We have fallen upon somewhat familiar times in Kansas City. In the last week, the Royals have dropped below .500 for the first time since July 2014. It was bound to happen at some point but feels like a gut punch after nearly two glorious years. Obviously, the Royals made it to the World Series two years in a row and threw quite a parade last November. But if you really know baseball, you knew this wouldn’t be easy to sustain. There’s no doubt a winning culture has been established in Kansas City, and even with the Royals reaching the summit and winning the World Series last year, this city expects nothing less than a third straight appearance in the fall classic. It may be too much to ask.
There were times when all we could dream of was a winning season, with a shot at a playoff appearance, and in just a few short years, a world championship is expected, crazy. It’s not the fact that the Royals are losing right now, it’s the fact that they are doing things they haven’t done in years. The bullpen is giving up runs, offensively they are leaving way too many runners on base, and they are committing errors.
There’s no doubt that there has been a lack of “something” with this team. They are unusually bad defensively, and with some, there has been a lack of hustle. They seem to have been getting this message in the last week or so. With a 162 game schedule, it’s hard to ask an every day starter to go 100% every night, but the effort put in by some early on this year has been unacceptable. If this team is going to make the playoffs again, the culture of the last two years needs to be restored.
The starting pitching in the last two years was never dominant by any means, but it was good enough. The starting pitching so far this year has been brutal. They are giving up way too many walks, and too many home runs. KC ranks in the bottom 25% of baseball with 129 walks, which is far too many. They have also given up 38 home runs, too many to count this past week in right field at Yankee Stadium.
Edinson Volquez is on the mound tonight for the Royals, he’s been consistent as usual. Tomorrow Dillon Gee will get his first start of the season, he’s got a 2.61 ERA in 20.2 innings pitched. On Sunday, Danny Duffy will pitch a few innings and it looks as if manager Ned Yost will use a right hander out of the bullpen to piggy back off Duffy’s 50-some pitches. Whatever they decide to do, there is no doubt that Gee and Duffy need to be better than Chris Young and Kris Medlen, who have not performed well and have given up far too many runs.
Atlanta comes into town, and in their last 24 games, they have the same record as the Royals at 8-16. However, there is no doubt that the Braves are the worst team in baseball and are in a total rebuilding situation. The Royals need this series in the worst way, especially with the red hot Red Sox coming into Kansas City next week. Don’t forget, Tickets For Less has all your ticket needs for the homestand.
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