By Chad Rader
Baseball becomes a long, tough game to follow over 162. The Royals evidenced just that on Monday. The Royals opened with a great series in Los Angeles – basically having just one bad inning in winning 2 of 3. Kansas City scored 13 runs in two games against annual Cy Young contender Dan Haren and very solid Ervin Santana.
Then the Royals travel up the coast and get shut out by Tommy Milone. May as well been Sam Milone, the Cheers bartender. Milone, a promising rookie for the A’s, had just posted five career MLB starts, none longer than six innings. But on Monday, Milone went eight strong innings. Sadly, he didn’t strike out a Royal, and still permitted just three hits, the first pitcher since (Verlander) to go 8 IP without a strikeout.
The Royals also let Milone off the hook, as two caught stealings (Hosmer, Francoeur) in the same inning cut down a possible threat.
But any time you sit Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas, and lead off Jason Bourgeois and Lorenzo Cain at 1-2, you’re rolling the dice for a shutout. On the flip side of the nice offensive showing in Los Angeles, Kansas City now has been shut out in two of its four games.
The Royals pitching staff has been dynamite. Starters have yielded just a 1.96 ERA (5 ER in 23 IPs). While just four starts, with that ERA, Kansas City should be 3-1, not 2-2. That’s not nit-picking – that’s raising expectations when you want to compete, or contend, for a divisional title.
A nice farewell for Thomas Robinson, with his 9-year-old sister, Jayla, on hand for the press conference Monday in Lawrence to announce his decision to leave KU for the NBA draft. Most can root for T-Rob to go high in the draft and guarantee a nice paycheck with his personal situation, in looking to finance Jayla’s childhood, and perhaps gain custody of his sister. Without getting too deep in sociology, hopefully Jayla’s father goes along with everything and doesn’t present an obstacle in Robinson and Jayla’s pursuit of a good lifestyle.
As for the draft, Robinson should be a top 10 pick. I doubt a top five though. Seems you either have to be 6-11 or 7-foot to really excel in the post in the NBA, or have more of a 15-18 foot jump shot and ability to defend on the perimeter at 6-9 and under.
I would guess him as either a Dale Davis or Antonio Davis career, which really, there wasn't a difference between either. A fierce rebounder, nudges the 8.0-10.0 ppg mark on some years, while averaging about 7.0 rpg.
Remember the dreadful start for Sporting KC last year, with its lengthy road trip? Sporting already is surging at 5-0, and has asserted who the undoubtable favorite to win the Eastern Division, up by six points early.
The hot topic around town has been Rex Hudler. I cringed at the weekend’s broadcasts, not because of what he was saying, but how Kansas City would react to his style and catch phrases. Kansas City seems to be wanting just a straight-forward, give me the details and facts, style of broadcasting. Re: Fred White, Jon Sundvold and Paul Splittorff.
I didn’t like Ryan Lefebvre’s style when he started – he seemed very deliberate in pronunciation, as if to not make a mistake. Now 14 years later, he has been very fluid in the booth, and a big part of the community outside the stadium.
Rex Hudler is in the same mold. When I was an intern in my first year at the Royals, most announcers would take the stat packet, and shoo fly, don’t bother me. But Rex took 5-10 minutes to talk with me about what I was doing, how I liked Kansas City, yada yada. If you asked me at the time the nicest broadcasters I met, aside from Ryan Lefebvre, Rex Hudler would have been a quick answer.
But I’ve met many nice guys who aren’t good broadcasters. I don’t have a problem with Rex, and it brings a different style while explaining the game. Perhaps in too great of detail, and sometimes he gets into the psychological part of the game a lot, but hey, that’s part of the game.
Most would scream for Frank to come back, but that ship has sailed. Plus if Frank was broadcasting for the Angels, would they have liked him? Yep, its hard to replace a hometown hero.
Nice guys finish last, but much like Ryan Lefebvre, Rex Hudler will be just fine in the end.
Return to: Rader's Ramblings Blog