Friday, April 11, 2008

Kool Aid for everyone

What if I'd told you coming into the season that through 9 games:

David "The Jesus" would have only one at bat
Tony Pena "in the Assa" would have only one hit
Gil Monster Meche would have a 6.94 ERA
Jose Guillen would be hitting .162 with no home runs

Well, for one, I wouldn't be the Kool Aid Drinker now would I? But more importantly, what would you guess the Royals record would be? 2-7? Maybe 3-6? Certainly not 6-3, 5 games ahead of the Tigers...but here we are? How? That's a fantastic question.

First off, Wacky Zack Greinke and Brian Bannister have been LIGHTS OUT. They are a combined 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA. No one, not even the Kool Aid Drinker, would have predicted a start like that against the vaunted Tigers and Yankees.

Second, the hitting hasn't been otherworldly, but it's been effective. Jumpin Joey Gathright is a great example of that. He's hitting a meager .194, yet he's third on the team in runs scored and he's stolen 6 bases already (if you're keeping score at home, that puts him on pace for about 105 steals).

Finally, the Royals bullpen has been every bit the strength I expected, led by the one guy I expected to take a couple of steps backward, Joakim "The Dream" Soria. Soria has 4 saves and has struck out 7 in 5 innings while allowing only 2 base runners.

What does this all mean? Maybe not a ton, it's only 9 games...but for a young ball club in desperate need of confidence, it has to mean something.

It means we can be certain that Awesome Alex and Bad Ass Billy aren't going to start as slow as some had prognosticated they might.

It means we can win with our two highest paid players (Meche and Guillen) struggling mightily.

It means that a run at the playoffs may actually be more likely than a 100 loss season.

Most importantly, it means we can all dream a little. Everyone worried that the Royals' April schedule would have fans yearning for football by May 1. Well, that schedule looks a little less daunting now, and the Kool Aid is still tasting sweet. So drink up Royals fans, dare to believe that Bannister, Greinke and Soria can continue making batters look silly. BELIEVE that Gordon and Butler will continue to be the offensive threats we all envisioned they would. While you're at it, let's hope that Meche and Guillen start earning their a victory over the only team to win a series from the Royals in this young season.

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