The Kansas City Royals have a lot to prove.
Perhaps that’s the reason they lead Major League Baseball in batters hit by pitches (20 batters in 21 games) and ejections (9 players have been ejected, so far).
They’ve cleared the benches in games against the Anaheim Angels and Minnesota Twins. They cleared the benches three games in a row against the Oakland Athletics and started an all-out brawl against the Chicago White Sox.
This is the same team which was called “America’s Team” by newspapers across the nation last fall during their historic playoff run.
But now that team has a new title, or several new titles.
An ESPN article calls them the “angriest team in baseball.” Numerous sports writers have deemed them the “bad boys of baseball.” Let’s just stick to calling them what they are: the defending American League Champions.
The team has always played emotionally. They’ve celebrated their successes and they’ve defended each other like family.
They have a target on their backs this year because many don’t believe they can repeat what they did last season, or even come close. But they are going to give it their all.
So far this season the Royals have a record of 16-9 falling just behind the Detroit Tigers.
They started off the season with two series sweeps in a row, and have since won 5 of the 8 series they have played.
All of the breakout stars from last year have stepped up even more this year. Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon leave virtually no blade of grass in the outfield uncovered. Gordon has already made the catch of the year after he literally dove into the stands to make the catch against the Chicago White Sox.
Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas have guarded the infield and provided support for a variety of players covering for Omar Infante and Alcides Escobar, who have battled injuries thus far, including Escobar recovering from getting hit in the face with a pitch. How can we forget about catcher Salvador Perez, who continues to double-dog-dare runners to steal second and then throws them out.
It has been a lackluster start to the season for the starting rotation. Veteran Jeremy Guthrie has struggled so far and it has been no help that Yordano Ventura has been unable to control his hydration and emotions (he exited two games with cramps from dehydration and has been ejected twice, all in only five starts). Newcomer Edinson Volquez is also facing suspension.
H-D-H is back again this season but is facing a 0-2 count at the moment. The King of the ninth inning, Greg Holland is on the disable list and an appealed suspension is looming over Kelvin Herrera.
The bats have been flying for the Royals so far this season. Paulo Orlando, who was just brought up from the Royals minor league team, hit five triples in his first at bats in the big leagues. Newcomer Kendrys Morales has stepped up to the plate in a big way time and time again, and Alex Rios was a huge addition to the line-up before he went on the disabled list after getting hit by a pitch early in the season.
The Royals have five more months of regular season baseball left and there is plenty of time left to prove that we are good enough to be the American League Champs.
The Royals host Student Night on Wednesday nights with $8 Hy-Vee View level tickets with a valid student ID.