Nori Aoki is driving the Royals bus
By David Hill
The Royals have had trouble scoring runs virtually all season. A team that typically needs to string together multiple hits in order to score, the Royals just have not had much success in that regards lately. In fact, over the past week, the Royals have scored just 29 runs in their six games, which includes their 7-1 victory over the Red Sox a week ago yesterday.
While the offense has been disappointing over that span, the Royals have had one player catch fire. Stepping up for the Royals, Nori Aoki has been swinging about as hot a piece of lumber as he has during his time in Kansas City. Over the past week, Aoki has produced blistering .625/.667/.708 batting line, emerging as the hottest hitter in the Royals lineup.
This recent hot stretch has also made a dramatic difference in Aoki’s overall numbers. Brought in to solidify the Royals leadoff position, Aoki had been a bit of a disappointment. Now, Aoki has seen his batting line increase to a more respectable .282/.349/.351 this season, more in line with his career totals.
Even if the Royals have struggled to score, at least they are having the chance. Nori Aoki has been doing his part from the second spot in the lineup, getting on base and being a distraction to the opposition. With his production lately, Aoki may find himself returning back to that leadoff role, giving the Royals the opportunity to push an early run across the board.
Obviously, the Royals will only go as far as their pitching staff, and the big bats of Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez, can take them. However, for those contributions to truly matter, the rest of the lineup needs to perform at a reasonably competent level. Aoki has done just that, giving those bats the opportunity to drive in those desperately needed runs.
Rex Hudler has his phrase of “driving the bus” for the player who is contributing most to the Royals success. Over the past couple of weeks, and particularly over the past six games, that player has been Nori Aoki. Even though he would have been considered a disappointment as recently as a couple of weeks ago, Aoki has gotten hot at the right time.
Nori Aoki has done his part with the bat over the past few days. Now, the rest of the Royals offense needs to do the same.