• HOME COOKING — Dr. Jekyll, meet Mr. Hyde.
The Kansas City Royals, who can’t seem to win on the road as they just endured a sickly 2-8 travel, returned home on Monday where they seemingly can’t lose.
And they didn’t.
The Royals continued their Kauffman Stadium mastery with a 2-1 victory over AL Central-leading Cleveland, cutting the Indians’ lead to two games. Should KC repeat Monday’s success tonight and Wednesday, they would be back in a first-place tie.
The return home didn’t energize the Royals’ bats as their offensive malaise continued. Thanks to rookie Whit Merrifield (homer, triple) and the pitching of Edinson Volquez, however, Kansas City defeated Cleveland for only the second time in eight meetings this season.
The Royals beat a tough customer in Carlos Carrasco, who had been 5-0 in six starts at The K. It doesn’t get any easier tonight as Josh Tomlin attempts to move to 3-0 against the Royals this year, while KC counters with Chris Young, who has struggled to keep teams in the park as it’s been bombs away. He needs to go deep since the Royals will be without Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis as both have pitched three days in a row. If it gets down to crunch time, it will be up to Luke Hoechevar and Joakim Soria.
This is shaping up to be a roller-coaster of a summer for the Royals and the other teams in the AL Central Division. It’s evident there’s not a dominant team like Kansas City was last year and I still think 86 wins can take the division.
• FINALS DRAG ON — I really thought that even without Draymond Green, the Golden State Warriors would wrap up the NBA championship at home on Monday.
But LeBron James and Kyrie Irving became the first teammates to score more than 40 points in an NBA Finals game to keep Cleveland alive. LeBron has taken a lot of criticism for not putting the Cavaliers on his back like Michael Jordan used to with the Bulls. He answered his critics in a big way, while Irving had a career night.
The absence of Green, suspended for a game due to constant shenanigans, can not be understated. While he’s tremendously versatile on offense, it’s the defensive end where he was missed. LeBron was able to power his way unabated to the basket and I believe if Green had played, the series was over.
Cleveland fans have to feel emboldened. The Cavaliers have been a really good home team and some self-doubt may creep in for the Warriors. I still believe Golden State is the far superior team and I’ll be surprised if they don’t end it on Thursday.
• SIGN UP FOR CITY GOLF TOURNEY — There was a time when the McPherson City Golf Tournament drew more than 90 players.
Those were the days.
The tournament, which covers three days, has been in the high 50s and low 60s in recent years. Having co-founded the tournament, I believe when we decided to go to three days that we lost some of the field, simply because some golfers can’t find time to play on Friday.
There’s still a week to sign up and I’m sure we’ll be near our normal number. I’m proud that the tournament has had staying power, as this will be the 33rd year of the event.
I urge all golfers to get out and register at Turkey Creek clubhouse.
• OPEN WILL PRODUCE HIGH SCORES – It was interesting to hear the reactions of the golfers following Monday’s practice round at Oakmont, site of this year’s U.S. Open that begins on Thursday.
The last time the tournament was staged at the Pennsylvania course, Angel Cabrera took first place with a 5-over-par score. That’s a far cry from the 15- and 16-unders that take the top prize in the weekly non-major stops.
It’s kind of fun for we amateur choppers to see the pros struggle, since they make the game look so easy. Now they know what the rest of us feel like.
There’s some talk of rain and all that would do is make the gnarly rough so thick that golfers can’t even extract themselves from some positions.
Jordan Spieth is the defending champion and Oakmont could really fit his eye. It’s a course for shot-makers and the ability to think your way around.
And after his Masters’ collapse, to say that he’s motivated in the second major of the year is an understatement.