Well that was more like it. Taking three out of four from the team that entered the series with one of the best records in the league does not suck at all. And the way it happened did wonders for my confidence as a fan.
The big news, of course, was the bats coming alive. Seven, 11, and eight runs in the three wins. Sure, they threw an old school, feckless, one-run game out there on Tuesday, but these are still the Royals we’re talking about. Billy Butler busting loose, John Buck thinking he’s Willie Wilson, Wee Willie B setting things up, and Alberto Callaspo continuing to rake were the difference makers. For a lineup that just last weekend seemed about as unimposing as one of those college teams that the MLBers trot out in spring training as ceremonial punching bags, it was quite the rebound.
The three wins show how close this team is to being a legit contender. All it takes is a couple guys providing good at bats and the runs will come. With this pitching staff, putting up 3-4-5 runs will be enough most nights. Put the ball in play, get on base, advance the runners, make smart decisions on the bases. It’s simple.
So they end April 12-10 and in first place. You can quibble and say they should be at least 14-8 with some smarter bullpen management. But it’s difficult to complain after some of the Aprils this franchise has offered up in recent years.
I have realized one shocking thing from watching most of the games this season: Coco Crisp might have the worst arm in the history of outfielders. I knew he had a minus arm, but most of his throws are brutal. I saw one this week where he came in on a shallow drive, Aviles went way out to get the relay, and Coco still bounced the ball to him. We’re talking about a 50 foot throw, too. Not some heave from the warning track. Dude must have really torn that thing up at some point. It’s depressing watching runners on first fly straight to third anytime the ball is hit to center because they know there’s no chance they’re going to get gunned. In a tight game late, I wonder if the Royals will pitch away/ inside in hopes of producing pulls or opposite field shots just to keep the ball away from Coco and the extra base he’s going to guarantee.
On to Minnesota.