Already Time to Panic?


Ervin Santana, on pace to give up about 90 home runs in 2013. But other than that..great game! Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Game two of the 2013 season saw another loss in the young season, and seemingly deflated a fan base hungry for a winner.

Is it too soon to panic? According to the majority of what I witnessed via the Internet and sports radio, the answer is “no”. Seems like a lot of people are already saying, “Same old Royals,” or “Here we go again.”

And I have to admit, today left a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. Every home run the White Sox smacked over the wall…every base runner stranded by a KC batter…I couldn’t help but feel at least a little despair. The optimist in me wants to look at the positives – Ervin Santana had a great line on the day, if you ignore that three of the hits he allowed were home runs. The Royals had the bases loaded when they needed a rally, which is great, if you ignore they couldn’t get any of those runners across the plate.

It’s early, but many Kansas Citians are saying, “Here we go again.” I guess year after year of failure will eventually beat a fan down like that. It was just a week ago that I was talking to friends and fans and everyone felt pretty good about the 2013 season. A new rotation. Great young hitters. Good defense. This team has it all. Or does it?

With all the focus this winter on improving what has been a bad rotation for quite some time now, maybe the front office overlooked what as a horrible offense last season. In 2012 the KC lineup was only able to outscore two teams in the American League. So much attention was on the failure to develop any homegrown pitching, and the major failures of the starting rotation, that little attention seems to have paid to the lineup. I understand why. We have a couple of proven guys in Alex Gordon and Billy Butler and a group of youngsters who are expected to come into their own. But…so far…they haven’t.

The Royals can’t seem to get out of their own way. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Here we are, yes…I know…only two games into the season, with a lineup full of players flailing at bad pitches, not making solid contact, and unable to drive in runs. So far, the team hasn’t had one base hit that has driven in a run. Butler had an RBI on a ground out, and the other run was given to the Royals by poor Chicago defense.

I’m not sure where the fix is in the lineup, but am I the only one who thinks Butler should hit cleanup? Let one of the youngsters hit third and benefit from having Billy hit behind them? I’m not a proponent of the Bob Boone “different day, different lineup” approach…but it might be time to shuffle one or two guys around. Both of these games could have been won with a little offense…a little timely hitting. But here we sit…zero wins, two losses, and a lineup that, at least so far, looks just as bad as it did last season.

And I have to say, turning to Hochevar out of the bullpen didn’t help. In fact, it felt a little like a kick in the crotch. Talk about sucking any and all hope out of your fans…I actually felt nauseous when he took the mound. Something about Luke Hochevar just reeks of failure. Can someone please just make him go away?

Here’s the thing. These were just two games in a LONG season. But, I will admit, I’m disappointed. If the Royals bats don’t come alive against Chicago and continue struggling in Philadelphia…my attitude towards this team will start turning from disappointed to devastated. That’s when I might join the masses and panic a little bit.

Same old Royals? God, I hope not. But if they don’t get a couple of wins on this road trip? Well, if you thought the fans sounded bad after two losses…I can’t imagine how they’ll sound if KC is 0-3…or worse. On the other hand, if the fans are this riled up, at least we know they care. Imagine how they’d support a winner. Hopefully, we’ll find out.