This road trip was billed by many to be very important to the 2017 Royals. Alcides Escobar had just taken the leadoff spot back over in Tampa Bay and he led the team to 3-1 series victory there. When the Royals returned home they swept the then-first-place Baltimore Orioles right out of town. Could Esky Magic be everything the Royals needed to get back into a pennant chase?
The Royals lost the ensuing series against the newly-in-first-place New York Yankees, but you can't win every series. So the road trip. 3 games in Minnesota, 4 games in New York, 3 games in Cleveland. If the Royals could come out of that mess with a winning record, maybe they had something. Some people wanted a 7-3 stretch, but winning was the key. Here the Royals are at the end of the trip and they are 4-4 after taking the first two games in Cleveland against the arch-nemeses and one ball game remaining.
Today's starting match-up promises to be a good one. The Royals will send out their ace Danny Duffy who has really looked like an ace, lately. In his last 3 starts he is 2-0 with a 1.71 ERA and 23 strike outs in 21 innings. This becomes even more impressive when you realize two of those starts were back to back outings against the Yankees, it's hard for a pitcher to dominate a team twice in a row. Cleveland will counter with Josh Tomlin who has gone 9-4 in his career against the Royals across 18 starts and 4 relief appearances. Recently, however, he's gone 0-3 with a 5.94 ERA in his last 3 starts against Minnesota, Tampa Bay, and Cincinatti. If you take out the Minnesota game he's actually only pitched 8.2 innings in his last two starts with a 10.98 ERA and he's allowed 3 home runs including a 1.098 OPS against. He's definitely struggled his last couple of times out there.
Royals lineup— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) May 28, 2017
Here is today's lineup.— #VoteTribe 5x a day (@Indians) May 28, 2017
KeyBank Kids Fun Day and Kids Run the Bases presented by Cleveland Clinic Children's post-game on tap today! pic.twitter.com/LGUBzegDNH
So can the good guys win today? If they do, does it actually mean anything for the playoff race in Kansas City or should everyone still be begging Dayton Moore to break apart this roster for deals that make sense for the future instead of the present? And, oh yeah, where is Jorge Soler? Has he been reduced to platooning with Brandon Moss? If the Royals have given up on him already that's a very bad sign.
*the blurb directly beneath the title above should be sung to the tune of the end of the chorus of Fate from the Musical Kismet. Preferably in your best Howard Keel impersonation. Or by the real Howard Keel. I don't know your life.