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.
The Kansas City Royals are in first place in the AL Central. By themselves. In August.
Seriously – I checked ESPN. It’s right here, in case you don’t believe me.
In a season full of ups and downs, the Royals’ eighth straight win on Monday night provided the highest ‘up’ yet.
Coupled with the Tigers’ disastrous performance in Pittsburgh, the Royals leapfrogged Detroit in the division standings after their 3-2 win against the Oakland A’s on Monday night. The Tigers, one day removed after using everyone in their bullpen in a 19-inning loss in Toronto, saw starter Justin Verlander depart after just one inning, giving up five runs in the process.
As a result, the 64-53 Royals, 11 games over .500 for the first time since 2003, find themselves atop the AL Central standings for the first time since June 20. The bleeding Tigers, now losers of six of their last eight, are falling apart as they enter the home stretch of the season.
Led by Alcides Escobar, Kansas City’s offense did just enough against A’s starter Sonny Gray. After Gray limited the Royals to just three hits back in a start on August 1, he dodged constant literal bullets for the first two innings. Jarrod Dyson and Omar Infante opened the game with consecutive singles, with Dyson advancing to third on an error on right fielder Josh Reddick. He would score on Salvador Perez’ double play. The Royals added a second run the next inning when Escobar singled home Alex Gordon, making the score 2-0.
Gray would limit the Royals hitless for the next 4 2/3 innings. To open the seventh frame, Lorenzo Cain reached with a walk, and swapped places with Raul Ibanez after a fielder’s choice. Ned Yost sent pinch runner Nori Aoki to run for Ibanez, and he advanced to second on Moustakas’ groundout. Needing a clutch hit against one of the best pitchers in the AL, Escobar came through again, lining a single into left-center field to plate the go-ahead run. After the run scored, Escobar pumped his fist at the Royals dugout. Behind the crowd and the circumstances, it was hard not for even the usually-calm Escobar to get fired up.
Kansas City starter Yordano Ventura once again lacked his best command, but still managed to hold Oakland to two runs over six innings. Logging yet another quality start, Ventura struck out five and walked four, allowing only two hits. He retired 9 of the final 10 hitters he faced following Brandon Moss’ third-inning single that plated two runs to tie the game.
As usual, the Royals’ bullpen was lights-out. Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis worked flawless seventh and eighth innings, striking out four of the six hitters they combined to face.
When closer Greg Holland entered for the ninth inning, things got a lot more tense. Without a hit since the third inning, Oakland ignited a rally when Josh Donaldson led off the frame with a single. Holland, lacking his usual superb command as of late, then walked Brandon Moss to put two on with nobody out.
The Pirates had just beaten the Tigers. The Royals were three outs away from moving back into first place. As the crowd of over 21,000 stood on their feet, they couldn’t help but wonder if now would be when the “same old Royals” would show back up.
Not now. Not yet. Hopefully not ever.
Holland settled down, inducing Derek Norris to ground into a 5-3 double play. With a runner in scoring position and only needing one more out, every fan at Kauffman Stadium was standing in anticipation. Holland got the job done, getting Stephen Vogt to fly out to center to end the game, and lock down his AL-best 35th save of the year.
After catching the final out, Dyson performed a celebratory backflip. Korean sensation SungWoo Lee made his way out on top of the Royals Hall of Fame, dancing and jumping around before hanging the Royals’ trademark “W” on the building.
Eight wins in a row. 16 of 19. Just another step and day closer to ending the longest playoff drought in North America sports history.
The Royals and Tigers are once again locked into a battle for first place in the AL Central. Considering how many teams are competing for the Wild Card spots, the goal for both squads is clear – win the division.
It doesn’t get any easier for Detroit, who have already placed two pitchers on the DL in the last 48 hours. Verlander’s fastball velocity averaged an alarming 89 mph on Monday night, and he will be evaluated for right shoulder soreness on Tuesday. As if that wasn’t bad enough, they find themselves needing to escape their tailspin while facing the Pirates, who have posted the best record in the majors since May 22.
Meanwhile, the Royals continue their series with the A’s on Tuesday night when Jeremy Guthrie (8-9, 4.35 ERA) faces Royal killer Jon Lester (12-7, 2.44), proving how cruel baseball can be. Kansas City finally climbs into first place in August for the first time in 10 years, and its next opposing pitcher is a guy who has a 1.65 career ERA against them.
As they have all year, the Royals must persevere regardless of how unlikely success may appear. At this point, considering how well everything is going for this club, I’m not sure I’d advise betting against them.
Back-to-back games when the Royals scored one run in very important games. The difference? Yesterday’s game was a shutout, and a shutout is a win 100% of the time.
The A’s scored eight runs today, so you can’t tell me that they missed Cespedes…. For today at least. Today, they had no trouble scoring runs against a troubled Royals defense.
At the beginning of the fifth inning, it looked like Kansas City was well on their way to another 1-0 defeat against the newly revamped Oakland Athletics. Jason Vargas cruised through four innings even throwing a perfect game in his first game back after suffering a ruptured appendix three weeks ago.
In the third inning, Kansas City managed a run against Jon Lester on an Alcides Escobar single, a Nori Aoki walk, and two sacrifices by Erik Kratz and Lorenzo Cain. That would be all that the Royals could muster up until the seventh inning when they put two meaningless runs on the board to bring them within five runs.
The fifth inning is what wreaked havoc for Vargas and the Royals, and would eventually boot Vargas from the game. On paper, it says that Vargas surrendered seven earned runs, but Vargy was actually really….good. After a defensive miscue by Billy Butler on an infield pop-up, and two other defensive disasters by Mike Moustakas and Alex Gordon, the A’s put eight runs on the board in the fifth inning. Only Gordon’s was ruled an error, which leads to seven earned runs being charged to Vargas.
Aaron Crow gave up the other run. In the last 11 innings pitched, Crow has given up six earned runs, and is the proud owner of almost a five ERA. What started out as a zero ERA all the way up until May18th is now 3.13 ERA.
I could sit here and tell you all the ‘should’ve, would’ve, and could’ve’ plays that were supposed to happen, but at the end of the day, it’s a loss, and a very inexcusable fifth inning from Royals players.
The Boys in Blue will wrap up the series in Oakland tomorrow starting at 3:05 central time. They will send out ace (or whatever else you would prefer to call him) James Shields to battle against Scott Kazmir. Kazmir is a lefty, so I would expect to see Christian Colon, who came off of the bench today to get the start for Mike Moustakas tomorrow.
The best we can hope for today is the Tigers, Indians, Blue Jays, and Angels all lose. The likely event of all four of those teams losing is not likely.
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.