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Every Game Matters

Royals take on the Marlins to decide the series this afternoon.

The official dress code of Royals Review
The official dress code of Royals Review
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to an 8-20 May, every game is becoming a must have contest for Kansas City.  That's not living in the past.  That is not being a negative Nancy/Nelly/nattering na-bob.  That's just freaking math, kids.

This non-Fox televised afternoon businessman's special has the Royals leaning on Ervin Santana to lead them to yet another important, bordering on imperative, win.   Santana is coming off his worst outing of the season that saw him give up six runs in less than four innings against Boston last Friday (a game the Royals ended up winning 9-6).

The Royals will face another talented young arm in Jacob Turner, who sports a 2.95 ERA over 13 starts for Miami this season.  The 22 year old features the usual fastball, slider, curve and change and will touch 94, but 'sit' in the 92-93 mph range.  The Marlins are not a very good baseball team right now, but they do feature some intriguing young players and Turner is certainly one of those.

The lineup for today:

Lough RF, Hosmer 1B, Butler DH, Gordon LF, Perez C, Escobar SS, Getz 2B, Johnson 3B, Dyson CF

Mike Moustakas showed up in a walking boot this morning, which is not the best news I have heard lately.  Mark Reynolds anyone?

Let's take a walk back in history.  First, the lineup on this day in 2006 (Dayton Moore's first year as GM):

David DeJesus LF, Mark Grudzielanek 2B, Mike Sweeney DH, Mark Teahen 3B, Emil Brown RF, Ryan Shealy 1B, John Buck C, Angel Berroa SS, Joey Gathright CF with Mark Redman pitching.

The Royals lost 12-2 at Chicago to fall to 41-78 on the season and 36 1/2 games out of first place.  Yuck and ugh.

The lineup the last time the Royals were over .500 in August (2003):

Aaron Guiel CF, Angel Berroa SS, Raul Ibanez LF, Mike Sweeney DH, Joe Randa 3B, Dee Brown RF, Ken Harvey 1B, Brent Mayne C, Mendy Lopez 2B with Kevin Appier pitching.

The Royals actually had the 14th off in 2003, so this is the August 13th game.

This was Appier's second start with Kansas City after being released by the Angels and he would throw six innings of shutout ball, allowing just three hits as the Royals beat the Yankees 11-0.   Appier would start just twice more for the Royals that year.

The win pushed Kansas City's record to 64-55 and give them a one and one-half game lead in the Central.   They would drop six of the next seven games to fall a game out of first, but rally to win five of the following six to tie for the division lead on August 28th.   As many of us sadly remember, the bottom fell out after that as the Royals lost 10 of the next 14 games.

And the last time the Royals made the playoffs (1985 - duh!):

Willie Wilson CF, Lonnie Smith LF, George Brett 3B, Hal McRae DH, Frank Whtie 2B, Steven Balboni 1B, Darryl Motley RF, Jim Sundberg C, Onix Concepcion SS with Bud Black pitching.

The Royals dropped this game at Boston by an ugly 16-3 score with Black not making it out of the first inning.  The loss dropped them to 61-50 and two and one-half games out of first place in the then A.L. West.   Kansas City would basically mark time in that position until September 2nd, when they went on a 12-1 run to edge into first.   They would still be just tied for lead with only five games left in the season, but won four in a row to clinch the title.  I remember that - it was really fun.

Gamethread to follow.  Win to follow after that.