Don't Kill the Mellinger

Columnist Sam Mellinger's thoughts on sports and other important stuff

About Mike Moustakas’ big night, and what’s next

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04/17/2014 9:22 AM

05/16/2014 1:12 PM

Mike Moustakas, who sits on the board of directors of Royals fans’ disgust, won it for Kansas City last night. He hit a changeup that caught too much of the plate into the right-field seats.

Almost immediately, the minds of those in and around the team go to what’s next. Moustakas’ season numbers are still fairly terrible — .119, .213 on-base and .238 slugging percentages in 47 plate appearances. There is a natural inclination to wonder if this is the moment that gets him going, so to speak, that flushes his mind with confidence and sets him on a path to fulfill all that promise we’ve been hearing about.

Normally, this is all nonsense. Momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher, and so forth. Last night’s home run will feel awfully different if Moustakas goes 0-for-4 with two strikeouts tonight.

But this particular case is worth keeping an eye on, at least. No matter what the Royals say publicly,

Moustakas’ confidence does go up and down

. I first met Moose at his childhood home a month or so before he signed with the Royals. I’ve seen him play in the minor leagues, in spring training, in the big leagues. And I’ve always thought Moustakas has a swing and mentality that will lead to streaks both good and bad. So far, obviously we’ve seen more of the bad than good.

Ballplayers always talk about forgetting yesterday and moving on. Some are better at this than others, and I believe that success and failure can stay with Moose a bit longer than some others. If he can harness that in a positive way, then maybe this really can be what gets him going^.

Of course, if he figures out a way to get to the inside fastball, that would help his confidence even more.

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A friend reminded me that last year, Moose’s first home run came in a fairly big spot, too. It wasn’t extra innings, but it was a two-run, two-out, go-ahead homer off Matt Moore in the sixth inning of what eventually became an 8-2 win at Tampa. That was the beginning of a nine-game stretch in which Moose hit .357/.412/.786, which is something, I guess, but we all know how that season turned out for him.

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