Series Wrap-Up: Royals @ AthleticsÂ
Game 1:Â Luis Mendoza vs. Tommy Milone
Tommy who?Â Tommy Milone.Â Not only did the Royals lineup know nothing about him, they decided to attack Milone by leaving their bats at the hotel.Â No, he wasnâ€™t blowing batters away, as he failed to register a single strikeout.Â Instead, he just scattered 3 hits, 0 runs on 93 pitches.Â Royals batters 1-4 were a combined 1 for 13, and that one hit was a leadoff double by Jason Bourgeois in the 1st inning.
Luis Mendoza put in a good effort as well.Â He went 5 2/3 innings, yielding 5 hits and 1 run.Â He too didnâ€™t miss many bats.Â He only fanned 2 batters, and if there was a glitch in his performance, it was his 4 walks.
Not much to see here folks.Â The Aâ€™s scored their lone run on a RBI single by Josh Donaldson, scoring Seth Smith.Â Aâ€™s win, 1-0.
Game 2: Danny Duffy vs. Graham Godfrey
This time it was the Royals turn to baffle the opposing sticks.Â Danny Duffy did just that.Â Yes, his pitch count was on the high side (103), and his walks were more than weâ€™re comfortable with (4), but over the course of 6 innings, he allowed just one hit, no runs, and struck out eight.
The Royals offense did all it needed in the 4th inning.Â Billy Butler led off with a double, which was followed by a bloop single by Jeff Francoeur and an RBI double by Mike Moustakas.Â Jeff Francoeur later scored on a sacrifice fly by Humberto Quintero.
Not that they needed it, but the Royals tacked on a single run in the 7th via solo homerun by Mitch Maier (who was inserted for the injured Lorenzo Cain).Â Yes, I said Mitch Maier.
Aaron Crow came on in the bottom of the 7th, and spun a scoreless inning, striking out two.Â Mother Nature allowed Crow to earn the save as the game was declared a final due to rain in the top of the 8th.
Game 3: Bruce Chen vs. Brandon McCarthy
If you watched this entire game, you surely feel ripped off.Â In case you missed it, the game ended due to back to back HBPâ€™s by Royals closer Jonathan Broxton.Â He plunked Yoenis Cespedes to load the bases in the bottom of the 12th, and then got a piece of Johnny Gomes on the very next pitch to force the winning run across the plate.
As a Royals fan, you have to feel reasonably good earning a split on the road with the Angels and Aâ€™s, but this game was very winnable, especially considering the punch-less lineup it was against.Â What made the ending of this game even more depressing is that the Royals had just taken the lead moments earlier on a RBI double by Billy Butler down the left field line, following Eric Hosmerâ€™s solid single to right field.
Yawnâ€¦.just another strong start by a Royals starting pitcher.Â This time Bruce Chen turned in 5 innings, allowing just 4 hits and 2 earned runs.Â The other run scored on Chenâ€™s watch was due to a throwing error by catcher Brayan Pena, as Cespedes was stealing third base.Â Had he been trying to steal left field, Pena would have had him dead to rights.
The silver lining in this game came in the form of Alex Gordon breaking out a bit.Â He snapped his 0 for 18 slump, recording two hits, and also notched his first homerun and RBI.
Red flags: Ok, after the Angels series, I said it was too early to deem anything â€œred flagâ€ worthy, but Iâ€™m officially putting the red flag up for the Royals #2 spot in the lineup.Â I donâ€™t know what the solution is, but Iâ€™m pretty sure it isnâ€™t Alcides Escobar, and likely isnâ€™t Lorenzo Cain either.Â I think Ned Yost should give some strong consideration to moving Hosmer and Butler up one spot in the order, and have Francoeur bat 4th.
- Jonathan Broxtonâ€™s control- Unfortunately, Royals fans are in for a season in which we have no idea what to expect from our â€œcloserâ€.Â Personally, Iâ€™m hoping for a short leash as there are plenty of dominant arms to chose from in the Royals pen.
- Alex Gordon coming to life, having good at-bats, and getting his first hits of the season (including a big homerun).
- The Royals bullpen arms not named Jonathan Broxtonâ€¦.Wow! Â These guys are going to be tough.
- Bruce Chen proving a lot of us Chen naysayers wrong.Â Maybe heâ€™s not a gimmick pitcher after all, and just flat out knows how to pitch.Â (This is the exact comment I had on my Angels/Royals wrap-up, and still rings very true).