Opening Day has come and gone for almost every team in baseball. But when you play on the West Coast, you get the distinction of being the last. The Kansas City Royals and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will take the field as the final two teams to open 2012.
After you take that afternoon nap to ensure that you will be awake for the entire late night affair, kick back and read the three things you should be watching closely during this nine inning battle between two of baseball’s most talked about teams.
Albert Pujols and Eric Hosmer
This game will feature two first baseman that the league will be watching closely. Pujols is on a mission to prove that he deserves the money he is being paid, that he is capable of being the focal point of this team, and that he can handle the media pressure of the Los Angeles market. Hosmer will attempt to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump, continue to establish himself as a premier first baseman in the league, and start what many hope to be a All Star worthy campaign.
With so many storylines for both teams swirling around the first base bag, all eyes will be on the veteran and the youngster to make Opening Day a memorable one for two franchises.
The young third baseman was the other half of the two “can’t miss prospects” in the Royals organization. The problem, to this point, has been that he is missing.
Moustakas struggled last year but seemed to put it together in September. That success, however, did not carry over into Spring. With as many strikeouts (21) as hits and walks combined, the confidence level is thin currently and he may be walking an even thinner line.
The Royals believe it is “Our Time”. If that’s true, than Moustakas will be expected to perform sooner rather than later or the team may have to look for someone who can hold down the hot corner. Seeing him get off to a hot start while on the West Coast will put many fan’s minds at ease.
It has been almost two years since the then first-baseman broke his ankle celebrating a walk off Grand Slam. But Morales is back, and that makes the Angels’ offense that much better.
Spring was a big test to see if the big man was ready and, by all accounts, that test was passed with flying colors. Morales posted a .367/.387/.600 slash line and hit a few home runs that we are not sure have landed yet. If the Angels are successful this year, the strength of the lineup will be a big part of that success. Morales in the Designated Hitter role will play a big part in that.