A look ahead to June 23, 2012

Joe Buck and Tim McCarver preview the much anticipated nationally-televised mid-season match-up between the NL Central leading St. Louis Cardinals and the AL Central leading Kansas City Royals

Joe Buck: It gives us great pleasure to welcome the entire country to beautiful Kauffman Stadium for this week’s featured matchup between, currently, the best team in each league.  And in the case of the American League, the separation between the Kansas City Royals and every other team in the league is far and wide.  After last night’s win, this incredibly exciting young Royals ballclub sits at 48 wins and just 28 losses, putting them 10 games in front of the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central.  And they have done it on the backs of their young stars.  We are still a few weeks away from the All-Star Break, and 3B Mike Moustakas leads the entire major leagues with 22 home runs.  1B Eric Hosmer has a batting average of .365 which also leads the entire major leagues.  Left-fielder Alex Gordon picked up exactly where he left off last season, and Catcher Salvador Perez has caught the attention of the baseball world not only with his defense behind the plate, but also with his bat, carrying a .321 average with 10 home runs and 40 RBI into today’s game.

Tim McCarver: You know, coming into this season, everyone in the game was acknowledging that these young Royals had some great hitters.  But the question was pitching.  Nobody on this staff had really established himself as a front-line starter, and the young pitchers were not quite ready to make the leap.  Next  year was supposed to be the year.  But as we sit here today, Joe, you would have to say that under new pitching coach Dave Eiland, the Royals may be sporting one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball.  The big right-hander we will see today, Felipe Paulino, has to be considered one of the front-runners to start the All-Star Game for the American League, which by the way, will take place here in Kansas City in just a few weeks.

Joe Buck: And if Paulino makes the all-star team, he most certainly will not be alone.  The left-hander Danny Duffy, a kid who the team wasn’t even sure was going to make the team out of spring training, has absolutely electrified since the beginning of the season.  The staff leads the American League in strikeouts, something that manager Ned Yost told us earlier was even a surprise to him.

Tim McCarver: You know, Joe…it doesn’t seem like that long ago when this team was only winning 48 games in a whole season.  Now they have 48 wins and we still have more than 3 months to play.

Joe Buck: When General Manager Dayton Moore arrived in Kansas City 6 years ago, the organization was in shambles.  The major league club was losing, every time they would develop anything resembling a star they would be traded away, and the minor league system had nothing in it to offer any hope for the future.  Moore arrived and stated that his primary objective was to rebuild the farm system.  And he said it would take time.  It has taken time, but Tim, it looks like we might finally be seeing the patience of the Kansas City Royals’ fans beginning to pay off.

Tim McCarver: You got that right, Joe.  This is a deserving fan base that has waited far too long to have something to get excited about.  It’s great a great thing to see.

Joe Buck: This team is taking this city for a ride, and it’s been a long time coming.  Kauffman Stadium is a sea of blue, on a balmy June afternoon, and it’s almost time for baseball.  We will be back for the first pitch, after these messages…

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