I sincerely apologize if anyone came by here yesterday or the day before looking for a post after the Royals gave away the series finale to the A’s. I was too gut-wrenched at the time. But I’ve had some time to think.
A 3-3 road trip – not too shabby. The mantra is “Go .500 on the road, win at home”.
The Royals could have easily been 6-0 coming into today if it weren’t for one bad inning (Angels – game 1 of the series), base running blunders in a 1-0 game (A’s – game 1 of the series), and an ugly bottom of the 12th (A’s – game 3 of the series).
But here we are.
After going up 4-3, Ned Yost brought Jonathan Broxton in to closeout the game in the 12th inning. Brox got off to a great start, striking out Daric Barton. Seth Smith then hit a groundball to the glove side of Alcides Escobar. Esky fumbled the ball initially, picked it up, and made an offline throw to Hosmer at first. Hosmer, at the time, made a game saving play by diving away from the bag to stop the ball from rolling into the limitless amount of foul territory. Smith was safe, one on and one-out.
Broxton then walked Jemile Weeks on four pitches. Then Eric Sogard on six pitches. Bases jacked, one-out. The situation is tense, but still manageable.
Coco Crisp hit a groudball to Yuni’s glove side, pulling him away from second base. Given Crisp’s speed, the double-play possibility was eliminated. Yuni threw to first for the out, but the tying run still scored. Two outs, 4-4 ball game, runners on second and third.
The next pitch: a 95 mph fastball. Right into Yoenis Cespedes’ ribs, loading the bases.
Yost came out for a mound visit, but left Brox in the game. Hindsight is 20/20.
Johnny Gomes takes a Broxton fastball in the hip. Game over.
Back to back walks. Two pitches, two hit batters.
If Broxton were in any other position in this bullpen, he would have been yanked right after he loaded the bases, if not before. But it’s that closer title he’s been given that made Ned think that he should stay in there and stick it out. If any other reliever had given up three straight free passes like that, don’t you think Ned would made the switch?
Now it all wasn’t Broxton’s fault. The usual sure-handed Escobar made a costly error too. He makes that play 95% of the time. If he makes the play properly, it’s nobody on and two outs. And, more importantly, no pressure.
But in the end, Broxton deservedly took the loss.
Cain to the DL
Lorezno Cain made a terrific play on Tuesday, crashing into the wall in deep center while robbing the A’s of an RBI and extra bases. Cain hurt his groin when he hit the wall and was pulled from the game an inning later. It was a Grade 1 groin strain, the least severe. Cain got Wednesday’s game off, as well as Thursday due to the team’s day off. He planned to be ready for the home opener.
Lorenzo was placed on the 15-day DL yesterday due to a strained left groin.
It’s more of a precautionary move, due to the fact that Cain’s biggest asset is his speed and range in the outfield. The Royals want to take care of this issue now to make sure it won’t become a lingering issue. Jarrod Dyson was called up from Triple A Omaha to take Cain’s spot on the roster. Dyson was hitting .364 in Omaha thus far (12 for 33) with 6 SB.
The Royals have a plethora of options to fill the center field void left by Cain: left-handed hitters Mitch Maier and Jarrod Dyson, and right-handed hitting Jason Bourgeois.
Gordon Gets Off the Schneid
Alex Gordon broke his season-long hitless streak on Wednesday in a big way.
In his second AB of the game, Alex hit a RBI single into center field – hit first hit of the season. But Alex didn’t let up much after that.
Gordon (1) sent a Brian Fuentes sinker over the wall in center field, which tied the game at 3-3.
Alex ended the game going 2 for 5 with a single, HR, BB, 0 K, and 2 RBI.
He also made a great diving catch to end the bottom of the 5th, robbing Josh Reddick of a base hit and possible RBI – keeping the game at 3-2 Oakland.
Catcher Salvador Perez is making progress on the road to recovery. After a sucessful surgery four weeks ago, Sal was able to ditch the crutches and walk freely through the Royals clubhouse.
Felipe Paulino, who was sent to the DL because of a strained right forearm, is progressing as well. He began throwing off of a mound in a bullpen workout a few days ago. He was able to throw live batting practice on Thursday, stating, “I feel good, strong, I want to help this team now.” He should be sent out on a few minor league rehab assignments some time soon.
Weather permitting, the Royals will play their first game at The K in 2012 today at 3:10 CT against the division rival Cleveland Indians. The Indians are 1-4 thus far on the season, being outscored 31-20 through five games. The Royals (3-3) have outscored their opponents 18-16.
The starters will be Cleveland’s Derek Lowe (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Kansas City’s Luke Hochevar (1-0, 2.84 ERA).
The forecast for today’s game is mostly cloudy, mid-60’s, with about a 20% chance of rain.
Damon Lands in Cleveland
Speaking of the Tribe, they have struck a one-year deal with 38 year old outfielder, and former Royal, Johnny Damon. After he’s added to the team’s 40-man roster, the left-handed Damon figures to platoon with right-handed Shelley Duncan in left field.
Johnny, who is coming off a good season with Tampa (.261/.326, 29 2B, 19 HR, 73 RBI, 19 SB), is only 277 hits away from 3,000 for his career. He figures to reduce that number greatly this season in Cleveland.
Given the absence of Grady Sizemore for another 8-12 weeks (what else is new?), the Indians found themselves needing more offense production from their outfield; hence the Damon deal.