Royals Look for a Winning Streak

Don’t look now Royals fans, but the Boys in Blue could have their longest winning streak this year if they are somehow able to muster a victory tonight against the Chicago White Sox. And how many games would this winning streak be composed of, you ask? A breath-taking three. That’s right, three. Tres. Tre. Drei.

Pardon the sarcasm, it is a coping mechanism I’ve developed after watching the Royals for so many years now. But, hey, at least we are talking about a potential winning streak! (Two in a row doesn’t count in my book, by the way) [...]

Trey Hillman has been sent packing, along with Dave “The Windmill” Owen, and Ned Yost has taken over the controls for the time being.

If last night’s game is any sort of precursor for the rest of this 2010 campaign, the Royals might actually be somewhat enjoyable to watch. Gil Meche battled through six innings of work, and while he didn’t pick up the victory, he seems to have (albeit temporarily) righted-the-ship in an effort to return to his 2007/2008 form. Yuniesky Betancourt also played a major role in the game, getting the Royals on the board with a solo shot in the sixth off of Mark Buerhle, who up to that point, had been mowing the Royals down and also made a nice play to his left to rob former Royal Mark Teahen of a hit and RBI in the top half of the frame. In addition to Betancourt, Mitch Maier had some offensive and defensive heroics of his own. He plated a pair of RBIs in the five-run seventh inning and made a spectacular catch in deep center field, robbing Paul Konerko of extra bases. The newly called-up Blake Wood pitched two impressive innings, only giving up a walk and no hits in two innings of work, the 8th and 9th innings respectively, giving the Royals the win in Ned Yost’s first game as manager.

The Royals face Jake Peavy tonight, who simply dominated in the last matchup between these two ball clubs. Peavy went seven strong innings, striking out nine KC batters, in a disappointing 5-1 loss to the White Sox.

Luke Hochevar will take the mound for the Royals tonight, as he looks to improve on his 3-1 record. His last outing against Texas was less-than-impressive, lasting only two and two-thirds innings, giving up four earned runs, four walks, and only one strikeout. However, Hochevar got the better of the White Sox in Chicago back on May 4th, picking up the victory after giving up no earned runs in six innings. We will see if his past success can carry over tonight here in Kansas City.

Because I wasn’t able to see some of the game last night, nor the post-game show, I was interested to hear what Ned Yost had to say about his first game with the Royals. What he said left me a little dumbfounded at first, then excited.

“Change has a way of kind of slapping you in the face,” said Yost, who managed six years in Milwaukee before being fired in 2008. “Everybody loved Trey, everybody respected Trey and I think it caught everyone offguard and they realized there was a sense of urgency for us and this is unacceptable.” – courtesy of John Marshall, AP Sports Writer

After reading this quote, I was a little shocked to think that Trey’s firing caught everyone off-guard. I’m sorry, but in my opinion, Hillman wasn’t doing a good job as manager. I didn’t agree with most of his in-game decisions (most recently the game where Mitch Maier was moved to first, Dejesus to left, Podsednik to center so the Defensive Wizard, aka Jose Guillen could be put in right — then, promptly, a drive to right that Dejesus would have gotten to and caught for an out became the game winning hit when Guillen could not, and thus another Royals loss). His constant tinkering with the lineup allowed for no continuity whatsoever and batting Jason Kendall in the sixth spot? Are you kidding me? But I digress.

My point is that the Royals SHOULD be playing with urgency every night, not just when the manager gets canned and jobs are “suddenly” on the line. It would seem to me that the lack of focus and intensity the Royals have had is a direct reflection on the manager. It is his job to motivate and guide the players and make sound managerial decisions day in and day out. In my opinion, Hillman wasn’t doing that.

However, I was encouraged to see that Yost said that “this is unacceptable.” I think that is a small step for the Royals organization in finally admitting (openly) that what has been going on this season will not stand. My hope is that the Royals will play with that same urgency and intensity they had last night for the rest of the season. Who knows, maybe Ned Yost is that catalyst for this ballclub?

It’s baby steps with the Royals. And hopefully they can take a few during the next 127 games.

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Tags: AL Central Baseball Kansas City Royals KC MLB Royals

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