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Three To Watch: Royals invade Oakland

The Kansas City Royals opened their 2012 campaign sending a message that they truly do believe in the “Our Time” slogan.

They headed out west to open this season and took two of three from an Angels team that many are picking to win their division.  The contained the mighty Albert Pujols, unleashed Eric Hosmer season two, and survived Bruce Chen and Yuniesky Betancourt showcasing their best.  The team might be over achieving, but they are certainly fun to watch.

Now they head to Oakland to round out the road trip before heading home to the loving arms of their fan base.  Here are three things that need to happen in Oakland for this team to further its early success.

Taking the next step
We have been hearing the propaganda for some time now about this team.  The youth movement has arrived.  These players were brought up through a winning system.  It’s “Our Time”.

If all of that is true, this team needs to show it’s fans that they can step into the spotlight against a team of lesser talent and perform like it.  They took two of three from Anaheim and there is no reason to believe they will not do the same with the Athletics.  However, it may be time to see this team buckle down and get mean.  Returning to Kansas City with a 5-1 record would send a message that they are truly ready to take this league by storm.

Can the dominator get on track?
I know, small sample size.  I get it.  But if this team is going to be successful, Alex Gordon needs to set the table.

I was informed by KC Royalman today that Gordon has never produced more than two hits in his first thirteen at bats in any season.  A slow start does not ruin a season, nor does a three game series without a hit mean that he is a horrible ball player.  He may be feeling the pressure to prove that he deserves the recent contract.   Either way, he is the table setter for this team in 2012 and they will need him to get on track before getting to far into 2012.

The Cuban Missile crisis
Royals fans will get their first look at the man known as The Cuban Missile, Yoenis Cespedes.  The young outfielder from Cuba has hit three home runs in his first four major league games, knocked in seven runs, has four hits total (all extra base hits) and has struck out seven times.

He is a superstar in the making and has been impressive up until now.  If the Royals can figure out how to keep his hits from clearing the fences and keep his production down, it will go a long way towards the confidence of a young pitching staff.

Cespedes has yet to walk and has shown no patience at the plate.  Ned Yost will need to prepare his young hurlers to deal with him accordingly and they might just learn something along the way.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.
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