Game 147, Mariners at Royals
RHP Francisco Cruceta vs. RHP Luke Hudson, 5:10pm.
I was all set to say that Cruceta would be making his first major league start, but it turns out he did that way back in September of 2004 with the Indians. In any event, Cruceta comes off a minor league season in which he fanned 185 hitters in 160 innings at Tacoma. He also walked better than four hitters per nine innings, so it’s not as if this is a finished product. Does he wind up in relief? Perhaps. But as Dave has said, why not make sure he can’t start?
The best news of the day is that Betancourt’s out of the #3 slot in the lineup. Any guesses as to who has replaced him? Johjima, certainly not a name I was expecting but a vast improvement over Betancourt.
Of course, Hargrove then goes nuts by hitting Betancourt ahead of both Doyle and Lopez. I was all for moving Lopez down in the order, because ultimately I think his lack of patience makes him a #6 hitter as opposed to a #2 or #3 hitter. But Doyle 8th? That’s crazy talk. I’d personally go Ichiro-Doyle-Beltre at the top, but that’s just me. Of course, it’s pointless to get upset about lineup order for two reasons: it doesn’t matter all that much, and we won’t have to deal with Hargrove next season anyway.
The Royals counter with DeJesus, German, Grudz, Brown, Shealy, Costa, Buck, Gathright, Blanco. This offense was bad even with Mark Teahen’s breakout year — without him, it’s even worse. But hey, at least Buddy Bell has the sense to hit his all-field, no-hit SS 9th.