2013 is shaping up to be a very interesting year for baseball. The Houston Astros will be making the transition from the over-crowded six-team NL Central to the now-powerful AL West. The move creates two even leagues at 15 teams apiece, five teams per division. The “realignment”, as minimal as it seems, has altered the way the baseball schedule will look from here on out.
Before 2013, interleague play was genereally held from late-May through mid-June and wouldn’t happen again until the World Series.
But starting next season, interleague play is going to take place on practically every single day of the season, April through September.
With the increased interleague play (20 games per team) comes increased divisional play as well. Teams will square-up against each of their divisional foes 19 times apiece (76 games). The remaining 66 games will be divvied out amongst league opponents – playing each team once at home and once on the road.
The interleague divisional partner for the AL Central will be the NL East.
The Royals will open the 2013 season with a series against the Chicago White Sox (April 1, 3-4) before traveling to Philadelphia for a three game series against the Phils. Their home opener will take place on April 8th with a three-game series against the Twins.
- May 27-30: The I-70 Series will take place when the Royals and Cardinals line-up against one another for four consecutive days. The catch? The first two games will take place at The K. The latter two at Busch.
- This is a new idea that the league is trying where each team will face their “interleague rival” for four straight days in each team’s respective ballpark.
- June 25-26: The Braves (in Atlanta since 1966) will make their first trip to Kansas City (the Royals since 1969) in franchise history, pitting GM Dayton Moore and his on-field product against his former employers.
- The Royals will have two 10-game homestands in 2013:
- April 26-29 vs. Cleveland; April 30-May 2 vs. Tampa Bay; May 3-5 vs. Chicago White Sox
- August 5-7 vs. Minnesota; August 8-11 vs. Boston; August 12-14 vs. Miami
- Their two longest road trips will span nine games each:
- May 13-15 @ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; May 17-19 @ Oakland; May 20-22 @ Houston
- July 26-28 @ Chicago Cubs; July 30-August 1 @ Minnesota; August 2-4 @ New York Mets
- The Royals’ trip to Queens will be their first visit to Citi Field – the host of the 2013 All-Star game.
- August 23-25: Bryce Harper will make his second trip to Kansas City – his first being this past All-Star game. The then 20-year old will be sure to draw big numbers to The K for that three-game series. Oh yeah, they’ll probably have that Stephen Strasbug guy too. Hopefully the Nats won’t shut him down before then.
The Royals’ regular season home schedule concludes on September 22nd against he Texas Rangers. The regular season itself will end for KC on September 29th when they travel to Chicago (where they’ll start the season) for a four-game series against the White Sox.
Click here for the Royals’ full 2013 schedule.
Even with last night’s failed-comeback attempt in Houston, the Royals (29-36) are just a mere five games behind the first-place White Sox (35-32).
Since May 1st, the Royals are 22-20 – a .550 winning percentage. Now, over an entire season, a .550 win% comes out to an 89-73 season. The White Sox current .522 win% paces them at 84-78. If the Royals didn’t have that dreaded 12-game-should-never-be-spoken-of-again-losing streak, we could be talking about being in first place in a weak, weeeaaaak AL Central.
But, it is what it is.
Team Record Games Back Last 10 Games
- Chicago White Sox 35-32 0 3-7
- Cleveland Indians 34-32 0.5 4-6
- Detroit Tigers 32-34 2.5 7-3
- Kansas City Royals 29-36 5.0 5-5
- Minnesota Twins 26-39 8.0 5-5
The Royals have 19 games to go until the All-Star break: a pair of three-game series’ at home against the Cards (34-33) and the Rays (37-29), a pair four-game series’ in Minnesota (26-39) and Toronto (34-33) , and a three-game series’ in Detroit (32-34).
Now… say the Royals win at least 10 of the 19 games, which would put them at a record of at least 39-45. And say they are still within five games or less of the division lead.
And also say you’re Dayton Moore.
Do you pull the trigger on acquiring a veteran starter/veteran starter in a contract year in exchange for an impact prospect(s)?
Do you stand pat with what you have and promote from within?
Which would you rather do?
(I’m going to be using a lot of unnescessay-nonsensical dashes now, so bear with me.)
Let’s take a look at this. The Royals, realistically, have been building for 2013,’14, and ’15 – when their now-young nucleus should be complete and ready for winning. By then, Hosmer should be an MVP candidate, Moustakas should be one of the top power-hitting 3B in the AL, Gordon and Butler should be battled-tested and grizzled veterans, Escobar should have a few Gold Gloves, Wil Myers should be coming into his own in right field, and Perez should be handling a rotation filled out by Duffy, Odorizzi, Montgomery, Lamb, and enter free agent signing here.
I don’t know about you, but I would love it if this complete pipe-dream of a team were all together at the same time in Kansas City competing for a division title and battling in the post-season come the next three-to-four years. And ideally, they should and will be.
Say you choose this option. In doing-so, you acknowledge that, although your team may be winning and playing average-to-good baseball, you don’t believe that this team is capable of winning a championship right now. The fan-base may be upset and players may regret buying all-in early on in the season just to see their hard-work go unrewarded. Afterall, your minor league wins, numbers, stats, rankings, what have you… don’t mean squat when it comes to winning at the big league level.
In turn, however, you didn’t mortgage your future for unknown and maybe long-shots at winning your division, league, and the World Series.
But what if we have a shot at it now? What if 2012 really is “Our Time”?
Would you kick around the idea of shipping off some of our prized prospects a la (God forbid) Wil Myers or Mike Montgomery for a frontline starter in order to make a playoff push? Or even dealing veterans like Jeff Francoeur, Jonathan Sanchez, Jonathan Broxton, or the increasingly sexy Yuni Betancourt for a mid-rotation starter?
Say you choose this option and you deal one-to-two top prospects for a top-of-the-rotation-type guy. Typically these guys are only available when they are at our nearing the end of their current contract – meaning you’re dealing years of control and potential for a right here, right now, what have you done for me lately pitcher; all the while knowing that you don’t have much more than a snowball’s chance of keeping him long-term (much like how the Brewers got CC Sabathia in 2008). It’s basically an all-or-nothing shot.
You could also, as an alternative, deal a replacable veteran for something less in return. Maybe it’s a mid-rotation starter or a power bullpen arm (like the Royals need another one…). The deal would open a void in your roster which would potentially be filled by the likes of prospects Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery, Christian Colon, David Lough, Derrick Robinson, etc. – all of which are unproven commodities. There’s no guarantee that any one of these prospects would step right in to their big league role and succeed immediately. A deal like this could possibly net the Royals a loss in terms of production, but a surplus in terms of experience.
So, Mr./Mrs. GMDM, what’s your call? Do you stand pat and keep building? Or do you take a chance and make a deal?
The Royals, now losers of seven straight, are sitting at 3-9 after being swept at home in two consecutive series by Cleveland and Detroit. The series against the Tigers, even though it was still a sweep, was leaps and bounds better than the series against the Tribe. Each team recieved solid outings from their starter who were able to keep the games close throughout. The Tigers just have a knack for late-inning rallies, which were too much for the Royals to overcome.
Game One : 3-2 Detroit
- Verlander vs. Duffy
- It’s too bad that Danny Duffy was saddled with the loss, because before he left the game in the 7th, he was matching Justin Verlander pitch for pitch. Danny’s day ended after 6.2 innings, throwing 106 pitches (74 strikes), giving up only 3 runs while recording 7 K’s versus only 1 BB. For those in the know, Duffy is generally known for his high pitch-counts that usually warrant an exit after about 5 innings pitched. His pennence for throwing a lot of pitches usually comes from him getting in a lot of 3-2 counts, his ability to make hitters foul pitches off, and, of course, the dreaded walk. But Danny seems to have turned over a new leaf this season. He’s near the top of the league in K’s thus far with 15, and has only surrendered 5 BB.
- Verlander went all 9 innings for Detroit, striking out 9 while walking 2, not including his Alcides Escobar HBP in the 9th. He threw 131 pitches, 85 of which were for strikes. He got himself into trouble in the bottom of the 9th and almost cost himself the win. He gave up 1 run, moving the score to 3-2. He then walked Mitch Maier and hit Escobar to load the bases. The next hitter, Alex Gordon, worked Verlander to a 3-2 count. But Verlander got Gordon to watch a 100 MPH fastball at the knees to end the game.
- C’mon Alex… You have to be hacking in that situation. Inexcusable.
Game Two: 3-1 Detroit
- Bruce Chen gave the Royals a great start as well, going 7 IP with 7 K’s, 0 BB, and 2 ER while throwing 108 pitches (78 S, 30 B). Once again, the Royals get a quality start, but still get the loss.
- Billy Butler was the only Royal to get more than 1 hit on the night (he had 3 hits total).
- The Tigers broke the 1-1 tie by scoring 2 runs in the top of the 8th inning on back-to-back RBI to center field singles by Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.
- Royals pitchers combined for 10 K’s and 0 BB’s on the night.
Game Three: 4-3 Detroit
- The Royals got their first lead of the series on a two-run shot to left by Alcides Escobar (1) in the bottom of the 3rd against Max Scherzer (2-1 KC). The Royals put another run on the board thanks to a RBI double by Humberto Quintero, building a 3-1 lead.
- Jonathan Sanchez managed to last just 5 innings thanks to 97 pitches and 3 BB – one of which came around to score. He did manage to record 3 K while surrendering only 2 ER and 4 hits.
- Top of the 7th Inning:
- With the infield shift on and Gerald Laird on first base, Miguel Cabrera hit a ground ball right at where the second basemen would have been. Miggy successfully beat the shift for a base hit, in which Laird was able to advance to third.
- Jose Mijares’ next pitch was a slider in the dirt that made it’s way passed Quintero. With Laird charging home, Quintero got a good bounce and was able to toss the ball back to Mijares at the plate but his throw was to the field side of home plate. The throw made Mijares reach across his body, away from the plate, to make the catch. Given the advantage, Laird was able to beat the play by a fraction of a second. Miggy moved up to second base as well. 3-3 game.
- Prince Fielder became the second Tiger of the inning to beat the shift. With Alcides Escobar shifted over on the other side of second base, Prince delivered a single into center field that brought in Cabrera and gave the Detroit a 4-3 lead.
- With runners on first and second in the bottom of the 9th, Alcides Escobar hit a sharp grounder down the third base line. With the Tigers playing a “no doubles” defense, Cabrera made the stop, stepped on third for the first out and tossed it to first to complete the double play. If Miggy doesn’t make this play, and with Jason Bourgeois on first, this could have easily ended the game in the Royals favor.
- With Yunieksy Betancourt batting 2nd last night, Ned Yost has now used six different hitters in the 2-spot of the lineup: Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Chris Getz, Jeff Francoeur, Jason Bourgeois, and Yuniesky Betancourt. Keep in mind, it’s still very, very early (we’re only 12 games in everybody…). Yost is trying to find out what lineup combination is going to work this season. He’s trying so many different hitters in the 2-spot because the Royals lack a true lead-off type hitter.
- Billy Butler celebrated his 26th birthday last night by going 2-for-3. He extended his hitting streak to 8 games and has had multiple hits in 3 straight (and in 6 of his last 8).
- The Tigers have had a knack for being better-late-than-never this season. In innings 1-6 this season, the Tigers have scored 32 runs. From the 7th inning on, they’ve put up 30 runs.
Benches Clear Again, Bullpeners Get In Their Cardio
In the bottom of the 7th, Max Scherzer came up and in on leadoff-man Humberto Quintero. Scherzer’s pitch nailed Quintero on his left elbow, causing Quintero to slam his bat to the ground out of frustration. Well, apparently, Gerald Laird doesn’t like it when things fall too close to his toes, as he took great exception to Quintero. The two began jawing at each other, causing both benches and bullpens to spill out onto the field.
In the end, no punches were thrown, no pushes were made, and nobody was tossed.
Quintero said after the game, “I didn’t get mad because I got hit; I got mad because it hurt a little bit — that’s why I threw the bat. This is part of the game. We’ve known each other for a long time, so we both apologized. It’s nothing personal. Everything is cool; it’s not a big deal.”
Both Laird and Quintero said they spoke with one another after the incident, stating there was no bad blood between the two.
“I don’t like to have the bat thrown down at my feet like that,” Laird said. “We talked about it, and it’s fine.”
Speaking of Benches…
Major League Baseball has handed down a 5-game suspension to Indians pitcher Jeanmar Gomez for beaning Mike Moustakas on Saturday. The incident lead to the second-bench clearing of the game. The shoving match between the two teams lead to the ejections of Gomez, third basemen Jack Hannahan, and manager Manny Acta. Both Gomez and Acta were fined undisclosed amounts, while Hannahan was fined $500 for his involvement.
Indians closer Chris Perez also received a fine, but for his involvement in the brawl (I use that term loosely here), but for a tweet he sent out after the game that night.
MLB said that the closer’s tweet “crossed the line, and fined Perez $750.
The Royals and Indians have to see each other 15 more times this season, and I doubt the Royals are going to let Cleveland get in the last punch…or push.
Toronto Blue Jays (6-6) @ Kansas City Royals (3-9)
The Royals will look to end their 10-game home stand on a positive note when they face-off for four games against Jose Bautista, Brett Lawrie and the Toronto Blue Jays.
The starters for the series are as follows:
- Friday, April 20: TOR Kyle Drabek (2-0, 1.42 ERA) vs. KC Luke Hochevar (1-1, 7.84 ERA) @ 7:10 pm
- Saturday, April 21: TOR Drew Hutchison (0-0, 0.00 ERA) @ vs. KC Luis Mendoza (0-2, 5.59 ERA) @ 6:10 pm
- Sunday, April 22: TOR Ricky Romero (2-0, 3.72 ERA) vs. KC Danny Duffy (1-1, 2.13 ERA) @ 1:10 pm
- Monday, April 23: TOR Brandon Morrow (0-1, 4.50 ERA) vs. Bruce Chen (0-1, 2.00 ERA) @ 7:10 pm
Entering the series, the Blue Jays are 6-6 and currently in fourth place in the AL East, but are only 1.5 games behind the first-place Orioles.
The Royals, now 3-9, are in last place in the AL Central and are 6 games back of the Tigers.
See what I did there?
Mother Nature tried her best to keep the Royals and A’s off the field last night in Oakland, evidenced by a 43-minute rain delay to begin the game. She eventually got her way in the middle of the Royals’ half of the 8th inning, forcing the umpires to shut it down for the night – but not before Danny Duffy put in the best and most dominating performance of his young career.
In front of a crowd filled with friends and family (he hails from Lompoc, Ca.), Danny put on a show. Duffy was straight dealing last night to the tune of 6 innings, 8 K, 4 BB, and 1 hit. That one hit came from A’s shortstop Cliff Pennington in the bottom of the 3rd – a one-out double to center. Duffy then proceeded to pick him off at second base.
Duffy spread out 4 walks in his 6 innings, none of which wound up hurting him at all. He threw 109 pitches in his 6 innings (62 S 47 B), going an inning longer than his average last season of 5.1 innings per start. His high pitch count can be credited to his 8 Ks as much as his 4 BBs.
For his career, Duffy is now 3-0 in Oakland.
“I don’t think it’s anything to do with (the Coliseum). This year, I think I’m going to be pretty consistent everywhere we go. I’m pretty excited.” – Duffy told Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.
Aaron Crow was brought in to pitch the 7th, striking out Seth Smith and Josh Donaldson before getting Collin Cowgill to line out to RF. He was credited with the save due to the rainout of the final two innings.
The Royals hitters were outshined by Duffy’s season debut, but they had a decent night as well. They were able to tag A’s starter Graham Godfrey for 6 hits and 2 runs through 6 innings. Kansas City’s 2 runs off of Godfrey came in the 4th inning:
- Butler lead the inning off with a two-bagger to left.
- Frenchy followed suit with a soft single to right field. Butler moves up to third.
- Moose mashed a deep double over the head of CF Yoenis Cedpedes, driving in Butler and moving Frenchy to third. 1-0 KC.
- Pinch-hitting for Cain (more on that down below), Mitch Maier pops op to short. One down.
- Humberto Quintero hits a SAC fly to right field, Frenchy scores from third. Moose advances to third. 2-o KC. Two down.
- Getz flies out to left. Three down, side retired.
Kansas City tabbed their third and final run in the 7th inning off of A’s lefty Jerry Blevins. The first batter he faced, Mitch Maier (1), sent a fastball over the fence in right. 3-0 Royals.
- Alex Gordon had another 0-fer last night, but showed signs that he’s about to break out of his slump. He had two hard, solidly (if that’s even a word) hit balls that, unfortunately for him, were right at Oakland defenders. He walked in his first AB to lead the game off. In the 3rd, he hit a solid line drive to right, but Collin Cowgill made a good read and made the catch. He also hit a hard groundball in the 5th to second baseman Jemile Weeks, who made a good play to get a hustling Gordon at first.
- Lorenzo Cain left the game with a groin injury after the 3rd inning. In the bottom of the 2nd, he made a terrific running grab in deep deep center to rob Daric Barton of an extra-base hit and a possible RBI. Cain then nailed the cut-off man, who relayed to Hosmer to double-up the baserunner. Cain apparently suffered the injury when he ran into the wall after making the grab. Yost said it was a Grade 1 groin strain, which is good news for the Royals. Mitch Maier pinch-hit for him in the 4th. Mitch was scheduled to get the start in today’s game anway, so Cain will get today and Thursday, an off day, to recover in time for the Home Opener on Friday afternoon.
- Aaron Crow recorded his first career save, pitching a perfect 7th inning.
- With Danny Duffy not allowing a single run last night, the Royals’ starters have given up only 5 earned runs in 29 innings pitched, which translates to a sparkling 1.55 ERA – the best in baseball.
- Billy Butler was caught stealing (1) by A’s catcher Anthony Recker on a failed hit-and-run attempt with Jeff Francoeur striking out at the plate. Chris Getz was picked off (1) by lefty Jerry Blevins and was tagged out trying to advance to second on the play (1).
- After Eric Hosmer lost his bat on a swinging strike in the top of the 8th inning, home plate umpire Jim Joyce called for the Oakland ground crew to roll out the tarps. Just a bit over an hour later, Joyce called the game at 11:07 pm PT (1:07 am CT). The rain caused a total delay of 1 hour and 49 minutes. The final score was 3-0, Kansas City over Oakland.
The series finale will take place this afternoon at 2:35 pm CT, with Bruce Chen (0-0, 0.00 ERA) taking the hill for Kansas City (3-2). He’ll face off against Oakland (2-4) RHP Brandon McCarthy (0-1, 2.25 ERA). The series is tied at 1-1.
Kansas City Royals
1. Alex Gordon LF
2. Alcides Escobar SS
3. Eric Hosmer 1B
4. Billy Butler DH
5. Jeff Francoeur RF
6. Mike Moustakas 3B
7. Mitch Maier CF
8. Brayan Pena C
9. Chris Getz 2B
LHP Bruce Chen
1. Jemile Weeks 2B
2. Cliff Pennington SS
3. Josh Reddick RF
4. Yoenis Cespedes CF
5. Johnny Gomes DH
6. Kurt Suzuki C
7. Josh Donaldson 3B
8. Daric Barton 1B
9. Collin Cowgill RF
RHP Brandon McCarthy
On a particularly cold night in Oakland, Tommy Milone looked more like Tommy Glavine. The rookie, making his 1st start as an A (made 5 starts with the Nationals in 2011), went 8 scoreless (93 pitches) and surrendered only 3 hits and 3 walks and had 0 Ks. Needless to say, the Royals’ hitters just couldn’t figure him out.
The Royals’ 3 hits all came in the first three innings of the game:
- Jason Bourgeois lead the game off (inplace of Alex Gordon) with a double to deep center which would have been a triple if not for a hustling Yoenis Cespedes. His leadoff double was quickly erased. Lorenzo Cain hit a flyball to right that normally would have been difficult enough for a runner to advance to third, but A’s right fielder Josh Reddick threw a laser to third and nailed Bourgeois with a perfect throw.
- Yuniesky Betancourt doubled to left field with 2 outs in the top of the 2nd. Brayan Pena proceeded to groundout to end the inning.
- Alcides Escobar hit a double down the right field line to leadoff the 3rd, but never was able to advance past second thanks to a Chris Getz infield pop-up, a Bourgeois grouder to short, and a Lorenzo Cain fly ball to center.
- Chris Getz’s at-bat was probably the biggest missed opportunity of the night. He had Escobar on second with nobody out. He tried to lay down a SAC bunt and failed. In turn, he hit a harmless pop-up. All he needed to do was move Escobar over to third, and he would have likely scored on Bourgeois groundball. Situational hitting is probably the biggest asset that Getz brings to the roster and he failed to come through last night.
The only other baserunners the Royals had on the evening were the product of walks – 3 by Milone and 1 by Grant Balfour.
- Eric Hosmer walked to leadoff the 4th and moved to second base on a Billy Butler groundball out. With Jeff Francoeur at the plate, just as Ryan Lefebvre and Rex Hudler were discussing Hosmer’s speed, Hosmer took off for third base and was thrown out by catcher Kurt Suzuki. Frenchy would go on to draw a walk from Milone as well. So instead of having two-on with one out and a runner on scoring position, the Royals had Frenchy on first with two down. Until Frenchy was caught trying to steal second. Inning over, threat neutralized.
- Hoz drew another walk in the 7th, but nothing came of it. Pinch-hitter Mitch Maier walked in the 9th.
Poor basrunning just killed the Royals last night. Three times (!) a scoring threat was killed on the basepaths. But if we have to lose the game, we lost it our way: being aggressive baserunners. The offense wasn’t doing much, so Ned Yost tried to get the team to manufacture runs. It just didn’t workout this time. The Royals also went down in order four times – innings 1, 5, 6, and 8.
On the other side of the ball, Luis Mendoza had an impressive season debut. He did struggle a little with his command, as it seemed like his sinker was floating too far inside to every A’s left-handed hitter. He ended up going 5.2 innings, giving up just 1 earned run on 5 hits and 2 Ks. But he also had 4 BBs.
The A’s one run against Mendoza came in the bottom of the 2nd. With 2-out and runners on the corners, third baseman Josh Dolnaldson hit a sharp grounder to right field, bring home the runner from third base. Other than that, aside from a few walks, Mendoza didn’t run into much trouble against the Athletics lineup.
Lefties Tim Collins and Jose Mijares pitched 2.1 innings collectively to finish the game for KC, each giving up one hit, and recording one K (Collins also walked one).
Too Much Tinkering?
Manager Ned Yost threw out a unique lineup last night in Oakland. He decided to give Gordon and Moustakas – both left-handed hitters- the night off against LHP Tommy Milone. In place of Gordon and Moose were Jason Bourgeois in LF and Yuni at 3B. On top of that, Chris Getz was in the lineup at 2B – meaning that all three of the Royals’ super-utility players were on the field at the same time. So this is what the lineup looked like last night:
1. Jason Bourgeois LF
2. Lorenzo Cain CF
3. Eric Hosmer 1B
4. Billy Butler DH
5. Jeff Francoeur RF
6. Yuniesky Betancourt 3B
7. Brayan Pena C
8. Alcides Escobar SS
9. Chris Getz 2B
It’s game number four, and already Ned is giving two guys – who probably weren’t too happy about it – the game off. And, not to mention, this was the Royals’ fourth different lineup in four days. The end result: 0 runs, 3 hits. Yost may be playing around with this lineup a little too much. Just let Gordon and Moose go out there and take their hacks.
- Royals (2-2) @ A’s (2-3)
- Royals LHP Danny Duffy vs. A’s RHP Graham Godfrey
- 9:05 pm CT
We’ve been waiting all offseason for this: the first of what we hope will be many victories for the Royals. And on a nationally televised game, Kansas City did not disappoint.
The Royals got off to a very quick start. After Alex Gordon grounded out to begin the game, Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, and Billy Butler recorded three consecutive singles – loading the bases for Jeff Francoeur. Frenchy then proceeded to knock a single into center, bringing Cain and Hosmer around to score (2-0 KC).
Another run was put on the board in the top of the 2nd when Humberto Quintero scored on LoCain’s sacrifice fly to RF (3-0 KC).
Leading off the top of the 5th inning, Eric Hosmer kept the runs coming by sending Dan Haren’s pitch over the wall in right-center, furthering the lead to 4-0. Mike Moustakas must have thought that was pretty cool, since he lead off the 6th inning with a long-ball to right, making the score now 5-0.
The Angels were able to put 2 runs on the board in the bottom of the 7th, one on a double by Bobby Abreu and another on a groundout by Vernon Wells.
Chris Getz was able to add another run in the top of the 8th when he stole third base, causing an overthrow by Angels catcher Bobby Wilson. Getz went home on the error, 6-2 Boys in Blue.
Bobby Abreu brought Kendrys Morales home in the 9th with a sac fly, making the score 6-3. But Vernon Wells grounded into a 5-4-3 double-play to end the game.
Luke Hochevar was solid yesterday, going 6.1 innings, allowing 5 hits, 2 ER, 2BBs, while recording 4 Ks, with 3 of those Ks coming from the bottom of the 5th where he struck out the side (Abreu, Wells, and Callaspo). Oh yeah, he also was able to keep Albert Pujols from hurting the Royals for the second day in a row.
Pujols did manage to get a double off of Hoch in the bottom of the 4th, but that was negated when Albert tried to score on Morales’ single to LF. Alex Gordon came up throwing and nailed Pujols at the plate. So sorry, Albert.
Lefty Tim Collins followed Hochevar, allowing 2 runs to score in the 7th (both charged to Hochevar). He ended the inning by striking out Callaspo.
Holland pitched a scoreless 8th which included striking out Pujols.
Jonathan Broxton came into the 9th with a 6-2 lead. He surrendered a leadoff double to Morales, followed by a bunt single by Torii Hunter – making it runners on 1st and 3rd with nobody out. Bobby Abreu hit a sac fly to LF, bringing in Morales. Gordo’s throw to second kept Hunter at first, which was paramount, keeping the double-play in order. Vernon wells proceeded to hit a sharp grounder to Moose, inducing the game ending double-play.
The Royals and Angels will finish the three game series today in Anaheim at 2:35 pm CT. It’ll be new Royals lefty Jonathan Sanchez vs. Ervin Santana.
Through 7 innings, this one was an absolute pitcher’s duel. Bruce Chen and Aaron Crow were matching Jered Weaver pitch for pitch.
On the flip side, the Royals hitters just looked lost against Weaver and the Angels. The top four in the oder (Gordon, Cain, Hosmer, and Butler) went a combined 0 for 16 with 10 Ks (Gordon and Cain – 3, Hosmer and Butler – 2), leaving 6 runners on base.
The Royals managed only 4 hits last night – one apiece by Francoeur, Betancourt, Pena, and Escobar – and only had one real scoring chance which was nullified by Weaver picking off Francoeur at 2B in the top of the 7th.
Bruce pitched 6 terrific innings throwing 75 pitches, striking out 4, allowing only 3 hits, and getting 2 inning-ending double plays.
Aaron Crow entered to begin the 7th inning, where he proceeded to strike out Howie Kendrick, Albert Pujols, and Torii Hunter in order. But he struggled in the top of the 8th. After retiring Vernon Wells to begin the inning, Crow gave up three straight singles to Morales, Trumbo, and Ianetta before Yost pulled him in favor of Greg Holland.
Holland gave up an infield single to Peter Bourjos, allowing a run to score (1-0) and the bases to stay loaded. The next hitter was Erick Aybar, who ripped a liner down the RF line for a bases clearing triple, making the score 4-0. The Angels would manage to score one more run in the inning on a soft single to right by Hunter, moving the score to 5-0.
On a positive note, the Royals were able to keep Albert Pujols’ Angels debut a quiet one by allowing him to only reach base once on an intentional walk. He ended the game 0 for 3 with a K.
Jered Weaver was just too much for the Royals lineup tonight, going 8 innings, allowing only 4 hits while striking out 10 and walking 0. Lefty Scott Downs pitched a scoreless 9th to end the game.
Game 2 of the series pits two righties – Luke Hochevar (KC) vs. Dan Haren (LAA). Game time is 3:05 pm CT.