The Royals really should be in the World Series more often, don’t you think?
Like hopefully many of you, i was able to attend both Games One and Two in Kansas City. A sold out Kaufmann Stadium with the crowd hanging on every pitch was simply out of this world.
The defining moment of Game One, to me, was the bottom of the third inning. Down 3-0, the Royals managed to put runners on second and third with no one out thanks to a Brandon Crawford error and a Moustakas double. The Royals then proceeded to swing at SEVEN straight pitches and eight of nine before Lorenzo Cain realized that you don’t have to swing at all the pitches and took four straight balls. Eric Hosmer, however, swung at the first pitch to end the scoring threat and, truthfully, any real hope that the Royals would make a comeback.
Madison Bumgarner is good, but the Royals helped him out with a swing at everything approach. In Game One, Lorenzo Cain was the only hitter who seemingly had an idea of what to do.
The defining moment of Game Two came early on as well.
After Gregor Blanco (freaking GREGOR BLANCO – you know, the guy who used to be a Royal when we could not beat anyone and we let him go because he wasn’t good enough? At least that’s what the 24 ounce Miller Lites told me) shocked the crowd with a lead-off home run off Yordano Ventura, the Royals got a lead-off single from Alcides Escobar. Sadly, after a two pitch Aoki at-bat, Escobar was caught stealing (by roughly one-half of a mile) leaving the Royals with two out and no one on. However, THAT MAN, Lorenzo Cain doubled on the seventh pitch of his at-bat. Let’s take a moment and note that Lorenzo Cain is seemingly getting better before our eyes as an all around ballplayer.
Then Eric Hosmer, deciding that swinging at everything is, after all, a bit silly, takes a four pitch walk, bringing Billy Butler to the plate. Now, Billy tried to hit a three run homer on Jake Peavy’s first offering (an 88 mph cutter), but recalibrated himself and singled sharply on the next offering, another cutter, to tie the game. I thought that hit was absolutely huge from a mental standpoint for the Royals. While a one run deficit after one inning is hardly reason to panic, it felt like there was just a bit of ‘here we go again’ rippling through the cosmic strands. Coming right back to tie the game immediately after two outs had to be a weight off the shoulders of most in the dugout.
Bottom line takeaway from Games One and Two: anytime you high five and hug strangers at a sporting event, it is a helluva time.
The lineup for tonight is out and Craig’s suggestion of earlier today was not off by much:
Just when you think Ned Yost was on auto-pilot, something like this happens. I don’t hate it, not at all, but it is a pretty bold shake up for a manager who is consistently worried about his players’ collective domes. Alex Gordon has not had great at-bats as of late, so it will be interesting if the move up gives him a little boost. Moustakas? Hey, why not go with the hot hand at this point and ditto for Infante.
Let’s face it, with the Royals putting Moustakas, Infante and Perez in a row, that could be a black hole of suck and free swings at balls that bounce first. However, that might well be the three players with the biggest hits as of late. A big hit from just one of those three might be enough for the win.
I expect a quick hook for Guthrie if he struggles, but also have this feeling that Jeremy might well put up some zeroes this evening. I could see Brandon Finnegan and Jason Frasor each getting work to bridge the gap from Guthrie to HDH. With three games in three days, I have to imagine Yost would prefer to keep from using Herrera and Davis for multiple innings.
Game Three. Game On.