It was quite the week for the Royals, as they kind of went off the rails for a bit. After starting 7-0, they struggled against the Twins dropping what should have been an easy series, and barely escaped three scuffles with the A’s. They’re now 9-3 and sit in second place, trailing the Tigers by one game.
Of course, the most talked about storyline will be the heated series against Oakland, but I’m not going to talk about that. The dust has (hopefully) settled and the team will continue their homestand with a three game series against Minnesota beginning tomorrow. They dropped 2 of 3 to the Twins earlier this week, and it will be the bottom three in the rotation on the mound this time around.
Lost in the chaotic mess of a weekend was the fact that the Royals lost a lot more than they gained. Alex Rios went down with a fracture in his hand, Alcides Escobar will now deal with what will probably be a lingering knee injury, Greg Holland was placed on the 15 day DL, and Omar Infante went down yet again with another injury. Not to mention, Yordano Ventura has yet to get past the sixth inning in a game.
Let’s take a look at the injuries, first. Alex Rios was replaced (partially) by Paulo Orlando, who has turned out to be a great addition to the lineup. He spent a majority of his career in the minors, so baseball isn’t really much of a new concept to him. He’s transitioned very well into the majors, and he should provide about the same level of production that Rios did.
Escobar will most likely return to action sometime this week, but who’s to say that he won’t have any more trouble with his knee? We saw Infante struggle through the entire second half of the season last year with a lingering injury, and although Escobar’s is probably less severe, you never know. Christian Colon has filled in during Escobar’s absence, and his performance has been underwhelming to say the least.
Greg Holland joined the DL with a pectoral strain this weekend, but luckily it’s a short term stint. Here’s to hoping that the Royals can get the bats going again, because I think they’ll need all the runs they can get. From what we’ve seen from the last three in the rotation thus far, I’m not very confident in them going deep into games. Luckily the bullpen has more depth this year.
As for Infante, he went down with a groin injury today in the fifth inning. It’s uncertain how severe his injury is, but I can guess that it’s going to require more time to recover than Escobar’s injury will. The Royals are already pretty thin in the infield, as they are now left with no backup players. Orlando Calixte will take Infante’s spot, and Colon will take Escobar’s (I’m sure they could switch, if they wanted to) which leaves no players on the bench.
Ned Yost is going to have a fun week trying to manage through all of these setbacks, but let’s hope that the Royals can channel their inner-resiliency this week and push through the tough challenges we know they’re going to face. Detroit thus far has been better than people expected (even myself) and it’s crucial to keep pace with them early in the season.
I was going to talk about Ventura, too, but I guess I’ll have to save that for a later day.
If you’re looking for a good read this week, check out this column from Sam Mellinger, a Kansas City Star columnist. I think pretty much every Royals fan will agree.