The Kansas City Royals 2021 campaign is in full swing with the Rangers being the first round of visitors. This year’s regular-season is one of the best Spring Trainings (16-8) that the Royals have had in the last six years. Kansas City boasted a league-best in homers, total bases, slugging percentage, and top three in hits and runs; but, does that matter?
With that being said, lets break down the opening series of 2021 for Kansas City:
If good pitching was something the fans were looking for in game one, it was nonexistent through the first four innings. Royals starter Brad Keller surrendered six runs on nine hits through 1 1/3 innings and Rangers starter Kyle Gibson gave up five runs on four hits in only 1/3 of an inning. In simple terms, awful opening day for either side.
After a full game was essentially played in the first four innings, the Royals bullpen settled in and gained control, leading to impressive debuts for Royal’s newcomers. Royals centerfielder, Michael A. Taylor, proved he can throw anyone out from centerfield with his two outfield assists as well as hit the baseball. While that’s exactly what his job is, Taylor proved he is more than equipped to start for Kansas City going forward with his defensive skills and an impressive hitting debut which included an oppo taco home run.
However, you have to give credit where it is due and that is the fact that while the Royals did put up 14 runs, Texas put up ten runs respectively. The result just happened to show that the Royals hot bats were still alive thanks to homers from three different Royals as well as an impressive debut from Royals rookie Kyle Isbel.
The final score came out to 14-10 Royals which could’ve been a Chiefs score if you read it too quickly. After four hours and 26 minutes of baseball (longest in Royals history), Kansas City emerged the victor in game one. If Kansas City can score 14 runs every game and just simply plan to outscore every opponent, they could easily beat anyone in the MLB.
Unfortunately, scoring 14 runs every game won’t happen, so going forward, if the Royals want to win the series. The starting pitchers need to gain command early and the bats need to stay active in game two.
If you are a Rangers fan, game two was enjoyable for the first four innings, again. Good pitching, a monster home run for Joey Gallo, and hot bats gifted the Rangers yet another early lead. Now, if you are a Royals fan, innings five-nine were every baseball fan’s dream.
Michael A. Taylor blasted his second homer of the year 458 feet to the dead center along with Whit Merrifield continuing his stardom. The Royals bullpen brought the heat only allowing two hits and a walk, helping secure the lead in the end.
The Royals moved to 2-0 and won the series after an 11-4 victory in game two. While the starting pitching has not been phenomenal, the Royals bats are keeping them in games so far. It’s a big piece of the puzzle to have a starter go six innings and hope the bats are reliable. Moving forward, bad first or second innings for Royals starters can’t happen. If it continues, a 100-loss year will creep in despite being 2-0 after games one and two.
Hot bats don’t last forever, that is just the hard truth. In-game three, the Royals were brought back down to earth from their hot start. Rangers starter, Jordan Lyles, threw 5 2/3 innings only surrendering runs thanks to a Salvador Perez home run.
Game three was stereotypical, “teams get used to what each offense brings”, and that’s what Texas did. Despite losing the series, Texas took game three by a score of 7-3. Big days from shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa and first basemen Nate Lowe boosted the Rangers to the win in game three.
Looking ahead from a Kansas City perspective, starting pitching for Kansas City could be an issue. Starting pitchers giving up big innings quickly puts the offense under too much pressure. Fix the starting pitching and keep bats active like games one and two and this Royals team could compete with anyone.
Lastly, lists can get boring when it comes to what teams should or should not do in future games so lets keep it brief.
- Starting pitches need to gain command early
- Utilize middle of the lineup for your big bats
- USE THE BULLPEN
Final verdict for the series… Hit
Up next for KC…
Royals @ Indians, Monday, April 5th (3:10 first pitch CDT) and Wednesday, April 7th (12:10 first pitch CDT)
Stats from ESPN.com and Royals Twitter