The once great Mark Buehrle will attempt to snap that pesky eight-start losing streak that has Sox fans' World Series Champion boxer shorts in a bunch. And what better team to face than the Royals, the American League version of the tonic for what ails you.
So what ails Buehrle? Some wonder if he's tipping his pitches, while others chalk it up to fatigue. The pitcher himself once mentioned the evil umpire watchdog, QuesTec.
So what in the name of Don Cooper has happened? He used to be automatic, quite the joy to watch. He worked quickly. Whenever I've had the pleasure of doing a From the Cubicle for a Buehrle start, it takes just over two-hours, which gave me plenty of time to update my Man Soo Lee fan site on company time.
But no longer--and the site has suffered. The lefty hasn't won in eight starts. He did have a couple of nice outings thrown in there, one against these very Royals and another against the Tigers, but he's 0-6 with 8.93 earned run average in that stretch.
Uh... David DeJesus hits Buehrle's first pitch into the right-field bleachers for a leadoff homer. Mark Grudzielanek, henceforth the "G Man," grounds out. Mike Sweeney grounds out to shortstop Juan Uribe. Mark Teahen fans. I think Buehrle should appeal to home-plate ump Jerry Crawford for a mulligan on that first pitch. Not like the Royals would mind.
Royals 1, Sox 0
Pablo Ozuna, spelling Scott Podsednik today, leads off and matches DeJesus with a solo shot. I'm not sure I've seen that happen before where both leadoff guys go deep. I'm pretty sure Podsednik would not have done that--unless, of course, Brad Lidge was traded to the Royals, converted to a starter and on the mound today. Tadahito Iguchi strikes out. Jm Thome rips one the other way but it's not ripped enough as Emil Brown catches it on the track. Konerko bounces out to Teahen at third.
Sox 1, Royals 1
I sense some sort of pattern developing: Brown homers to left to lead off the second. The aged Reggie Sanders lines a single to right. Ryan Shealy, never heard of him, pops out to the Gooch. John Buck or Buck John and thankfully not Joe Buck squibs one to Konerko, who flips to second to get Sanders, but Juan Uribe's return throw is late. With Angel Berroa up Buehrle picks off Buck with a fancy move to first.
Royals 2, Sox 1
To answer some message board questions: No, I'm clearly not up on Baseball America's list of former Colorado Rockies prospects, which is why Shealy does nothing for me. And, yes, even in my bunker, I can hear the Air and Water show rehersals going on downtown. The pattern continues! Jermaine Dye ties it with a solo homer to left. Anytime you want to cue up the "Twilight Zone" music, fine by me. That was a big fly by Dye to back of the bleachers. Joe Crede doesn't hit a homer but he whips his bat in the crowd to make sure everyone's awake. He then flies out to right. Brian Anderson, who has been bumped up in the order two spots to seventh, works the count full before chasing an off-speed pitch for strike three. Uribe strikes out as he often does.
Sox 2, Royals 2
It's up to Berroa to keep the streak alive. And he lets everyone down by striking out. Beat it, kid. Buehrle plunks DeJesus. I think it was a change, so no biggie. The G-Man singles to right. DeJesus stops at second. Buehrle walks Sweeney to load 'em up to face Teahen, who's hitting .367 with RISP. Make that about .359 as he bounces into a 4-6-3, inning-ending double play.
Sandy Alomar Jr. rolls a scratch double down the third-base line. Ozuna lays down a nifty bunt hit to the right side past the lefty Perez. Alomar takes third. The Gooch lays down a swinging bunt that Teahen makes a charging, big-league play on for the first out. Ozuna moves up to second. Thome grounds to second, scoring Alomar. Ozuna takes third. Konerko flies out to right, but the Sox take the lead.
Sox 3, Royals 2
Brown flies out to Dye in right. Sanders draws a walk. Buehrle is definitely all over the map yet far and leaving a lot of pitches up. Former Rockies hot prospect Shealy singles. The count goes full to Buck. The ol' strike 'em out, throw 'em out gets Buehrle out of that one. Buck fans and Alomar guns down Sanders at third.
Gotta love the local commercial where the guy takes his date in a limo to ... Giordano's. There was not a second date. Dye digs in and then bounces one to Teahen at third. Teahen makes a huge throw from behind the bag to just get Dye. Replay, please. I guess they got him. Dye was flat-out lumbering! Crede bounces out, as does Anderson.
Sox 3, Royals 2
The first time I saw these Comcast promos for their Ozzie Guillen sit-down, I had the sound off and thought, jeez, they have subtitles on Ozzie when he's speaking English. But the interview is in Spanish. Berroa grounds back to Buehrle. DeJesus flies out to Ozuna. (Clip and paste) Grudzielanek singles to left. Sweeney flies out to Dye in right and Buehrle had himself a decent inning there.
Uribe fans again. Alomar short-hops one at Teahen, who makes another solid play at third. Ozuna reaches out and flies to Sanders in right. Perez goes 1-2-3 in the fifth.
Sox 3, Royals 2
For the record: I am never thinking Arby's. Teahen is thinking, why'd I swing at that? He grounds to Iguchi on the outfield grass. Mike MacDougal is up in the Sox's pen as Buehrle falls behind 3-0 to Brown. He walks him. But no biggie; Sanders bounces into a 6-4-3 double play. We move on.
The Gooch checks his swing on a full count and draws the walk. Thome grounds to the first baseman Shealy, who looks at second but takes the easy route and steps on the bag next to him. Konerko fouls off a number of pitches before ripping a single to right that scores the Gooch. That was a single. I had written "double," but who are we kidding with Konerko running? The Royals conceded the run and threw into second on the play. Perez strikes out Dye. Perez fans Crede, too.
Sox 4, Royals 2
Former Royal MacDougal takes over for Buehrle, who is finally in line for a win. My guy Shealy leads off the seventh. My guy flies out to Dye and my guy is no longer my guy. I'm done with him. Buck bounces one to Crede, who makes a nice stab of a funky hop but can't get the runner. The throw gets away but Buck ain't going anywhere. Berroa singles to right and Dye fires into second and almost gets Buck on the force. Nice. Hustle up there, Buck. DeJesus grounds up the middle where Uribe roams, picks, steps on second and throws to first to complete another inning-ending double play.
Final from about a half hour ago that I meant to pass along then: Indians 3, Twins 2. Anderson squibs one back to Perez for the first out. Uribe rips it but there's Teahen again to snag the liner. Alomar shows bunt. Hawk says Teahen was playing back. He must've been in the Fundamentals section if Alomar thought he could sneak a bunt down. Shealy makes a nice play of a high throw from the shortstop Berroa to tag Alomar and send us to the eighth inning.
Sox 4, Royals 2
Rob Mackowiak takes over in left. Bobby Jenks and Matt Thornton go double barrel in the pen. Grudzielanek grounds out to Uribe. Crede makes a nice, charging play on a chopper by Sweeney. I just heard the roar of some planes flying over downtown and then about 20 seconds later you could hear them on TV cruising over the Cell. Kinda cool. Teahen slices a homer the other way that just clears the fence and lands in the Sox's pen. Mackowiak made a valiant effort at it. Brown rips a single up the middle. Ozzie doesn't like what he sees and yanks MacDougal in favor of Jenks. There's only one Bob Rohhhhhhhhhhrman. We're back from commercial to see Sanders ground to Uribe, who does a little juggling act before finally getting a handle on the ball and throwing out Sanders--barely.
Sox 4, Royals 3
Mackowiak pops out to Teahen in foul ground. Iguchi flies out to left. Meanwhile, Joel Peralta started the inning on the mound for the Royals. Thome draws a walk and Podsednik will run for him. Konerko lines a double down the left-field line and Podsednik scores from first without a slide. Dye strikes out but the Sox pick up a key run.
Sox 5, Royals 3
Jenks remains and he'll start with Shealy. He walks him. Esteban German hits for the catcher Buck. Jenks rings up German looking with a big curve. Berroa singles to right. DeJesus dumps a double to left-center, scoring Shealy. Anderson cut the ball off and prevented the tying run from scoring. They'll walk Grudzielanek to load the bases. Problem is Sweeney, who isn't exactly a light hitter, hits next. That move works out. Sweeney grounds to Crede, who steps on the bag and then throws to first. Ballgame.
Final: Sox 5, Royals 4
Mark Buehrle picks up that elusive win, the Sox turn five double plays, all of them big, and split the series with the Royals. They're off to Minneapolis after the game for a big weekend series. Thanks for reading, everyone. I'll see you at the Nike 5-miler downtown tonight. I'll be the guy wearing shorts and a light blue shirt.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun