The Kansas City Royals lost in their first game of the season 4-3 to the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers won the game on a walk-off single to left field. After getting three runs in the fourth inning, the Royals bats were silent for the remainder of the contest. The Tigers scored two in the seventh inning to tie the game up and one in the ninth to win it.
For Royals fans, it’s frustrating that the last Opening Day victory was in 2008. But back off the ledge. This is the first game of a 162 game season. One regular season game in the MLB means the least out of any of the four major professional sports leagues. It would be nice for Royals fans to see the first game put in the win column, but in reality one game is just .6 percent of the season.
One thing that many fans have been upset about is manager Ned Yost’s use of the bullpen. On Monday, he faced a tough decision as the Royals entered the bottom of the ninth inning tied, 3-3. Reliever Wade Davis pitched the eighth, and Yost had to decide who came out for the ninth. He chose to leave Davis on the mound. After giving up a walk and a single, Yost decided to put in closer Greg Holland to calm down the situation. Holland immediately allowed a single, which scored the runner on third, ending the game.
The fans’ anger towards Yost is justified. He should have done one of two things—pull Davis before the inning started or let Davis finish the inning. Yost put Holland in a no-win situation. No pitcher should be expected to come in and get two outs with runners on the corners. Mismanagement of the bullpen probably did not cost the Royals the game. But in future situations, it possibly could. That is just one small thing to be concerned with.
This one game will be hyper-analyzed and overblown. But it’s just one game. Catcher Salvador Perez was terrific. Perez was 4-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI. But no one expects his batting average to be 1.000 this season. One loss to a team who won 93 games last season doesn’t mean the Royals are going to go 0-162.
The Royals are a solid team. They have arguably the best defense in the majors and an above average pitching staff. The lineup appears to be stable, although they only produced three runs on Monday. The bullpen was incredible last season. Royals fans can relax. This team will move past the loss and be a winning squad in 2014. With plenty of returning faces from the Royals first winning season since 2003 along with what appear to be some promising new faces, KC fans should wait for a bigger sample size before casting judgement.