• GORDON EMERGING FROM SLUMBER — Alex Gordon is a pro’s pro.
The Kansas City Royals’ All-Star outfielder has endured the most nightmarish season of his career.
Fresh from signing a 4-year, $72 million contract, Gordon got off to a terrible start and then early on had a collision with Mike Moustakas that put him out for more than a month, while Moustakas was lost for the year.
Once Gordon returned, he contributed little and struck out at an alarming rate. But being the professional he is, he never offered excuses or complained.
My guess is that Gordon’s wrist was slower healing that he was letting on. He wanted to be out on the field making a contribution, but simply didn’t have the hand strength to drive the ball.
Maybe now, 4 1/2 months into the season, we’re seeing why Gordon was given a contract that was more about lifetime achievement than it was expected production.
He’s homered in three straight games and his grand slam on Thursday catapulted the Royals to an 8-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins, a team they dearly need to beat up on in this lengthy four-game series. A Royals sweep would vault them back into the wild-card conversation after two weeks ago it appeared they were headed for a sub-.500 season.
The Royals need for Gordon’s bat to boom. Lorenzo Cain hasn’t homered since May and Paulo Orlando has only four homers though his average is lofty. While the longball isn’t in the Royals’ DNA, Gordon is one of the few guys who can go yard on a consistent basis.
Kansas City’s win on Thursday was punctuated by a rare contribution from the No. 5 spot in the rotation as Dillon Gee flummoxed the Twins with a variety of off-speed pitches. The 5-spot has been a virtual zero this year as while Gee now has five wins, some have come out of the bullpen.
Let’s hope the Royals can broom the Twins right out of town. It’s Edinson Volquez’s turn tonight to keep the pitching string going and he’s had good luck with Minnesota in the past.
• CHIEFS STARTERS TO PLAY MORE — Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid reportedly is going to give the starters about half of the snaps on Saturday when they play in Los Angeles against the former St. Louis Rams.
Reid basically went a quarter with the starters in the opener, a 17-16 loss to Seattle in a game the Seahawks scored on the final play to win it against a defensive group of backups that probably will be long gone by the time the Chiefs open the season.
The Chiefs are still without defensive mainstays Eric Berry, Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. Berry and Hali should be good to go for the season opener, but the more I hear about Houston, the more I think he’s probably not going to be a factor until midseason, if then.
The Chiefs have a lot of depth and athleticism on defense, but it’s tough for any team to survive the absence of three Pro Bowlers, not to mention all have long tenure with the team.
My eye is going to be more on the offensive line. The Chiefs should be able to pound teams with with their plethora of backs and Jeremy Maclin now has some help on the outside. And never forget Travis Kelce, one of the best tight ends in the game.
• WILDCATS 3-2 ON TRIP — The Kansas State men’s basketball team is coming home from Europe after going 3-2 in the five games it played.
This may be a watershed year for Bruce Weber. After a great first year basically with Frank Martin’s leftovers, the Wildcats have languished in the Big 12’s second division for the most part since then.
My guess is that Weber needs to finish in the Top 5 of the Big 12 or make the NCAA or NIT Tournament. Wildcat fans are starting to get uneasy as Weber’s Wildcat career is starting to resemble his Illinois tenure, where he started fast and then faded.