Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Inexcusable.

If you're wondering why my posts are becoming rarer and rarer, tonight's game should explain why.

Trey Hillman may be a great leader of men. He may have a clubhouse presence that would impress Barack Obama. He may be a shrewd judge of talent. He may have any number of traits that will one day render him an excellent baseball manager.

But when it comes to in-game tactical maneuvering, he is a liability. Tonight, he absolutely, positively cost the Royals a win.

The Royals entered the top of the 8th with a 5-1 lead. They were playing the Rangers, not the Yankees. They had the home-field advantage. They set the first two men down in order. They had this game in the bag.

And Hillman pissed it away.

Michael Young walked. Joey Hamilton hit a routine groundball to Mike Aviles at shortstop. Aviles' throw was a little low, but did not hit the ground. Teahen could not hold on to it.

Mistake #1: What is Tony Pena on the roster for, if not to play defense with a four-run lead? Aviles was scheduled to bat in the bottom of the inning, but again, you're up by four runs - you want the defense in. Maybe Pena's throw is more on-line, and the inning is over. Admittedly, this is a small mistake. They will get bigger.

Mistake #2: With two on, two out, tying run on deck, Trey Hillman calls upon Brett Tomko.

How many runs does Brett Tomko have to give up, how many leads does he have to blow, before the Royals realize that he has no business pitching in a tight game? Tomko entered the game with a 6.34 ERA. It was not a fluke. Batters are hitting .298/.331/.506 against him. He has a 6.17 ERA as a starter. He has a 7.94 ERA as a reliever. He had a 5.55 ERA last year. There is no way you can spin the evidence in such a way as to suggest that he should be pitching in a tight situation. You gambled $3 million that Bob McClure could figure him out. It was a decent gamble, but it failed. Choosing to be in a state of denial is only making matters worse.

Milton Bradley doubled on an 0-2 count - classic Tomko - to drive in two. David Murphy singled home Bradley. It's 5-4, tying run at first base. Gerald Laird and Chris Shelton are due up next.

Mistake #3: Hillman calls on...Yasuhiko Yabuta.

Maybe Hillman was enamored with Yabuta's performance the night before, when Yabuta heroically earned the win by...retiring a single batter. I don't want to minimize his effort - he retired Bobby Abreu with two men on in a tie game - but still, he faced one batter. Even in the worst (non-Bonds) matchup the odds are better than 50/50 that a pitcher will retire a single hitter.

Anyway, Hillman suddenly felt that with four outs to go, with the tying run at the plate, the situation didn't call for his closer Joakim Soria, or his set-up man Ramon Ramirez, but instead, Yasuhiko Yabuta, he of the 4.91 ERA.

That's bad enough. What's worse - much, much worse - is that Hillman seems completely oblivous to the whole notion of platoon splits. When Bradley and Murphy (a switch-hitter and left-handed hitter) were due up, he called on Tomko, a right-hander who, like most right-handers, fares somewhat worse against left-handed hitting. With Laird and Shelton - two right-handed hitters due up - Hillman calls on Yabuta.

Here's how Yabuta has fared so far this year:

vs. RHB: .390/.463/.610
vs. LHB: .152/.235/.283

That's not a misprint. Even though Yabuta is right-handed, right-handed hitters have numbers that are literally twice as good as their left-handed counterparts across the board. The size of the discrepancy is a reflection of a small sample size, but the discrepancy itself is very real. Yabuta's best pitch (his only good pitch, really) is his splitter/changeup, and pitchers who rely on a forkball or changeup as their out pitch generally have reverse platoon splits - they do a better job of getting guys out from the other side of the plate.

Laird singled. Shelton singled, and Murphy scored the tying run.

From that point on the outcome was academic - I started writing this post when the game was still in the top of the 9th. I did think it was a nice touch that Ramon Ramirez struck out Josh Hamilton on three pitches with the tying run at third base and one out in the ninth, only to surrender the winning run on a passed ball immediately thereafter.

Hillman was instrumental in that, too. Yabuta had stayed in to face a couple of left-handed hitters after the game was tied, and after walking Brandon Boggs he got Ramon Vazquez to fly out and end the inning. Showing that he had learned nothing from the sequence of events, Hillman (or as we shall see, his proxy Dave Owen, not that it matters) let Yabuta pitch to Ian Kinsler (a right-handed hitter) leading off the ninth. Kinsler doubled. Yabuta stayed in to pitch to another right-hander, Michael Young, who moved Kinsler up with a grounder to second, and only at that point did Ramirez come in.

So Ramon Ramirez, he of the 3.30 ERA, who's clearly the second-best reliever on the active roster, was not deemed necessary with two outs in the eighth, a one run lead, and the tying run on base - but he was deemed necessary once the game was tied, and the go-ahead run was on third base with one out. (By the way, Ramirez came into the game having thrown four wild pitches in just 30 innings. Bringing him with a man on third base was probably the worst possible time to do so. But we're just piling on at this point.)

Oh, and Ramirez's platoon splits? Ramirez's best pitch is probably his slider, and pitchers who rely on their slider tend to have larger-than-normal platoon splits. Sure enough, against Ramirez LHB are hitting .309/.356/.364...but RHB are hitting just .182/.250/.218.

So let's sum this up: with a one-run lead, two outs in the eighth, the tying run on first, and two right-handed hitters scheduled, Trey Hillman had to choose between a reliever with a 4.91 ERA and a reliever with a 3.30 ERA, a reliever against whom RHB were hitting .390 and a reliever against whom RHB were hitting .182...AND HE CHOSE THE FIRST GUY?

Buddy Bell was an awful, awful tactical manager, but I'm willing to bet that I could go through his entire log as Royals manager and not find more than two or three games in which his moves cost the Royals a game as clearly as Hillman's tactics cost them tonight.

The shame of it is, if there's any attention placed on Hillman from this game, it's that he was thrown out arguing a questionable ball/strike call in the bottom of the eighth inning. The pitch was probably a ball, and Hillman probably did nothing that warranted being thrown out. But the mere fact that the pitch meant anything all is absolutely, positive, 100% Trey Hillman's fault. If Hillman, or the writers covering the team, attempt to pin even a fraction of the blame for tonight's loss on the home-plate umpire, they're doing the team and its fans a disservice.

The box score says Yabuta took the loss tonight. It won't tell you that Hillman shoved it down his throat. But he did. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

67 comments:

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. You wrote exactly what I was thinking as I watched this disaster.

Mark LaFlamme said...

This has GOT to be some diabolical experiment in shock trauma. It's got to be. How much crushing defeat can a loyal baseball fan take before he A) gives up his allegiance to the sport and the team or B) takes his clothes off and runs mad through the streets, screaming things no one can understand but which sound a lot like "Yabuta! Yabuta! Yabuta!"
It's fiendish. My churning gut, already somewhere in the vicinity of my ankles, dropped completely to the floor when I saw him jogging from the pen. Sure, he's had a string of decent appearances. Sure, he got us out of a mighty jam in the last game with the Yankees.
But when it comes to jaw-dropping, blown leads like this one, I want that guy back in the hotel, tied to a chair and locked in a safe. Dazzling upsets like this one may someday be called "Yabutas."
But Rany is right: we can't blame him for all of it because it's someone else's responsibility to keep him off the field in games like these. Or to recognize it when he's about to help break the hearts of the already suffering Royal faithful by giving up a third hit.
Ramirez was there. So was Soria. I would rather have seen Paul Splitorff come out of the booth and go to the mound for the ninth than see Yabuta back out there. Although as I've stated before, we seem to have no heroes left when it comes to the bullpen.
How did it get that way? Maybe one of you know. How did our bullpen transform itself from the group of fearsome hurlers we saw in April to this orgy of letdowns?

Andrew Hoien said...

Rany,

Let me preface this by saying that I respect you to the ends of the earth, and you are what inspired my blog. Your knowledge of baseball far suprasses mine.

However, I think that you're slipping into the mindset that I find more and more common around Royals fans.

You're trying to rationalize another crippling loss by dumping on a singular person. Did Hillman make some big mistakes? Yes, yes he did, and for that he should be blasted for.

But let's get real. If Teahen catches that ball, we aren't talking about this. If Tomko does anything of use, we aren't talking about this. If Yabuta didn't suddenly cool off, we aren't talking about this.

Now, should Soria have come in at the first sign of danger? Hell yes. However, we shouldn't have to rely on just two bullpen arms to win us games. Other guys have to deliver as well.

Hillman deserves blame for this loss, as does Teahen, Yabuta, Tomko and Rameriez. To single out anybody player or manager, and say that it is all their fault, is really silly to me. They are all professionals, you can't win as a team, and lose because of one person.

Also, Davey Johnson? Really? I'm dissapointed Rany.

Let me give you the scenario I give every person that just can't stand Hillman: Let's say that after tonights loss, Hillman and Moore have a falling out, and Hillman is canned. Name three people right now that would "better" than Hillman. Keep in mind that it has to be people that would actually come here.

Lets give Hillman and Moore some time and slack. I believe that you were the one that said that one AL executive called the Royals below expansion level. You don't turn that around overnight. People will make mistakes, tonight was an example.

The division wasn't riding on it, hell nothing was dependent on this game. This team is a few years away from competing. Patience is key. Is it the most fun? No, but what else can we do?

Yes, Hillman made a mistake, but the loss was not all his fault, don't get all Rob Neyer on us Rany. Please don't.

Dallas Tucker said...

I agree that Hillman has made some pretty bad in-game decisions. Ok, some truly inexcusable in-game decisions. But Albie Lopez ought to be able to close out a four-run game with two outs in the eighth. This loss is not on Trey Hillman, it is once again on the players, players who have no competitive drive on this team. The end is nowhere in sight as this team needs a complete revamping from top to bottom. Alex Gordon is really making me sick. I can't say I know this personally, but he appears to have no competitive drive or spirit, no emotion. Ugh. This is the same old, inexplicable crap we've been seeing for over a decade.

Mark LaFlamme said...

The Royals should be able to get away with a low throw or a mishandled ball at first when you're talking about a four run lead in the eighth. I don't put a lot of screaming emphasis on that end of it at all. What DID drive me crazy – perhaps more than anything else – was Teahan looking at a third strike to end the game. That ball didn't even move funny, it just sailed right out there waiting to be hit. Anything. Put it on the field and hope it's not playable. Or give the Rangers the chance to make a sloppy error and blow the comeback. Hell, swing and miss. You mind end up with an Olivo-style "strike out all the way to second base" kind of fluke. Just don't watch the last pitch of the game.
Sorry for the second post. If it weren't for the blogs, I'd end up down at 7-Eleven, forcing strangers to listen to me rant about a baseball team two thousand miles away.

Isaac said...

I think bashing Hillman here is fully acceptable. Were the players at fault as well? Of course, but some of them shouldn't even have been in the game at the time.

The question to ask is if this is the first time Hillman has made a decision like this or has he done it before. The problem is he has done it more times than I care to remember. He has put on a hit and run with Buck and first and Pena at the plate twice this year. He has asked Gload to steal third. He calls for sacrifice bunts in the third inning with no outs and a runner on second against the Yankees. He decides to try German at SS, where he will never be able to play, the day we call Aviles up and then sits Aviles for a week. His pitching decisions have been monumental in the worst way.

This isn't the only thing though. Our team went 50 straight innings without a walk and it's apparent that nothing was done about it. We have kept our hitting coach even though our hitting has declined during his tenure. The fundamentals of this team with a manager that has self proclaimed himself as fundamentally sound makes me want to punch a hole in the wall.

This team is bad but what is the most bothersome of it all is that the majority of things we are doing poorly are based on decision making or some other thought process and very little on talent. I suspect that by the players keeping their heads in the games and Hillman looking logging in to ESPN's sortable stat page to see what it looks like would probably account for 5 losses becoming wins and that is a frightening amount at this point in the season.

Casper said...

Seriously - it's the curse of Mark Davis. How come no one takes this seriously but me?

Casper said...

PS - I think it's time to shop Teahen. I don't know what his value is at this point, but I know that I no longer want him on my team. In my opinion, he's far too passive of a personality to lead this team, and it's my impression that Sweeney, metaphorically speaking, handed him the leadership keys to the team. There was an article in Spring Training about how Sweeney was talking to Teahen before a game about how it was Teahen's turn to lead and I think that's what may be happening in the clubhouse. Teahen is not a leader. He's a filler. I think he's had enough time in the ML's to prove what he can do and it's just not good enough. Worse, in my opinion, is his influence on the team. He has no fire (neither does DeJesus, for that matter). Read Teahen's post-game comments on the Royals website. It's more of the "Aw shucks, it handcuffed me - what are you gonna do?" crap. I'm sick sick sick sick sick sick mother$%^*&SICK of this attitude that's it's okay to lose. G-d d@mnit, this is NOT OKAY!

Ron Rollins said...

I said the day Hillman was hired it was a mistake, and got blasted by every person who has ever commented on any blog about the Royals. Nice to know that I was right, and people are starting to agree.

Hillman can't manage. He can't handle pitchers. He's not quite as bad as Bell was, but he's getting there in a hurry.

He can't manage a lineup. At this point, he is officially worse than Boone ever was.

And he is the wrong guy entirely for the Royals. We had to suffer through 5 years of Tony Muser, and now we're 3 months into Trey Hillman.

It has got to stop somewhere. I've been watching the Royals since '72 in old Municipal Stadium. Its been great. But not anymore. You can't take a team seriously if they won't even take themselves seriously and try to win.

Come the All-Star game, if Hillman is still managing the Royals, I'm giving up on them. Because they've given up on us.

Maybe not the individual players, but as a franchise, they've quit.

Isaac said...

Best of luck to you Ron. Of course, we all know you will still be following the Royals after the all star break even if they haven't changed in the smallest of ways. That is if you are a fan now.

And to say that Hillman would not be a success when you hadn't seen him manage a major league team one day and then campaign yourself as intelligent because you think you are right is weak. You essentially guessed right if, in fact, he doesn't learn his way around.

Firing him at this point would be a mistake for one, and something that wont be done by anyone who has the power to do it for another. If that is the deciding factor on whether or not you stick with the ROyals then I suggest you start scouting new teams to root for.

Me, I just think you are venting.

Anonymous said...

"If you're wondering why my posts are becoming rarer and rarer, tonight's game should explain why."

So... you started a blog devoted to THE KANASAS CITY ROYALS, and now you say that you aren't posting much because the team isn't any good?

I'd try to expound further on this, but my brain honestly can't compute it.

jkyarnell said...

"So... you started a blog devoted to THE KANASAS CITY ROYALS, and now you say that you aren't posting much because the team isn't any good?"

You know, that's a very good point.

But in the heat of the moment, I felt exactly the same as Rany. I forgot to DVR the game last night, so when I get home it's the top of the eighth and we're up 5-1. At least I'll get to see a win. No, I just get to see us give up five runs to lose with only four outs left in the game.

IT IS MADDENING BEING A ROYALS FAN! I can't change allegiance so I'm stuck with it. But man it feels like they INVENT ways to lose games!!! Teahen dropping a ball that is caught by any average couch potato playing first base in slow pitch softball?? Are you KIDDING me?!

Casper, you're right - it would be nice to see more players care about losing. At this point the only thing I'm looking forward to for the rest of the year is watching Guillen swing the bat.

And I have to give a little credit to Gordon - I absolutely guaranteed my wife he would strike out to end the game.

Curtis said...

What is up with the Gordon hatred? First of all, he worked a hit with two outs in the ninth; it was Teahen who struck out. Yes, he has had a tough week or ten days at the plate, but every hitter goes through that. He hasn't let it affect his defense, which was particularly good in the early innings last night, and he did have several good at bats last night.

I think it always takes 40 games or so for a manager to know what he has in a season. And maybe that should be a little bit longer for a guy in his first year with a new team, and maybe it should be even a little longer for a guy in his first year in the league.

Even so, that time is up.

Adam Halperin said...

I still put a lot of blame on our poor excuse of a hitting coach...Mike Barnett. Why? Three names: Billy Butler, Mark Teahen, and Alex Gordon. Three hitters that don't progress, but get worse. Why are adjustments not being made? Why does it seem like Alex Gordon either flys out or hits an OCCASIONAL home run? Why is Mark Teahen afraid of hitting the baseball? Why is his stance the most awkward looking thing in the world? And why is Billy Butler in Omaha right now? I believe the answer to all of these things is poor hitting instruction. Mike Barnett needs to be fired...now.

By the way, Teahen stuck out to end the game...looking.

Tarnished Crown said...

Where was Gobble to get one of the lefties out in the 8th?

I know he has been totally ineffective lately, but he is the LOOGY. If you don't have confidence in him in that situation, then waive him and call up Musser.

royalidiot said...

You are absolutely right on Rany. I have been trying to remain positive with Hillman, but after last night I can't do it. I was at the game and as soon as Tomko was brought in I told my daughter it was a terrible move. Hillman has shown no ability to match up his bullpen in the late innings of a game. I know Gobble has struggled, but the one thing he can do is retire LH hitters. Was he not available. The Royals having a late inning lead is rare enough. When they do, Hillman better throw his best guns out there to close it out. To hell with tomorrow's game.

Anonymous said...

I just turned the game on last night when Tomko was warming up on the mound and said, 'oh, they must be losing bad'. I was SHOCKED when I saw they actually had a lead, with runners on, and STILL brought him in. The guy is horrible.
Rany, as for your splits, check out the stat line for Ramirez and Yabuta the past month. Yabuta has been probably the best reliever the past month. Ramirez probably the worst (although his stuff is incredible; strikeout stuff, for sure, which is why they brought him in in the 9th with a runner on 3B-which worked perfectly). The Laird broken bat hit was the dagger to the heart in this game. Laird actually hurt the Royals twice last night. That broken bat blooper and he set up so far outside on the last pitch that I'm sure Teahen was thinking it would be a ball, so he wasn't prepared at all.
It was interesting that the Royals may have discovered a way to get Josh Hamilton out...

Anonymous said...

Even though I've watched this circus for so many years, I find it amazing that the fact that games like last night continue to happen on a regular basis. But our futility is absolutely unfathomable. I keep thinking...why am I raising my poor children to endure this crap? Why do I take them to these games? Why do I allow them to sit and watch these games on TV with me? Why, why, why? Why am I setting them up for years and years of pain, just like I've went through for the past 20? Would a loving father really do this to their kids? Or should I just be a good dad and steer them towards the Cardinals from this point on, to save them from years of misery? Seriously.

Anyway, every single fan that had half a brain knew the Tomko signing was a joke and a disaster waiting to happen the day the contract was announced. Every time I heard anyone with Royals say any differently, all I could do is roll my eyes and think "idiots...and I'm supposed to believe that we're going to turn this thing around?". Tomko is, and always will be, a crappy major league pitcher. He will never get a meaningful out for the Royals. He better be gone by Friday or heads should roll.

John Buck has got to be holding onto his job by a very tiny and thin thread. That passed ball to lose the game was inexcusable, especially when we have a guy like Oliva on the roster. Sorry Buck, you're likeable, but you suck.

Finally, the Royals needs to give up the dream that Teahen can hit anywhere from 3-6 in the lineup. He's terrible with runners on base. Hit him 7-9 or get him off the team.

Oh, and Hillman could help his cause a little bit if he weren't so damned arrogant and so insistent on harkening back to his Japan experience and trying to convince people that it's major league baseball. It isn't. If it were, the best American players would be leaving MLB to play in Japan, not visa versa. MLB rejects go to Japan and flourish. Trey, your experience in Japan is comparable to A-AA ball managing, at best. Don't forget that, Trey. Right now, your ass is getting schooled. Learn quick, or you can book the next flight back to Nippon and dust off the Hamfighter uniform.

Anonymous said...

I'm at a loss for words.

Jen said...

Even though I grew up in another state, my father raised me to be as a Royals fan. When I graduated college, I moved to KC and I finally followed my dad's teachings and either attend, watch, or listen to 90% of the Royals games.

I personally don't blame Rany for rare posts when things are going the way they are. I think it's natural to be disappointed/frustrated/annoyed when games are lost like that horrible one to the Twins a few weeks ago or that horrible one last night. I had the privilege of seeing both live and in person.
I personally think it's a good thing for my Royals soul that I am going to be gone next week and will be forced to take a break!

All that emotional analysis aside, a couple of player things I personally believe. Though Teahen certainly shoulders a lot of the blame for last night's loss, I think people are harder on him than they should be. Is he amazing? No. Is he terrible? No. He (usually) does a decent job defensively at whatever random position he is assigned for that week, month, season, etc. I think more blame should be placed on players like John Buck, who is not great offensively or defensively. He NEVER throws out people stealing base, and this is a major part of his job as a catcher. Then there was the passed ball last night. . . .

Being disgruntled at this point doesn't make you not a fan, it just makes you a person who knows something about baseball and cares about this team.

Isaac said...

The past few posts have been very good and have said things I have thought myself.

The one thing I had thought about was the apparent stupidity of the people in charge year in and year out.

I have been posting on Royals message boards for a long time but post mainly on ESPN's. Some of the people there are quite intelligent with a very good grasp on advanced statistics while others appear to have no clue. I have found that when almost the entire board agrees in unison regarding something the front office or manager has done, the board is right almost every time.

The first time I saw this was in 2001 concerning the Neifi. Rumors had started about a week before the trade and everyone said "NO". They saw his stat splits between Colorado and away and knew it was a bad idea. They said the same thing when Tomko was signed and when he came in the game last night.

The point here is how can a bunch of losers like myself on a Royals message board know more than the Royals front office and manager time and time again?

Anonymous said...

Jen, will you marry me?

Anonymous said...

Thank you Rany for having the stones to be truthful about this. Most MSM journalists will follow the 'company line' & give him a free pass.

If this was the only game in which his tactical blunders led to defeat I could forgive him but these bonehead blunders are becoming a regular occurance.

James said...

Rany, another great post, took the words right out of my mouth. I had defended Hillman and his stupidity up to this point, basically blaming it on experience, but hell MYSELF with ZERO mangaing experience would have done the exact opposite of every move he did, and probably won the game fairly easily. I am freaking baffled now. Does he just refuse to look at smiple things such as splits, or basic stats like FREAKING ERA!!! you bring in Tomko who this year has a 6+ ERA and a 7+ era as a freaking relieverr!?!?!?! Christ almighty come on. oh well i now offically despise hillman as a manager. God I only hope it gets better

Mike said...

Gload is another defensive substitution that should have been made. With a 5-1 lead, it's absurd to have Gload/TPJ on the bench watching Aviles/Teahen botch a routine 6-3. Why are they on the roster if they're not going to be in for this situation.

James said...

oh and I couldn't agree more about Mike " I destroy careers for a living" barnett. I dont care what anyone says there is freaking offensive talent on this roster with butler, gordon and at one time Teahen. Since he has been here there have been ZERO improvements in any of their games! ZERO. and what is more infuriating is that adjustments arent even being made. We here all this crap about tony Penis Jr. and how he gets to the park an hour before everyone to work on his hitting, yet in a game reverts to his old self and forgets everyhting. No one is being held accountable and that is what pisses me off. The fact that no one cares it seems. There is no excuse for Alex gordon to whiff as much as he does with as much talent as he has. He still looks lost the majority of the time and yes grant it he's young, but im afraid more of barnett and he will be the next teahen for us, butler too.

Sorry for another post, still fuming about this one.

Otis26 said...

I refuse to join the Hillman-bashing bandwagon. He's a new manager at the big-league level and it's going to take him time to figure all this out.

Also, he's managing a team with the least amount of talent than he's probably ever had. I'm certain many of the Yankees minor league teams were superior to this one, and his team in Japan did nothing but work hard 8 hours a day on baseball. He's got neither here.

It would be like taking Bill Self to Iowa State and saying: "Here...win a championship." No matter how good he is as a coach you can't win without players...and sadly at the present time we're chock-full of roleplayers.

We're moving in the right direction though. We're becoming more aggressive in the free agent market and we're trying to develop a minor league system that has SOME talent (rather than being devoid of it.)

I think some of you got lured in when we were 21-22. I know I did. But at the time the pitching was over-achieving.

Tony LaRussa or Joe Torre would have hung themselves by now if they had this team. Hillman is going to make mistakes...but they're more glaring when many of the players he has aren't holding up their end of the bargain.

Anonymous said...

Reading these posts, it appears most of you are still stuck on "anger".

Remember, there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance.

Come join me in "acceptance" - losses like last night now simply roll off my back, and I dream mostly about minor leaguers, the draft, and some future season (2039?) when glory will be finally restored.

Max said...

I can't agree with any specific points you made about last night's game. My only quibble is that I don't think Trey has been a generally bad manager this season. He's been pretty average. Most managers have pretty stupid moves throughout the year. He appears to be no different. Unfortunately, we need another Billy Martin or Casey Stengel for this team.

dubya said...

Is it bad that when Teahen dropped the ball I just knew. I just knew it was over and that we were going to lose. It's just a given as a Royals fan that the team will find ways to break your heart.

Hillman definitely screwed up. Definitely. You either have an eighth inning guy in Ramirez, or you don't. And I see no reason so say you don't.

Bottom line is though, it could have been anyone in there. I'm totally sold on the curse of Mark Davis.

Anonymous said...

You know, we got pounded just this weekend in New York for putting in our defensive subs, and then when the Yankees came back and tied the game, we had the guy with seven RBI that day already in the showers. Hillman adjusted by leaving the better bats in, and we lost that way, too. Every button he pushes backfires. Is that because he is a lousy manager, or is it because we have a lousy team so that most buttons just don't work.

Some of both, I think.

jay in houston said...

hey rany, i'd like to hear your thoughts on who we could package in a deal to acquire the stud catcher in the cardinal's system who is being blocked by yadier molina.

it will probably take some pitching. maybe a guy like nunez or ramirez. if we could package buck to give the cardinals some minor-league depth at backstop that would be even better.

VJS said...

Hillman pissed it away?

Teahen dropped a ball that Little Leaguers catch.

A similar comment could be made about Buck's passed ball on the eventual game winning run.

Hillman should have substituted defensively?

The problem wasn't defensive range or being out of position...a guy who is paid a major league salary couldn't catch the ball. Then when he had a chance to redeem himself at the plate he watched the strike.

Hillman isn't blameless here or at other times, but as is true with all team sports the losses and wins are rarely the result of a single individual.

I enjoy your posts about the game as they are informative, but the easiest thing in the world is to criticize after the result is known.

IMO the team is better and heading in the right direction, but for every couple of steps forward their will be a concussive fall back like this every so often.

Keep the faith. Go Royals!

Jared said...

ugh...another brutal loss to add to the hundreds we have already suffered thru over the years

Anonymous said...

With the Royals, for every few steps forward there are an equal number of steps backward, thus resulting in our current state of affairs: Running in place while we bring up the rear in every race we run.

tilly uhlich me so good said...

Come on guys, this team is much, much better this year. How quickly we have forgotten the fact that they worked on fundamentals this year, they 'played catch,' remember? Presumable while other teams were...working on something else. And they had a meeting on the process of winning, remember? This is an advanced group of thinkers, and you just need to resign yourself to the fact that they are all smarter than you. So keep believing, keep thinking this is an improved product, and keep watching the implosion that is the Royals, the single most consistent team in MLB.

James & Kelly said...

You're right, we are probably the most consistent team in the majors, and personally, I've had it. I've enjoyed watching DeJesus, Buck & Teahen over the last several years, but it's time for them to go. That hurts to say, but it's true. And yes, throw Gobble in the mix there as well. We need to remove the players on this team that have contributed to the culture of losing over the past however far back you want to go. These players as you pointed out are all "solid" players, but they are also players who have come to terms with losing this way and are just used to it. I turned on the game in the bottom of the 7th and stupidly made the comment to my father that "I don't think there's a way for us to lose this game".......then came the top of the 8th.

We have developed and nutured a "culture of losing" in this town and in this stadium and it's sad, very very sad. Shop Teahen, shop Buck, shop Gload, shop DeJesus...hell, shop Slugger, just stop the madness...

Ryan said...

At least we have a good pinup calendar...shot in basement cellar.

Skillie said...

Albie "gas can" Lopez could not close out a game with a four run lead and two out in the eighth. Neither can Brett just say no To MKO. I agree a 40+ beer league slow pitch softball first baseman would have caught that throw at first. Most good Legion catchers would have caught the low pitch by Ramirez. No good Legion catcher would have called for an 0-2 breaking ball on the inner half of the plate after the way Clown Bradley looked at the hard stuff away on the first two pitches. The point is that we--the Royals--make ALL those mistakes and more in just two innings to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. And it's not just one time. I drive over two hours one way to get to the K. I won't go back this year. I was at the Twins debacle the night we led 8-3 with two out in the ninth and lost. Unheard of badness. I was there two nights later when DeJesus was able to do the only thing possible to keep the tying run from scoring in the late innings by stepping over the bag at second and being tagged out. It's like the Indians knew that was the only chance they had to keep the run from scoring, because it was, and we obliged. The ONLY chance the Rangers had last night to win was for Hillman to bring in Brett Tomko. We could have thought outside the box there and brought in Soria for one out and taken a 5-1 lead into the ninth. We could have left Mahay in. I had a buddy tell me about this blog. It's great. I'm glad I got a chance to vent some frustration. We are awful. I've been a Royals fan since 1969. I can't go to the ballpark any more this year. I can't pay real money to see fake MLB. I can go see local Legion games and see real Legion baseball. I can watch MLB on television or watch the nightmare of the Royals on television, but we have to win games like that one last night and others (like Saturday in NY) before I can go back. A good team will go a year or two without losing such a game. We've lost 4 such games in two weeks. I think that says it all. It's everybody's fault. Everybody sucks. I suck for being a Royals fan.

jonfmorse said...

I have been ranting about Hillman ever since The Kotchman Incident. My argument all along is that he's a horrible percentage manager.

Those of you objecting to the vilification of Hillman need to understand something: it would be one thing if he were continually making mistakes, but not repeating them. The problem is that he is repeating the same fundamental mistakes over and over and over again.

If you're a rookie manager and you're not learning from your mistakes, routinely making egregiously poor percentage decisions which can only be explained by either not KNOWING the percentages (a firing offense all by itself, IMO) or being so arrogant that you think you know better than what the percentages are telling you.

When The Kotchman Incident occurred, I allowed that perhaps he just needed to learn. He's not doing it.

Olentangy said...

In 1993 the Royals were a well respected franchise that had contended consistently and were only 8 years off a World Series victory. The Florida Marlins were a brand new expansion team. Since 1993 the Marlins built a World Series winner from scratch in 4 seasons, completely dismantled that team, built another World Series winner again in 6 seasons, completely dismantled THAT team,and now are one of the top 5 teams in the National League AGAIN. They have accomplished this despite the fact that they do not have a fan base. They have ticket sales of a paltry 12-15K per game but it gets worse. They can barely get 5000 people to actually attend a game unless they are playing the Mets, Yankees or Red Sox. Yet they have built 3 completely different contenders despite there being no one in town that cares to go to their games.

The Royals since 1993, have been in the playoffs zero times,and have been contenders after Labor Day zero times, while racking up close to ten 90+ loss seasons and recently multiple 100 loss seasons. What the hell is going on over there? Guys, it has been 23 years since the Royals were in the playoffs! At some point KC has to just kick David Glass out of town, even if it means going without a team for a while. St. Louis did this to Bill Bidwell and the football Cardinals, and got the Rams and a Super Bowl title. I think they made the right move.

skeptic said...

How many Royals players would actually start for any of the +.500teams in baseball?

It's time to be sellers, Marlin's style, and blow the team up.

James said...

Well things certainly went smoother tonight. I little more Tomko. A little more Yabuta when it was too late. A little Gobble mixed in for flavor. Heaven.

Casper said...

My fellow masochists,
Each night, we turn on the game, be it on the radio, or be it on the television, and we watch our team stumble, bumble and fumble another game into the "L" column. Then we routinely grab our favorite painkiller (I prefer Boulevard beer, but to each their own) and come to this website to seek support and wax philosphically about what is wrong with our team. But despite all the valid arguments and counter-arguments that we formulate and offer for review, we have all (well, except for me, because damnit, it's my theory), missed the fact that none of the points we're making are accurate enough to change things; no matter what the team does, it goes wrong. And the responsibility for this ongoing tragedy of 18 years is down to one man - ONE MAN! - and that man's name is Mark Davis. Yes, that's right - the Cy Young award winning closer that we signed from San Diego before the 1990 season, the man that in 70 games, or 92.2 innings, saved 44 games for a mediocre team, culminating in a 1.85 ERA. Sounds like a perfect fit for a team that only had a soft-throwing righty in their pen to close games named Jeff Montgomery, right? Factor in that KC's own Bret Saberhagen had won the AL Cy Young, also the year before, and for the first time in ML history the previous season's Cy Young winners were opening the following season on the next roster. KC had won 92 games in '89, finishing 7 games out, and the bulk of our roster was coming back, and still in their prime. Surely, Mark Davis would push KC over the top and back into the World Series, right? RIGHT? Wrong. In '90, the wheels officially began to come off of this organization. The team finished 27.5 games out of first place, losing 86 games. And the Cy Young winning closer, Mr. Davis? How did he do following his ridiculously phenomenal '89 season? Well, he did pitch in 53 games, covering 62.2 innings, which is about where you want your closer to come in at. But of those 53 games, he saved 7 - the same number he blew before getting stripped of the closer role. Oh, his 5.11 ERA for us that season was second LOWEST that it would be in his Royals career, right behind the 7.18 ERA he threw up there for us in '92. For some reason, he just was never the same. Some say he really did lose it between seasons, that the Padres exactred everything he had to give in his Cy Young season, that he just had a dead arm from the 70 games he threw in in '89. Other think he just couldn't adjust to the AL from the NL. But they're wrong. What REALLY happened was simple - he choked. Before '89, Davis was pretty much another guy in a bullpen. The spotlight was never really fixed on him before. He signed what back then was a ridiculous deal to come to a team steeped in a winning history (Ah, the good 'ol days) and the expectations on him to replicate that season were ostensibly more than he could handle. And so he choked. And then he choked some more. But wors still, his suckitude started to rub off on others. Saberhagen went from 21 wins in '89 to an injury filled '90 season that saw him win 5 games. In fact, Saberhagen was never really the same pitcher again, either. Well, not until he was unceremoniously traded away for a couple hacks and a fading LF from the Mets - another brilliant move by the Royals front office. Right up there with David Cone trade...the first one, before he was a star, not the 2nd time when he had just (ahem) won the Cy Young for us in '94...actually, both those trades sucked hard. And so there is, kiddies. Let it now be known - we are cursed with suckitude, a suckitude folds like a lawn chair when the pressure is on, that knows not of winning, but of only being a loser, and that suckitude has a name - and it's Mark Davis. We've never been the same since he came to town.

Casper said...

Sorry for the typo's. The beer was doing the typing.

Anonymous said...

I didn't see the game, but a lot of these comments are great stuff. I know the players are to blame for performance, but the Manager is responsible for putting them in the best possible position to succeed.

Ignoring the splits puts pitchers in failure situations. Losing with your best pitcher or pitchers on the bench is unacceptable.

But more than that is the "I'm helpless" attitude. Losing in this fashion for a young team goes beyond one "L." It perpetuates the "we suck" attitude.

Kansas City Clippers (when they really sucked in the NBA), Kansas City football Cardinals - they are all franchises with losing in their blood.

Does Hillman need to be fired? Not yet, but it won't be long at this rate. Do we really need another Herm Edwards here? Nice guy, passionate, but can't get it done because he's too clueless.

Casper said...

http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?t=t_ros&did=milb&cid=412


Just on a gut feeling, I started looking to see if Davis was still somehow connected to the Royals, and nearly swallowed my tongue when I found this: he's the effing pitching coach for the Arizona league team; he still works for the Royals!

Skillie said...

OK. It's Thursday morning. We have to be the worst. There can't be anybody else this bad. We're like the 62 Mets or the 03 Tigers or the St. Louis Browns. Where is Eddie Gaedel?

Skillie said...

Is it Boulevard Wheat, Casper? I love Boulevard Wheat.

Anonymous said...

The thing that infuriated me most about this loss, was that I watched Hillman repeat the same mistakes he made with the bullpen on Saturday in that 12-11 loss to the Yankees. Guillen hit the grand slam to take a 4 run lead after blowing a 4 run lead, and he runs Tomko out to hold that new lead. 2 run homer from A-rod later, and Tomko gives way. But Tomko can't pitch. Stop putting him anywhere near the mound when the Royals are in the game or winning. Why can't Trey learn from his own mistakes?

Anonymous said...

And an almost identical disaster in Wednesday's game.

Anonymous said...

The mind is a strange thing, men. We must begin by asking it what is losing? Losing is a disease, as contagious as polio. Losing is a disease, as contagious as syphilis. Losing is a disease, as contagious as bubonic plague. Attacking one, but infecting all. But curable.

Don't we wish.

Mugrad94 said...

I am done with the Royals. I can’t take it anymore. Their record is officially worse this year than it was last year at this point in the season which is really saying something considering we went 8-18 last April and 11-17 last May… last year in June we bounced back and went 15-12 and I just really don’t see that happening this June since we are 3-7 this month.



Since I can’t really stomach rooting for any other MLB team I guess I am done until NCAA football season…don’t even get me started on the Chefs.



Side note; I was in STL this weekend for the DMB concert at Busch and 3 or 4 times the crowd erupted in “F the Cubbies” chants and “Let’s go Cardinals” chants and the loudest cheer of the night (by far) was when they showed Carter Beauford (drummer) in a Cardinals Jersey. I have to say, for the first time in my life I was more than a little bit envious of people who live in St. Louis. This might be an all time low.

Anonymous said...

I'm sick of people thinking that Hillman's decision making is our problem. Would we be .500 with the greatest skipper ever? Remember that most positive projections for this season had us at 75-80 wins max. We don't have the bullpen to win that many games. Just look at it top to bottom and tell me Hillman has an 80 win bullpen. Our offense has young guys who are prone to prolonged dry spells at the plate, and we have a mediocre journeymen like Gobble as one of our go to lefties? Give me a break. Hillman is still figuring out this team, this organization, and this city. Get back to me in August. Trey had nothing to do with last night's game, and Teahen could just as easily drop a throw from Pena (a solid 1b would probably have scooped both). He and about 5 other guys in our lineup consistently play out of position. We are really stretching and need to just play guys enough to find out about them, hence leaving Aviles in while Pena has had more than a chance to prove his worth. As an aside, downtown stadiums sure are nice.

Jimmy Jack said...

Boulevard is a Kansas City product and it's amazing. See, we can do something right!! Maybe Boulevard should pull it's product from Kaufman until we reach a .500 season...would hate for the suckitude to infiltrate our precious brewery...

savvy423 said...

Carlos Rosa is the newest Kansas City Royal. Fareweel Brett Tomko!

Anonymous said...

I told you that heads had better roll if Tomko wasn't gone by Friday. Glad to know the powers that be are reading this blog.

KeithTopeka said...

Maybe this is a little rash, but they need to do something to their middle relief, how about moving one of the young arms there so we aren't losing three games a week due to their inability to pitch the seventh and eighth innings. Along with that I have been wanting to kick Gobbles in the nuts for about five years.

Ryan said...

We just cut Brett Tomko.

I can't believe the Royals wasted $3 million on 35-year-old Brett Tomko. Three. Million. Dollars. How can you not sign all of your draft picks, when you're throwing away $3 million dollars on has-been 35-year-old pitchers?

Three million dollars?

If you waste that much money on Tomko, at least you fork over a couple thousand for a fake beach backdrop for your Royals' calendar.

Anonymous said...

As the 60th comment on a 4-day old blog, I don't expect many readers. So be it. The Royals are three players away from being a playoff team. There, I said it! We are that close. Now, they have to be three GREAT players, but we have not been this close in..well...forever! So what do we need? Let's start at the top of the lineup. How about a leadoff hitter? Personally, I'd like a shortstop here but I could live with a second baseman. Gotta have this guy on base...a lot! Next we need a power hitting first baseman . Finally, one more great starting pitcher...not even a number one, maybe a number two. How about a lineup like this:

leadoff 2B
Aviles SS
New Stud 1B
Guillen RF
Butler DH ( I believe)
DeJesus CF
Olivo C
Teahen LF
Gordon 3B

Starting rotation:
Greinke
New Stud
Meche
Hochever
Davies

Yes, I would make Bannister the long relief guy.

I'll take that lineup and rotation.

We aren't that far off. Believe!

James said...

Shoot, while we are at naming hypothetical lineups and rotations why not go all the way?

New Stud #1 2B
New Stud #2 SS
New Stud #3 1B
New Stud #4 RF
New Stud #5 DH
New Stud #6 CF
New Stud #7 C
New Stud #8 LF
New Stud #9 3B

Starting rotation:
New Stud P #1
New Stud P #2
New Stud P #3
New Stud P #4
New Stud P #5

I know that I'm being a sarcastic pain and I apologize for it but new studs apparently don't grow on trees.

Besides, I don't ever want to see Teahen playing in LF again. Absolutely horrifying.

Jimmy Jack said...

Anonymous, I like your ferver and optimism and agreed, we are just a couple of guys away from making a solid run, but Gordon in the 9 hole? Silly...

Ben said...

Anyone here about the Gil Meche rumor? I saw somewhere someone said a Meche to Braves for Jordan Schafer/Jason Heyward and Brent Lilbridge trade was possible. I can't possibly imagine the Braves giving up that much. Maybe we could throw someone else in. I just wanted to hear my fellow Royals fans thoughts

-al said...

you can't shine a bunch of turds.
this season's done for. it was before it began.
the real indicator will be where they are in three years.
we've got a general manager who seems to care about the team. the gm has his manager in the game now. they're starting to get their players into the game. we finally got rid of mike 'thanks for the $11 million dollars, but my (insert body part here) hurts too much to play this year" sweeney.
the only thing missing is an owner who doesn't treat the team like walmart.

give hillman a talented group, and see where he goes.

N. J. Thomas said...

Rany, come back! Just like last year, it looks like the Royals just needed some time to rebuilding their confidence in Triple-A... I mean, the NL! Maybe they don't suck again!

Chris in Olathe said...

I'm a little late getting to this one, but I couldn't agree more with Rany on this one. My only hope is that this particular post in Rany's blog somehow finds its way to Hillman.

Hillamn's series of tactical decisions for this game have to be some of the absolute DUMBEST decisions I have ever seen a manager at ANY level make.

One can only hope that Trey learned something from his mistakes.

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