Saturday, April 7, 2007

Royals brrrrrrrrrrr-y Tigers

Apologies for the headline, but the sudden weather change resulting from our potentially catastrophic neglect of the environment has made baseball almost impossible to watch at the K since Opening Day, when it was 80 degrees. Yesterday it was 31 by game's end. Baseball should never be played in below-freezing temperature, though I suppose at least it wasn't snowing.

(I'd like to pose an innocent question to the good editors at the Plain Dealer: do you really want the first two words of your headline to make everyone think of a certain sex act? I mean, maybe if you're Pitch Weekly, but... I'm not alone on this, am I?)

Alas, Kansas Citians have the Royals to warm their hearts. In an uncannily important April game, our boys strapped up and dealt a KC steamer to the Tigers. Jorge De La Rosa, who had a poor spring but possesses decent middle-of-the-rotation stuff, pitched a career-best seven innings of one-run ball. And just when it seemed he might not get the win, Tony Pena Jr. continued his hot streak by smoking a tie-breaking three-bagger in the seventh. Pena bunted unsuccessfully in the fifth, but why is he bunting when he's slugging .769 with three triples?

The best part of this is the Royals won in spite of a sterling performance from Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander. To have a successful year, the Royals will need these kind of wins: coming through just when everyone's dreading the worst. Now they'll have a chance to take the series today with ace Gil Meche to the mound. If KC can get through this dreaded month -- games against Boston, Detroit, Toronto, Baltimore, Detroit, Minnesota, Chicago, Minnesota, Seattle and Los Angeles of Anaheim -- with a .500 record, even Tony might have to crawl out of his basement, whatever the weather.

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