...Yesterday's just a memory/Tomorrow is never what it's supposed to be
(from "Don't Fall Apart On Me Tonight," Infidels)
When Tony Pena Jr. hits a home run, the Royals need to win that game. TPJ's bat has been a toothpick this year. KC can't afford to waste any offensive contribution he manages to give.
So it was slightly aggravating when Kyle Davies fell apart after receiving a 3-0 lead. OK, highly aggravating. OK, I unleashed a string of bad words.
Sometimes, though, strange things happen. Things like a 7-run inning from one of the worst offenses in the AL. Things like two nearly perfect innings from Joel Peralta, who has devolved into a mopup man this year.
Of course, there were also the things Royals fans have come to expect this year: perfection from Ron Mahay and Joakim Soria to close out a win.
The Royals needed this one badly. KC entered this series with a less-than-sterling 6-22 record against the Orioles since 2003. With four in Baltimore, four in Tampa (how 'bout them Rays? Best record in baseball!?!?) and three at home against the White Sox, I feared the Royals would undo all the good they accomplished in interleague play in less than two weeks.
If we learned anything about this team the last few days, it is that they have a resiliency that we haven't seen around here since 2003, at least. In previous seasons, a sloppy loss like last Sunday's home debacle against St. Loo or Tuesday's disaster in Baltimore would easily beget a double-digit losing streak. Instead, KC rallied for a win Monday, almost pulled one off Tuesday, and then got a nice win tonight.
While this is likely a function of simply having better players, I think a portion of the credit should go to Trey Hillman. I've ripped him before in this forum, but now I come to praise him for apparently creating an environment where this young team believes they have a chance to win. That's an important first step.