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Series Preview: Kansas City Royals @ Seattle Mariners

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Seattle: 6-7
Kansas City: 7-5

GAMES

Game 1: Jarrod Washburn* vs Zack Greinke
Game 2: Miguel Batista vs John Bale*

Short series means short preview. Jeff's already covered Greinke's story so lets take a journey in the BRef machine to find John Bale. Bale was drafted out of college back in '96 by Toronto after making a wise choice and not signing with Baltimore who drafted him in '95. Bale proceeded to do as collegiate starting pitchers should do in mowing down the A ball leagues in '97. However, that would be the end of Bale's promise as just one year later he was pitching out of the bullpen and not in spectacular fashion.

1999 saw Bale gain success out of the pen, enough to break into the big leagues at 25 and do not much over the next two seasons, garnering just under 6 big league innings. Alas, he could not escape his fate and was traded to the Orioles after the 2000 season for Jayson Werth. After a meh year in Baltimore's pen, he was traded to the Mets for Gary Matthews Jr. with whom he did nothing of note.

Released by the Mets in 2003, Bale signed with Cincinnati and put up another who-cares year. Bale promptly took off for Japan, re-surfacing in the states three years later with Kansas City where he pitched not badly out of the pen. Thrust into their rotation for now, Bale is ill-suited to the task with a fastball now down in the high 80s. Bale also features a curve and a change.

Likely Starters:
C John Buck
1 Ross Gload*
2 Mark Grudzielanek
3 Alex Gordon*
S Tony Pena
L Mark Teahen*
C Joey Gathright*
R Jose Guillen
D Billy Butler

John Buck isn't quite the hero he was in Baseball Mogul but he does usually provide good pop for a catcher albeit with limited contact ability. Billy Butler is currently sporting a .432 BABIP and has just four hits, all doubles, for extra bases. Alex Gordon has made a good recovery from his dissappointing 2007 campaign so far with a solid, if hacky, .311/.326/.511 line. He has drawn just one walk against nine strikeouts. That ratio will get better and facing Washburn and Batista likely as soon as this week.

Joey Gathright is fast. He's also able to jump well. I'm a bit curious why he chose baseball as a career path, but there you go. Good for him. Of course, Tony Pena doesn't even have speed. All he has to his credit is funny looking ears. Speaking of which, do you think when Miguel Cairo sees Tony Pena up close tomorrow there's going to be a Mogul-like Pat Burell to Beau Mills moment?

+ =?

Our old shanky friend Jose Guillen is off to pretty slow start. In fact:

Jose Guillen: .133/.170/.178
B. Wilkerson: .161/.316/.194

You could chop off one of their legs and I would still take either one of the two players above over a roided up Mike Morse unless he somehow got hold of brain steroids that enabled him to learn how to chase down a flyball without reminding me of a nerve gas victim.

CONTEXT

Well, at least we gained a game on the Angels. Once again the team looked solid, good even, for the first two games of the series before collapsing in the third. I'll take two-out-of-three every time, but the offense's ability at times to completely squander opportunities where they put the opposing pitcher on the ropes is disheartening. They're going to have to start hitting better than .233 with runners in scoring position.

Erik Bedard is obviously the big worry and it's more the not knowing that's the killer right now; the unknown. At least we should get news soon about J.J. Putz and so far, the word coming down is pretty good news with no setbacks and the injury indeed a minor one. Given that, Putz could be back within a week.

Obviously the team is going to want to get the sour taste of Sunday's failure out of their mouth so a nice showing against KC would be much appreciated. Given the pitching matchups, just a split would be fine with me, though if the team wanted to continue winning series by taking both, I certainly wouldn't complain about getting back over .500 for the first time since 2003 a fortnight ago.

THIS SERIES BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

Alaskan Winter Ale
Alaskan Brewing Company. Juneau, AK

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