The way this team profiles out, that is the question that runs through my mind.
The five gamer was WAY great to see. How did we do it? For starters… our starters provided us with 7 strong innings, each (Gilgameche “pitched in” and extra out in the eighth). That set-up the back end of our bullpen; which has been solid all year. Backing up all this pitching was pretty solid defense (3 errors, but MANY highlight reel plays at key moments of the game). Pitching and defense, that’s the best formula for building a team that is going to win more games than they loose. In recent years, I think of the way the Twins have won without Yankee / Red Sox type of bankrolls.
But a team also needs to score (see game 1 of the AZ series).
So, we also hammered out eight Home Runs in that stretch. The fact that we got those HR’s from people other than Guillen was great to see (Buck, Gordon, & Teahen had 1 each – Aviles had 2 & DeJesus hit 3). Again, the surprising power from people that isn’t expected to pound HR’s is a bonus!
I WAS going to write about how great it is to get that power from batters other than our hired gun… but… the problem is… The Kansas City Royals doesn’t profile out to be a power hitting team. Basic, fundamental hitting is needed. And that is NOT something that I saw during the five gamer. I’m going to pick on Mark Grudzielanek (don’t tell my wife). His .300+ average is great from our second baseman… expected to provide veteran leadership. But time and again, with a man on second base & no outs, he tries to be the hero and drive the guy in, so everybody will slap him on the back… BUT… he ends up making an out WITHOUT advancing to runner. The next batter flies out or grounds out up the middle. NOW, the pitcher only has to get the next batter to get out of the inning. I know it’s only one run. I know it’s small-ball. I also know that, “It’s better to score, than to NOT score.” This team needs to scratch out every run they can, and NOT depend on the long ball. When the HR’s come, that’s just added cushion.
Fundamental Baseball sounds so simple, but for some reason, we haven’t seen much that in KC for a long time.