Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wild Thing, you stink

As you may have seen or heard last night, the Royals beat the Blue Jays 10-7. That is correct, the Royals scored 10 runs, giving them 19 runs in their past two games. You might wonder, what could have caused this outburst of offense? Did they get fired up because Chris Getz was in town? Are they taking steroids? Do they play better in cold and rainy weather? 

All valid questions and the answer is… I don’t know. One of the Royals biggest problems this season has been their terrible hitting with runners in scoring position (RISP). In fact, when the Royals were losing 5-4 with two runners on base in the bottom of the 8th inning, I tweeted the following:

I was forced to eat my words as Salvador Perez knocked home both runs with a clutch double down the third base line, which ignited 4 more runs, causing me to further eat my words. AND I DON’T CARE. I will eat all my words if the Royals continue to punish the baseball like Adam Silver punished Donald Sterling. 

The game began innocently enough; in fact, so innocently that my dog fell asleep by the 2nd inning due to boredom and lack of offense. I guess low-scoring, technical baseball is not for everyone:

Jason Vargas pitched his worst game as a Royal, giving up 5 runs. It was rainy and cold, with the game being delayed 27 minutes. Alcides Escobar slipped in the grass trying to make a throw and Nori Aoki missed two fly balls in deep right field that allowed a go-ahead run to score. Everything pointed to another disappointing loss by the Royals, EVEN THOUGH THE ROYALS LEAD THE MAJORS IN BATTING AVERAGE AT HOME. In fact, Aoki leads ALL PLAYERS in batting average at home. WHY CAN’T THEY SCORE MORE RUNS?!?!? 

Well, along came Salvador Perez. He was clearly angry, and he bashed a 2-run homer to get the Royals within one run, then started the 6-run outburst with his double described above. Despite slumping a bit the past few weeks after a torrid start, Perez has carried the team more than Eric Hosmer, Billy Butler, and Alex Gordon combined. It seems like they don’t want to carry the team and Salvy is showing that he does. 

On a side note, the 6 runs scored in the 8th inning are an anomaly in this young Royals’ season. They have only scored 6 or more runs in 5 games this season. And of course, for those of you who follow this blog or the Royals closely, you know that the Royals are now 13-0 when scoring at least 4 runs, and 0-12 when scoring 3 or less. The magic number 4 remains!

In other news, the Blue Jays trotted out Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn from Major League fame as a reliever (see below):

I was not aware that he was still in the majors. He faced 5 batters and gave up two runs, taking the loss for the Jays, but he did get Alex Gordon to strike out looking in a critical point in the game. Gordon cannot do that if the Royals want to make the playoffs. He HAS to step his offense up, and soon. The Tigers come to town later this week and we will likely need another 10 runs to beat them.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Kansas City Penguins?

The Royals were off yesterday, so instead of grumbling about Billy Butler hitting into more double plays, I thought I would also take a day off and write about one of my other loves instead.

That other love of course is the Pittsburgh Penguins. As someone who was born and raised in Kansas City (Blue Springs represent!), why should I love the Penguins, a city that is 840 miles away? I have never even been to P-burgh, or whatever the locals call it (P-town? The burgh? Steel town? The town that Wiz Khalifa wrote a song about?). 

No matter. All that really matters is that they have been the only hockey team that I truly loved. I tried rooting for the Blues for a while, but they have never won a Stanley Cup and probably never will, despite the fact that they have TJ “Sochi” Oshie who is a real American hero. Anyway, ever since I was a young child, I have loved the Penguins, starting when I received my first hockey stick (circa 1990 or so). It just so happened that the Penguins were all the rage with Mario Lemieux destroying NHL defensemen, NHL goalies, and EVEN FREAKING CANCER! Also, Lemieux’s teammate Jaromir Jagr had the most gorgeous mullet ever (see photo below) and was super exciting to watch, especially after the Penguins won the Stanley Cup in ’91 and ’92. To make matters even better, a few years ago when the Penguins had bottomed out and were the worst team in the NHL, there was talk that MY FAVORITE HOCKEY TEAM WOULD MOVE TO KANSAS CITY!!!!!!!! Greatest thing ever, until Superhero Mario Lemieux stepped in and saved the team again. As much as I would have loved to have the Penguins in KC, I am ok with them staying in Pittsburgh, and hope to get travel there someday. 

I especially enjoy watching them now since they have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, two of the best players in the NHL, and they have made the playoffs for 8 straight seasons, winning the cup against the hated Red Wings in 2009 (one of the best days of my life). Watch this clip of Marc-Andre Fleury’s save in game 7 of the Finals that preserved the win for the Penguins. That clip should give you goosebumps unless you are a turd from Detroit. 

Last night the Penguins beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 to advance to the second round of the playoffs. They will play either the Rangers or the Flyers. I really hate the Flyers and would love to see the Pens bounce them back to Philly, but the Pens totally sucked against them this season, losing 4 of the 5 games they played. So I will pull for the Rangers. I don’t need any more near heart attacks after the Pens almost blew a 4-0 lead last night, allowing the Blue Jackets to score 3 unanswered goals in a 5-minute span in the third period. Not cool. If the Penguins had lost, that would have been almost as bad as the KC Chiefs choking up a 28 point lead against th…

Never mind. That was the worst day of my life. I need to move on and focus on the present, which is that my favorite hockey team is going to the second round of the playoffs, an extremely mythical land that my Kansas City teams can only dream about. *SIGH*

Go Pens!