Two seasons after being named the American League manager of the year, Tony Pena has stepped down as manager of the Royals. Pena made the decision a few hours after the Royals lost 3-1 to the Blue Jays in Toronto. At 8-25, the Royals have the worst record in baseball. Bench coach Bob Schaefer will take over the interim. In his tenure, Pena led the Royals to a 198-285 record.
Pena took over for Tony Muser, who was fired early in the 2002 season and the Royals finished out the season 49-77. In 2003, the Royals had their first winning season since the strike-shortened 1994 campaign by going 83-79. The promise of 2003 became the disappointment of 2004 as Kansas City lost 104 games; the most in franchise history.
The Royals offense has stumbled, despite an improved starting pitching rotation. Kansas City has scored three runs or less 20 times in 33 games and they’re 0-24 in games when they score five or less.
This will mark Schaeffer’s second stint as Royals’ interim manager. He served in the same capacity for one game in 1991 between the firing of John Wathan and the hiring of Hal McRae.
Pena will remain with the team, though his position hasn’t been determined. An immediate search for a permanent replacement is underway.
Pena’s final game, seemed typical of the 2005 season. Starting pitcher Zack Greinke pitched eight innings and allowed three runs off six hits, but got the loss, dropping to 0-4. He has an ERA of 3.38. Meanwhile, Roy Halladay pitched a complete game for the Blue Jays.
Mike Sweeney’s solo home run in the first inning accounted for Kansas City’s only run of the game. Ken Huckaby tied the game in the bottom of the second inning with an RBI single and Shea Hillenbrand broke the tie wit ha two-run homer in the third. No one scored the rest of the way.