• ROYALS ALL BUT TOAST — A loss tonight and the Kansas City Royals will be eliminated from winning the AL Central championship for the second year in a row.
And soon they will be eliminated from the wild-card race, though they’ve probably stuck around longer than expected considering how they’ve been devastated by injuries, not to mention they have little emotional energy left in the tank after playing two straight years of high-stress games that led to trips to two World Series resulting in one World Championship.
Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to Cleveland at Progressive Field was another punch in the gut. Kansas City has had all kinds of trouble winning at the Mistake by the Lake as all it seems Cleveland has to do is show up to win.
The loss was pinned on Brian Flynn, whose walk and error in the bottom of the ninth inning set in motion a tragic set of events. Fittingly, as has happened so often this season, Joakim Soria threw the final pitch that Brandon Guyer hit just inside the foul line and the Royals had loss No. 74 on the season.
The Royals wasted a rare quality start by not-so-steady Eddie Volquez, whose KC career is nearing an end. With an ERA swelled to 5.25 after numerous rocky outings, he will command too much money to keep. My guess is somebody will offer him about $5 million, which is half of what he’s making this year. He’s still an innings-eater, but not much else unless he magically can find his old form. He’s one of the really good guys in baseball and you hope he lands somewhere.
With the Royals in tatters due to injuries, it’s been their heart that’s kept them in the race. But now the beat is becoming faint.
• PRAY FOR CLOUDS — Thursday is the McPherson Invitational Cross Country Meet at Rolling Acres and please pray for clouds.
The sweltering temperatures can be dangerous for cross country runners, especially on a course as difficult as Rolling Acres, which is as tough as any there is except maybe for Lawrence’s Rim Rock Farm.
In Tuesday’s Southeast of Saline Invitational in Gypsum, meet officials shortened the distances due to the excessive heat, the varsity races by more than a mile.
It’s all about the kids and I’m sure meet officials Thursday will be watching the weather to see if they need to make adjustments.
• CARDS STAYING ALIVE — Just when I was ready to bury my beloved St. Louis Cardinals, they have surged.
The Cardinals, San Francisco Giants and New York Mets are all tied for the two wild-cards in the National League with 80-71 records. St. Louis seemingly was out of it, but has reeled off four road wins in a row while the Mets have lost back-to-back home games against the lowly Atlanta Braves.
The Giants have collapsed since the All-Star break, which has allowed St. Louis new life. The Cardinals have been a maddening team this year, as they score almost all their runs on home runs and the supposed starting pitching has been wildly inconsistent.
All they want to do is make the playoffs. Then everybody starts 0-0.