Royals End with Winning Road Trip

Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox – USA Today Sports

The Royals have yet to click offensively, but the good news is they are 8-4 and are coming home off a winning road trip. The old saying with baseball is if you go .500 on the road and .650 at home, you will be a winning team and make the playoffs. The Royals are well on that pace even after a frustrating weekend in Oakland, and will return home this week to take on Detroit, and then a weekend series with Baltimore.

Detroit is 7-4, they are one of four teams clustered at the top of the AL Central with four losses. The White Sox are also there at the top, and like the Royals, they have already had the advantage of playing the Twins early on in the season. Detroit is a tough team to figure out, how good should they be? They have stars in Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler, Justin Verlander, and some good young players such as Jose Iglesias and Shane Green on the mound. It looks as if on paper, they should be an above .500 team, and probably will, but they are still a few steps behind the Royals.  There is also big concern in Detroit that age can catch up with this Tigers team at any moment and Manager Brad Ausmus is a completely unproven commodity.

It’s only April, but this day off is a much needed one for the Royals so they can get the bullpen fully rested for 6 straight games against teams with lineups that can leave the yard at any time. We have seen some inconsistency with the way the bullpen has been used so far this year. It didn’t help that the night Wade Davis threw 30+ pitches in Houston, really threw the next few days off with the pen. Ned Yost has said that he’s not going to pitch anyone three straight days.

Yesterday, Kris Medlen threw 6 very good innings before giving up a leadoff double with a 2-1 lead. That’s not the end of the world, Ned yanks him then to bring in Herrera, who gives up a hit and now its a tie game. Again, not the end of the world, you figure with the heart of the Royals lineup coming up in the 8th they would be able to get some guys on base and make some noise. That doesn’t happen and Soria blows the lead in the 8th, Royals lose.

The Royals can’t win every every one run game, like they have prior to this past weekend. But it’s clear that Soria does not belong in the 8th inning. When you’re 8-4, it’s hard to say things need to be changed, but this is obvious. Not exactly sure how Ned should use his pen on any given night with pitch counts and giving guys days off and all that, but he does need to figure something else out in the 8th.  It’s not that Soria can’t be the 8th inning guy, but right now he does not deserve it and he certainly hasn’t proven it.  Until something changes, Soria should be considered a step down from proven Royals commodities and World Series heroes Wade Davis, Kelvin Herrera and Luke Hochevar.  Any loss from the pen that doesn’t include this trio just feels like a missed opportunity.

The weekend series against Baltimore should be a good one as well. The O’s are off to a great start at 8-3. They started off 7-0, but have since dropped a few on the road. They host Toronto this week so we will see what they do against the Blue Jays before heading into Kauffman for a weekend series.
Should be a great week for weather in KC. Looks like we will have mid-70s all week and then 80s this weekend. Tickets For Less has tickets available for any budget, and stay locked into Sports Radio 810 all week as we break down the homestand.

About This Author

Kevin Kietzman is the award winning host of Between the Lines weekday afternoons on Sportradio 810 WHB in Kansas City. He is recognized by Sports Illustrated, Talkers Magazine, Radio Ink and as one of the top sports talk hosts in the country. Kevin and his family reside in Lenexa, KS.

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