The KC Royals, losers of five of six home games to begin the new season, hit the road Friday and found it to their liking. Kansas City pitchers held down the Giants, who earlier in the week hammered 13 home runs in three games against the White Sox, and the Royals' cold bats thawed just enough to score three runs, which proved to be enough for a 3-1 win.
Whether the victory gets the Royals on track remains to be seen. But whether it does or doesn't, questions won't stop swirling around the club.
Let's answer three.
Question 1: What should the KC Royals do with reliever Aroldis Chapman?
Usually, only a player's bad performance triggers such a question this early in the season. After all, the new campaign is only eight games old.
But Chapman's offseason signing, coming as it did after a season tainted by some of his worst numbers ever and suddenly ended by a missed postseason workout, forced him under the microscope from the moment he put ink to paper. Demands to cut him loose will follow any further downward trend; a return to the dominant form for which he's so well known is sure to spark cries to trade him while he's hot.
Hot Chapman is, though, and thus the otherwise early question. Clearly back on the beam, he's pitched three times for the Royals and his three-scoreless inning performance includes six strikeouts and only a walk and two hits surrendered. Per Baseball Savant, his velocities are up, with his sinker and four-seamer near or over 100 mph.
All, then, seems right in Chapman's pitching world. Does that mean the Royals should strike while his iron is hot and trade him immediately?
No. Teams aren't ready to go reliever hunting just yet, and they'll want to see more of Chapman in any event. The Royals have to be thrilled with his resurgence, and they're sure to move him sometime this season, but now is too early, especially if the club wants to optimize the return he'll bring.