The Kansas City Royals were one of the most dominant teams during the 2013 spring training season. You heard me. The Kansas City Royals. That hasn’t been said much since 1985, the one and only time time the Royals bagged a World Championship. Since then it’s been a long walk in the desert.
To date, the Royals have continued their spring training success during the regular season. In an increasingly competitive AL Central Kansas City is hanging tough, 1.5 games behind the Tigers and just ahead of the White Sox, Twins and Indians.
Friday the Royals return to the lion’s den, Fenway Park, a venue in which they have traditionally not played very well. It will be an emotionally charged “We Are Boston” night as not only do the Red Sox return to Fenway for the first time since the Boston Marathon bombings but none other than David Ortiz is rumored to return and be in the starting lineup.
I was able to catch up with Fansided’s Kings of Kaufman Editor Mike Vamosi for a Sox/Royals series preview. Here’s how it went.
The Royals had a great spring and have started fast out of the blocks in the regular season. Is this team built to last?
The offense has to show up at some point but five home runs in 14 games is a bit confusing for fans right now. While offense is important the team will go only as far as the pitching takes them which has been outstanding so far for the Royals.
Kansas City is chasing one of the best teams in the majors. What will it take for either the Royals to rise to the top or the Tigers to stumble?
Last year KC wasn’t good at all against Detroit so that is step one in being able to catch them at the end of the season. Another is the Royals need to take advantage if the Tigers play down to the division like Chicago did for most of the 2012 season until Detroit turned it on to take the central. While Kansas City lives in the same “neighborhood” as one of the best AL teams they can be competitive but the margin of error is razor thin.
The Royals are in the top ten in both pitching and hitting but 21st in fielding. What can they do to correct the fielding stats and is it really something that could cause them to miss a division title or wild card berth?
I think the defense will come around, last week against Toronto they had a game where they committed several errors. But the defense will need to tighten up no matter who the opponent is because you’re right it could be the different later in the season in how they finish. Another factor that should help is that with KC done with road interleague games for awhile Eric Hosmer
should be at first instead of Miguel Tejada
or Billy Butler
having to play there.
What individual player has been the most key contributor to the Royals early success?
I’d love to say that it’s been just one guy who’s fueled the success but James Shields
, Ervin Santana
, Wade Davis
have contributed to the staff being better. Alex Gordon
and Billy Butler have been productive at times but they’ve done a good job of having different parts stepping up on different days.
Winning the series, time after time, during the regular season is a key to success. What will the Royals have to do to win in an emotionally charged Fenway Park this weekend?
Kansas City always seems to have difficulty at Fenway Park whenever they come to visit Boston but this will be a different kind of monster this weekend. I remarked after watching the Bruins game on Wednesday that it will be that much tougher given how the crowd was at the Garden. But for KC to get a series win they’ll need good starting pitching, timely hitting and the bullpen to be on lockdown like they are capable of doing. Boston is playing well right now so the Royals will have to be at its best this weekend.
Game 1 – Friday 4/19, 7:10 pm
Clay Buchholz, 3-0, 0.412 ERA vs. James Sheilds, 1-2, 3.43 ERA
Game 2 – Saturday 4/20, 1:10 pm
Ryan Dempster, 0-1, 2.65 ERA vs. Ervin Santana, 1-1, 2.45 ERA
Game 3 – Sunday, 4/21, 1:35
Felix Doubront, 1-0, 4.50 ERA vs. Jeremy Guthrie, 2-0, 3.20 ERA