A four-game losing streak just feels less catastrophic a season after reaching the World Series. The Royals are experiencing the benefit of their playoff run here as they stumble through the end of May. And yet panic does not appear to be gripping the fanbase. Instead, the group is energized for this weekend at Wrigley Field, when Royals fans are expected to pack the house.
Until the series opener this afternoon, let’s tackle a few pressing Royals questions.
Right now, on Friday morning, a couple hours before opening a series at Wrigley Field? Probably not. The bats have gone quiet for these past four games, but that happens during the course of the season. The Royals did not play particularly well against the Yankees, but they maintained energy in the field. It wasn’t a sloppy, embarrassing performance. Jeremy Guthrie got housed, they gave up a few two many homers over the next two days and they got swept. It happens.
The crucial part for the Royals is showing they can bounce back. All teams go through slumps and skids, but the elite ones snap the streak before it becomes excessive. So this weekend against the Cubs looms as a major series, even if it’s still only May.
No one in baseball is 100 percent, and Gordon is not an exception. He has to manage the wrist all season long, as he’s dealing with the stiffness and scar tissue created by surgery. He is caught in a slump right now, like most of his teammates, but his production is a basic replication of his previous two seasons.
Gordon in 2013-14: .266/.339/.426
Gordon in 2015: .260/.366/.432
The main difference in OBP results from being hit by pitches nine times, which leads the American League. He is hitting line drives at a career-best rate of 27.3 percent. He is striking out in 20.9 percent of his at-bats, which is a tick above his career average of 20.7. His body has had to adapt, but his offensive game has not changed much.
We wrote about this with more depth back in April, but the same factors still apply: Hamels is expensive, due more money than the Royals have ever given a free agent, and the Phillies seek a sizable return to acquire him.
You guys are the best.
Whining among Royals fans about the short porch at Yankee Stadium became a (relatively) popular tack as the Yankees blasted the Royals with homers this past week. I understand only a vocal minority of readers share this opinion, and I probably should ignore it, but it’s such a baseball bête noire for me that I can’t let it go.
There’s a saying in baseball that involves team meetings: Winners win and losers meet. The same philosophy applies here: Losers complain about the umpires, or the weather, or the ballpark dimensions. You did not hear Chris Young whining about the park when Brian McCann lofted a fly ball for a homer or when Alex Rodriguez ripped a liner about a foot over the left field fence. He has more reason to be upset than fans do.
I don’t see why not. The flavor combination doesn’t match for me — I prefer mustard, if I must use a condiment — but it’s not sacrilege. It’s a hot dog. Turkey dogs are better anyway.
I’m a card-carrying member of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. I’m allowed to sit wherever I want. #FourthEstate
The sportswriting cliché is you root for short games and interesting stories. I do not root for the teams I cover and I do not root for any teams, in general. I quit on the Philadelphia Eagles around 2006, when I decided I could not let them ruin my life anymore. I am happy with this decision. Let me know when Chip Kelly and his sports science smoothies win the Super Bowl.
As far as players: There are certainly players I enjoy interacting with, players who do exciting things on the field or say entertaining things off it. But I don’t pretend they are my friends, because they aren’t.
Could I hit a home run at Yankee Stadium? Anyone can (except the Royals, because they are a team built on speed and defense, and they just try to hit line drive). At least, that’s what I learned on The Internet this week.
Read a book! Books are great. Here are my five favorite books I’ve read this year:
1. “Collision Low Crossers” by Nicholas Dawidoff.
2. “On Writing” by Stephen King.
3. “The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.” by Adelle Waldman.
4. “Going Clear” by Lawrence Wright.
5. “The Secret History“ by Donna Tartt.