Sep 12

Gil Meche wins, and Husker nation waits

I could have taken a test online while I listened to the Royals beat the Twins, but I decided three things:
1) The game would divide my attention too far away from the test*,
2) The test would take my attention too far away from the game, and
3) I’d rather fiddle with Gil Meche-related numbers.
It’s not a secret that the Royals haven’t scored many runs behind Meche this season. I noticed it back in April, and then there was a stretch in late May/early June where the team gave Gil a total of two runs in three starts. It’s also not a secret that Meche hasn’t won in a while, with his last win (prior to this afternoon’s delicious victory) coming on July 20. That’s an astonishing amount of time for a team’s number one guy to go without a win, but the offensive numbers Kansas City put up behind Meche in that time span are quite telling: they only scored 2.3 runs per game in those nine straight losses. On the other hand, in all games this season that KC has won and Gil has started (not necessarily all Meche wins, but rather Meche starts), that average is 6.2.
I realize that this statistic does not factor in at all the pitcher himself. I know he has had a few rough outings this year, like his last start where his own two errors pretty much cost the Royals, and Meche himself, the win. And it also seems pretty obvious; the team scores more runs, the pitcher has better odds of winning. But I find it interesting how wide a gap there has been all season between KC run production in Meche’s starts where KC wins, and run production in Meche starts that end in a loss.
As I mentioned, in games in which Meche starts and the Royals end up winning, KC is averaging 6.2 runs. But in Meche starts that end in losses, the average is drastically lower, at 2.5.
Today’s Royals win felt fantastic. I realized this morning that I had forgotten what habitually losing felt like — it’s painful, and I get pretty mopey. My attitude, like that of many other good KC fans, has shifted noticeably. I expect wins now. Losing no longer feels so ‘normal;’it sucks. I find it encouraging that the 7-game losing streak that just ended for the Royals was tied for the 2nd-longest of the season, because I still have streaks of 17 and even 19 games pretty fresh in my mind from the last few seasons. And most of you know this already, but today’s win absolutely guarantees that KC will not lose 100 this year; that shameful reign is over.
One surprise that came out of the sweep by the Yankees was Neal Musser breaking his hand. When I read the headline, I thought for sure they were talking about the wrong guy. The Neal Musser I know is a very gentle human being, and wouldn’t lash out like that. Then again, the Neal Musser I know dominated every batter he faced in AAA, and never gave up any runs about which to be angry.
And now, the previously promised shift into Husker football.
It has been said that Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller has only two speeds: walk and kill. This morning, he was irritatingly stuck on “walk” right in front of me while I was trying to hurry to class. Had it been anyone else on the UNL campus, I may have tried to worm my way around him and hustle on past, or maybe offered a verbal chastisement for walking so slowly (perhaps a “Boo! Boring! Walk faster!”). But Keller could probably crush my head with his bare hands, so I resigned myself to walking at his pace for a while. Besides, he may have been mentally preparing for this Saturday’s big game against USC, and I do not want to risk doing anything to mess that up.
The anticipation around campus for the Nebraska/USC game has been intense. I don’t think I’ve been this excited about a football game since Nebraska played Oklahoma in 2001. But it’s crazy: all I have to say to any of my friends is, “Saturday!” and they will squeal with some sort of delight I don’t think I can safely categorize. I’ll be there, so look for me on ESPN!
* Hi Mom, don’t worry! I’ll get the test done!

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Related posts:

  1. Gil Meche is the new Zack Greinke
  2. Congrats, Gil; nobody is surprised

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