Typically, with the doom and gloom from the Royals faithful following each loss is a swell of optimism and clear thinking from the level headed amongst the blogging and social media community. They usually explain how it is just “one game” and that it doesn’t really matter. Win tomorrow, and all will be forgotten. It becomes minimized that any single game is ever anything close to a “must win.” Everything is about the collective, and the bigger picture. And almost without exception, they are usually right.
Today, the Kansas City Royals are playing in a must-win game.
Yesterday, the Royals played in a game that was close to the same status, and lost 5-2.
The Royals now face the daunting task of facing the two lefties many had worried about when facing a strong Houston starting rotation. First up is Scott Kazmir, who has been ho hum during his time with the Astros, but has managed to sport a 3.10 ERA on the season, striking out 155 batters in 183 innings.
He has faced the Royals three times this season, twice with Oakland, and has lost two of those three times, giving up two runs in his first outing, three in his second and shutout the Royals over seven innings only allowing three hits in his lone start with the Astros.
Dallas Keuchel will be next up, and he has led the AL in innings pitched while doing it with a 2.48 ERA. He also leads the league in ERA+ and WHIP, meaning this guy can deal the ball. Adding in the Royals notorious inability to hit lefties, it is no wonder that we feel it would be unwise to go into that game being down in the series 0-2. Oh, and he’s 15-0 in 18 home starts with a sub-2 ERA (he’s 6-8 with a 3.70 ERA on the road, including a loss at Kansas City on the day tJohnny Cueto was acquired).
Today, the focus is on Johnny Cueto. He has had a bit of a bumpy road during his tenure in KC between a 4.76 ERA and drawing the ire of many after failing to show up for a scheduled appearance with fans. Many have touted all of the starts and pitches thrown up until now to have been meaningless, and that the REAL value of Cueto is his postseaon record.
Cueto now pitches in a game where if he loses, the Royals will fall in an 0-2 hole in their own stadium and travel to Houston needing to win two in a row. We all know how it usually goes for a team to pick up the first two games of a series on the road.
Johnny Cueto MUST win today. If he doesn’t, then he will most likely not even get another chance to provide any value to the Royals during the postseason. His acquisition will have been a complete failure. Seem harsh? Given the value of the players given up to acquire Cueto, there is no other way to look at it. General Manager Dayton Moore acquired Cueto to shine on the brightest stage and today he will have it.
He is not only pitching for the Royals playoff lives, but his short lived legacy as a Royal as well.
He was acquired to do one thing: WIN. PLAYOFF. GAMES.
Go out and do it.
Follow us on Twitter: @KCSportsNation
Like us on Facebook