Kansas City Royals: The Past is the Future…For Now

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 29: Whit Merrifield
KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 29: Whit Merrifield /

Opening Day seemed to be off to a glorious start yesterday for the Kansas City Royals.  The team pounced on their former number one starter James Shields to the tune of four runs in the first inning.  Danny Duffy struck out five through the first four innings.  It seemed like it was going to be a nice win to start the season.

Instead, the wheels fell off.  Duffy tired after around 60 pitches, and the White Sox started pounding the ball around and out of the park.  A parade of forgettable relievers came in to keep batting practice for the Sox going.

A Royal Flashback

In the late 90s and early 2000s, the Kansas City Royals had many offensive stars such as Johnny Damon, Mike Sweeney (in my book, the second best Royal of all time), Jermaine Dye, and Carlos Beltran.  That’s some serious thunder.  Of course, their pitching never panned out, and the Royals lost a lot of games, although it was often fun to watch.  (Some of it may have been aided by supplements, but that’s the era we’re talking about.)

Yesterday reminded me a lot of those teams, and I think it’s a good look at how this season will go. With that said, I still think this is a better-than-average team. In addition to some solid bats, the starting pitching is worlds ahead of those 90s/00s teams.

Snap Back to Reality

Let’s be honest: the bullpen is a dumpster fire and likely will be a problem all year.  The days of HDH locking games up after six innings are long gone.  If this team has any shot of contending, it’s going to be because of a lineup with quite a bit of power.  Lucas Duda, Mike Moustakas, Jorge Soler, Whit Merrifield, and Salvador Perez (if he’s ever fully healthy this year) can score runs in a hurry.

We even saw a glimmer of hope for Alex Gordon when he lined a double to the opposite field in yesterday’s game. Gordon going the other way is why he had a great September last year, and why many of us hope for a return of at least the 2015 version of “A1.”  Oh, and let the record show that Duda is on pace to hit 162 more home runs than Eric Hosmer this season.

The bullpen is weak.  The starting pitching is a question mark, as there’s no legitimate number one starter. Despite that, like those teams of the 90s and early 2000s, this team should be able to put up some pretty good offensive numbers. It will be fun and frustrating to watch, at the same time.

They say history repeats itself, and yesterday looked a lot like the past—and the future.

Next: The Good, Bad, and Ugly with Salvador Perez

What do you think, Kansas City Royals fans? Let us know what you have to say in the comments below!