The guys try to contin their giddyness while comparing the Royals hot start to other teams that jusmped out to a 7-0 record. They also discuss the Alex Rios injury, the resurgance of Mike Moustakas, and Ventura versus Trout.
In this episode Danny and Craig try not to get too excited about the Royals opening day offensive onslaught, discuss the Ventura extension, and Danny predicts that Lorenzo Cain will be the American League MVP.
Note: While the plan is to record the podcast on off days during the season, we may experience a temporary hiatis, as we both plan seperate moves to the KC metro area.
Greg Holland got his 100th career save tonight in a 4-2 win, so that’s a huge accomplishment for him.
Jason Vargas was very solid over five innings of work, and only allowed two earned runs while striking out five San Francisco batters. Both Giants runs were scored in the third inning when Joaquin Arias doubled in Pablo Sandoval to put San Fran on the board. Matt Duffy singled in Joaquin Arias, and that would be it as far as scoring for the Giants.
Two outfield assists from Nori Aoki really saved the game for the Royals. Aoki’s first assist was to third to gun down Hunter Pence (Hunter Pence can’t parallel park.) His second assist was to home plate to throw out Joaquin Arias.
Kansas City’s scoring got started in the first inning on a two-run home run from Billy Butler. In the sixth inning, Butler added his third RBI of the night when he singled in Omar Infante. Alex Gordon chipped in tonight with an RBI single to score Salvador Perez.
It was a big night for the bullpen. Four innings of shutout baseball with six strikeouts. The quiet acquisition of Jason Frasor was one of the few good ones that Dayton Moore made before the trade deadline. Frasor has now pitched 5.2 innings, and has given up no earned runs, and struck out eight batters. Wade Davis made me feel like I was back in 2012 watching Jonathan Broxton, who always seemed to flirt with disaster every night, but would somehow get out of it.
After the All-Star break, Ned Yost and Dayton Moore said that if there were going to be improvements, it would have to be internally. Billy Butler has provided exactly that. For whatever reason, people still find a reason to complain about it. Yes, there was a base running error tonight, but it didn’t effect the game. Let’s have fun with stats, shall we? As a first baseman this year here are Billy’s stats: .349/.391/.605 with two home runs in 43 at-bats. In 357 at-bats as the team’s DH, Billy is .261/.310/.336 with three home runs. It will be…or should be a tough decision to move Billy Butler back to DH when Eric Hosmer comes back from the DL. If I were the Royals, and I’m not, I would trade Hosmer for an outfield bat, or try to find a James Shields replacement when he leaves.
Shields will be on the hill tomorrow for the Royals. Shields has had two very good starts his last couple trips to the mound, and hopes to continue his success. The Royals will have the tall task of facing Tim Hudson. Hudson this year has a 2.74 ERA, and has a 2.24 ERA in away games this year.
The Royals have won five straight, and tomorrow will go for their sixth series win in a row. I think the Royals are a legitimate playoff contending team, and I hope they can keep on rolling.
If the season ended today, the Kansas City Royals would be in the playoffs.
Unfortunately, the season doesn’t end today, but the excitement the Royals have created in Kansas City is very real. Behind Jeremy Guthrie’s eighth career complete game, the Royals swept the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday night with a 6-2 win.
The victory, coupled with the Blue Jays’ 2-1 loss to Baltimore earlier in the afternoon, vaulted the Royals into the second wild card spot. Meanwhile, Detroit lost at Yankee Stadium, closing their AL Central lead to just 2.5 games.
Guthrie (8-9) won his third straight start in style, firing the team’s first complete game of the season. He was tagged for two early runs, which wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been considering he allowed seven hits in the first three innings.
After that, though, he was literally lights-out. He retired the final 19 hitters of the game, never letting Arizona get a glimmer of hope. Wade Davis and Greg Holland both warmed up just in case, but Guthrie made sure both relievers would be rested for the upcoming homestand. He allowed the aforementioned seven hits, all of which were singles, while striking out four and walking none.
It was Guthrie’s fourth complete game as a Royal, all of which have come in last two seasons. His last was an eight-inning complete game in Detroit last September 15th.
The offense provided more than enough support for their starter, continuing their recent showing of maturity. Both times Arizona struck for a run, Kansas City immediately responded by matching the Diamondbacks. After a Mark Trumbo sacrifice fly gave Arizona a 1-0 first-inning lead, Alex Gordon one-upped the opponent the next inning by clobbering a two-run homer off of starter Vidal Nuno (2-8). Gordon’s 10th dinger of the season cruised over the right field wall; his first since June 21.
In the third inning, the Royals executed “small ball” to perfection. Nori Aoki and Omar Infante hit consecutive singles, and followed that with a double steal. Immediately afterwards, Salvador Perez singled them both home with a perfectly placed soft liner just past third baseman Jake Lamb, giving Kansas City a 4-1 lead.
Arizona got one of the runs back in the bottom half of the third on an RBI single by Lamb, his first major league hit. However, the Royals once again responded in the next inning, as Alcides Escobar singled home Lorenzo Cain to push the lead back to a three-run margin. An insurance run was added in the ninth inning when Aoki drove in Escobar with his second hit of the game.
All nine Royals starters reached base. Each starter besides Guthrie reached with a base hit, while the Royals starter got on base in the ninth inning after being hit by a pitch. He went first-to-third on Aoki’s RBI single, narrowly avoiding injury after doing an unorthodox slide into third base. For those of you who haven’t seen it, go watch it here. It’s worth it, I assure you. Somebody needs to stop taking base running lessons from Eric Hosmer.
The win gave the Royals their first sweep since taking three straight from the White Sox back on June 13-15. It ran the club’s team-record road interleague winning streak to eight straight games, and clinched the team’s first road sweep in interleague play since June of 2008.
After the game, manager Ned Yost was clear what the team’s goals are. “We’re not even looking at the second wild card right now. Our focus is on winning the division.”
Winners of 12 of their last 15 games, the Royals will return home this weekend for what’s sure to be a sellout series. Facing the San Francisco Giants, Jason Vargas (8-5, 3.69 ERA) will oppose Madison Bumgarner (13-5, 3.21). Six of the next seven starters that will face Kansas City have playoff experience. It won’t be an easy homestand, but once Kansas City gets past the Giants and the A’s, they will play six consecutive series against teams currently under .500.
I angrily said a month ago that I wouldn’t be going to any more Royals games until they showed me progress. They’ve shown it. I don’t know if they can maintain it, but … I’m sorry, hold on one moment.
I just checked ESPN. Yup, the Royals are in the second wild card position right now. See? This town is fired up. The Chiefs had a preseason game tonight, and they scored 41 points. The talk of the town is still the baseball team. Tomorrow’s Kauffman crowd will be very close if not more than 40,000. 49 games remain, and if the Royals can post the same record as the other teams in the wild card race, they will be in the playoffs. That’s pretty awesome.
Be Royal, Kansas City. For the first time in decades, being “Royal” hasn’t involved screwing everything up, at least as of recent. Let’s see how long it lasts. We’ve seen this movie before, right? We know how it ends, right? Maybe this time we’ll get an alternate ending.
After standing pat at the trade deadline, Royals fans spent the latter half of today in a bit of a foul mood. A team with a lot of holes, and admittedly so, made absolutely no attempts to make this team better, but still has high hopes of making the playoffs. Sounds crazy, right? That’s because it is.
Tonight didn’t get off to a dazzling start, but it finished as one for Yordano Ventura. Danny Santana (something about Santana’s that just like to hit against KC) homered to lead off the game. The other Ventura run was unearned, and came off of an E5 throwing error on third baseman Mike Moustakas.
Yordano Ventura got off to a rocky start allowing the leadoff home run, but was solid afterwards. Ventura scattered four more hits while striking out seven batters in seven innings of work.
Kansas City tied the ballgame in the fifth inning with two runs on back-to-back doubles, and a fielding error on Eduardo Escobar. The Royals would put four more on the board to take the lead back for good in the seventh. The Royals are trying this new thing called ‘frenzy hitting’ and, call me crazy, but I think it might be working. Lorenzo Cain got things started in the seventh inning with a double to left field. With two on after a Mike Moustakas walk, Alcides Escobar tripled to score both of them. Jarrod Dyson then singled in Escobar, and would eventually come around to score on two stolen bases, and a throwing error.
Game notes: X-rays have revealed that Eric Hosmer has a stress fracture in his hand, and is out 3-4 weeks. Hosmer injured it against Jon Lester in Boston. Lester has since been traded, and we will see him this weekend in Oakland.
Pitching matchups for Oakland do not look good at all. Game one will feature Jeremy Guthrie and Sonny Gray (yikes.) Jason Vargas is set to make his return after being on the DL due to the removal of his appendix. Vargas will face recently acquired Royal killer, Jon Lester. Scott Kazmir and James Shields will round out the series. I must say, folks, the matchups don’t look good for our Boys in Blue.
Detroit lost today to Chicago, and the Royals now sit four games back of the AL Central lead. Need I remind you: Detroit acquired David Price, and the Royals acquired absolutely nobody. Unless you count Jason Frasor, Scott Downs, Raul Ibanez, and Erik Kratz a big acquisition, this trade season was a bust.
Legend has it that if you score more runs that the other team, you’ll win the game. The Royals must have missed that.
It was a horrible quality start for James Shields, if that makes sense. Shields threw an average of 20.67 pitches per inning. While Shields went six complete innings, and only allowed two runs, he wiggled out of jam after jam, and was a bit out of control with his location.
The umpires certainly didn’t do the Royals any favors. In the top of the fifth, interference was called on second baseman Omar Infante, and Sam Fuld was awarded third base. Nothing would come out of it as Shields would wiggle out of that jam too.
Shields couldn’t get out of the third inning without a run when Josh Willingham sacrificed in Danny Santana (Ugh. Another Santana.) Danny Santana scored the other run in the fifth inning, and that would do it for the Twins.
Kyle Gibson has dominated the Royals all season. Gibson continued his success tonight when he pitched seven scoreless innings, and only allowed two hits.
Kansas City didn’t score their loan run until the ninth inning. With no outs, Omar Infante doubled off of the left field wall. Eric Hosmer dumped one into left field to give him his 46th RBI of the year. That would be as far as the Royals rally would come as the next three batters went down in order against All-Star closer, Glenn Perkins.
The Royals did not lose any ground in the AL Central race after Detroit lost to Chicago, but they now sit 3.5 games back of the second wildcard spot.
Phil Hughes and Danny Duffy will square off tomorrow at 7:10 for the second game of the series. Let’s hope that, for once, we can provide some run support for Mr. Duffy.
In the middle of the second inning, I thought the game was over. The Indians had a five run lead, and the offense looked to be dormant. Kansas City started chipping in the third inning, and tied it in the fourth.
Carlos “The One Man Wrecking Crew” Santana, and the Cleveland Indians put a five spot on the board in the second inning.
The inning scoring in the second inning started with a Carlos Santana big fly to give the Indians a 1-0 lead. With two outs, it would appear to the Royals that Guthrie had limited the damage. Alas, the Indians would go on to score four more runs that inning to give starter, Zach McCallister a five run lead.
Kansas City would put one run on in the bottom of the third inning, but the real damage would come in innings four and five. After an Alcides Escobar RBI single to cut the lead to 5-2, Nori Aoki would hit a 2-RBI triple to bring the Royals back within one run. Aoki would dash home on a pass ball.
In the sixth, with Salvador Perez aboard, Billy Butler, for the second day in a row, mashes a go-ahead two-run home run to put the dagger in Cleveland.
Determined to get Jeremy Guthrie his sixth win of the year, Ned Yost sent Guthrie out for his sixth inning of work. Guthrie got two outs in the inning before Yost decided to pull the plug and go to Scott Downs. Downs would finish Guthrie’s inning, and Guthrie would finish with five ER, and four strikeouts through 5.2 innings of work.
With the trio of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland, Cleveland’s hopes for avoiding a series loss were dwindling. Between the three of them, they allowed one hit, and sat down four Indian batters via the strikeout.
Carlos Santana continues to be a thorn in the side of Kansas City. Santana is 6-11 with four RBIs in the series thus far.
After being benched to start the game tomorrow, Billy Butler has hit two go-ahead two-run homeruns. Both of them were 420+ feet homeruns.
Eric Hosmer continues to sit with a hand contusion after being hit by a Jon Lester pitch in the Boston series. Raul Ibanez and Billy Butler have filled in at first while Hosmer is recovering.
Kansas City will go for the sweep tomorrow against Cleveland. The Royals will send Bruce Chen (2-2, 5.80 ERA) out to the mound to keep their winning streak alive. The Indians will counter with Danny Salazar (2-4, 5.12 ERA) in hopes to avoid a sweep, and fall to three games under .500.
I would not expect a pitching duel with both guys having ERAs over five. I would, however, expect Ned Yost to send his ‘Surrender Sunday’ lineups out to play. Somebody should really tell Ned that those games count too.