Luke Hochevar failed miserably in his attempt to set straight the now 4 game losing skid. His first Major League start of the season resulted in 2 innings and 8 runs scored by a Oakland team who's anemic hitting was last in the league in runs before Tuesday's game.
The young Royals appeared to be on track for the playoffs until they were swept in a 3 game series by the Angels. Now they must respond to adversity for the first time this season. Injuries have and a lack of hitting have caused the team to slip out of first place.
Alex Gordon expected to have his breakout season that Royals fans have longed for since the day he was drafted. Instead he is likely to be on the DL until mid June. He is now in the process of rehabing his surgically repaired right hip. Now, Joakim Soria, one of the most reliable closers in baseball, is on the 15-day DL for a sore shoulder.
Hochevar was called up in place of Soria and has moved into the rotation. Sidney Ponson is relegated to bullpen duty, while Juan Cruz will be a perfectly capable closer. Cruz has been Kansas City's best reliever this season, excluding the Mexecutioner.
The low run production is not completely a surprise, however, if I had known before the season that Teahen and Callaspo would be hitting this well I would have expected a much better offense.
The biggest let down has been Mike Aviles fall from an incredible rookie season to the second coming of Tony Pena Jr. His .202 average and .224 OBP are frightning signs that his rookie season was a fluke.
But the Royals have survived through the domination of Zack Greinke, Gil Meche, Kyle Davies, and Brian Bannister. In other words the best starting rotation in baseball so far.
Tonight Bannister will hope to stop a 5 game losing streak. The Royals have seen how debilitating a losing streak can become of it gets out of control, like the 12 game streak of last season.
Well, come to think of it, Greinke, Meche, Davies, and Bannister are all pretty experienced in dealing with adversity.