Royals’ starters have hot start; Greinke over Pitt-Aniston

The Kansas City Royals began their 2008 season with a sweep of the $138 million Detroit Tigers. The Tigers spent a ton of money this off season upgrading their offense, but it did not pay off in the season opening series. The Royals top three starters, Gil Meche, Brian Bannister, and Zack Greinke, shut down one of the most potent offenses (on paper) in baseball. The Royals have quietly formed a respectable pitching staff over the last couple seasons, acquiring Bannister in December, 2006 from the Mets, and signing Meche before the 2007 season. Greinke, a first round pick, was a highly touted prospect in the KC organization.

Opening day starter Gil Meche is a great story. This guy’s career was in serious jeopardy when he had shoulder surgery on his rotator cuff and AC joint. These surgeries forced him out of the 2001 and 2002 seasons. But he rebounded with the Mariners in 2003 and came to Kansas City last year, making his first all star appearance.

March 31st (Kansas City 5, Detroit 4)…ND 6.0 IP, 8 hits, 3 ER, 5 SO, 4 BB. Meche has pitched better games in his career, but he got the Royals to the 7th only down a run. The Royals took the game in extra innings.

Brian Bannister is the Royals’ number two starter. He finished third in the 2007 AL Rookie of the Year voting and had an excellent start to his 2008 season.

April 2nd (Kansas City 4, Detroit 0)…W (1-0) 7.0 IP, 2 hits, 0 ER, 4 SO, 0 BB. Bannister had the best start of the Royals top three.

It appears that Greinke has gotten his social anxiety disorder under control and is ready to continue his career that started off with so much promise. He seemed to be a total whack job after it was revealed he cried and beat up his car when Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston split up. Greinke is only 24 and has already displayed a good fastball and excellent command of his off speed pitches. He has a lot of poise on the mound for someone with the issues he has had and for a pitcher his age.

April 3rd (Kansas City 4, Detroit 1)…W (1-0) 7.0 IP, 6 hits, 1 ER, 3 SO, 2 BB. He was efficient over seven innings throwing 99 pitches.

If their pitchers at the top of the rotation can perform like this consistently, the Royals will not finish in last place as usual this season. These three starters are all under 30 and form a solid nucleus for the Royals to finally rally some success. The pitching will do its job this season, but the offense may not be as good. 3B Alex Gordon has already hit two homers, but is batting .214. Hopefully for the Royals, these starting pitchers will get some run support to augment their success. This opening series should serve as a wakeup call for the Tigers. With all the money they pumped into the lineup for this season, they need to find a way to score more than 5 runs in three games.

Happy Friday! (conorglassey.com)

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