Dan's Dugout: Heading for rematch of 1985 World Series? • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Heading for rematch of 1985 World Series?

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Okay, it’s early — just the eve of Memorial Day weekend — but if results at the quarter-pole serve as an accurate barometer, baseball could be heading for an all-Missouri World Series.

Kolton Wong is a surprise star for St. Louis.

Kolton Wong is a surprise star for St. Louis.

Thirty years have passed since the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals met in the 1985 World Series. There are more teams, more divisions, more playoffs, and more obstacles for any team with designs on the Fall Classic.

But the Cards and Royals, both off to the best starts in team history, already have staked a claim.

KCflagKansas City, which came within a whisker of winning the World Series last year, is doing it with a combination of pitching, speed, defense, and a new element not a key part of its 2014 team: offense.

Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, and newcomer Kendrys Morales are all among the league leaders in batting and runs batted in.

The club’s batting average on May 21 was a robust .288, best in the major leagues. The Royals have also proven almost invulnerable at home, where top their 29 rivals in winning percentage.

As for their cross-state rivals, the Cards have proven they can win even without ace pitcher Adam Wainwright, out for the year with a torn Achilles.Cardspatch

With Matt Holliday reaching base in all 38 games since Opening Day, the Redbirds are running on all cylinders. After scoring 24 runs over a two-night span against the pitching-rich Mets at CitiField, the Cards are off to their best start in more than 70 years — since the early ’40s to be precise.

The return of lefthanded starter Jaime Garcia, who faces the Mets Thursday, could help maintain that momentum.

Elsewhere in baseball:

Prince Fielder would be an unlikely batting champ

Prince Fielder would be an unlikely batting champ

Don’t look now but the top two hitters in the American League batting race are sluggers Prince Fielder (.348 for Detroit) and Nelson Cruz (.347 for Seattle) . . .

The skidding Yankees, who finished their road trip with a 2-7 record, suffered another blow when leadoff man Jacoby Ellsbury (.324, 14 steals) wound up on the disabled list with an injured knee . . .

Unlike the Yankees, who still maintain a piece of first place, the Mets have fallen on hard times, blowing an eight-game lead over the Washington Nationals, the pre-season favorites, and dropping into second place in the NL East . . .

A major reason for Houston’s surprise start (AL best 27-14 on May 21) is the work of pitcher Dallas Keuchel, whose 8-0 mark over his last 14 starts (dating back to last year) leads the major leagues . . .

Even though Minnesota’s Joe Mauer needed a quarter of the season to hit his first home run, the Twins are terrorizing the American League with a 13-5 record and 97 runs scored (both league highs) so far this month . . .

The promotion of pitcher Shaun Marcum, who had past success with Milwaukee and Toronto, should help Terry Francona’s Indians in their drive to escape the bottom rung in the American League Central . . .

New Atlanta closer Jason Grilli, trying to fill the enormous shoes of Craig Kimbrel (traded to San Diego), has as many saves this year (12) as he did all of last season . . .

Advancing age (nearly 42) may be catching up to rotund Mets righthander Bartolo Colon, who has a 9.98 earned run average over his last three starts . . .

Too much age and too much weight may be hurting Bartolo Colon

Too much age and too much weight may be hurting Bartolo Colon

Porous defense — especially at shortstop — has hurt the Oakland A’s so much this season that the team has hired former Texas manager Ron Washington as a special infield instructor . . .

Oakland has the dubious distinction of rounding the quarter-pole with the worst winning percentage  (.333) and the greatest deficit (13 1/2 games behind) . . .

On the other hand, Kolton Wong has given the Cardinals a good glove at second base plus a good leadoff bat (.311, 22 RBI) . . .

Congratulations to Texas rookie Phil Klein, who beat a tough team (Red Sox) in a tough park (Fenway) in his first big-league start Wednesday . . .

If his actions in Wednesday night’s Nationals-Yankees game are any indication, Marvin Hudson may have learned the strike zone from the late Eric Gregg . . .

Ryan Howard's power has returned

Ryan Howard’s power has returned

Changing managers hasn’t helped the Miami Marlins, who have lost nine of their last ten and are sinking in the National League East . . .

Now that Ryan Howard is hitting home runs again, the Philadelphia Phillies are glad he’s still there.

 

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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