The Royals just finished up an embarrassing sweep at the hands of the Twins, a club that lost 103 games last year and dropped 15 of 19 to the Royals that season. The Twins outscored the Royals 21-5. As a team, the Royals have drawn nine walks (five from Lorenzo Cain!) - three more than feared slugger Jason Castro drew in the series. As a team, they have three extra base hits - the same amount as Miguel Sanó.
The Royals are hitting .174 as a team. Their team ERA of 7.88 is the worst in baseball. The bullpen has an ERA of 15.75, having given up 14 runs. The 2015 Royals bullpen didn’t give up their 14th run until Game 27. Wade Davis gave up 17 runs over the last two seasons combined. The Royals walked seven or more hitters in three consecutive games for the first time since 2006, when the starting pitchers were Jorge de la Rosa, Mark Redman, and Runelvys Hernandez. It is the most walks any team has issued in its first three games since 2010.
So yea, its bad.
But it is just three games. Just 1.9% of the season is completed. In an NFL season, 1.9% of the season would be three minutes into the second quarter of the first game. In a marathon, that is less than half a mile. If you started a three-hour movie, you’d be three minutes in - probably still in the opening credits. In a four-year collegiate career, you’d be done with the first month. In this article, you'd be through the word "Twins" in the first sentence.
It gets magnified more because it is the beginning of the season, but the truth is, pretty much every team will have a horrid three-game stretch at some point. The 2015 eventual World Champion Royals had two of them. In late May, they were absolutely destroyed in Yankee Stadium, losing three games by a combined score of 23-4 (including the Jeremy Guthrie 11-run game). In September, the White Sox - a team that would lose 86 games that year, swept the Royals in Kansas City by a combined score of 25-7, which caused half the fanbase to lose their collective minds.
Of course, when that team got stomped, we had the benefit of knowing they had already won a lot of games and were in first place. We have no such luxury now. This team may end up being good after all. Or they could be nearly as bad as they’ve looked so far. The early signs are not encouraging.
But these aren’t all rookies in their first rodeo. We know Eric Hosmer won’t hit under .200 all season. We know Alex Gordon won’t hit .100 all season. The bullpen may not be good, but it can’t be this bad all season. Things will start to even out.
They do need to turn it around quickly. This is the seventh 0-3 start in franchise history. Of those, only two of those seasons - 1993 and 1994 - ended with a winning season. The 1993 team dropped seven of their first eight and went 31-18 after that, taking over first place in mid-June. The 1994 team dropped five of their first six, but went on a five game winning streak after that, and ended up competing for the division lead until the work stoppage hit in August.
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Dayton Moore and Ned Yost are known for taking the long view and their patience with players, for better or for worse. Sometimes that patience is rewarded - like in 2014 when fans were calling for Yost to be fired players to be traded in a firesale. But sometimes that patience turns into too many outings for Aaron Crow, too many starts for Jeremy Guthrie or Chris Young, too many plate appearances for Omar Infante. The Royals shouldn’t do anything rash after three games. A good weekend and we could all have completely forgotten this by Monday.
But they shouldn’t be complacent either. That was some ugly baseball and looming next are the Astros, who are almost certainly a good team. The Royals certainly aren’t sunk, but it would be nice to see the boat start moving before we take on too much water.