Life is better when the Royals win, isn’t it?
Back to back thrashings after the come from behind win that was supposed to launch this team back onto its expected trajectory had this writer and many others a little less than content. Nothing seven innings of great starting pitching from Ian Kennedy and seven runs from a struggling offense couldn’t solve.
The truth is, however, that while no one is thinking the Royals are playing good baseball, they are still one game over .500, things could be and, in the not too distant past, have been worse. After a similar start to the 2015 season, it is perfectly plausible that the 2016 Royals simply substituted a late April/early May swoon for the 2015 squad’s dismal September.
If I told you in March that on the 7th of May, both Ventura and Medlen would be walking a batter per inning, Chris Young was giving up home runs and seldom seeing the fifth inning and Gordon, Morales and Cain were off to slow, okay just plain bad, starts and yet Kansas City would be 15-14 despite all that, you would have take in, right? Don’t be cool, you would have taken it.
How the Royals have played the first 29 games of this season has annoyed, agitated and frustrated me, but – as instructed by Craig earlier this week – I have not reached the panic stage.
The Royals did have to deal with injuries last season. Alex Rios went down early, but that didn’t seem to be a great loss. Alex Gordon went down for two months, but the Royals were already running away with the division. Omar Infante eventually had to be shut down, but that was a blessing that allowed (forced?) the Royals into playing Ben Zobrist at second base everyday.
An early injury to a regular that mattered was not a speed bump encountered last season. Losing Moustakas – one of the few Royals actually hitting the ball – for three weeks will be…interesting.
For what it’s worth, the hottest player in Omaha happens to be the guy who plays third base and on Saturday, we saw Cheslor Cuthbert get a base hit in his first game up in the majors this season. You can assume Cuthbert will play most days at the hot corner.
This time of year, as I work my 900 acre farming hobby, I catch a lot of Royals’ games on the radio and will often take in the opposing team’s broadcast when the boys are on the road. As such, I have spent the last two days listening to Indians’ play by play man Tom Hamilton.
If you are one of those who doesn’t like much emotion in your broadcast, Hamilton is not your guy. I don’t mind excitement or a raised voice, frankly I kind of enjoy it. I found Hamilton to be pretty good at painting the picture of what is going on in the game, having some knowledge of the opposing team and offering about the right amount of opinion to keep things interesting.
I grew up with Denny Matthews who, back in the day, had more emotion and excitement in his broadcasts than he does now and listening to the Indians’ crew is a different experience. Better? Worse? Does it have to be one or the other?
While there is a lot of talk about the batting order, isn’t the real problem the rotation? Kennedy, Volquez and three days of rain is a bad strategy and it doesn’t even rhyme. I would ask the question of how long the Royals should continue to wait before changing the starting rotation, but I don’t have a ready idea as to what they might change to.
Dillon Gee? Danny Duffy? Brian Flynn? Kyle Zimmer? Okay, stop laughing at that last one – just making sure you were paying attention.
The truth is the options seem like just variations of the current inventory. So, it seems likely the Royals will, or maybe just have to, stay the course….for now.