My more alert and energetic teammate beat me to the punch this morning on the topic of enigmatic Royals’ third baseman Mike Moustakas, but I’ve got a couple of other thoughts about his season.
As discouraging as it’s been in many ways, Moustakas nevertheless has had the grit to find some key ways to contribute. And it never was more noticeable or significant than last week.
The Royals, you’ll remember, had dropped seven of eight and were hurtling to irrelevance at best and chaos at worst. Moustakas played pivotal roles in the ensuing three victories that led to the five-game winning streak that made the season viable again.
If the Royals do break through to the playoffs, those games will have been essential to it.
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And Moustakas was vital to those wins, with two home runs in the 7-1 win against the White Sox, his game-winning slide in the 2-1 win the next day and his so-called Little League home run that kept the Royals alive in what became a 14-inning, 2-1 victory over Cleveland.
With nine home runs and 20 RBIs since June 10 to give him 13 and 40 for the season, Moustakas says he believes his numbers other than his average are becoming “pretty good.”
“I feel good about where I am, and I’m doing all I can to help the team win ballgames,” he said, smiling as he considered his fortune on the frantic play against Cleveland: “They say they all even out, but …”
But, of course, he’s still hitting .195 between his .152 average before being sent down and .231 since.
Still, it’s evident he’s much more at ease from having had the jolt of the Omaha experience, brief as it was.
“It was a chance for me to clear my head and give myself a break from myself,” he said, later adding, “Baseball is a stressful game, and the less stress you put on yourself the better off you’re going to be. It was a chance to reset my mind and reset how I go about this game.”
Overall, it’s still not what was expected, of course. But between his play in the field and some emerging power numbers, Moustakas has been salvaging his season … and he was crucial to resuscitating the Royals’ fading prospects.
To reach Vahe Gregorian, call 816-234-4868 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter.com/vgregorian.