Kansas City Royals-Minnesota Twins: Battle of the Underdogs

Ravuth ThorngCorrespondent IApril 4, 2008

Over the offseason, both of these clubs went through hefty renovations in the lineup as well as in the pitching department. Both had the same ideas in mind and implemented the same strategy as far as acquisitions. But so far the clubs have seen different outcomes.

Both teams are considered the underdogs of the American League Central—neither finishing with an above .500 record last season. The Minnesota Twins have seen recent success, but they were disappointed last season.

The Royals, however, have been on the bottom for several seasons now that the only direction they could go is up. That is what they are aiming to do, and have achieved so far, at least early in the season.

I made a comment on an article before Opening Day that “I still don’t see the Royals out of last place.” Sure it is still too early to tell, but so far, I am impressed with this K.C. team and the way that they have stifled a stacked lineup like Detroit’s.

They have done it all so far—pitching, defense, as well as hot hitting—consistently scoring four or more runs in each game of the first series.

The Twins, on the other hand, showed a glimpse of their successful years on Opening Day with an impressive well-balanced performance. But so far, it has been down hill from there.

Again, both teams went into the offseason with the same rationale, but the outcomes are like night and day. One team achieved consistency; the other team is still struggling to find themselves.

The makeup of these two teams are so similar that it will be like looking in a mirror—both don’t have huge bats in the lineup, so they have to depend on good pitching performances.

The lack of heavy hitters forces both teams to manufacture runs. Finally, playing small ball causes both teams to rely on their defense, especially the corner infielders keeping them on their toes in case of bunts.

The Twins better not go into tonight thinking that it will be an easy win against Kansas City. Scott Baker may have been successful in the past against KC, taking a no-hitter into the ninth last August, but he has been ill with the flu, and lost a lot of playing time in spring.

Baker pitched well in spring, but we’ll see how he fares having been out for a while.

It will be interesting to see how both pitchers do, considering that Baker needs to rebuild his stamina, while KC pitcher John Bale is making his first start since 2003, having been used mainly as a reliever.

Tonight’s game will be a hard one to call, but I have to stick with my team for this one and say that the Twins will come out on top in this contest. It will mainly come down to pitching and I think that the Twins will have the upper-hand.