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Friday, April 4, 2008

Angels Recap/Royals Preview

So the first series is in the bag. After the adrenaline and excitement cooled from Opening Day, the Twins lost three games in a row against a strong Angels club. Other than Nick Blackburn's outstanding start pitching was inconsistent and hitting has been awful. Justin Morneau is still hitless in 2008, but Joe Mauer had a good game yesterday, Jason Kubel hit the Twins first homerun of the season, Carlos Gomez is still using his electrifying speed, and most importantly the Angels will not visit the Metrodome again this year and we won't have to watch any more of this...

Now we move on to the Royals, arguably the hottest team in baseball. With a quick glimpse at the AL Central, Cleveland, Chicago, and Minnesota in 2nd/3rd/4th respectively makes sense, but I don't think anyone would have predicted an undefeated, first place Kansas City club and a winless Detroit team in the cellar. That's why they play the game!

Kansas City got two great starts from their young pitchers Brian Bannister and Zack Greinke, and there young hitters Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, and Mark Teahen have been swinging strong bats. However, tonight Scott Baker takes the mound in his first 2008 start. Last year, Baker killed the Royals going 3-0 against KC and came within 2 outs of a no-hitter against this club. I'm looking for the Twins bats to wake up and the Twins to take 2 out of 3 at home in the dome.

As a part of the preview for the Twins/Royals series, Royals blogger Jeff Parker and the MVB teamed up and asked each other a few questions. Here are Parker's thoughts on his Royals club...

1) What's the biggest difference between this year's Royals and last years club?
Two things really; 1. Addition by subtraction. Odalis Perez, Jorge de la Rosa, Scott Elarton, Jason Larue, and Emil Brown are all gone. Last year Perez started the second game of the year and this season Brian Bannister did, big difference. 2. The young guys are all a year older and they seem locked in. Somebody forgot to tell them that they are supposed to lose 100 games. They (and new manager Trey Hillman) seem unaware of the culture of losing that has defined Royals baseball the last 15 years.

2) What one player from the Twins would you want to play for the Royals?
I figure most people would say Mauer but he is a little too injury prone for my liking so I'd take former MVP Justin Morneau. He would provide a power hitter at a position where KC usually have been playing slap hitters (Ken Harvey, Doug Mientkiewicz, Ross Gload). Stick him after Gordon and Butler in KC's lineup and they would score some runs.

3) If you were Royals GM, what's the first move you would make?
I would find another shortstop. Tony Pena Jr is a great defender but he just does not get on base enough to justify being a starter. If the Royals had an offense like the Yankees or Red Sox then they could live with a no hit all glove SS but they don't so they need at least league average production from that position.

Thanks to Jeff for his insight, and to read my comments from Jeff's questions just check out Royally Speaking right here.

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