Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Musings From Roy F. Almania: Color Me Pleased After All

From time to time, us House of Georges cats hit up our cousins to talk baseball with our readers. In the past, Old No. 7 has recruited his cousins, Brian, Blanche Feverpiss, and Anachro Capitalist (mean parents, I imagine) to scribe on California Angels baseball, the American League West, and sundry MLB trades, respectively. My cousin Roy hums a narrower verse for the game as his knowledge comes only in the form of the Kansas City Royals. His spirits were down the last time he checked into the House, but this afternoon, he's got a bit more spring in his step, if you'll pardon the awful cliche.

When I was last asked to write for the House of Georges, I was pretty disappointed with Trey Hillman and the KC Royals. They were on their way to the Bronx, and in the midst of some just plain sub-mediocre baseball. Now, late in September, things feel amazingly different. They got one game left against the Tigers, and have just slipped past them in the standings, and it's been five long years since they weren't huddled 'round the basement furnace in September. Tonight, they'll wrap up that series in Detroit, and take the morrow off before heading to Minneapolis to squabble with those Twins that just won't quit. Now it seems rightful easy that in the span of those four games, they could slide back down to last place in the Central, and call it a season. I'd rather they didn't, but if it must be so, I'm not too tore up with that option either.

Through 23 September days, the Royals are 15-7, which, as I mentioned, slides them into fourth, but it does more than that. It brings their record to 72-86, and gives them a .456 on the season. That's up 30 points from last year, and continues a three-year trend (56-106 in 2005; 62-100 in '06; and 69-93 a year ago) of losing less games than the previous year, which obviously means winning more. And I got to admit that that makes me just pleased as punch. This year the Royals have teased the idea of playing .500 ball on the road, and have done a smidge better than that at home.

Individually, they've got two guys -- David DeJesus and Mike Aviles -- with 400+ at bats that are hitting just over .300. They've got three hitters with 15 or more homers, and nine guys with 20 doubles or more. Any fan of the game'll tell you that those aren't big-time numbers, but they're Royal improvements to say the least.

From the hill, our numbers one and two guys have earned 13 wins a piece, and have combined for over 350 strikeouts. And of course, Joakim Soria came close to setting a new franchise record with 41 saves and counting (Editor's Note: Jeff Montgomery and Dan Quisenberry are tied with 45).

So the Royals might not get the sweep against Detroit this evening, but they actually have something to play for with only four contests left in the season. They'll then face the Twins who sit a game and-a-half back of the White Sox, and those two teams are in the middle of a series with one another. Thus, it will be a tough and challenging home stretch for KC, but it's not too far-fetched to think that they could finish 76-86.

It ain't .500 ball, but it's pretty durn close. They'd also wind up somewhere in the vicinity of 10 games out of first. We all know how pretty that ain't, but I'm hear to tell you it's a sign of good things already in the making, and better things to come. I'll keep faithful down here in Joplin that the days of hoping not to lose 100 games are gone, as are the days of finishing 20+ back in the Central. Now get out there and get 'em boys. Roy's a-rootin' as always.