If you could draw up how the Royals were going to kill their momentum and fade back into their old ways, the last two days would be a pretty good start. Bruce Chen throws another shut out, but the Royals managed to put up ZERO runs and lose in extra innings on a fluke 0-2 beanball and SB off of our gold glove catcher. Then, as we were winning a sloppy game in typical Royals fashion on a lazy Wednesday afternoon, suddenly the defense lets the team down, Luke Hochevar goes with his vintage look and Alex Gordon strikes out as the tying run to seal losing two-of-three to the lowly Marlins. This of course all happened while the Tigers and Indians were looking like real playoff contenders by rallying for victories. The PBR has been very quiet of late, basically there is not much to say when everything is going right, you just watch and assume that it will continue, but when it doesn't you freak out and look to blame someone or something...
Blame #1 Miggy Tejada: We know it's not his fault, but basically this 39 year old was the shining example of how everything was working out during the great post All Star break winning streak that got us believing we could really stay in the race. In the end the paper clips and duck tape holding him together weren't enough to stave off the inevitable season ending injury. As Royals fans we should have seen it coming. He personified the unsustainable fluke that was our winning streak. Now he's being replaced by another 39 year old who is a very poor facsimile for what Miggy brought to the table and who will undoubtedly fail as so many veteran Royals pick-ups before him. A resurrection from Miggy is exactly what the team needed to propel them into the playoffs; another familiar face on ESPN promos that could make their relevance believable. Unfortunately, it didn't work out and now we're forced to watch lessor players try to fill his shoes, this was the start.
Blame #2 Ned Yost: I really have nothing to back this up, but when a team loses the manager is always to blame. Why did he lead off Chris Getz? Why didn't he pinch hit there? Shouldn't he have played Justin Maxwell at 3rd base? Ervin Santana should have thrown a complete game, right? Why does Greg Holland ever leave the game, is two innings of relief really asking that much? Can't Ned tell them to hit more HRs? Gordon in the four hole, again, really? Should Elliot Johnson ever be playing? Why not hit Billy Butler leadoff? Like the Royals of late, pretty much everything has gone right for Yostie, but he will soon be fair game again once we tailspin into a losing streak that ends the season. Honestly, this is pretty much the hand he's been dealt. Yes, batting Chris Getz in the leadoff spot is criminal, but it wouldn't matter if there were someone really that much better to play 2B, or if Eric Hosmer were Mike Trout, or if Billy Butler were David Ortiz, or if Alex Gordon were Miguel Cabrera. That being said, Ned is basically managing for his baseball future; continued good play would mean a big contract extension and possible Manager of the year votes, but stumbling down the stretch would almost certainly mean walking papers for Ned.
Blame #3 Chris Getz: Since his return the Royals are 1-2, can't argue with that. He is also responsible for world hunger, crimes against the state and the downfall of Network TV.
Blame #4 George Brett: Can he come back and re-remind us how to do it like 1985? If we're going to give him credit for "turning around" the hitters, he needs to be open to some of the blame as well.
Blame #5 Elliot Johnson: What exactly is doing to help the team again? No answer needed to the previous question, but now we can definitively point to his error today as actively hurting the team and likely starting them on a 10 game losing streak that will get people fired, start riots on the Plaza and lead to the team being sold and moved to Oklahoma City. I get it, he's an emergency back-up, but there are literally five guys in AAA who are better than him, Falu, Colon, Giavotella, etc.? His slugging avg. would rank near the bottom of the league's batting averages, there just isn't anything there.
The team has been going so well that this is all the PBR could come up with to blame for losing the last two against the Marlins. While the unprecedented five game sweep of the Tigers would change everything again, hoping for this might not be realistic. However, as Royals fans, the fact that this series has some semblance of meaning is monumental. If it's a success this little bump in the road against the Marlins will be forgotten, however if bad things happen in Motown then everyone will put a big red circle on the two games the team squandered away against the Marlins when we begin to ask where it all went wrong.