So there I was, sitting on my couch, watching Luke Hochevar mow down Cleveland batter after Cleveland batter1 Wednesday night and, for a few moments, I thought history was unfolding on my TV. The first 15 batters Hochevar faced failed to reach base. He was commanding every pitch beautifully. He and Matt Treanor seemed to have a solid plan of attack. Even when a Cleveland batter made contact, the ball flew directly to a Royals fielder.
Could this be it? Could this be a no-hitter, or even more amazingly, a perfect game?
I was thinking of this during the bottom of the fifth inning, and wondering if I should send a few messages out to other Royals fans to make sure they were watching. Was it too early? Would I jinx Hochevar? I decided to wait and see if he got through the sixth inning and then I would send out a message.
Good thing I waited.
In classic Hochevar form, he gave up a hit then quickly balked a runner to second. Fifteen minutes later, he had given up four more hits, walked a batter, balked in a run, and went to the dugout down 4-2.
Another strange chapter in the recent history of the Royals. We’ll see if this is a sign that the good start to the 2011 season is an aberration or if they can sustain their solid play deeper into the season. My money is on the former, but you never know.
Despite expecting this to be another horrible season for the Kansas City Nine, you can’t help but hope that maybe everybody was wrong when they play .600+ ball over the first three weeks of the season. Regression is expected, but what if Alex Gordon really has turned a corner in his career? What if Jeff Francoeur can continue to make contact and show a bit of patience at the dish? What if the front four of the pitching staff can continue to offer five, six, seven quality innings each time they take the hill? Maybe, just maybe, in a division as weak as the AL Central, they can hang around. And maybe, just maybe, when Eric Hosmer is ready he can add something in June or July. And maybe, just maybe, at least one of the young arms will be prepared to come plug that hole in the back of the rotation. And maybe, just maybe, a break or two here and there will fall the Royals way and this can become a true stepping stone for the 2012 season?
That’s what makes baseball fun. You can dream about the possibilities a long season offers.
Sadly, those are a lot of maybes. The bullpen already seems to be cooling off from its fast start. There are still holes in the lineup, and too many runners are being left on base at the end of each inning. But the 2011 season doesn’t look, at least at this point, like it’s going to be a total disaster. And for Royals fans, believe it or not, that’s progress.
- Saying “mowing down Indian after Indian” just does not sound right. ↩