It didn’t take long to get things rolling for the Royals on Sunday. After a 1-2-3 top of the first ending with a double play, the first 6 Royals that came to the plate reached base. Starting with a bunt to begin the game followed by 4 well hit balls and Moustakas walked grabbing a quick 4-0 lead after the first out was recorded, a sac fly to left. It got close for a minute when Chicago made it a 1 run game in the 4th inning and then the Royals quickly rebounded to go from a 4-3 game to 6-3 game going into the fifth and nothing more was needed.
The Royals got a series win after losing 6 straight, which they desperately needed against a struggling Cubs team. Maybe the Royals can use this momentum as they embark on a national league road tour beginning today in San Diego, followed by a trip to Colorado to meet with a couple NL West foes. I’m sure it was nice for the Royals to play for a nice crowd that saw an average attendance over the weekend of 33,000 fans. Anytime two teams more than 10 games under .500 can draw 100,000 people over the weekend and the home team can get 2 out of 3, it was a successful weekend.
There were some encouraging things to take away from this weekend. Alex Gordon is continuing his best season yet and looks like he will be the Royals All-Star representative. Gordon leads the league in outfield assists with 12 helping the Royals lead the league in that category. I guess the Cubs didn’t get the memo about not running on our outfielder’s arms before the series began.
We saw Danny Duffy’s best start of his very young career going 7 innings and only allowing 2 Runs on back-to-back homers. I say that encouragingly, because that tells me he just had a 3 minute span in the entire 7 innings that maybe he just failed to execute, but then got right back on track. Definitely needed that start to avoid getting replaced by Kyle Davies in the rotation, which I know, should never happen, but that’s what the guys making the calls were thinking. I’m glad he made their decision easy.
Luke Hochevar wasn’t exactly stellar, especially only going 5 2/3 innings, but it was good enough to get the victory. He got just his second win in his last ten starts, both coming in afternoon starts.
I hope Alcides Escobar was taking notes from the other young shortstop Jesus in the national league in Starlin Castro. Castro was making all the plays we have watched Escobar make this season, minus the double that went off his glove on a dive that he gave up on, but he more than made up for it with his bat. Castro hit .416 over the weekend against the Royals. I think Escobar has the same type of potential, maybe not on the same level with average, but a very close second in the next few years for best shortstop in baseball if he can keep swinging the stick like he has in June. Neither of the two will hit 20 home runs, but I think the Cubs will take Castro’s third highest average in the NL at 21 years old. They both have phenomenal range at short and will be huge contributing factors to their teams rebuilding processes.
So the Royals take a two game winning streak into battle a last place team who is struggling at home. The Royals will face some quality pitching, but should be able to take 2 of 3 from the Padres and maybe get on a roll headed into the All-Star break.