KC Royals Just Doing KC Royals Things Once Again
By David Hill
Last season, the KC Royals were a throwback to another era of baseball. Their offense was a combination of running the opposition into submission, stringing together base hits and using the sacrifice bunt. The Royals relied mainly upon their pitching staff, particularly their dominant bullpen, and defense to win. It may not have been pretty, or even effective all the time, but it worked.
Those elements were on display again on Opening Day. Mike Moustakas dropped a sacrifice bunt. There were two infield singles, and Lorenzo Cain and Alex Rios both stole bases. The defense dazzled, with Moustakas making a nice play on a slow roller to turn a double play, an excellent leaping catch by Alcides Escobar and Eric Hosmer doing what he does at first. It was quite beautiful to watch.
Mixed in, there were other signs of progress as well. After saying how they wanted to increase their power this season, the Royals hit two home runs. Moustakas’s home run was particularly impressive, as he hit it to left center. Yes, Mike Moustakas had an opposite field home run.
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Even more impressive was the patience that the Royals displayed at the plate. While they maintained their ability to make contact, striking out only three times yesterday, they drew five walks. Kendrys Morales made his presence felt in that regard, as he drew three walks in five plate appearances. Even Alcides Escobar drew a walk yesterday.
Yes, it is only one game. Yes, there are 161 more games to go. However, even with that being the case, it is still great to see everything come together on Opening Day. The Royals looked similar to the team from last year, as they made contact and caused havoc on the bases. Yet, that power element, which was so desperately needed last year, may finally be a part of the offense.
It seems very likely that the pitching staff and defense will be at close to the same level as last year. However, it is that offense that had been a concern. Would the Royals be able to score enough runs to make a return trip to the postseason? Would Morales and Rios really be the upgrades the Royals sought? Is Moustakas in the second spot in the lineup really a good idea?
It may only be one game, but right now, the early returns are certainly positive. Maybe, when we say that the KC Royals are doing KC Royals things, that can include hitting a couple of bombs while running roughshod over the opposition.