Thursday, April 27, 2017

Royal Blue, Red Wedding - vs. Royals (W 12-1, W 10-5, W 5-2)

                Revenge. Sweet, sweet revenge.  There’s nothing nasty about the Royals, sans a minor odd blow up featuring lip service and Jeff Samardzija’s only contribution to the Sox that year. There’s never been a tight division race between the two recently to cause some bad blood. The stadium’s gorgeous, the paid their dues fans got their long overdue title, the team is still talented and fun to watch (though soon to be victims of free agency).
                So why does it feel so damn good to sweep the Royals?
                Years and years of them having our number, years and years of “The Royals are my Daddy”, it finally went the other way around this week. Went to the game Monday, self-upgraded our upper level seats to first row first base line (Comiskey Park- for the working man!), and stayed standing early on with Davidson’s shot to right center.  The “start every day” takes are beaten to death by now, but I’d like him for the reps at playing third as much as the at-bats.  Gives him practice and allows Frazier to get back to form at the plate (next day as a DH seemed to help).  Todd seems to be adjusting his approach at the plate for hard liners over homers, at least for the time being.  Those hits were things of beauty this series.
                Believe Monday was the most runs I’ve seen in person.  The eight run sixth felt like an especially huge statement after what this lineup was supposed to be, and what it has been some games so far. The pessimist in me wants to replay it on a loop constantly for upcoming blowouts and two hit affairs, the optimist in me sees it as a sign of life and playing in the now. The potential’s here, the tank not as tankish (tanky? tank-like?) as expected. For the Royals, a flat-out stinker that happens a couple times a year. For us, a worn out home plate, another gem by Miguel Gonzalez (keep keep KEEP. A low risk signing turned innings eater worth his weight in gold).
                The first game was personal satisfaction (finally owning the Royals is a looooooooooong time comin’). The second game was absolute bliss. Back-and-forth early, Leury Garcia made for another case for starting every day, a regicide at the plate and a monster in the outfield. Think May needs some time in the pinch runner/fourth outfielder role for his own sake. Yolmer’s hustle on the triple and infield single also a very good sign (the latter giving us two extra at-bats and two extra runs. 10 spot and a Sox winner. (And I don’t want to say this again: DON’T THROW THE GODDAMN HOME RUN BALLS BACK.)
                The first game was personal satisfaction. The second game was absolute bliss. The third game was a script changer. Had all the makings of a “score a ton of runs the day before a Quintana start and tap out once he hits the mound” game, but a nice little sequence from the top of the order gives Q his long overdue early lead. Not sure which is better, our big guns seeming to turn it around, or finally giving Jose a chance to contend. After the 1st, he was a man possessed, racking up strikeout after strikeout and showing the “much appreciated” by mowing down the Royals roster. They came back after a tough break with Abreu’s injury: considering how he was basically dragged off the field wanting to stay in, I’m assuming day-to-day will actually mean day-to-day, but probably the worst time of the year for him to go down. Tie game, Quintana likely done after six innings of work, Avisail HAMMERS one to center to put some distance late (I’m guessing the death glares he got from Q across the dugout were more than enough to get him to swing for the moon).

                Best of all, and owner of the dagger dinger in the 7th, Leury not only solidified his case to play every day but has given us, at long last, a Royals killer. What a series from him.  The biggest surprise of this team has been the hot start from players who clearly didn’t like the label of rebuild filler guys and wanted to change that as soon as possible. Suddenly, both age 26, we may have a great asset through 2020 in Leury and a more stressful arbitration than anticipated in Avi. Overly optimistic for a month in, sure, but these could be interesting pieces to be played out going forward. Leury won’t stay over .300, and Avi won’t keep up Ted Williams pace, but both will play out their cases for being part of the plan the rest of the season. In the meantime, onto Motor City to keep this winning war against the Central rolling.

"If the White Sox can score ten runs you can have your first Bomber, Junior"

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