Monday, May 10, 2004

Are things getting better?
The Royals just completed a dismal road trip, winning only 2 of 9 games. The second win came yesterday against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Some of the losses on this trip were excruciating. In Toronto and Boston, the Royals had leads going into the late innings, only lose the games. In Boston on Friday night, the Royals looked to have an easy win, but Mike MacDougal entered the game in the ninth and gave up the game-tying home run. The Red Sox later scored the winning run and the Royals were crushed. The Royals tied a franchise record for their worst start.

Yet, I am optimistic. I'm probably crazy, but I think things will start to turn around for this team. I can't say why, really, but I just have a gut feeling. If you look at the standings, they are only 7.5 games behind. That actually isn't an insurmountable lead. (Royals fans may recall that KC had a 7.5 game lead at the All-Star break last year, and the Twins ended up winning the division).

I think also that Tony Pena and the management has learned a great deal about what they have this year. You will see less of Mike Sweeney at first base. You will see less of Mike MacDougal in save situations. You will (hopefully) see less of Juan Gonzalez in right field. In the Toronto game, Pena moved Gonzalez down to the sixth spot. I think moves like that will continue until his players can show they can perform. Zack Greinke will be with the team soon (by the end of May, I predict). And, in the last few games, I've started to see things beginning to come together. Yes, they have lost games, but the team is started to put the pieces together (better starting pitching, better relief pitching, more timely hitting).

I expect the Royals to win, if not sweep the next two series at home. By this time next week, that 7.5 game lead will be more like 5 games. Please - cross your fingers.

No comments: