10 big KC Royals questions after first 10 games

Kansas City's good start poses 10 questions. Here they are...with answers.
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Can we trust what we're seeing from Salvador Perez?

Is there a definitive reason not to? Perez's offensive numbers have regressed some over the past couple of years, and he didn't look good at the plate in this season's first two games. But since then he's hitting .406 with a trio of three-hit games, two homers, nine RBI and, despite going 0-for-4 Sunday (KC only mustered six hits overall) is slashing .333/.366/.513.

Until he gives us solid cause to believe otherwise, then, let's not declare Perez washed up.

Is Will Smith already out as Kansas City's closer?

Possibly. Other than saving the series opener against Baltimore last week and pitching a scoreless eighth frame Sunday, he hasn't looked like the best replacement for Scott Barlow, who the club traded away last summer.

Minnesota bombed Smith for four ninth-inning runs March 30 to snap a 1-1 tie and secure a 5-1 win. Then, a day after Smith posted a save at Baltimore, manager Matt Quatraro called on him to protect a 3-2 ninth-inning lead but, after allowing the first two Orioles to reach base and issuing an intentional walk, Smith let James McCann walk the Royals off with a two-run single.

Smith squandered another save opportunity Friday when he began the ninth with a 2-1 lead over Chicago. But after he surrendered a one-out double to Luis Robert Jr. and walked Kevin Pillar, Quatraro replaced him with James McArthur who, on his second pitch of the night, secured a game-closing double play.

Quatraro didn't use Smith when another ninth-inning save situation arose Saturday night, opting instead for Chris Stratton, who retired the White Sox in order. He deployed Smith in the eighth Sunday, another save opportunity, but brought in McArthur to pitch the ninth.

Those decisions may or may not signal a change in the closer's role, but Smith probably doesn't have the hold on the job he did when the season began.

More questions...