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keg in kc
04-08-2003, 09:45 AM
MacDougal off to a hot start, too (http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/sports/baseball/mlb/kansas_city_royals/5581516.htm)

By DICK KAEGEL
The Kansas City Star
Posted on Tue, Apr. 08, 2003

Not only have the Royals' young starting pitchers been a welcome revelation, but rookie closer Mike MacDougal already has three saves in the first five victories as well.

Three chances, three saves -- the first of his major-league career.

"It's crazy, man," MacDougal said. "The starting pitching has been unbelievable -- all four of them."

MacDougal has benefited from the example and advice of veteran reliever Jason Grimsley, also off to a fine start. Grimsley has pitched 42/3 scoreless innings in his four outings, allowing only two hits and a walk.

"He's kind of like me in a way. He throws a sinker, so if I get off a little bit, he's the guy I go to every time," MacDougal said.

"Like in spring training, my ball was going in straight and I said, `Grims, what do I need to do?' He helped me out a little bit with my wrist and got me going back on track."

MacDougal has yet to give up a hit or a run, issuing one walk in his three innings. He's used only his sinking fastball and curveball.

"I haven't thrown any change-ups yet," he said. "When you're a closer, you go with your best stuff."

Relievers Ryan Bukvich and D.J. Carrasco also have ERAs of 0.00. Bukvich has given up one hit and one walk in two innings. Carrasco, a rookie, has retired all four batters he's faced. The only reliever to give up runs (two) has been Albie Lopez.

(note from keg: that's wrong -- Kris Wilson has given up two runs as well)

Checking the records

The Royals' 5-0 start is a franchise record, but far from the major-league mark.

The record in both majors is 13-0, by the 1987 Milwaukee Brewers in the American League and by the 1982 Atlanta Braves in the National League.

The San Francisco Giants have already started this season 7-0; last year the Giants got off 6-0. The last AL team to start 6-0 was the 1996 Texas Rangers.

Counting all leagues considered "major," however, the granddaddy of hot starts was 20-0 by the St. Louis Maroons in 1884, the only season of the Union Association.

Beltran improving

Center fielder Carlos Beltran took swings in the indoor cage on Monday and said, "I'm 100 percent. No pain."

Beltran is on the disabled list because of a strained muscle in his right side.

"It's just getting him feeling confident and turning it loose," hitting coach Jeff Pentland said. "The last couple of days, he's turned it loose. Now, it's just a matter of getting him in baseball shape."

Beltran went with the Royals to Detroit. He's expected to return to Surprise, Ariz., to play in extended spring-training games, then possibly play a couple of games with the Omaha or Wichita farm clubs before rejoining the Royals.

Meantime, he's got some homework from Pentland.

"I gave him some Barry Bonds tapes," Pentland said.

Pentland wants Beltran to shorten his stride, much as Bonds did as he achieved stardom.

"I'm not comparing him to Bonds, but he can learn something," Pentland said. "He can wait longer and recognize pitches earlier."

Final Four flight

On their open date Monday, the Royals left Kauffman Stadium for Detroit at 2 p.m., three hours earlier than normal.

"We moved the flight up so we could get in for the (NCAA championship) game," said manager of team travel Jeff Davenport.

"The players, media and all involved are interested. If we'd have left later, we might have missed the tipoff."

On deck

The Royals are scheduled for their first road game at 6:05 tonight in Detroit, weather permitting. Left-hander Jeremy Affeldt, 0-0, 3.18 ERA, is matched against Tigers right-hander Jeremy Bonderman, 0-1, 13.50 ERA.