Did that really just happen?

“Did that really just happen? The Royals won eight games in-a-row and are in the World Series?” I asked my wife this morning.

“Yes,” she said, with a smile.

***

I watched the Wild Card game from a hotel in Chicago and I was  frustrated. It seemed October baseball wasn’t coming to Kansas City. Down by four runs in the eighth. Jon Lester was being, well, Jon Lester and all seemed lost.

Then, something unreal happened. In my mind, this was the closest thing to the U.S. Olympic Team’s “Miracle on Ice” (or at least my generation’s baseball version of it). The Royals came back, tied the game and won it on a Salvador Perez walkoff single.

From there, the Royals would not be denied. You know the rest. The mighty Angels and Orioles played competitive baseball, but the Royals found ways to win. It seemed like a Disney movie where players are getting superpowers. One opposing player mused that the Royals just willed it when they wanted to score — and they did.

The pitching has been good, the defense has been spectacular and the offense has been just good enough (despite the home run binge in Baltimore).

It’s just like Dayton and Ned drew it up.

Did that really just happen?

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Wednesday Notes and Links

Royals Score Early, Beat Rangers To Sweep Series
Wait, we swept the Rangers? Wow!

Soria, Duffy Look To Chen, Who’s Already Had Tommy John Surgery
” . . . the good part is they’re going to come back the same, or better.”

If The Royals Can Find Some Starters
The Star’s Lee Judge on this team’s weakest link.

According To Plan?
Royals Authority’s Craig Brown dissects the surprising win over the Rangers.

Wil Meyers Moves Up
Kings of Kauffman takes a look at the move

Duffy’s Done: Tommy John Surgery Likely

We were afraid this news would come after starting pitcher Danny Duffy delivered just 13 pitches Sunday against the Chicago White Sox.

While the 9-1 win was nice, worries were confirmed when Duffy’s MRI showed a torn ulnar collateral ligament. He’ll get a second opinion, but Tommy John surgery is on the horizon for the young pitcher.

The elbow stiffness which caused him to leave Sunday’s game happened before, in April, but before this start, there’s was no warning.

“There was no indication between his last start and this start to show that there was anything wrong with it,” head athletic trainer Nick Kenney told MLB.com’s Dick Kaegel.

And so one of the Royals’ biggest pitching prospects is likely done for the season. Duffy had a 2-2 record and a 3.90 ERA with 28 strikeouts and 18 walks in 27 2/3 innings.

Ugh.

Duffy likely headed for Tommy John surgery (Royals/MLB.com)
Royals’ Duffy diagnosed with torn elbow ligament; surgery likely (Kansas City Star)

Monday Notes and Links

ESPN Weekly Power Rankings
The Royals stay at number 28, behind the Cubs (14-20). If the Royals split the Rangers and Orioles series, could KC move up?

FOX Sports Weekly Power Rankings
FOX moves the Royals up one to number 27, moving past the Cubs.

Frenchy Ends Homerless Drought In Lieu of Mother’s Day Flowers
Ned Yost to Francoeur: “Your mom is here, and you haven’t done (anything) all series. Do something for your mom.”

Star’s Lee Judge: ‘Don’t Get Excited’
There is a saying in baseball: “You’re never as good as you think you are, but you’re never as bad as you think you are, either.”

Chen To Pitch In Opener of the Rangers’ Series
Can he keep Superman Hamilton in the ballpark?

Royals Minor League Notes
Sean O’Sullivan gave up five runs in five innings in an Omaha loss to Fresno.

Opening Day Blues

Let’s face it. Opening Day is awesome and it also stinks.

Let me explain.

The parking is awful. Most of the crowd doesn’t care about the team or game. They won’t be back for game number two. And for the past 700 27 years, it marked the end of the Royals’ playoff chances.

Confetti and All

But, I never been to an Opening Day like this one. In the time it took me to get into the stadium (I’m a “Minor League Blogger, no big perks here”), grab some food and get to my seat in section 425, the game was over.

It was 2-0 when we made it from the outfield to the lower concourse. Five more runs scored on Kansas City starter Luke Hochevar. At the end of 1/2 of an inning, it’s 7-0.

Whaa?

The Royals showed a little life with 12 hits, but only managed one run in the first and two in the fourth, losing 8-3 to Cleveland.

To add injury to insult (no really), Hochevar took a liner from Carlos Santana’s bat off his ankle. X-rays were negative, but he was helped off the field. No word on whether he’ll miss a start.

***

These are the kind of seats you get when you run an obscure Royals blog. But thanks to my radio buddy for the seats.

As bad as Hochevar fared in the first, he and the Royals bullpen kept KC in it, allowing only one run (an Asdrubal Cabrera homer in the eighth) and three hits after the dreadful start.

***

Boy, the confetti idea sure did backfire. It was part of the pageantry of Opening Day at The K. Because of wind, the confetti stayed on the field for most of the game.

***

Before we get crazy here, think about this. If the Royals are within 3-4 games of .500 by mid-June, this can be a productive season. The Tigers might win the AL Central, but we just need to start winning. As bad as the last two games have been (Broxton beaning the A’s around the bases and Hochevar’s awful first inning), there are signs that we could be all right. The hitting will click and I think the pitching can be decent.

No really.

If it makes you feel any better, King Albert and the Angels are 2-5. So are the Red Sox.

 

Trainers look at Royals catcher Humberto Quintero.

Royals/Angels (Game #02/#03)

What a difference a couple of days makes!
The Royals offense came alive to take two out of three from the Angels after dropping the opener.
We knew the Royals offense would score runs this season. In games two and three the Royals added nice outings by starting pitchers Luke Hochevar and Jonathan Sanchez. The bullpen pitched decently and the Royals bats pulled away from the much-hyped Halos with King Albert Pujols.
***
Nice to Eric Hosmer’s second homer and Billy Butler’s first during the series. Leadoff hitter Alex Gordon is struggling, starting off the season 0-for-13. Manager Ned Yost said he may give Gordon the night off in the series opeer in Oakland. Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain have also started slowly, at 1-for-11 each.
***
While Sanchez had a good outing on Sunday, it wasn’t without blemishes.
Sanchez threw two wild pitches and had an errant throw on a pickoff attempt.