Patience, Royals fans: There are signs that Moose is coming around
So far during this young season, the Royals have been searching for someone to come through with the clutch, game-deciding hit.
And perhaps the least likely of their sources — Mike Moustakas — came through Wednesday night.
Moustakas’ home run to right field in the 11th inning catapulted the Royals to a 6-4 win and, at least for now, rescued an otherwise dismal road trip.
"I hit it pretty good," Moustakas told mlb.com. "I got underneath it a little bit. I was kind of blowing at it as it was up in the air, hoping it was going out.
"I knew I got it pretty good. I didn’t know how far it was going to go, but obviously happy it carried out of here."
We all know about Moose’s struggles at the plate. We knew not to be fooled by his sizzling all-world spring training numbers again this season. Just like last year, Moose is off to a horrendous start.
Yet, to be fair, there are some signs that Moustakas is coming around.
True, Moustakas was hitting less than .100 when he launched the game-winner Wednesday.
But actually, Moustakas began swinging the bat much better in Minnesota. He had three hits there, and two of them were well-struck doubles to deep center field. Those extra-base hits got lost in the wreckage of a weekend sweep at the hands of the Twins.
The fan base remains skeptical of Moustakas, and he has taken a beating on sports-talk radio and Twitter in the past week. There have been calls for his demotion.
But Moustakas now has four hits in his last four games, including a game-winner. Baby steps, yes, but it’s not like Moustakas’ teammates have been scorching the ball, either. The Royals are still last in the league in just about every offensive category.
And really, if you look closely, Moustakas does appear more confident at the plate in the past few days. He is staying back on the ball, and driving it.
Moustakas is a streaky hitter. The hope now is that Moose will launch into a hot streak. Neither Moose nor the Royals can afford to see him drop into offensive oblivion as he did last year.
Manager Ned Yost certainly has his fingers crossed.
"It was big for anybody to break through, but it was really big for Moose to do it," Yost said after the game. "He’s been working really, really hard and tirelessly getting after it. He just needed a little luck, just one good at-bat. That was it tonight."
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email firstname.lastname@example.org.