Here are some quick notes following the Twins 7-5 win over the Royals on Sunday:
THE SANO SHOW: This has been the Miguel Sano road trip, as the third baseman has been locked in all week. Looking at his numbers, and everything screams BETTER. More walks, fewer strikeouts, contact percentage, selectivity. It's all working for him right now. When he had to wait six minutes on Friday for C.B. Bucknor to be assisted after being hit with a foul ball, then hit a home run on the next pitch, I knew he was locked in. Can't wait to see how teams respond to his surge. Advance scouts are bearing down on Sano right now, looking for ways to exploit him. "He's tough to pitch right now." Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "He seems to be handling all quadrants of the strike zone fairly well."
BIG OUT: Ryan Pressly threw just two pitches on Sunday, but they were big. Phil Hughes had just been removed from the game and Pressly was in with two on and two out in the sixth inning. Pressly came right at Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield and got him to fly out to center to end the inning. It was a pivotal moment in the game, where the Royals were a swing away from taking control of the game.
THE WINDOW HAS CLOSED: The Royals are nowhere near the championship-caliber team of a couple years ago. Their bullpen is not as powerful as it has been in the past. They are missing clutch hitters. Alex Gordon is a mess at the plate. (How did the Royals re-sign him?) Worst of all, their defense has dropped off. Merrifield botched a play in the fourth. He should have went to first for the sure out but instead flipped to Alcides Escobar to start a double play. But Escobar was shifted too far toward the hole and could not get there in time. Everyone was safe. Then Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer failed to connect for a 5-3 putout. Moose bounced his throw, and Hosmer missed his scoop attempt. They've always connected in the past. It doesn't look good for the Royals this season.