Less than a week ago a writer on this very website wrote an article about how to watch the Royals even if they weren't going to win very many games this season. Now I'm sure he is charming, brilliant, funny...where was I going with this again? Oh, right, but he uh...well, he sure seems to be wrong a week later. He made the dazzling argument that the Royals had no angels in their outfield. No evil owners trying to move the team to Florida. He had me convinced. But maybe, just maybe, he underestimated the power of Esky Magic.
For those of you who didn't read that exceptionally persuasive article and have thus not been paying attention, the Royals have now won 5 of their last 6 games. They have won back-to-back series for the first time this entire season. Did the offense improve? Well, yeah, they did look better against the Rays - minus Chris Archer, anyway. But uh...they've won the last 2 games by 1 run each and scored a total of 7 runs so far, this series. 7 is an improvement, but they'll probably need to be better. And they're probably going to have to score runs off some good pitchers, too. Today should be an interesting test.
The Royals will face hard-throwing Kevin Gausman. Gausman carried a 3.61 ERA last season in 30 starts. Not amazing, but certainly not terrible. So far this season he hasn't been very good, overall. But his last start was against the Nationals, the best offensive team in baseball so far this year, and he went 7 innings only allowing 2 runs while striking out 8. He has looked like a really good pitcher at times, he has looked like a really bad pitcher at times. If the Royals want to win today, much less shake off the rest of the bad offense rust, they'll need to make him look like a bad one again.
Besides just building confidence there is a very important reason the offense really has to shine today - because Chris Young is spot starting for the injured Ian Kennedy for the second time in a row. He was not good in his last outing, but the Royals don't really have a better option. The Royals will mostly be counting on him to not give up too many runs in 3-4 innings of work and then let the bullpen sort out the rest. The good news is that, as bad as Young has been lately, he's actually got really good numbers against the Orioles in his career. In the last 5 years against the current Orioles hitters he is only allowing a .159 batting average, and only Manny Machado has taken him deep. None of them have more than a single hit off of him in that time.
Royals Today: Escobar 6, Moustakas 5, Cain 8, Hosmer 3, Soler 9, Moss DH, Merrifield 4, Gordon 7, Butera 2 (RHP Chris Young)— Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) May 14, 2017
More good news; Alex Gordon is back! I know some of you are probably wondering why that's good news. Well, first of all it's good news because it's always better for people to not be hurt than to be hurt. He's also still got a great glove. But I'm predicting that very soon he will break out into a nice hot streak, as well. Maybe he can get that started and lead the offense to victory, today.