Friday musings, Friday-style.
▪ We’re about an hour away, as I work on the musings, from Game 2 of the ALDS between Kansas City and Houston. The Astros are for real. Speed, pitching, defense, power hitting. This is a pivotal game because KC isn’t likely to win Game 3 on Sunday in Houston with Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel on the hill. He’s 15-0 at home this season. Can Johnny Cueto get it done today for the Royals?
▪ It’s difficult to believe a team can turn itself around as quickly as Houston, which just two seasons ago lost 111 games. Credit to general manager Jeff Luhnow and his staff. The Astros are no joke.
▪ The Royals’ lack of patience at the plate is telling. Too often, KC hitters chased pitches early in the count. But that’s been the case all season. Kansas City drew the fewest number of walks in the American League but also struck out less than any other team.
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▪ Is Aldices Escobar a leadoff hitter? Does Alex Gordon belong in the 7-spot? Escobar, who is in the leadoff spot again today, has drawn only 26 walks in 662 plate appearances this season. He doesn’t work counts and has only a .293 on-base percentage. Compare that to the .353 on-base percentage for Houston leadoff hitter Jose Altuve, who has drawn only 33 walks himself. There are two aggressive hitters in the leadoff spots for these teams but one, Altuve, is a much better hitter.
▪ Gordon, meanwhile, has struggled since returning from a groin injury. In 25 games, he’s batted only .250 with a .692 on-base percentage. But Gordon seems like a better bet to do something in the postseason. Here’s the Royals lineup I’d like to see today: Ben Zobrist, 2B; Alex Gordon, LF; Lorenzo Cain, CF; Eric Hosmer, 1B; Kendrys Morales, DH; Mike Moustakas, 3B; Salvador Perez, C; Alcides Escobar, SS; Alex Rios, RF; Johnny Cueto, P. Zobrist has only a .241 average in 134 games as a leadoff hitter, but he’s a more patient hitter than Escobar.
▪ I’m catching up with seasons 2 and 3 of Ray Donovan on Showtime. Fantastic show.
▪ I DVR quite a bit of television and it ends up just sitting there, never to be watched. It’s a sad tale.
▪ I’m the same way with eggs. I buy eggs almost every time I go to the grocery store and then fail to use them before their expiration date. Most of the eggs I buy end up in the garbage disposal. I’m going to start cooking up my eggs and stop this nonsense.
▪ How many points will Baylor score at Kansas on Saturday. The Jayhawks have never allowed more than 71, so I’d have to think the Bears are a good bet to top that. Could Baylor approach 100? Perhaps, but only if its coach, Art Briles, wants to. After being left out of the College Football Playoff last season, might Briles want to? It will be fascinating to see. Not the game, which will be dreadful. But tune in late to see if Baylor is going for triple digits. My prediction: Baylor 70, Kansas 13.
▪ It might be almost as tough for Kansas State to keeps its Saturday opponent, TCU, from running up a big score. The Wildcats are certainly better defensively than KU, but K-State has issues in its secondary. And the Horned Frogs love to throw. It’ll be fun having two such outstanding offenses in the state Saturday. My prediction for TCU-KSU? Horned Frogs 57, Wildcats 25.
▪ Yes, I’m extremely nervous about the Cubs-Cardinals NLDS. The Cubs have a different look now. Maybe I’m overstating that. But I expect a tough series. St. Louis needs to win both games at home this weekend, starting this afternoon. Then I’ll feel better.
▪ I know Texas officials have stated there’s still support for Longhorns football coach Charlie Strong. But what happens if Oklahoma puts a whooping on Texas on Saturday in Dallas? I think Strong should get more time and I hope sanity prevails amongst the Texas administration and boosters. But since when is college football sane?
▪ More than any time I can remember, I’m looking forward to the start of the NBA season. I’m not sure why.
▪ I bought a new iPhone 6s the other day because I want to keep up. And there’s really no other reason. I guess I like it. It’s about like the 5s I had before, from what I can tell. My guess is that I’m utilizing about 4.8 percent of what this phone is capable of doing. That’s OK. I’m a 4.8 percent kind of guy.
▪ I played four rounds of golf this year, I’m ashamed to say. Only four.
▪ The new season of The Walking Dead begins Sunday. I’ll be watching, although I’m starting to believe everything about this series moves to slowly and my patience is being tested. I need a zombie resolution at some point.
▪ I need to get out to see Steve Jobs when it opens. I’ve read nothing but sparkling accolades about this movie and its star, Michael Fassbender.
▪ Been reading and listening to one Don Henley interview after another as he continues to heavily promote his new record, Cass County. Social media has led me to most of these interviews, continuing my love-hate relationship with the medium. I guess it’s mostly love at this point, but check with me later. It changes almost daily.
▪ Doing these musings makes me feel somewhat shallow, since I tend to avoid serious subjects. But I’m not shallow. Really, I’m not. I have a lot of thoughts and opinions about a lot of different things. I jus think it’s important to spare you from those thoughts since I’m pigeonholed as a “sports guy.”
▪ Have a great weekend everyone. And, repeat after me, Go Cardinals.