Royals’ DH Brandon Moss says it’ll take time, but the team just has to “play good baseball” to overcome bad start

Brandon Moss

Brandon Moss knows the hole the Kansas City Royals dug early in the season.

While it is not the depth of Grand Canyon and can be climbed out of, it will be a mule-pack progress. It won’t be a quarter-horse sprinting at Ruidoso Downs Race Track.

Moss is hitting .159 with four home runs, three of them solos, and 24 strikeouts in early May.  The Royals are in last place in the American League Central thanks to a nine-game losing streak to end April.

Brandon Moss knows his average won’t be where he would like by Memorial Day. He knows the Royals probably won’t be in first place by June 1.

“Your back is up against the wall and there is no way you can go,” Moss said. “You can stress about it, stress about it, stress about it all you want.

“You can go through all these mechanical tweaks. You work, work, work. And then all of a sudden you realize you start coming in and just play baseball. It’s out of your hands. It’s not going to change over a two- or three-day period. It’s going to take months to get back to where you should be. You just have to release it and go play baseball.

“I think it works the same as a team. You get yourself in such a hole that you can’t look at it, and say, ‘man, if we win this series we’re right back at .500 and we’re right back in it.’ Well, that’s no longer the case.

“You’ve just got to go out and consistently play good baseball and let things fall where they may and see where you lineup at the end of the year.”

The 33-year-old Moss is in his eighth year in the majors. He has played with Boston, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Oakland, Cleveland and St. Louis.

He’s been through slumps and losing streaks.

“Absolutely,” Moss said. “In baseball, you play long enough and you see almost everything. You’re going to go 0-for-30, go 7-for-100. You’re going to lose 10 in a row. You’re going to win 12 in a row. If you play long enough, those things will happen.

“I think having experienced through it, things turn around really fast. Some days, you come to the park in a better mood and you feel better about yourself and you take off from there.

“It’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you’re in the midst of something like that. It seems like every game is magnified.”

The Royals signed free agent Brandon Moss on February 1. He hit 28 home last season for the Cardinals. He has hit 102 home runs since the start of the 2013 season.

After the Royals won only seven games in April, Brandon Moss knows just by flipping the calendar to May can mean a big difference.

“There is something real to it,” Moss said. “April and September are very similar. Just like you are trying to get off to a good start, you try to finish strong.

“The months in between are really when things are defined. Not too many people got off to a good start. Not just on this team, but on a lot of teams. When all of that start quote, unquote is out of the way and the season is fully in progress, you kind of relax and just go play baseball and see where things end up.

“I tell you what, the things that weigh on a baseball player the most are how you start and how you finish. Because if you can start well, what it does for your mindset, the whole rest of the year and allows you to rest is huge.

“When you get off to a bad start, you seem to press the whole year. You always seem to be searching and grinding. It’s always seems like you’re fighting an uphill battle.

“It’s the same with a team. If you get off to a great start, you get a little bit of leeway and some wriggle room, you can lose a few games and you don’t panic. You get off to a bad start, everybody panics. That’s just the way it is.”

Brandon Moss has been traded three times and has been a free agent. He knows five Royals – Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar and Jason Vargas – can file for free agency after the season. He also knows their names will be bantered around in trade rumors until the July 31st deadline.

“They’ve worked very hard to get the opportunity to be free agents,” Moss said. “They go out every single day prepared. They know a lots on a line. This is a game where everything is based on our performance. These guys have earned the right to be free agents.

“Last year I was going through the same thing, I was going to be a free agent. You don’t really think about it as much as you’d imagine you would. You know every single day you have to come in and play your best whether you’re a free agent or not. The arbitration process is more stressful than the free agent process.”

“As fans, I understand. I get it. No fan is going to want to win more than any player, I can promise you that.”

Already opposing clubs are reportedly calling general manager Dayton Moore asking if he is ready to deal this or that player.

“I would to,” Moss said. “There are some real good players in here.”

Does that weigh on a player’s mind?

“Not at all,” Moss said. “It’s mostly bull crap anyway. You know how it is. Somebody may call or hear somebody calls and soon as you know it’s out all over our website. And the next thing you know, your uncle or cousins call you or text you about it. That stuff happens all the time. We don’t pay any attention to it. It doesn’t really mean anything.”

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Article by Alan Eskew

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