Same old Royals - a season-opening loss

By Steve Sell
March 31, 2014

The Royals wouldn’t be the Royals if they didn’t lose on Opening Day.

On a gorgeous Detroit Monday afternoon, Kansas City tried to scissor its five-year Opening Day losing streak against the team they must consistently beat to win the division.

The Royals had the Tigers down 3-1, but it all unraveled in the seventh inning.  Kansas City ace “Big Game” James Shields was living up to his monicker when the gas needle went to empty.

In came Aaron Crow, who last season was lights-out when the pressure wasn’t on, but seemed to rattle in times of heat.

Crow allowed the Tigers to tie the game, then new bridge-to-the-closer Wade Davis set Detroit up to win it, which it did when Greg Holland gave up the deciding hit.

So as usual, the Royals won’t go 162-0. And once again, they won’t go 1-0.

This Royals team is under the microscope. After so many years where expectations are for the usual yawner of a season, they’re actually thought to be a playoff contender.

But losing games after leading 3-1 going into the seventh with your ace on the mound are the kinds of blemishes that keep a team from advancing to the playoffs.

I know, I know, the season is a marathon not a sprint. I know all the baseball lingo. But it’s such a familiar pattern for the Royals.

Salvador Perez was a man. He roped four hits, though he also allowed a run to score on a wild pitch when he couldn’t block one of Crow’s dipping sliders. Crow then allowed a game-tying triple as just like last year, he couldn’t come through in the clutch.

Davis should have been pulled before the start of the ninth. Kansas City manager Ned Yost should have gone to Holland at the start of the inning, like most managers do. He should have known he got all he wanted from Davis, who would rather be starting than relieving.

Other than Perez, the Royals’ offensive attack was like paper cuts. Kansas City managed just three other hits and all its runs came in one inning.

The Royals, who have an off day Tuesday to think about how they let this one get away, need to least go 1-2 in this series. It doesn’t take long for doubts to creep in for this team, as it has a fragile psyche. An 0-3 start could snowball, just like it does every year for this team.