Unfortunately, I was at work yesterday during the Royals game. Fortunately, FSKC replayed the game afterwards, so I got to watch it. While it was shortened for time constraints (They only showed the Royals on offense) it was still fun getting to watch this team back in action again. As Rex Hudler said during the broadcast, they simply rolled over their winning formula from last year right into this game, and added a few surprises, as well.
Yordano Ventura was ON FIRE yesterday, as we all pretty much expected. He seamlessly transitioned into that #1 spot, as he looked very comfortable on the mound. He may be young, but he knows exactly what he’s doing once he takes the field. He had good command of all his pitches, and was able to mix it up well to keep Chicago on their toes. Simply put, he dominated. Luckily the injury he sustained was only a cramp, so a big sigh of relief there.
How about Mike Moustakas? I’ll be honest, I didn’t like the fact that he was batting second in the order, especially after his underwhelming season last year. I know he really started to turn things around late in the season and during the playoffs, but I wasn’t expecting much of that to continue. It looks like he might have found a comfortable spot in the order, and was able to do A LOT of work during spring training that’s going to help. It’s almost like he’s a brand new hitter. That opposite filed homer he hit yesterday was impressive, but it’s still too early to tell if he can sustain his improved hitting ability.
Let’s talk about power. Alex Rios and Kendrys Morales are going to be quite the X-Factor for the Royals this year. I know a lot of people that were kind of up-and-down about the acquisitions in the offseason, but I believe Rios and Morales are going to provide a huge payoff. Morales got on base FOUR times yesterday, and Ned Yost put him in a great spot in the lineup. His switch hitting ability is great, and he should be utilized well during the season. As for Rios, I’m ecstatic about his potential this year. He’s a clear upgrade over Nori Aoki in the outfield, and an even better upgrade at the plate. Rios jacked a three-run homer yesterday, which is exactly what the Royals wanted when they signed him. A friend of mine here at college absolutely hates Rios because of his terrible stint with the Rangers, but it looks like the Royals got a different Alex Rios. Combined with the speed and small ball style of the rest of the roster, these two power hitting guys should help provide an extra boost the Royals are looking for.
We weren’t able to see much of the bullpen yesterday, but this could be what makes or breaks the Royals this year. Ventura and Duffy are solid starters, but the bottom three in Volquez, Vargas and Guthrie could go either way. The Royals added much needed depth to the bullpen during the offseason, so I think they covered themselves well in case they need it. I’m confident in Ventura and Duffy, but like I said, we may see the bullpen utilized quite a bit when any of the other three start games.
Safe to say, this is the most excited Kansas City has been for the baseball season in quite some time. That’s a pretty damn good feeling to have. It’s going to be a fun seven months.
Welcome back, baseball.