The first of two series between the Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals begin today in St. Louis. The series is one of those special ones that involves two teams from the same state and one of the few that involve a World Series that many can still remember.
This series is the biggest reason that I like interleague play. I look forward to the Cardinals and Royals matchups every season, mainly because I have a close friend that is a big Cardinals fan. It's a lot of fun to be able to either talk crap (more recently) or just sit there silently while you're dreams are shattered (most other times). I seem to do one of these mini-previews every season and it's probably because when I wake up the day of that first game, I'm pumped.
The Royals went 4-2 last season against the Cardinals, sweeping them in St. Louis and then only winning 1 of 2 at the K. I'm the kind to focus on the good and that was the series in St. Louis. Going into the series the Royals record was at 28-42 (ouch) while the Cardinals were 42-29.
Game 1 - KC-2 STL-1
Kyle Davies went 7 IP and only gave up 1 ER. He struck out 4 while walking 3 but still managed to have a great outing. Mahay and Soria closed the door in the 8th and 9th by not allowing a baserunner.
Down 0-1 in the 5th, Ross Gload singled with 1 out. after Davies sacrificed Gload to 3rd, David Dejesus singled him in to tie the score at 1-1. You gotta love NL Baseball!
Scoreless baseball continued till the 8th, when Ron Villone replaced Joel Piniero. Mike Aviles lined a HR to left field to take the lead that the Royals would never give up. I think this is when I fell in love with Mike Aviles last season. (Man Crush)
The good news, Hiram leads off the series in 2009 once again. The bad news, he's been laboring somewhat as of late and we don't have Joakim Soria.
Game 2 - KC-3 STL-2
The Royals win again from another pitching performance by a back of the rotation guy in Brian Bannister. Following Kyle Davies, Bannister went 7 IP, giving up 2 ER, striking out 1 and walking none, a classic Banny performance.
The Royals were down 0-2 until the 7th, not being able to do anything against the feared Braden Looper. In the 7th, John Buck drove in Mark Teahen to make it 1-2. Then after another scoreless by Banny, Tony La Russa brought in Kyle McClellan out of the bullpen. Bad Move. A solo HR by David Dejesus with 1 out, and another solo shot by Alex Gordon with 2 outs put the Royals in front by 3-2. They wouldn't give the lead back, as Soria earned another save with a perfect ninth. Sunday, Banny will have de ja vu and shut em down again.
Game 3 - KC-4 STL-1
The Royals finished off the 3 game sweep in St. Louis with another 7 inning performance from a SP when future ace, Zack Greinke went 7, allowing 1 ER while striking out 7. Mark Teahen paced the offense, going 3-4 with a HR and a triple and 3 of the 4 RBIs. Yes, Joakim Soria with another perfect 9th.
The trip down memory lane is over and wasn't it sweet? Last year was a lot of fun to watch and I can only hope that we play as well as last year. Once again we will throw Davies and Banny at the Cards so there is something about the fact that they pitched well there last year that is giving me hope. Hochevar being due for a good start also gives me optimism. I'm a little worried about our bullpen like most of you, and the fact that Soria saved every game last season with a perfect 9th gives me a bad feeling.
Prediction: Royals win 2 out of 3 in STL and come home to face Detroit 2 or 3 games back.
Finally, I'm sure many of you were around and well when the Royals beat the Cards to win the World Series. Unfortunately, I was born in 1985 so don't know a thing except what I've seen in highlights. Any memories from that series, or any interleague matchups between the two cross-league rivals?