Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Rockies 12, Royals 4
2005-06-25 06:52
by Mark T.R. Donohue

I seem to recall several years ago the Cubs began a season with a home losing streak so profound that they eventually elected to try wearing their road grays at home. It didn't work, but it's a shame that the Rockies can't try a reverse ploy (road teams are never allowed to wear white), because as soon as they put on the white-and-purple-stripes, they're like an entirely different club. It's eerie.

Byung-Hyun Kim wasn't magnificent -- he allowed a lot of baserunners and threw a ton of pitches for 5 2/3 innings -- but he got the job done as Colorado scored early and often against D.J. Carrasco. Dustan Mohr got it going with a two-run homer in the second, and Garrett Atkins and Brad Hawpe added three hits apiece. It didn't affect the outcome, but Todd Helton looked great going opposite field for an RBI single in the seventh. Helton added two of the Rockies' eight walks as well. 13 hits and 8 walks is good.

Kansas City, on the other hand, despite the best efforts of the munificent Mr. Kim, only managed to draw two bases on balls. What's more, they garnered only one extra-base hit the whole way. That's not just bad, it's freaky. Jimmy Gobble, just returned from AAA, pitched pretty well for the Royals (4 strikeouts in 1 1/3) but was hung out to dry by Leo Nuñez, who relieved him and promptly allowed all of his inherited runners to score. Colorado by contrast received encouraging work from Marcos Carvajal, Dan Miceli, and Bobby Seay who combined to allow only one run over the last 3 1/3. Seay struck out the side for a perfect ninth.

The "perfect night" I had going yesterday didn't quite turn out as planned, as the Angels and Mariners both ended up winning pretty big. Still, I watched parts of four games yesterday (Cubs-Sox, Mets-Yankees, Rockies-Royals, and A's-Giants), and my preferred team won in each case. I'm feeling lucky.

Of course, luck is often the residue of design. Just ask Liverpool, my favorite Premiership Football side. I wrote earlier in the year about the weird situation the Reds found themselves in regarding next season's Champions League tournament. See, Liverpool won this year -- beat AC Milan in Istanbul on penalty kicks, in a thriller -- but technically failed to qualify to return to defend their title by finishing fifth in the English league. (They were edged out by regional rivals Everton, which is sort of like the Mets ousting the Yankees, only Liverpool is not completely evil as far as I know.)

To avoid the embarrassing situation of having their defending champions out of the running before the games even start, UEFA have bent the rules and allowed Liverpool in. However, no first round bye is in effect. While AC Milan, Real Madrid, and fellow English teams Arsenal and Chelsea get to skip the three qualifying rounds, the Reds have been thrown in at the very bottom of the draw, in a bracket that includes clubs from Luxembourg, Azerbaijan, Malta, and the Faroe Islands. Yes, the Faroe Islands. I don't know where they are either.

Curiously, though, Liverpool will play Total Network Solutions (their real name), a club from Wales. I know European geography is not the strong suit of many Americans, but Wales is pretty close to England. A lot closer than Kazakhstan, anyhow. Qualifying rounds involve two-game home-and-home series, so rather than having to fly to Armenia or Belarus, Liverpool gets a two-hour bus ride to Llansantffraid (still not making these names up). It's funny how these things work themselves out.

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