the Kansas City Royals dejectedly walked off the field on March 31
following a rare letdown from their bullpen, they sat at 0-1, a game
behind the 1-0 Detroit Tigers. Lights-out closer Greg Holland had
just surrendered a game-winning single to Alex Gonzalez in the bottom
of the 9th
in a game that KC led 3-1 after 6½ innings.
who had two run-scoring hits in that game, was released by the Tigers
three weeks later, but the impact of his heroics can still be felt as
the two teams battle for American League Central supremacy.
game and two days later, Kansas City suffered a similar fate. After
Alex Gordon’s sacrifice fly tied the score at 1-1 in the top of the
Ian Kinsler delivered another walk-off hit for the Tigers in the
bottom of the 10th
as Detroit prevailed, 2-1. Sure, there were 160 games to go, and a
two-game difference on April 2 should hardly make a dent anywhere.
But fast forward to the week’s final season, and those two games loom
as large as the 29-year albatross hanging over the October-hungry
Kansas City hunting its first playoff spot since 1985, it will need
to finish with a flourish to overcome a one-game deficit in the final
five games. The Tigers control their own destiny – in large part
because of their 13-6 record against the Royals, including those
first two dramatic wins of the 2014 season.
all teams endure their share of inexplicable wins and losses, and
perhaps it isn’t fair to point to two specific games as the culprit
for the Royals’ current plight as they face their final push. But
can’t you just hear those cockeyed optimists saying, “It’s only two
games,” and, “It’s still early.” And so on and so forth.
for anyone who brushed aside those two games – or any other April
slip-ups that are looming large as September winds down – this is a
lesson not to overlook any game on the regular-season schedule.
Nothing is to be taken for granted, even when there are 160 games
left to play.
Pirates are still looking up at the Cardinals due to the fact that
they are 8-11 against the Cards, and 2-7 at Busch Stadium. Two
walk-off losses in early July are currently responsible for the small
gap that remains in the NL Central standings.
this sounds like pessimism at its finest and an undying hope that the
underdogs will emerge victorious come Sunday (or perhaps a few days
after). But really, it’s only to bring attention to the fact that
every win – and every loss – counts just the same. There’s that
old saying, “Divisions are won in April.” It annoys some and may
even alienate others who choose to tune out baseball’s first few
months, so let’s tweak that saying to, “Divisions are won in
April… and May, June, July, August, and September.”