Taking a Look…Royals Are Looking Up
Where did this come from? The Angels and the White Sox looked slightly puzzled this week facing a revamped Royals team. This is definitely not the team from a year ago. They have exhibited a bite and determination in the late innings that was not there last year unless Joakim Soria was pitching.
The Royals are only a half a game out of first after this afternoon’s loss to the Tigers, which is encouraging to the entire organization. The young hitters are hitting pretty well (ranked in the top 8 in both average and home runs) and the defense right in the middle of the pack (14th ranked field percentage).
The Royals won four in a row after losing their home opener before losing the second game of a two-game series with the White Sox and again this afternoon in Detroit. The Royals still have a solid chance to take the series with two games remaining in Detroit before a day off.
After Monday, the Royals will travel to Minnesota for a quick two game set, which begins a thirteen-day stretch in which the Royals will play. After Minnesota the Royals will travel back home to host the Mariners (four games) and the Indians (3 games) before traveling down to Texas to face the Rangers.
The Royals have been fortunate so far in avoiding injuries. Currently the only one on the disabled list is veteran Jason Kendall, who is expected to be return as soon as he has been deemed ready. His return, like Jeff Suppan’s, should provide veteran leadership to a very youthful team (especially the pitching staff). His contributions at the plate are significant but not nearly as significant as those behind it.
The pitching staff both starters and bullpen have been shaky the last couple of games but kept the games within reach (three runs or less) during every single contest. However one or two mistake pitches is all it takes to make the difference in this game. If the pitching staff falls into sync, the defense will naturally improve as the season goes along.
Taking the season one game at a time is working for these young players. A loss or two in a row is expected for any team. They are young and ambitious at this point. The fans eagerly want this team to stay hungry but also are skeptical because they have been burned by many previous Royals’ teams that have come before that showed this kind of promise. If they keep it up, they will earn back the respect of their city and fan base that after last year, had all but given up on them.