I have a hunch it was a pretty busy weekend for all of us. College football was in full swing, the NFL started up and it was just about perfect weather just about everywhere in the Midwest. On a far more important note, it was the 10th anniversary of 9/11, which took up at least a few hours of most everyone’s weekend.
Along the way, the Royals were still playing baseball: rallying from an 0-2 start against Seattle to win the final two games of the series. A split with a team sporting a virtually identical poor record is not exactly front page news, particularly on a weekend like this past one.
It’s that time of year, folks. The time when local sports radio might give you twenty minutes of Royals’ talk per show, if you’re lucky. When the only baseball highlights (unless you can tolerate the ridiculous ‘look at how lively and funny we are’ Baseball Tonight show) revolve around teams that, you know, are still playing for something. Short of Alcides Escobar catching a grounder in his hat and then drop kicking it to Eric Hosmer for the out, you won’t see a Royals’ highlight on any national media outlet until sometime next year. Heck, you might not see many on any of the Kansas City stations!
I will have to admit that I paid minimal attention to the Seattle series myself. We had a huge airshow up here in Lincoln (Blue Angels, baby!), the Huskers played at night, the deck had to be stained and Mom gave me an extra half hour each night before having to return to the basement. All that said, the Royals did do some good things over the weekend:
- Felipe Paulino struck out 11 batters over seven innings of work, allowing just two hits. So much for concerns about his back.
- My new prospect to hype, Everett Teaford, stepped up Sunday and threw five shutout innings in his first major league start. Of course, Teaford was facing the Mariners who don’t sport a whole lot of anything offensively after Ichiro and Dustin Ackley, but it was a positive performance nonetheless.
- By the time the dust settled Sunday, Alex Gordon was leading the AL in doubles with 45. The last double on Sunday was his 70th extra base hit of the year. For those of you new to the game, 70 freaking extra base hits is a lot. When Gordon was a rookie, what were your expectations? Something like .300/.400/.500 as a slash line? Well, Alex stands at .299/.371/.500 right now.
- Eric Hosmer hit home run number 17 in Seattle. Get your prediction in now: how many home runs will Hosmer hit in 2012? I am setting the over/under at 29.
- With a little luck, the Royals could end the season with four players who each have 40 or more doubles and 20 or more home runs. While the offense has been somewhat spastic this year, it really is not the problem (which pretty much everyone knew already).
- Neither has the bullpen. After a bit of ‘rookie hitting the wall-itis’ the past few weeks, the Royals’ pen threw 12 innings in the Seattle series, allowing just 3 runs and 2 walks while striking out 22 batters. They are not the problem, either, and are likely to be even better in 2012.
- The problem, of course, is the starting rotation. Again, we already knew that and in the coming months you can count on this writer coming up with six thousand and seven scenarios to make the rotation better. I believe it is quite likely you will disagree with all of them.
I will leave you with one question for the day: is the 2012 Opening Day starter on the current 40 man roster?