Just once I’d like to enter a baseball season full of excitement and hope for what the new year will bring and not have the ghosts of Royals seasons past quickly put a damper on things.
The Royals are off to a 2-4 start, and while the record itself isn’t of much a concern due to small sample size caveats and all, the disappointing trait of the record is they’ve lost games in exactly the same fashion they’ve done for 11 of the 15 prior seasons under this front office.
I’m almost sure I’ve written that exact sentence in multiple places in the Royals blogosphere in the last decade.
When you’re constantly sold “hope” as the reason to be patient and look towards the future, and routinely fed lies about the economic constraints of the market, benefit of the doubt runs thin when stacked against the truth that disappointing records and performance are always tied to the same player acquisition decisions and failure in player development they’ve always been.
“We’ve tried to do nothing different and we are all out of ideas.”
This is still the same front office that has seen just 3 above .500 seasons in 15 years. This is the same front office that has developed just 3 viable starting pitchers in 15 years. This is still the same front office that refuses to acknowledge the value of getting on base.
So please forgive if the hype felt after a 2-0 start was quickly dampened after getting 17-burgered because the three top pitching prospects got laser showed. Please forgive if the hype quickly faded because after 6 games, the Royals situated themselves into the all too familiar positions of bottom 5 in runs scored, bottom 5 in homeruns hit, and bottom 5 in walks.
The graveyard of failed royals pitching in the last 15 years is overflowing. Seeing the top three in the organization make their first appearances of the season and get overwhelmed – again – by major league caliber bats does not leave one with confidence this year will be the 2013-esque catapult to respectability, no matter how much the Royals PR-wing of the media wants to tell the fans it is.
Watching a Royals team incapable of getting on base or hitting for power is a common occurrence. Reading about a Royals team explaining why speed is the way for them to win games – despite that gameplan never working – is tiresome. Which is why being greeted to this main story on the Royals website today is maddening:
Done right? What exactly does that mean? The Royals have been top-6 in baseball in team stolen bases every year but 2 since 2010. They have more steals than any franchise since 2017 and have a 299-415 win-loss record during that span.
So either speed can’t be a key, or the Royals don’t do it right. Either of those scenarios are concerning given how the front office is positioned and tenured, and how there seems to be no end in sight to the over reliance on speed.
Brad Keller pitches Friday against the Tigers. If Keller doesn’t pitch well, the Royals are staring down the barrel of an 8-game losing streak considering how poorly Kris Bubic, Carlos Hernandez, and Daniel Lynch pitched in their first outings.
An 8-game losing streak watching a lineup and pitching staff full of exciting young players with potential and intrigue is justifiable. An 8-game losing streak watching an uncompelling lineup of bad veterans and the same version of Royals baseball fans have seen lose too often for 15 years, and the organization is going to see a lot more of this:
Or maybe worse.