Royals are flexing their muscles

By Steve Sell
April 09, 2015

The slugging Kansas City Royals?

You heard me right.

Through two games, the Royals are on pace to make the 1927 New York Yankees look like a bunch of Punch-and-Judy weak sisters.

The fence-busting Royals have swelled up for four home runs in back-to-back wins over division rival Chicago.

Kansas City has feasted on the White Sox for 17 runs and 27 hits in two games, this from a team whose offensive woes have been well documented through the years.

The homers have been by four different players — Mike Moustakas, Alex Rios, Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain. And they’re hitting them with men on base, as Rios and Hosmer crashed three-run shots and Cain a game-winning two-run blast in the eighth inning on Wednesday.

It hasn’t hurt the Royals that summer has come early to Kansas City. It was June-like on Opening Day and the wind helped hitters in Game 2.

But the homers by Rios, Hosmer and Cain were no-doubters and would have been out of the park no matter the conditions.

Don’t expect the Royals to hit two a game and 324 this season. This is a team that was last in the American League in homers last year and its paucity of power was almost embarrasing at times.

Is it the conditions? Is it a juiced baseball? Is the White Sox’s pitching wretched? Have the fences been secretly brought in by 10 feet and nobody’s noticed?

Or are Royals hitters just trying to hit homers instead of line drives?

It’s probably a combination of all.

Whatever the reason, it’s nice to see the long ball as part of the Royals’ arsenal. It’s the easiest way to score runs instead of KC’s usual M.O. of stringing together a litany of singles and doubles. Like the late Earl Weaver used to say, a rally consists of a three-run homer.

Wednesday’s win was textbook Royals. The game was tied heading into seventh inning, which is HDH time. Kelvin Herrera worked the seventh, Wade Davis the eighth and Greg Holland closed it in the ninth. Toss in a scoreless sixth by Jason Frasor and the Royals’ bullpen worked four scoreless innings to augment the three the staff threw on Monday.

Manager Ned Yost, though, would probably like to see his starters go more than five or six innings. While he does have an embarrassment of riches in his deep bullpen, you don’t want to be using three or four pitchers every game. I know Yost likes the idea of shortening games to six innings, but a seven- or eight-inning performance from a starter would be welcomed.

It’s an exciting start for the Royals, who are still riding an emotional high from last year’s magical season.