Took 2 of 3 in Chicago to start the road trip and improved the overall record to 13-20. Next up is a two game slate in Texas before returning home to face the surprising O’s, followed by our first taste of NL play against Arizona.
You all know I’m the eternal optimist when it comes to the Royals and these guys just keep me believing. We’ve now gone 10-6 since the 12 gamer ended and haven’t lost a series in 6 straight. That’s right, we’ve split or won our last six series match-up’s. Grant it, a game in Minnesota and Detroit was each rained out but it was still a split. Here’s my short term look on the Royal’s upcoming couple months along with some general comments:
-At first look, the Duffy injury seems pretty serious to me. By pretty serious I mean we’ll see you again in the rotation to start the 2014 season. Yeah, unfortunately I think we have a Tommy John issue with Duffy. It’s really a shame if this proves true as he was the most promising pitcher in our staff.
-Staying with pitching, Hochevar is the ultimate Jekyl & Hyde act. This is something we will just have to get used to for the rest of the season. Horrible starts, decent starts, mind boggling starts….you call it, the guy has it all. If Duffy is done, as speculated above, we have no option but to keep a healthy Hoch in the mix.
-Last note on pitching; our bullpen has got to be one of the better in baseball. I don’t have the patience to look up the stats and those might not even tell the whole story considering the 12 gamer but right now they just lock down other teams. Yost can not be faulted on his bullpen management as it’s been his strength thus far in the season.
-Hitting is really a strength for this team. Even when we plug in guys like Falu, Dyson, Getz and Quintero/Pena we still manage to get knocks (thanks for making that part of my vocab Huddler) and score runs. Once the lineup is finally solidified we will reap even more benefits from the solid instruction of Seitzer.
-I hate to mention Hosmer in every post so this will be brief. He’ll be okay. Hopefully moving around the lineup will give him some better luck and not mess with his mental make up.
-Our young team has a lot of heart. You can see them going out there everyday and playing to win. The effort is present and Yost really has these guys playing their butts off night in and night out. The results aren’t always there but keep in mind we are the youngest team in the majors. When you go around the infield (assuming Giovatella is starting a second) the average age of the players is 23 years old. Once Perez returns behind the plate we will have the 5 youngest defensive players on the inside of the diamond in all of baseball. Yet we are winning games.
-The rest of May and all of June is going to be key for this young team. There are 43 games left until the end of June. Right now the Royals sit only 4.5 games back of the first place Indians. There are a couple things I’m certain of; 1). the Indians aren’t going to win this division and 2.) we can keep pace with Detroit.
I’ve mentioned before I think this is an 85-90 game division. Who’s to say this bunch can’t make things exciting. Well…..pitching is, but the offense isn’t. We pretty much have to get starts from the back of the rotation (like we did from Hoch and Mendoza the last two games) most every night to compete.
Back to the 43 games left until the end of June. If the Royals can just stay in reach we will be a dangerous dark horse candidate in the AL Central. If we could be something like 36-40 and only 3 or 4 games out of first at the end of June! Just imagine the possibilities, that gives us a chance to make a late Summer push and keep things in Kansas City exciting all the way until Chiefs season starts. That hasn’t happened in a loooong time in this town. Again, this will all depend on our starting pitching.
-Got a full season ahead of us and a lot to still happen. I have a feeling this season will be defined by the 12 game losing streak as we will end up finishing right around .500 and missing a division crown by 2 or 3 games. I hope this isn’t crazy talk but as mentioned to start the article, I’m the eternal optimist.
-I’ll be at the game on Wednesday night (5/16) and Sunday afternoon (5/20), including running the bases afterward. If you will be making a trip to “The K” during one of those nights during the homestand make sure to look me up.