Anybody heard that twenty baseball games is equal to having played just two in the NFL? Anyone want to dispute that starting off 2-0 in the NFL is better than going 0-2? Good starts can be the real deal or flukes, but they are nice to have in your back pocket.
After starting off the season with seven straight wins, the Royals have since gone 7-6. There is nothing all that special about going 7-6. In fact, it doesn’t seem as though winning 7 of every 13 games is that difficult a task. If the Kansas City Royals go 7-6 every thirteen games from now through September 20th (the next 130 games), they will wake up on the morning of September 21st and enjoy their last off-day of the season sitting on an 84-66 record with twelve games left to play. Split those remaining twelve and the Royals would have a 90 win season. All by just going 7-6 from here on out. Seems easy…..
Prior to the Oakland series, I speculated that Alex Gordon’s issues at the plate were less wrist and more the result of being about thirty live action plate appearances behind the rest of baseball. He hit the thirty plate appearance mark in game one of that Oakland series and since then has gone 13 for 35 with three doubles and three home runs. After last night, Gordon has a triple slash of .293/.423/.500 and somehow seems to be playing even better defense than he has in the past. I have mostly listened to the Cleveland radio broadcast the last two nights and, for what it’s worth, there is no doubt in that announcing teams’ mind that Alex Gordon is the best player on this team. There isn’t much doubt in my mind, either.
Speaking of the Indians’ announcers, they would like to have a couple of Kansas City relievers – any two will do. The quote from last night, “Ned Yost strolling to the mound. How nice must it be to say ‘which one of my eight quality relievers should I use tonight?’
Last night, Ned did strike upon the one reliever (Brandon Finnegan) who could not get anyone out, but he was a little bit stuck. I don’t believe Herrera or Madson was available, which meant Yost was hoping to save Jason Frasor for a later inning. Franklin Morales had pitched two days in row as well and either Chris Young or Yohan Pino has to start for the suspended Edinson Volquez on Friday. Let’s face it, while he was making his season debut last night, Finnegan’s pitched in some high pressure spots in his career AND he was facing a string of lefties. It was worth a shot.
As it turned out, the Royals’ offense solved the problem and now, with the exception of Young and Pino (or at least one of them), they head into tonight’s game with likely everyone on import ready to go. All this with Greg Holland on the disabled list and Luke Hochevar in Omaha.
The Royals, should they win their last two games of the month, could tie the 2003 team’s 16 wins for the most in April. One record I am sure they have already set is for most suspensions in one month. I’m done being worried too much about the fights, the reasons and the perception of it all. There has been plenty of rabble around all that from plenty of folks.
The reality of it all starts to hit home this week with Volquez serving his five games (i.e. one start). Despite pitching last night, my guess is Chris Young will start with Yohan Pino ready to go when Young runs out of juice. The way those two have thrown, feels like a combination shutout.
Now, if I were a betting man, I would look for Yordano Ventura to drop his appeal and begin serving his seven game suspension tomorrow. Here is how I think this would shake out:
- April 30 – Duffy
- May 1 – Young/Pino (end of Volquez suspension)
- May 2 – Volquez
- May 3 – Vargas
- May 4 – off day
- May 5 – Duffy (on regular rest)
- May 6 – Guthrie
- May 7 – Volquez
- May 8 – Vargas (end of Ventura suspension)
Two suspensions totaling 12 games and only one spot start needed. Now, if you want to be a little snarky or a little realistic (take your pick), you can argue that a Young/Pino combo start would be a better alternative than Vargas or Guthrie, but the above at least gives you the option to only have to use that once.
The more daunting suspension(s) is that of Kelvin Herrera. I don’t imagine we will see him drop any appeals before Greg Holland returns and proves to be healthy and almost certainly, Herrera will drop one appeal at a time: possibly serving the two game shortly after Holland returns (no doubt after pitching three days in a row or something) and putting off the five game stint as long as possible.
Just enjoy the ride, kids.
The Royals might lead the league in runs scored, but probably won’t. The ‘old’ offense – the one that hits a bunch of singles, walks very little and never seems to get the timely hit – reared its head in Chicago and will come back around from time to time.
The bullpen very likely will be the best bullpen in baseball all season, but they will give up runs a little more often than they have. There is no way for a unit to be this great for 162 games and when they go from crazy, stupid awesome to just very good, the starting rotation simply has to be better. It starts with Ventura not being asked to leave games by the umpire and would be greatly helped by a pitch efficient out machine named Danny Duffy coming back into form. Now, Guthrie and Vargas…… Well, be better, guys.