There are certain teams that I like to call “slash and burn” teams. They do it with good defense, high batting averages, stolen bases, quality pitching, and most of all – speed. In the dead ball era most of the good teams were slash and burn. Not so today. The name of the game is power. And in a way this makes sense. Even when Chris Davis is having an off year, he gets his share of homeruns.
Most good slash and burn teams have relatively short runs. That’s because their main asset, speed, is the first thing that goes.
Anyway, the Kansas City Royals of the past few years is a slash and burn team. Good batting averages, great defense (especially the outfield), great bullpen, and lots of speed on the bases. And yet as we go into the 2017, it would appear that their moment has past.
Their moment however very much on display in the 2nd game of the AL Championship series when they hooked up with the Birds at Camden Yards. I was happy that John was able to come up from Lynchburg to see the game with me.
Every turn at bat for KC was agony as batters worked the count, base runners threatened to steal, and hitters delivered clutch base hits. Not every inning resulted in a Royal’s score – the Birds didn’t give up – but every inning was a struggle. Especially frustrating were the times the O’s hurlers got two quick strikes on the KC batters but were unable to put them away. And starter Orioles Bud Norris took forever between pitches. It seemed like he was almost afraid to throw the ball.
In comparison other than the Adam Jones two run homerun, the Birds were unable to get any offense going. They managed another run when the Royals starter experienced some temporary control problems but that was about it. Most of the other innings were two quick out followed by a two-out single followed by a quick third out.
The Royals didn’t seal the win until the 9tth inning. I credit that to the grit of the O’s bullpen. Yet I must confess, I was not surprised when KC nabbed the win. They were in the grove. It was their year.