After a little damp, but tolerable and overall enjoyable Opening Day, the Royals may or may not play tonight. It has been a while since we had one of ‘those’ Aprils, but it happens.
Should Kansas City take the field tonight, we will get our first look at the 2015 version of Danny Duffy. He is looking to get 200 innings this year. I’m not greedy, 190 innings will do just fine. In my mind, Duffy is the key to this year’s rotation. If he can parlay his performance of last year into a full starter’s workload, this rotation can absorb a sub-par year from one of the remaining three starters that fill out the backend. If Danny struggles to get through five innings – as happened in 2014 – things could become the bad kind of interesting. Especially with another high pitch count per inning guy in the rotation right behind Duffy in Edinson Volquez.
Some random notes, likely covered by others already, from Monday’s win:
- Kendrys Morales had a full day’s worth of quality at-bats. He looked nothing like the flailing mess of a hitter that he was the past couple of seasons. I am not even sure that was THE Kendrys Morales. Whoever it is, I like his approach…at least for one day.
- There are European soccer players who think Yordano Ventura overreacted to his thumb cramp. I have no doubt it hurt and was a shock, but I am also not sure it should send you to the ground. Thankfully, it turned out to be only a cramp and not an elbow or a shoulder or a knee or a gunshot.
- It turned out to be nothing, given the 10-1 result, but the decision by third base coach Mike Jirschele to hold Alex Rios at third in the bottom of the second seemed overly cautious. Now, next to the manager changing pitchers, what the third base coach does is easily the most second guessed action in baseball and it was just the second inning of the game. That said, if the Royals are an ‘aggressive’ team on the bases, then act like it. In this instance, I was sitting up the right field line and had essentially the entire play in front of me. The throw from the rightfielder Garcia was obviously coming in too high for the first cutoff man and too low to the second cutoff man and Rios was at least 20 feet around third and at full speed. It was wet, Juan Abreu – no defensive wizard – was going to have to take a low throw or short hop, pivot and make a good throw to the plate, and Omar Infante was the next hitter. Send him. Send him every time.
- Wade Davis: still filthy good.
While a day or two late, here are my predictions for the year:
I have the Royals at 86 wins. I think Ventura will be great, Duffy will be good and two of the three other starters will be ‘good enough’. The bullpen will be dominant, the defense very good and either Hosmer or Cain will be outstanding. That’s enough, in my mind, for 86 wins, but likely not enough to get in the playoffs.
AL CENTRAL: Detroit, Kansas City, Cleveland, Chicago, Minnesota
AL EAST: Boston, Baltimore, Toronto, New York, Tampa
AL WEST: Seattle, Oakland, Los Angeles, Texas, Houston
NL CENTRAL: St. Louis, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Milwaukee
NL EAST: Washington, New York, Miami, Atlanta, Philadelphia
NL WEST: San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Colorado, Arizona
AL Wild Cards: Baltimore and Toronto
NL Wild Cards: Los Angeles and Cincinnati
World Series: Seattle and San Diego (Can you hear the national media bemoan this ‘boring matchup’?)
I have zero faith in any of these. Although, once again, it should be noted that I was dead on my Royals’ win prediction last year and missed by one game the year before. Gut and grit over logic and stats, right?