One of the small comforts of the Royals goofy little run to within one base of a World Series Championship, is that their success without the presumed basic tenants of franchise success--elite starting pitching, above-average hitters--was widely and visibly applied against the league at large. Sustaining themselves solely by eliminating every margin for error from their opponent, turning every small mishap into a major crisis, was not just a statement on the White Sox lack of precision, but an effective MO against every other flawed competitor they churned through. Since the Royals had never previously been good, losses to the Royals weren't Royal victories, but referendums on the Sox predilection for big, dumb, imprecise baseball, an embarrassing pratfall on a team that supposedly tried to strike everyone out, hit six solo home runs per night, and couldn't do anything in between.
We're still perplexed by how the Royals are any good--They look impotent on paper, yet for this week at least, completely unbeatable in the field as they turn the few opportunities of hard hits balls into debilitating outs, and in contests more competitive than Thursday's, cut the last three innings off of games. What we're done doing is dismissing out of hand that they are any good. They are.
Someone will still get to them. They're not perfect nor even dominant. They were vulnerable and incapable of scoring for long stretches of 2014 and will be so again this year, but thanks and praises that the Sox aren't assigned to figure how to get them back to the place anymore. At least for now. Good God.
- Well, obviously the offense was awful. Neither Adam Eaton, Melky Cabrera or Adam LaRoche got anything going all series, and the Sox have a top-heavy lineup that needs to carry the water. I'd joke that maybe they need to throw at Adam LaRoche more to wake him up, but Hawk was passing that off as a real idea, so let's scrap it. The Sox hit Edison Volquez decently hard several times in his eight, largely stress-free innings, where upon those ball were immediately sucked up by Galactus, the destroyer of planets and also the Royals' centerfielder.
- Lorenzo Cain is a monster. He's range is so surreal it jumps out to casual fans even though he rarely needs to lay out or do anything showy. That he decided to OPS 1.250 for the series and apparently revels in torturing the Sox now is not a great place to be.
- It--this crap, sweep-sealing game--not being Danks' fault doesn't make his stuff anymore impressive. Leaving changeups floating and not being able to work anyone inside is bad in principle, not just for the likely result. One of the liberating things about watching Danks is that there's not much point in stressing that he doesn't look like his best self; it's just about survival. On the flip side, if he gets on the doorstep of a quality start before giving up a game-sealing bomb to Salvador Perez, there's nothing positive to really take from 5.2 innings, four runs and a single strikeout. It's a bad line and you certainly don't want to watch the film behind it.
- Speaking of whether stuff looks good; David Robertson is clearly excellent and transcendent. We were wrong to doubt him and he's going to melt hundreds of faces this season. And this is from a single scoreless inning where he allowed a walk and a hit.
- Adam Eaton saved another run from Danks' line by extending full-out like a flying squirrel on a two-out drive well over his head to dead center off the bat of Lorenzo Cain in the third. It will provide stiff competition for play of the year all season. Poor Lorenzo Cain is too long to transform into a hang glider as easily as Eaton can.
Next game is against the Twins, Friday, 3:10pm CT on CSN