Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 8/26/13
Can Santana return to his early-season form? If one thing is clear from this latest series of games, it’s that the Royals need to learn how to hold on to the big leads they have in the early innings. In game one, Eric Hosmer and Justin Maxwell broke the game wide open in a 6-run first inning against the usually dominating Gio Gonzalez. It looked like the game was won right there, with Bruce Chen pitching lights out baseball in his previous appearances, but that quickly changed. By the time the Royals came to bat in the bottom of the 5th inning, the Royals were now facing an 8-6 deficit, one in which they would not overcome in an 11-10 loss. This continued the 6-game losing skid that they were now on, and their playoff chances began to slip away. In the final game of the series, the Royals faced a major challenge. A loss would put them under .500 for the first time since July 27th, and therefore basically cutting the last playoff thread that they currently cling to. Luckily, the Royals came out swinging. Home runs by Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez propelled the Royals to another early lead, 4-0 in the 1st inning. But, once again, the starting pitching could not hold onto it. Ervin Santana pitched great baseball until the 7th, where he managed to lose the lead built up for him in the 1st. By the time he exited the game, Santana had let the Nationals tie the game, thanks to the 3 home runs he surrendered. Luckily for him, the Royals offense pulled through in the bottom of the 8th, and Greg Holland continued to play amazing in the late inning as they ended their 7-game skid, keeping them above .500 Looking forward this week of baseball, the Royals have a week that they need to make the most of. After one game against the Rays (a bad time to play them considering how hot they are), they head to Minnesota to play the Twins, a team that they should have no trouble in at least taking 2 out of 3 from. Following the Minnesota series is a trip North of the border to face the Blue Jays for two games (again, three games that the Royals desperately need to come out on top of). In my first article, I stated that the crucial series of games for the Royals would be the 12 against the Indians and Tigers, those might become irrelevant if the Royals are unable to take care of business against teams that are completely out of the race. If they choke like they did against the Nationals, then the Royals will once again hold a title they are all too familiar with- spoiler. Record for this week’s games: (4-3) Royals playoff hopes disappear as pitching can’t hold.
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