I originally was going to start this column by pointing out that the 2004 Royals, fresh off their only run at contention in the 21st century, won on Opening Day and surged to a 4-2 record. I was going to say that despite that, they were hopeless and starting Eduardo Villacis on May 1st. I also thought about reminding everyone that the 2009 Coco Crisp-Mike Jacobs led Royals surged out to an 18-11 mark only to be out of the race before the end of June.
I am not going to, however.
The 2011 Royals took three of four from the Angels to start the season. They won a pitchers duel on Friday night, thanks to a Kila Ka’aihue walk off homer, and an extra inning slugfest on Sunday, thanks to a Matt Treanor walk-off dinger. In between, Kansas City came from behind to win on Saturday thanks to the relief performances of Aaron Crow and THAT MAN, Joakim Soria, and timely hits from Matt Treanor and Chris Getz.
Let’s just all savior the moment.
The weather was tremendous this weekend and the crowds, while moderate, were enthusiastic. It felt like contending baseball in Kaufmann this weekend.
Of course, after writing on Friday that the Opening Day loss was truthfully just one game, it would be wise for us to remember that this first series is, say it with me, just one series. One series where a lot went right for the Royals.
It is quite possible that the two big hits Matt Treanor, a career .228/.313/.314 hitter, had this weekend might be the only two he has all year. It is also possible that no other bullpen the Royals face this year will issue EIGHT walks in one game as the Angels did on Sunday. Yes, a lot went right and much of it may well be things we cannot count on happening very often.
Still, the Royals did some encouraging things in this opening four game set:
- Walked 19 times
- Stole 9 bases in 10 attempts
- Hit 15 extra base hits, including 6 home runs
- Got a tremendous start from Jeff Francis, a decent start from Luke Hochevar and a Kyle Davieish start from Kyle Davies
- The bullpen allowed four runs in 17 innings of work, striking out 14 batters versus just 5 walks.
- There were no wild pitches or passed balls committed by the Royals pitchers and catchers.
The Royals played decent baseball, got some breaks and came out with three wins. There have been Kansas City teams in the past that played decent baseball, got some breaks and still could not win. Even if this is just one series, that is good sign.
How good does it feel to be a Royals’ fan right now? Well, I sat through three straight games and really never got agitated by Melky Cabrera, Jeff Francouer or Matt Treanor! Heck, I even like Matt Treanor right now.
We can analyze and project and, frankly, know that the odds of the Kansas City Royals maintaining this kind of winning pace are remote. We could do that, or we could just enjoy the wins. I choose the latter.