Nine games. That’s how many consecutive Spring Training games the Kansas City Royals have won. Nine meaningless games.
There is nothing to get excited about, right? Wrong! We are Royals fans. We need something to grasp onto. Some a little ray of hope that may shine bright sometime in the future. If an early 9-0-1 Spring Training record is that slim hope, let’s for go it!
Putting all levity aside for a moment, is the Royals’ start worth getting excited about? Sure, as long as no one starts crowning Kansas City as the odds on favorite to win the AL Central suddenly. As long as Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, and Cecil Fielder are healthy, the Detroit Tigers are the favorites. No winning streak of exhibition games is going to change that. Royals’ General Manager Dayton Moore made a bevy of improvements to the starting rotation and the team’s youngsters are all a year older with that much more experience at the major league level. It is not unreasonable to expect Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, and Lorenzo Cain to improve on their 2012 numbers. It is not unreasonable to expect Alcides Escobar and Salvador Perez to at least match last season’s production, and it shouldn’t be too much to expect better stats from the right field and second base positions. Add in the production from Kansas City’s two offensive stalwarts, Billy Butler and Alex Gordon, it is not wishful thinking to assume the Royals will be better.
Obviously, these spring games are not going to count for squat once the regular season goes. Hopefully, fans and the players themselves will keep this in mind at all times, but it does give us reason to start getting a little excited. Let’s temper our enthusiasm because many of the players the Royals are winning games against won’t be on Opening Day rosters. They aren’t facing stud pitchers for 6, 7, or 8 innings. Opposing players aren’t playing full games yet. Rust is still being knocked off. We should be starting to feel excitement toward a team that has a chance to be the best Royals team in two decades but keeping the reality of the situation always in mind.
There are some positives to pay attention to over the first 10 games. In those games, the Royals have outscored their opponents 64-31. Eric Hosmer seems to be swinging a hot bat and is hitting for some power to opposite field. Wade Davis has pitched 5 shutout innings thus far. Donnie Joseph had a streak of 7 straight batters that he struck out. J.C. Gutierrez has not allowed a base runner. These are all things to notice as nice spring performances, nothing more at this point.
So, now is the time to get start getting excited about the 2013 Kansas City Royals. Their hot Cactus League start is more of an oddity than a trend but that should not keep us from thinking about baseball. Enjoy this little streak of meaningless wins for what it is – a ray of hope that 2013 will be different.