This gloomy Saturday morning finds me with a smile on my face. The Royals are good right now. They’ve won six straight games – their longest streak of the season, and most since 2009. Tonight, they’ll be going for seven in a row with Everett Teaford on the mound.
The future is now.
Yes, I know it’s been said a million times. And I’m well aware that this team is slotted to finish no higher than fourth place, hardly a successful season. BUT – the pieces are in place and are forming a bond right before our eyes. The ingredients are on the table, we just need someone to run to the store & grab some pitching.
Friday night’s game was a fun one for Royals fans. If you are reading this and somehow missed watching the highlight – stop now and go watch it. With Alex Gordon on second, Eric Hosmer hit an opposite field line drive that rose over the outstretched glove of Juan Pierre, plating Gordon and producing KC’s twelfth walk-off win on the season. It took me back to the first couple weeks of the season, when these guys were doing it every other night.
I was into the game – a testament to the franchise, because this is the point where people forget that it’s still baseball season. This team has been a ghost in September for 25 years. Felipe Paulino pitched well, Mike Moustakas continued his resurgence with his third home run, and the Royals carried a 6-3 lead into the seventh.
With Paulino done for the night, it was going to be up to the bullpen to bring this one home. Blake Wood gave up a run in the seventh, and then Tim Collins gave up a two-run home run to Brent Morel. Just like that – game tied. Sick to my stomach.
Gordon led off the inning with a single, raising his average to .303. Melky bunted him to second, Butler was intentionally walked, and Hosmer saved the day. Royals win.
Of course, I was up off the couch, doing my best to get excited while two small children slept just down the hall. I loved the fact that the team swarmed to Hosmer and dogpiled him like they had just won the seventh game of the World Series. There are some that would say they should “act like they’ve been there before”, but I think it’s healthy. Watching the smile on the rookie’s face as he was being squashed made me smile. These guys are having fun, getting better, and they need to embrace it when they win – especially in a manner such as this.
The win improved the team’s record to twenty games below .500. A win tonight would equal 2010’s win total (with nine games to spare). The 2009 team won 75 games, which was the most since ’03. While it’s unlikely that the team will be able to match that win total, it could happen.
After the game, Ned said it best, “We’re playing good. We’ve got a group of kids in the lockerroom that are determined to play this thing out and set themselves up for next year. That’s important, you don’t want guys quitting. You want guys with that September, October mindset, and these kids have it.”
Quitting is a thing of the past. The momentum that this team is creating is the most important thing right now. The team you see on the field right now is the team that you will see on the field on Opening Day 2012, and that’s not something we’ve been able to believe in Kansas City for a long time.