• BIG WEEK FOR ROYALS — The last time the Kansas City Royals were home at Kauffman Stadium, they pounded out a 6-0 record.
Would they ever take that now.
The homestand that begins tonight is a seven-gamer and it comes against the teams they are battling with for AL Central Division supremacy.
The Royals have three games with thorn-in-the-side Cleveland, then four more with Detroit. This could very well be the most important week of the season.
The Royals are 1-6 against Cleveland, but all the games have been in the “Mistake By the Lake” city. Nine of the final 12 meetings between the teams will be at The K, where the Royals have compiled the best record in the American League.
The Royals limped home Sunday from an exhausting, frustrating 10-game trip. After losing their first eight, they were no doubt enlightened by finishing strong as back-to-back quality starts by Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura were exactly what they needed.
Maybe the home cooking will re-energize the bats. Kansas City scored a sickly 19 runs in the 10 games and only hit five once. They were shut out three times and scored one run in three other games.
Give manager Ned Yost credit for deviating from his normal stand-pat policy. He finally made the much-anticipated move of dropping slumping Alcides Escobar out of the leadoff spot and flip-flopped Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain as opposing teams had been walking Hosmer when he was hitting fourth. Salvador Perez is now hitting behind Cain, while Kendrys Morales is at No. 6, though he’s getting closer to breaking out.
Most of all, though, Duffy and Ventura delivered great starts, something that was missing in the eight-game losing streak. Cleveland is throwing three of its best pitchers at KC, not what it needs to get its moribund attack jump-started.
I think the Royals, given how they’ve played the last two weeks, would take 4-3 this week and say thank you very much.
• NBA FINALS COULD END TONIGHT — The snoozing NBA Finals will probably end tonight, even though Golden State will be without star forward Draymond Green.
Green’s latest transgression, this time against the Face of the League LeBron James, warranted a one-game suspension.
No matter. The Warriors’ bench is more than capable of picking up the slack in his absence.
The Cavaliers have little to go with their Big 3 of LeBron, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love and Love has hardly been a factor. Cleveland made it to the title game simply because there were no other quality teams in the East.
Hopefully the Warriors will put everyone out of their misery and end this sleepy series tonight.
Bring on the NFL.
• U.S. OPEN THIS WEEK — The U.S. Open Golf Tournament begins on Thursday at Oakmont and you don’t hear many people complaining about no Tiger Woods.
While Tiger is definitely being missed, I think golf fans have adjusted to life without him. From what he says it sounds like he’s still a long ways away from being “Open-worthy.”
Let’s face it, Tiger is getting up in years and no matter his greatness Father Time doesn’t lose. Not only is it the physical hurdle Tiger has to clear, but the mental hurdle as well. It’s going to take him time to get back up to speed in being “in the hunt.” He’s just not going to be able to go out and contend from Day One, whenever that’s going to be.
The game is carrying on without Tiger, just as it did without Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. There’s a lot of great golfers ready to carry the banner. I, for one, find it refreshing.