Well, this is what Royals fans hoped for last winter, right?
By PETE GRATHOFF
The Kansas City Star
It’s September and the Royals aren’t playing out the string. Instead, they’ve got games that mean something as they try to stay in the wild-card race.
Meaningful games have spilled into football season and there already has been some crossover between sports. On Saturday, Oakland outfielder Josh Reddick wore a Georgia football helmet and jersey during pre-game drills.
But he had nothing on Rays pitcher David Price, a Vanderbilt graduate.
Price called called the Vandy baseball coach who arranged for the football coach to have a full uniform (not included shoulder pads) sent to Price.
So before last Wednesday’s Rays game, Price was in full Vanderbilt gear as he ran around on the field. It even carried over to his between-starts bullpen session.
“It went well,’’ Price told the Tampa Bay Times. “The helmet helped me stay back over the rubber.”
Price even had his ankles taped football style, with a “Happy Birthday” message to his mom written on the tape. Price played only a couple years of football as a kid, deciding he would stick to sports with less risk of injury, such as baseball and basketball.
Price was asked if he were to play football now, what position would he play?
“In between water boy and long-snapper probably,” Price quipped.
And, now, here is the week ahead in wild-card race:
• Playoff odds: 93.2 percent (last week: 68.3 percent)
• Last 10: 7-3
• Who’s hot: Alberto Callaspo has a .364 average in his last six games.
• This week: 3 vs. Rangers, 4 vs. Astros
• Good for Royals: Closer Grant Balfour has a 6.23 ERA in his last nine apperances.
• Bad for Royals: A four-game set against Houston? That’s like a gift from the heavens.
• Playoff odds: 83.2 percent (last week: 94.3 percent)
• Last 10: 3-7
• Who’s hot: Matt Joyce is hitting .353 with four doubles in his last seven games.
• This week: 4 at Angels, 3 at Mariners
• Good for Royals: In his last 19 games, Wil Myers is batting .157. Forget the ex-Royals prospect angle. A slumping Myers isn’t good for the Rays offense.
• Bad for Royals: Ten of their next 13 games are against teams with a sub-.500 record.
ORIOLES (72-63, 3 GB)
• Playoff odds: 9.6 percent (last week: 16.9 percent)
• Last 10: 5-5
• Who’s hot: Third baseman Manny Machado is batting .429 over his last six games.
• This week: 3 at Indians, 4 vs. White Sox
• Good for Royals: The Orioles are coming off two straight months in which they’ve posted a losing record.
• Bad for Royals: They added Michael Morse from the Mariners, which could boost the team’s spirits.
INDIANS (72-64, 3.5 GB)
• Playoff odds: 9.6 percent (last week: 25.4 percent)
• Last 10: 4-6
• Who’s hot: Asdrubal Cabrera is batting .333 in his last six games.
• This week: 3 vs. Orioles, 3 vs. Mets
• Good for Royals: Hate to see anyone injured, but Cleveland will certainly miss Ryan Raburn, who was placed on the DL Wednesday with a strained left Achilles. Raburn suffered the injury while nursing a strained right calf.
• Bad for Royals: On the flip side, the Indians are expected to have Corey Kluber come back from a finger injury. He was 7-5 with a 3.54 ERA before going on the DL.
YANKEES (72-64, 3.5 GB)
• Playoff odds: 9.6 percent (last week: 6.6 percent)
• Last 10: 5-5
• Who’s hot: Robinson Cano has a slash line of .438/.500/.938 in his last five games.
• This week: 3 vs. White Sox, 4 vs. Red Sox
• Good for Royals: The Yankees have been outscored at home this season (282 to 272).
• Bad for Royals: The Yankees have a 40-28 record at home.
ROYALS (70-66, 5.5 GB)
• Playoff odds: 0.5 percent (last week: 0.5 percent)
• Last 10: 6-4
• Who’s hot: Catcher Salvy Perez has a .417 average with four home runs and 11 RBIs in his last seven games.
• This week: 4 vs. Mariners, 3 vs. Tigers
To reach Pete Grathoff, call 816-234-4330 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/pgrathoff