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It Was The Best Of Times,It Was The Worst Of Times...

What have the Kansas City Royals been up to lately? I'm glad you asked.Up until this past weekend's series with the Texas Rangers and the beginning of this week's re-match against the Cleveland Indians,they had been showing that they can hold their own against some of the best teams in baseball.

After taking three of four games from the Seattle Mariners at Kauffman Stadium back on 4/14-4/17,they began another four game series against the team they came into the series in a tie for first place in the AL Central with,the Cleveland Indians.The fact that they were still in front of our home crowd,though winning road games and coming into another team's house and taking games from them feels good,and is important to,there is always something to be said for the electrifying effect of home-field advantage.Take the case of Kauffman's neighboring stadium,Arrowhead.When the Chiefs play at home,and the stands are full of the famous "sea of red", it's the loudest stadium in the NFL.And even though Kauffman may not boast the same attendance numbers,those who do attend on a regular basis (including me this season), are passionate about the Royals.So what better setting can you ask for? That and their division standing made this series all the more important and they would go on to split the series with The Tribe.

Things didn't start out well on Monday 4/18 as Cleveland took the first game of the series by the score of 7-3.Both teams were scoreless in 5 of the 9 innings.For Cleveland it was the 4th-through the sixth,as well as the 8th and 9th,and for KC it was the 3rd through the 5th and the 8th and 9th innings.The Indians had 7 runs on 13 hits and 2 errors,while the Royals 3 runs came on 7 hits and they also committed 2 errors.The Royals bounced back on Tuesday 4/19,taking game two by a 5-4 final.Bruce Chen pitched six scoreless innings for KC and they got RBI's from Chris Getz,who had 1 run on 1 hit and 1 RBI,Melky Cabrera had the same totals,Alex Gordon contributed 1 run on 2 hits and 1 RBI.Jeff Francoeur had 1 hit,1 RBI and Alcides Escobar had 1 run on 2 hits and 1 RBI.In game three on Wednesday 4/20,Starting Pitcher Luke Hochevar held the Indians scoreless through the first five innings,while the Royals scored two runs in the bottom of the 1st.But in the top of the 6th inning,Cleveland went on the war-path and sent nine men to the plate.In addition to hits and walks,they got help with Hochevar being charged with two balks in the inning,and scored four runs.They scored two more in the top of the 7th and one run in the top of the 9th.The Royals scored three runs in the bottom of the 9th,but in the end,it was the Indians with the advantage by the score of 7-5.

In fourth and final game on Thursday,4/21, the starting pitchers were Sean O'Sullivan for KC and Josh Tomlin for Cleveland.O' Sullivan kept the the Indians quiet through the first four innings,but were held to the same fate by Tomlin through seven.In the Top of the 5th,Cleveland scored two runs,but the Royals score one run in the 8th and two in the 9th inning,to end up at a final of 3-2 Royals.This left the AL Central leader standings at Cleveland 1st at 13-6,and the Royals in 2nd at 12-7.The closest to them was Detroit at 9-10.Unfortunately,the Royals did not fare so well as they traveled to Arlington Texas where they dropped all three games of last weekend's series with the Texas Rangers on Friday 4/22-Sunday 4/24,by the finals of 11-6 on Friday,3-1 on Saturday and 8-7 on Sunday.Not a very nice Easter present for Kansas City fans.Luckily,Easter is about much more than just baseball! For me and many others,it's about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ,So,if my fellow believers will excuse this reference to the secular use of the day,they say the Rangers always get their man.Well,figuratively speaking,in this series,the Rangers of baseball were definitely were the "blood hounds" that had our Royals chased down the "rabbit hole."

But every cloud indeed has its "silver lining".For the Royals,it was the fact that despite those three consecutive losses,they didn't fall in the standings,and came into Tuesday's contest in Cleveland (the first of a 3-game series),still two games above .500 and in a 2nd place tie with Detroit at 12-10.Ales Gordon increased his hitting streak on Sunday to a career high 18 games.The Texas series had been the only one thus far in 2011 that we had a losing record.Four of our 13 hitters came into Tuesday with averages above .300.Wilson Betemit at .364,Alex Gordon at .356, Jeff Francoeur at .325,and Billy Butler at 316. And, Melky Cabrera was not far behind at .283 and Chris Getz was at .240.Seven of our pitchers had even or winning records and closer Joakim Soria had 5 saves.Our 12-10 record was the same as the AL West Anaheim Angels and even our cross-state counterparts,the NL Central leading St.Louis Cardinals.

I was expecting all this to lead into a better showing in Cleveland but thus far,the Royals have dropped the first two of the three game series,on Monday night falling 9-4 and that included five,count em',five Indians long-balls,and only one of our own from Melky Cabrera.But,fortunately that night,we got help from the Seattle team that we beat up on recently,when they beat Detroit 7-3 which kept KC in that 2nd place tie in the AL Central at 12-11.And even though we again came up short against the Indians last night, by the score of 7-2 and helped Cleveland improve to 15-8,Seattle again put the hurt on the Detroit Tigers 10-1 and kept us in that 2nd place tie with Detroit at 12-12. Royals fans are airing a collective prayer that these last five straight five losses are not a sign of the way things usually go for the Royals around this part of the season,or at least usually by the start of June.They play game three in Cleveland this evening before coming home to take on the Minnesota Twins who are behind the Royals at 9-13 this weekend.And,for any of you who will be at the game this Sunday,I'll see you there,as that is game 3 of my 13 game package for 2011!

John W. "Losh-Man" Losh II

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