Hello. That is what I say before I preview a series. You read now.
- The Royals aren't built for this season. Which is good because they're 51-73, 14.5 games behind in the AL Central. They aren't built for next season either. Which is good because they're already 8.5 games behind then too. It's debatable whether or not they are even built for the season after that. Or if they're even built at all. Maybe the Royals are the Manufactured Home of baseball.
- Know: KC is a young team. I don't mean in actual age, though they are young, they have a few veterans on their roster. The team is young in the sense that their best talent -- some might say only talent but I won't go there -- is either coming up from the minor leagues or in the minor leagues at present. The 2013 Royals are scattered about in places Omaha, Nebraska and Wilmington, Delaware. At least you know they'll be focusing on baseball.
- All that makes signing Jeff Francoeur all the more inexplicable, but as Marc and I talked about on the podcast with Craig Brown of Royals Authority, the Royals have done very well assembling prospects. Historically well, even. Putting together a major league roster is a different skill-set entirely and remains at best a work in progress, and at worst a doggy mess on the carpet.
- This series marks the return of Mike Aviles to Kansas City. We here at OTM just hope somebody notices.
- The Red Sox were chasing a historically great offense for a while, which might still be achievable, but they ascended to a different sort of glory this past series versus Tampa. They did so by getting only three hits in each game. It was the worst offensive output by a Red Sox team in a three game series ever hits-wise. Of course the reality is they weren't that bad. There were a number of hard hit balls that went right at Rays defenders, landed just foul, or whatever. Still, this team is mired in what has to be called a team-wide slump.
- Ned Yost is no Trey Hillman, i.e. he's not insane. So that's a step in the right direction for KC. Still I'm not sure Yost will ever be a managerial darling of the sabermetric set. Come to think of it, what manager is? I mean, we're all over Manny Acta by now, right?
- Speaking of Ned Yost, anagrams for his name include:
- For the first time this season there really are concerns about the Red Sox. We knew coming into the year that if everyone played up to their ability and stayed healthy this would be a team to reckon with. We seem to be reaching a point where the injuries and a few
slownot starters are affecting the team. Kevin Youkilis just hit the DL, David Ortiz is in a walking boot and is likely to be fitted for a DL stint before this is done, Adrian Gonzalez is dealing with a neck strain that, according to his manager is sapping his power, and Carl Crawford continues to be a mess. That's a lot of talent that either isn't or can't perform.
- Erik Bedard won't pitch in this series but I've started to come around. Not on Bedard as a pitcher, I was already well in on that. I'm talking about Bedard's Lincoln Beard, also known as the chinstrap. If I could grow a beard of any sort, I'd grow a Bedard. It just looks right smart on the guy. In fact, I'd like to see more Red Sox grow the chinstrap. It could be the official team facial hair. How about Pedroia with one of those? Picture Ellsbury! Saltalamacchia could pull of a mean one. I bet Salty could pull this off, though it could make putting on a catching mask difficult.
- Does trusting "The Process" ever involve getting into the back of a carpeted '79 Econoline van with no windows? If so, I'll pass.
Individual game notes after the jump!
- Luke Hochevar (pronounced: Hoe-shaver) could just be the funniest name in baseball. Not to jump the gun but the Astros inability to sign 18th round pick Ralph Doganus combined with the retirement of Marlins backup infielder Horatio Manleakage gives the title to Hochavar, right?
- Hochevar doesn't strike guys out and he gives up homers like Bruce Chen, who, not coincidentally, is also on the Royals pitching staff. This is exactly the type of pitcher the Red Sox and really any good offense hammers the crap out of. I'm predicting Dustin Pedroia hits for the cycle in the first inning and Hochevar retires rather than come out for the second.
- Josh Beckett keeps a rhinoceros just so he can box it after bad starts.
- Andrew Miller = White Flag of Surrender. Here's a picture of Andrew Miller's family standing on a hilltop.
- Jeff Francis used to be the ace of the Colorado Rockies staff. He was the former first round pick who led them to the World Series. They got swept. Then Francis got hurt. Then he sucked. Then he really got hurt. Now he's pitching for the Royals. This sounds like one of those Behind The Music episodes. Sometime soon he's going to stop doing buckets of blow and record an album. Then he'll get run over by a truck.
- Felipe Paulino is young, throws hard, and has pitched pretty well this season. Clearly he is only a Royal through some hideous clerical error.
- ATTENTION: THE QUEST FOR 200 CONTINUES. PLEASE. SOMEONE. MAKE IT STOP.
- Seriously. Lets get this done, eh?
Partly sunny or partly cloudy if you prefer, you negative Nancy. Winds blowing out at 5-10 m.p.h unless traffic improves. Game time temperature of 18. Or maybe 112. You know. What ever.
- Duffy struck out five Red Sox in 3.2 innings last time he faced them. He also gave up 6 runs. It was the most he'd allowed in his career until his last time out when the Yankees scored 8 on him in 3 innings. This is a clear case of one upsmanship by New York. The Red Sox then must score 9 on him in 2.2 innings. Get on that, people.
- My only concern about Jon Lester is that he may get bored throwing to a lineup whose best hitter is the reanimated corpse of Alex Gordon.