As if you didn’t know, the Kansas City Royals played a game of some measurable excitement Monday afternoon, besting the Houston Astros and staving off elimination. I’m told it was very, very thrilling. (I was listening and watching the little videogame-like “gamecast,” but as a normal, working human—under retirement age and too old for a watch party in the quad—I was unable to SEE it as it happened. Alas.)
So now, obviously, the series returns to the Paris of the Plains for a winner-take-all (or, “winner-advance,” I suppose) game five. Much maligned hired-gun “ace” Johnny Cueto takes the hill on Wednesday evening, and if that’s not enough to make your quivering testicles crawl up inside of your body, you’re probably not a Royals’ fan. (Or you’re a female. In which case, maybe your ovaries are doing something weird?)
Cueto wasn’t bad in game two, but he wasn’t exactly great, either. He went six innings—that’s good—but he gave up four earned runs—that’s bad. He gave up seven hits and walked three. Again, bad. Over the Edge extra Colby Rasmus was his primary nemesis, doubling and homering while driving in a pair of runs. The discouraging thing is, he’ll probably be playing on Wednesday, too. (You know, barring some sort of dirt bike accident.)
So it kind of feels like the Royals will have to win in spite of Cueto.
And since I’m “insane” and “ridiculous” for suggesting that you reverse engineer your pitching staff—you know, Wade Davis pitches innings one and two, Kelvin Herrera pitches innings three and four, etc—other measures must be taken to ensure victory. Here are my ideas.
Have Someone Warming Up in the Pen at the Start of the Game
Look, this might be damaging to Cueto’s psyche, but you know what? Fuck Cueto. He’s gone after this season and for the most part, he’s been a train wreck. (He also admitted yesterday that some of his struggles may have come in part from LOOMING FREE AGENCY. That’s horse shit.) So I honestly don’t care if he’s offended by this. You have two long relievers—Chris Young and Kris Medlen—warming up to START the game, and you deploy them at the FIRST sign of trouble.
Cueto let’s two men on base? I don’t care if they’re the first two batters of the game—you yank him. Cueto gives up a solo shot? Ned needs to be Sandman at the Apollo. (And yes, I am advocating he approach the mound with a comically large hook.) His “short leash” needs to be two inches long, and Yost needs to be the most ruthless dog trainer in the world.
This Lineup Needs to be Fixed
This lineup is garbage. And I’m tired of hearing about “magic” and every other piece of primitive nonsense that flies in the face of reason. I understand that baseball is a game full of superstition and routine, but to sit there and say, “WELP, DURRRRR, WE WIN CAUSE ESCOBAR LEADIN’ OFF AND SWING AT FIRST PITCH OF GAME, HYUCK HYCK,” you’re one step ahead of punching someone in the face after they take your picture because you’re worried they’ve stolen your soul. It’s ridiculous. It’s insane that Ben Zobrist (or even the struggling Alex Gordon) isn’t leading off, and hitting Kendrys Morales fifth is borderline stupid. Aside from Tuesday’s ridiculousness, this offense has been pretty piss-poor for the better part of six weeks. By not addressing these issues, Yost is hobbling the team. The “magic” of winning with a terrible offense won’t last forever; baseball is statistical realism, not unicorn kisses.
Anyway, now I bet the lineup gets shuffled and KC gets no-hit. And Cueto probably gets pulled in the second after yielding a run, and then Young or Medlen gives up like, eight. Sorry I cursed the team.
But in any case, it was a super fun season. See you in April, everybody!