I'm not even going to sweat the loss to Seattle today...the Royals just ran into a buzzsaw named Michael Pineda. This guy looks to be the real deal and a half, and if this keeps up, it'll make it an extra-interesting tidbit this Summer for the M's -- with as poor an offense as they have, they're not going to win much, so the possibility of trading Felix Hernandez will loom large.
Alright...I lied. I will sweat one thing, and that was Ned Yost's decision to have Jarrod Dyson bunt in the 8th inning. It was silly -- Dyson isn't a good hitter, but he does have a good batting eye and is able to get on-base via the walk. The Royals were down two runs with no outs at that point, so giving an out away in order to get the opportunity to score just one of the runs you'd need to tie isn't smart at all.
Also, with Dyson's speed, the possibility of a double-play should have been much reduced (and indeed he ended up beating out a double-play on that at-bat). So, with the decent chance Dyson could draw a walk, much less actually (gasp!) get a hit, why take the bat out of his hands? Or, better yet, why not have Alcides Escobar steal 2nd, where then a sacrifice gets him to 3rd -- and then even an out would score him? Sacrificing Escobar to 2nd base still means they would've needed a hit to drive him in.
Another thing that could become questionable very quickly is what Yost does with Chris Getz, now that he's performing more Chris Getz-like. I wouldn't necessarily say he should go against what he's done initially -- if Getz was named the starter at 2nd base, fine, I wouldn't suggest yanking him after a few poor games when he had the great start.
However, Yost has to know that his best offensive lineup features Getz sitting on the bench, and Mike Aviles starting at 2B with the still white-hot Wilson Betemit starting at 3rd, defense be damned. Getz doesn't provide enough defense to cover for the offensive jump from him to Aviles, and the Royals need to try to get Betemit more plate appearances at the moment.
We'll see how quick he is to pull the trigger, but I'll say this much -- with as quickly as he's given days off to Alex Gordon, Kila Ka'aihue, Aviles, and others for various reasons (including struggling at the plate), I'm going to start to wonder about Yost's sanity if he continues to play Getz every day while he's slumping with the bat.
Getz, Billy Butler, and Alcides Escobar are the only Royals who haven't had a day off yet. For two of those three players, that makes perfect sense -- guess which one doesn't make as much sense? You get three guesses, but the last two don't count.
- The match-up vs. the Cleveland Indians will test some things -- the Royals have faced only one team that early in the season has scored well, and that team (the Chicago White Sox) tagged them for 16 runs in the two game series. The Indians are also scoring well, so this may be a true barometer of the Royals pitching staff, who to this point has done fairly well, but has faced some absolutely anemic offenses (especially in the Twins and Mariners)
- I'm now pretty much expecting something positive each game from Billy Butler, Gordon, and Betemit at the plate, whether it's hits of some sort or a walk (and Gordon's walked very little to this point). It won't happen, but I'm confident in them at the plate. Another thing Yost will need to consider (read: need to do), is hit Betemit 5th until such time as he cools off. He's simply a better hitter than Kila from the left side.
- Blake Wood has looked good so far, but I'll wait for a few more appearances before having any real confidence in him.
- The next 10 games will be very, very telling for the Royals in 2011. If they managed to do well in the 7 games vs. the Indians while holding their own against the Texas Rangers, then I will officially have hope of them contending for the AL Central title this year. That hope probably wouldn't fill a thimble, but hey, it'll be there.