My Tuesday was even more chocked full of Royals action than it usually is, as I seized the opportunity to see the Omaha Royals play the Round Rock Express and then came home and watched the tivoed Davies start (which was unintentionally recorded on the STO HD feed, which did enable me to watch that interminably long game in a much shorter amount of time).
In Round Rock (a shitty suburb of Austin--which doesn't really have suburbs like most cities its size--for those not in the know), I walked in to find Brian Bannister toeing the rubber, a pleasant surprise to say the least. I watched from the left field bleachers, so pitch location and movement were not things I could accurately ascertain, but Banny's control seemed to be there, as 60 of his 96 pitches went for strikes. He allowed three hits and zero runs, earned or otherwise, on his way to seven innings pitched. He did only strike out four, which was not impressive, but there weren't many well-hit balls, so perhaps he has resigned himself to having to fall back on inducing weak contact and letting the defense do its job.
Mitch Maier got good wood on a double, and drew two intentional walks, the first puzzlingly coming with two outs and a man on third in a 1 - 0 game, and a switch hitter in Tommy Murphy coming up after him. Clearly the Express did not want to face Maier, who was only one-for-three, but is hitting .429.
Carlos Rosa came in and blew the save in the Royals 2 - 1 loss. In the eighth, a long Edwin Maysonet drive glanced off Chris Lubanski's glove as he was about to step on the warning track, putting Maysonet on second, who was driven in two batters later by Yordany Ramirez. Lubanski's blown play on the warning track was difficult enough to not be ruled an error, but that earned run was certainly a hard-luck one.
In the ninth, Rosa began to get hit hard again (and the Maysonet double was hit hard, to be sure), and before a second out could be recorded the Express were walking off the field victorious.
As for the Kansas City Royals game, despite some dubious defense behind him (Callaspo's blown over the shoulder catch, Aviles's throw in the dirt that got by Butler at first, a hot grounder or two that were too hot for Butler to handle) Davies escaped with a win. It seemed like Davies was nibbling at the corners a lot and the strike zone was a little smaller tonight than his last start. The patient Indians drove his pitch count up, and Davies exited with two down in the sixth, handing the ball over to Tejeda (who probably should have face the Indians in the seventh with as nasty as his stuff was) whose first called strike seemed low and in a place that many Davies pitches were called balls but prompty bailed Davies out. Juan Cruz was then extended for two innings, despite running some counts up a little.
And then there's John Buck, who I was perhaps prematurely hard on (positively no pun intended there) Sunday after he failed to throw out Brett Gardner stealing second and struggled to corral a Meche wild pitch with Gardner on third, leading to an entirely manufactured run in the first. Buck's work with the lumber in his at-bats thus far this season pretty much necessitate his inclusion in the lineup as long as Olivo continues to go up there and wildly rear back and swing without even seeing the ball. The three dingers Buck has socked in three games this season are too much for the offensively starved Royals to ignore right now. It is no coincidence that the games in which Buck has played have been KC's two highest scoring games. He simply needs to be in there right now, at least as long as guys like Gordon go up to the plate and strike out three times (the walk he drew was a four-pitch walk if memory serves me correctly, and none of the pitches were close enough to have to lay off of) in a night.