Hello again. These Fridays are great, aren’t they? But what’s with the cold weather? Anyway, time for musings. Friday musings.
* How are you Royals fans holding up? Better than us Cardinals fans, I hope. It looked like St. Louis was in great position after winning three of four in Milwaukee and then beating Cincinnati in the opener of a four-game series this week. But the Reds rallied to win the last four games of the series and now Pittsburg and Milwaukee are back in the race in the National League Central. Aggravating.
* The Cardinals’ remaining games are against Colorado (terrible), Milwaukee (slumping), Cincinnati (not very good), Arizona (awful) and the Chicago Cubs (pitiful). If the Cardinals can’t nail down a postseason spot against these teams then it wasn’t meant to be. I have faith.
* As for the Royals, you gotta give it to James Shields for the way he pitched to salvage the third game of that Detroit series. That was manning up. But then KC looked flat and out of sorts Thursday night against the Boston Red Sox at Kauffman Stadium. You wonder whether the Royals will hold up under the pressure of the final two weeks.
* Make no mistake, Kansas City needs to win the division. Currently, the Royals are a half-game up on Detroit. The winner of the division, of course, bypasses what could be a treacherous wild-card game against either Seattle or Oakland, either Felix Hernandez or Jon Lester. Sure, the Royals have Big Game James Shields, but they’d hate to have to use him in a wild-card game given the iffiness of the rest of the rotation right now.
* The Danny Duffy injury couldn’t have come at a worst time for Kansas City.
* It was gruesome to see Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton get hit in the face by an 88 mph fastball from Milwaukee right-hander Mike Fiers on Thursday night. It’s a terrible injury, one that will cost Stanton the rest of the season. He’s having a career year with 37 homers, 105 RBI and a .288 batting average. Many are touting him as the National League’s MVP and in a lot of years, he would be.
* But there’s a guy named Clayton Kershaw who pitches for the Los Angeles Dodgers. And while Stanton is having a remarkable season, Kershaw is having a season for the ages. He’s 18-3 with a 1.67 ERA and there’s no bigger difference-maker in baseball. In 177.1 innings, Kershaw has allowed only 118 hits and 27 walks for a ridiculous WHIP of 0.82. His ERA is just as ridiculous –1.67. He has struck out 210. The MVP, but the true letter of those initials, is still Kershaw, in my opinion.
* I’ve been perusing the new shows for television’s fall season and there might not be anything I want to watch. I suppose I’ll check into Gotham, like everyone else.
* Has the powerful NFL ever had a worse week?
* Is that league’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, the least-liked person in sports at the moment? After Ray Rice, of course.
* The people wearing Rice jerseys at Thursday night’s Ravens-Steelers game in Baltimore are woefully ignorant. So sad to see them celebrate Rice in that way. And please don’t tune in to hear some of those folks being interviewed. It’ll make you question humanity.
* Kansas plays at Duke on Saturday. The Jayhawks have to figure out a way to stay in that game, don’t they? A blowout loss –which wouldn’t be a shock – would be hard for the faithful to handle. Next week’s home game against Central Michigan is far from a gimme, by the way.
* Is there such a thing as a KU football faithful? Of course there are. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that the Jayhawks were putting 50,000-plus into Memorial Stadium to watch one of the most exciting offensive teams in the country. It seems like a long time ago, though. Doesn’t it?
* I wonder how many hours a day Kansas State coach Bill Snyder is working to prepare his team for Auburn next Thursday? Based on what I saw from the Wildcats at Iowa State, I’m guessing 25. K-State has work to do, which isn’t a surprise. Snyder and his staff have proven time and again that what you see early from Kansas State isn’t always what you see as the season wears on.
* How much longer will Bill Snyder coach? That continues to be the most-asked question surrounding K-State football. It was the first thing a bunch of us scribes started talking about when we gathered inside the press box in Ames last week. There’s no general consensus, by the way. Some think this will be his final season; others believe he’ll coach another four or five years, maybe more. I have a feeling he won’t coach beyond 2015, but what do I know?
* The Royals’ top hitter, Alides Escobar, is batting .276. Alex Gordon leads Kansas City with 19 homers and 66 RBI. Yet KC is in first place. It’s remarkable, really.
* This exciting Kansas City season has masked the under-performance of first baseman Eric Hosmer and third baseman Mike Moustakas, two former phenom prospects who continue to struggle at the plate. It will be interesting to see what general manager Dayton Moore does to try and beef up this offense during the offseason.
* College basketball season begins in about seven weeks. I’m guessing some of you are counting the days?
* As always, I hope everyone has a great weekend. No football game to cover for me Saturday, but I’ll be watching Kansas-Duke and expecting a basketball game to break out.