Vargas putting Royals on his back

By Steve Sell
May 12, 2017

Friday’s favorites...

• HOW LONG CAN VARGAS CARRY THE ROYALS? — How much longer can Kansas City left-hander Jason Vargas make opposing hitters look silly?

On a last-place team that is a meager 13-21, Vargas is now 5-1 with an ERA circa Bob Gibson as it’s 1.01. He pitched seven innings of three-hit, shutout ball on Thursday against Tampa Bay in a 6-0 victory, giving the Royals the series win by taking 3 of 4.

History tells us Vargas can’t keep up this pace as he's been pedestrian throughout his career. Heck, nobody can unless we turn the clock back to 1968 when Gibson has his historic season. Vargas is doing it by baffling opponents with a bevy of off-speed pitches and by the time the hitters start to look for the slow stuff, he zips an 88 mph fastball by them.

Vargas has more than one-third of the Royals’ victories. Ian Kennedy has yet to win and Jason Hammel has been a disaster. Except for his games against the Chicago White Sox, Danny Duffy has been nails. Nate Karns has been wildly inconsistent, but he’s the No. 5 guy and anything around .500 will be acceptable.

Throw out Wednesday’s one-run clunker and the Royals showed signs of life at the plate in the series with 20 runs in the other three games. But it’s still gruesome to watch Alex Gordon continue to spin himself in the ground as he’s now at .158 and Jorge Soler is flailing away at .056.

Now comes six games total with Baltimore and the Yankees, not exactly the teams the Royals want to see now.

• OTTE IS BACK — It will be so great to have Bryan Otte back as Moundridge volleyball coach.

Otte carved out nothing short of an amazing career for the Wildcats as he spent 11 years at the school before taking over at Valley Center, where he also made the program a power.

Otte won six state championships while at Moundridge. I've always thought he seemed to have a midas touch as the Wildcats were like a machine during much of his tenure.

He's also one of the really good guys in the profession and a delight to work with. Welcome back Bryan.

• MICHAEL OR LEBRON? — For whatever reason lately, the debate about who's the better player between Michael Jordan and LeBron James has been raging more than normal.

As great of an athlete as Michael was, he's not the specimen of LeBron. What King James can do with the basketball at 6-8 and 240 pounds is jaw-dropping. Can you imagine what kind of football player he would have been?

For years LeBron wasn't what I'd call a great shooter, but he's worked hard to become better.

But my vote, be it ever so slight, would still go to Jordan. He was so good in the clutch and defensively he had no peers. He has the advantage of having had a better cast around him, one reason has has won more championships.

LeBron will get his team in The Finals in a couple of weeks, but I don't see anybody beating Golden State.