a runner on, no sooner had the announcer mentioned Buck’s birthday being on this day, and him wanting a birthday hit, did buck take Dan Wheeler yard for a 2-run HR. Mike Aviles, the rookie SS for the Royals followed with an insurance solo HR after Buck to provide the final runs of the game. The Royals avoided being swept, and halted the Rays 7 game winning streak with a 7-4 victory this day.



By Derek Mueller
Kansas City Royals Correspondent

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