Kansas City Royals: Mayday
We have seen this before. The Royals, in returning to the scene of the crime, are once again fighting to escape the clutches of May.
Now losers of 5 straight, and the most recent a heartbreaking loss at the hands of the Padres in which the Royals squandered 2 late game leads, they are once again spiraling to the bottom of the division. The signs are all around that this could be another epic collapse much like what we saw during last year’s 4-20 stretch in which they all but removed themselves from the post-season during a mere 30 day stretch. With an offense struggling to produce runs, and the bullpen collapsing on a few occasions, it would almost seem it is May 2013 all over again.
But its not.
While the easy thing to do is to sit back and say “yup…see…told ya” in true Randy Quaid/Major League style, a 5 game stretch of losing is not the biggest shocker in the world. They do it every year….most teams lose 5 at some point…every year.
It happens. Baseball is a funny game.
The problem with THIS stretch is as we all sat back and held our breath on May 1st waiting for the sequel, and still haven’t exhaled. While arbitrary and completely a coincidence, it all began last year with a blown save in which Yost pulled Shields in a 1 run game, and Holland promptly lost the game. Last night felt like that…the start of a major slide, the end of the world, the beginning of the end.
But its not. There are still 131 games left to play.
This team has watched every single person tabbed as a “must” offensively all but collapse. Four of the top five in OWAR are Alcides Escobar, Omar Infante, Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson, with Nori Aoki coming in 6th. This is NOT the blueprint for success for this team coming into this year. Eric Hosmer, Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas and Billy Butler all have NEGATIVE values. While this sounds like more negativitiy, its actually not….these guys WILL hit. Maybe not like we hope they will, but Gordon and crew will not be a negative offensive group by the end of 2014. When they DO start hitting, we will still have a fantastic rotation, great defense, and serviceable to dominant bullpen depending on the night.
- While there has been much made lately about this group offensively, at some point we all have to look at them and realize, maybe they just really aren’t that good at scoring runs. With a slew of hitting coaches and some getting more chances than deserved, it is entirely possible that scrappy will have to be the name of the game. While this may be the case, the best hitters on the team will not continue to be the least productive in the lineup.
Its not worth basing an entire season based on a stretch of a few games. If anything, that’s the one thing that 2013 should have taught us all as fans. This team was 16 games below .500 in one MONTH…and still managed to be a contender in September. The season is far too long to think small stretches of games are make or break in order for this team to be playing meaningful ball in late summer.
The OTHER thing we learned in 2013, however, is that ALL games are important. Each individual game can mean the difference, and if they want to be there at the end, this team needs to not let the hangover continue. The Royals are already down 5 games to the team tabbed to win the division before the season. Detroit isn’t going to have some epic collapse. The Royals simply cannot allow them to distance themselves too far, because the are too much of an offensive liability to reel off long stretches of winning. They will continue to scratch and claw for every win, and there will be more…..hopefully.