By Sam McPherson
Everything is cyclical in life, and it’s true in professional baseball, too. What goes up must come down and so forth. Right now, the baseball fans in Kansas City and San Francisco know this better than anyone else.
Kansas City is singing the (Royal) blues
Last week, the 2015 World Series champions lost all five games they played, dropping the team’s record to an American League-worst 7-16 overall. The Royals also bottomed out in our weekly Power Rankings. That’s quite the tumble for a team that won back-to-back league pennants in 2014-2015, but this roster is very different from those.
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Of course, Kansas City knows all about the ebbs and flows of the sport. For 28 straight seasons, the Royals went without making the postseason (1986-2013). This great baseball town just hopes the current drought won’t last as long.
San Francisco not fairing much better
Last week, the Giants were the bottom team in the Power Rankings, and despite a four-game series split at home against the rival Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco still had the worst record in the National League on Sunday night (9-17). Winners of the 2014 World Series over the Royals, the Giants could be in for a long, dry spell themselves.
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S.F. won three titles in a five-year span, but after making the postseason last year, the team looks nothing like what fans in the Bay Area have been used to since the 2010 season. Remember, the Giants themselves went 55 seasons without a championship recently (1955-2009), and they don’t want history to repeat, either.
Back-to-back-to-back home runs sink Philadelphia at Dodger Stadium
It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s magic. We’re talking about three consecutive homers, and the Los Angeles Dodgers pulled off the feat Saturday in the bottom of the ninth inning on their way to a comeback win over the Philadelphia Phillies.
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The trio of dingers came at the start of the inning when the home team was down, 5-2, and by the end of the frame, the Dodgers had a walk-off, 6-5 victory. The game moved L.A. above .500 for the season, and we may look back at it later as a key turning point in the NL West Division.
Nationals’ Anthony Rendon has a game at the plate for the ages
Washington’s third baseman was in a bit of a hitting slump to start the season, with no HRs in the opening month. All that changed on Sunday as Anthony Rendon collected six hits in a 23-5 victory over the wounded New York Mets—including three long balls and a whopping 10 RBI.
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Rendon hit .394 his sophomore year in college with the Rice Owls, and while his MLB career has been solid, this is the kind of game the experts all suspected he was capable of at the major-league level.
Thames’ triumphant return to the majors
Over two seasons with Seattle and Toronto (2011-12), Eric Thames showed some promise, but no MLB team gave him another chance. So Thames went to Asia in 2014 and thrived in the South Korean professional baseball scene for three seasons. Thames came back to the States this year with the Milwaukee Brewers, and he’s certainly proving himself worthy of our attention.
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With 11 homers in April, he is more than halfway to matching his prior career total (21) from those two seasons long ago. He’s also hitting .341 and showing very good plate discipline. Thames’ example could open the door for more players to hone their craft in South Korea soon.