-The Royals (21-22) dropped the opener with the Angels, 5-4.
-Ervin Santana made the start, and finished with a line of 7.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 H, 8 K, 0 BB on 107 pitches. The line may not appear great, but he pitched very well tonight at the K.
-The Angels got on the board first with a solo home run from Mike Trout in the first inning. Santana tried to sneak another fastball by him on an 0-1 count, but Trout reached down and crushed it 463 feet to straight-away center field.
-Santana would allow another solo shot to Albert Pujols to lead off the 4th inning.
-In the bottom of the 4th, Chris Getz (1-for-3) led off with a double to right field. He would move to third on an Alcides Escobar (1-for-5) ground out, and come around to score on an Alex Gordon (0-for-3) ground out. Angels lead 2-1.
-The home run would bite Santana again in the 5th. Chris Iannetta connected on a 1-1 slider to lead off the 5th. Outside of the three solo blasts, Santana cruised through seven innings of work.
-Kansas City tacked on its second run in the bottom of the 5th. Lorenzo Cain (2-for-4) led off with a double to center field, and was pushed to third on a Salvador Perez (3-for-4) single back up the middle. Mike Moustakas (0-for-2) hit into a fielder's choice, and hustled down the line to avoid the double-play, scoring Cain.
-Perez made the start behind the dish. It was his first start since his collision with the Houston Astros dugout barrier on Monday.
-Los Angeles' 3-2 lead would grow in the 8th. At 90 pitches, Santana was brought back out, and he induced a lead-off ground out from Erick Aybar. Trout followed by showing off his tremendous speed on an infield single to the second base bag. After Pujols popped out to Getz, Mark Trumbo took a 3-0 pitch over the left field wall, and gave the Angels a 5-2 lead.
-Ned Yost admitted after the game that they should have walked Trumbo, and it was his own fault for not ordering it. Santana said afterward that he was happy with the pitch.
-Tim Collins finished the inning, and Louis Coleman was called upon in the 9th. Coleman arrived to KC after being recalled from Omaha. Kelvin Herrera was optioned to Triple-A earlier in the day.
-The Royals made it interesting in the bottom of the 9th. Eric Hosmer (2-for-4) struck out to open the frame. Cain and Perez hit back to back singles, and thanks to defensive indifference, Cain was able to score from second base on Perez base knock. David Lough pinch-ran for Perez, and moved to second base on defensive indifference.
-Elliot Johnson (0-for-1) couldn't do anything with a full count, and popped out to the second baseman, setting the stage for George Kottaras (1-for-1). The catcher knocked in Lough with a single to right field. Getz followed with his second walk of the game, putting runners on first and second with two out for Escobar.
-Escobar fell behind 0-2, and flew out to right field to end the game.
-The Royals (20-21) dropped a fourth straight game, losing the opener in Houston, 6-5. The loss drops Kansas City below .500 for the first time since the first week of the season.
-Jeremy Guthrie made the start, coming off his first loss since August, and wasn't on his game. His final line showed 5 IP, 6 ER, 8 H, 2 K, 3 BB on 96 pitches. His record fell to 5-2, and his ERA rose to 3.45.
-The Royals got on the board first, in the second inning. Eric Hosmer (3-for-4) hit a one-out single to second baseman Jose Altuve, which he had a tough time handling. Jeff Francoeur (3-for-4) followed with a bloop single to right field. Following a strike out by third baseman Miguel Tejada (1-for-4), Elliot Johnson (1-for-4) hit a single to left field, scoring Hosmer. The inning ended when the next batter, lead-off man Lorenzo Cain (0-for-4), dribbled a ball to pitcher Dallas Kuechel.
-The lead was short-lived. Guthrie walked Chris Carter with one out in the bottom of the second. Carlos Pena followed with a double, and Carter scored on a ground-out by Jimmy Paredes.
-Houston would take the lead in the bottom of the 3rd. Marwin Gonzalez led off with a single to center field. Robbie Grossman laid down a sacrifice bunt, pushing Gonzalez to second. He would advance to third after an error from Elliot Johnson on a pick-off attempt. Jose Altuve hit a deep sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Gonzalez.
-Guthrie served up a solo home run to Jason Castro on a 1-0 slider left up in the zone, giving Houston a 3-1 lead.
-The back-and-forth affair continued in the 4th. Salvador Perez (1-for-3) led off with a single center field. Francoeur hit a one-out single to center, putting runners on first and second. Tejada followed with a first-pitch, no-doubt home run to deep left field. The Royals led 4-3...but not for long.
-Guthrie walked Pena with one out in the bottom of the 4th. After a Paredes double, Matt Dominguez hit a home run on a 3-1 fastball. Poor baserunning by the Astros in the 5th would cost them another run, but ended Guthrie's day nonetheless.
-The Royals would add one more in the 8th, giving you the final score of 6-4. Hosmer hit a one-out double to left field, and was driven in on an RBI double from Francoeur.
-Salvador Perez left the game after the fifth inning. The catcher chased down a foul ball in the inning, and smashed into the railing in front of the Astros dugout. He left the game with what the team called "discomfort in his right hip." Perez says he plans on playing tomorrow, but Yost admitted he may need the day off.
-The bullpen consisted of a shaky 6th inning from J.C. Gutierrez (1 H, 2 BB), a dynamite 7th from Luke Hochevar (1 K) and an easy 8th from Aaron Crow.
-The Royals (20-19) dropped a second straight in Oakland, 2-1.
-Ervin Santana made the start, and, like James Shields the night before, was masterful. Santana's final line showed 7 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 5 K, 3 BB on 101 pitches, but ended up taking the loss. It was his second straight loss.
-The Royals jumped out to an early lead by scoring in the first. Alex Gordon (1-for-3) had a tremendous 11-pitch at-bat that resulted in a two-out double to left field. Billy Butler (2-for-4) drove him in with a single to right field.
-Lorenzo Cain (0-for-4) moved back to the lead-off spot for the game, and has now gone hitless in seven at-bats atop the lineup.
-It appeared that the Royals offense would stay on the attack in the second, and do so with the improved patience we saw in the finale in Anaheim.
-Salvador Perez (2-for-4) led-off with a single to center field. Mike Moustakas (0-for-3) and Jeff Francoeur (0-for-3) followed with back-to-back walks, which loaded the bases with no outs. Francoeur's walk came on the ninth pitch of the at-bat. Oakland starter Tommy Milone threw 24 pitches to the first three batters.
-Moustakas is now 1-for his last-29. Francoeur got the start over David Lough, who had two of the Royals five hits a night ago.
-Elliot Johnson (0-for-3) popped up to the catcher on the first pitch he saw. Cain and Alcides Escobar (0-for-4) both struck out to leave the bases loaded.
-The Royals would get the lead-off hitter on in the 3rd, 4th, 6th and 9th innings, but couldn't push across a run. Perez's led off with a double in the 4th, and was moved to third on a Moustakas fly out. Francoeur and Johnson struck out to end the inning.
-Eric Hosmer went 0-for-3 and is hitting below .140 over the last eight games.
-Oakland scored both runs in the 6th. Eric Sogard led off with a double to center field. Coco Crisp followed by drawing a walk. Jed Lowrie's sacrifice fly to center scored one, and Crisp would come around to score on a triple from Brandon Moss.
-The Royals (19-17) dropped the second game against the Angels, 6-2, evening the three-game series.
-Jeremy Guthrie took the loss, and ended his streak and franchise-record 18 straight starts without suffering a defeat. His final line showed 7 IP, 5 ER, 11 H, 3 BB, 0 K on 105 pitches. It was his worst start of the season.
-The Royals scored first, in the 4th inning. Alcides Escobar (1-for-4) led off with a single to right field. Following an Alex Gordon (1-for-4) fly-out, Billy Butler (2-for-4) drove in Escobar with a double to left field.
-The lead was short-lived. Albert Pujols led off the bottom of the 4th with a bomb to left field, evening the score at 1-1. Guthrie set down the following two batters before giving up another home run to Howie Kendrick.
-The Angels pushed their lead to 3-1 in the 5th. J.B. Shuck hit a one-out single to right field, and was pushed to third base on an Erick Aybar single to left field. Shuck would score on a Mike Trout sacrifice fly to deep center field.
-Jeremy Guthrie never was in big trouble. He once again showed the ability to wiggle out of trouble and limit the damage. It truly was a combination of a hand full of bad pitches and a questionable strike zone from Tim McClelland.
-The Royals cut into the Angles lead in the 6th inning, thanks to the 5th home run of the season from Billy Butler. It came with two outs, and was a blast to right-center field. The round-tripper gave Butler six RBI in the last two games.
-That would do it for the Royals offense, but the Angles would tack on a few more. Josh Hamilton tattooed the first pitch he saw in the 6th inning to make it 4-2.
-Despite being at 92 pitches, Guthrie came back out in the 7th, and gave up a fifth run. It came on a two-out home run to left field from Mike Trout. It was a 1-1 pitch on the inside of the plate that was crushed by the machine that is Mike Trout.
-Aaron Crow came in relief in the 8th, and served up the sixth and final run of the game. Howie Kendrick hit a one-out single to right field, and then stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. He would score on a ground-out by Chris Iannetta.
-Lorenzo Cain (0-for-3) was in the lead-off spot for the first time this season. He struck out swinging three times, and drew a walk.
-The Royals (19-16) took the opener in Anaheim, 11-4, to open a nine-game road trip on the right note.
-Luis Mendoza made the start, and put together his second straight quality start. His final line showed 6 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, 6 K and he didn't walk a batter on 101 pitches.
-The offense made sure that Mendoza had some wiggle room by putting a run on the board in the first inning. Alex Gordon (2-for-5) hit a two-out single, and came around to score on a Billy Butler (5-for-5) double. In fact, 8 of the team's 11 runs came with two outs.
-In the 3rd, the Royals tacked on two more. Lead-off man Jarrod Dyson (2-for-6) hit a one-out single, and then stole second. Alcides Escobar (3-for-5) followed with a single and stolen base of his own. After Gordon struck out, Butler tallied his 3rd and 4th RBI with a single back up the middle.
-Los Angeles put its first run on the board in that third inning. Alberto Callaspo led off with a double, and would come around to score on a Chris Iannetta single.
-The two-run lead was built on in the 4th. Lorenzo Cain (3-for-5) lead off with a single to left field. Salvador Perez (3-for-4) moved him to third with a one-out double to center field. Cain would score after a two-out double by Dyson.
-The bats continued to stay hot in the 5th. Billy Butler, Eric Hosmer (1-for-5), and Cain all hit one-out singles, with Butler scoring on Cain's knock to left field. Perez plated Hosmer and Cain with a two-out double to center field.
-The Royals scored three more in the 6th. Escobar and Gordon hit one-out singles, and Butler drove them home with a double to right field. Butler later came around to score on a two-out single to left field from Cain.
-The Angles didn't lie down. They got to Mendoza for two in the 6th. Mike Trout reached on an infield single, and used his incredible speed to score on an Albert Pujols double to center field. Pujols would score the third run for the Angles on a Josh Hamilton double to left-center field.
-Those runs looked even more meaningless after Sal Perez's lead-off single in the 7th turned into a run, thanks to a two-out double to left field from Escobar.
-Luke Hochevar came in relief in the 7th, and surrendered a lead-off single to Callaspo. A two-out double from J.B. Shuck would plate Callaspo for the Angels final run. Hochevar would eat up the final three innings and collect the first save of his career. His final line showed 3 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 4 K, 0 BB.
-In total, 7 of the 9 Royals in the starting line-up had a multi-hit game.
-The team's longest losing streak remains three games.
-Royals (17-12) dropped the opener in Baltimore, 4-3.
-Ervin Santana made the start and was a tad bit shaky early on. It appeared to me that he was struggling with his velocity with the first few batters, and was trying to be too fine. With the caliber of defense behind him, I would have liked to see him try and induce a few more ground/fly balls, rather than going for the strike out. Baltimore's offense was swinging early in the count, so I do have to give them credit for their aggressive approach.
-In the first inning, Santana gave up back-to-back-to-back one out singles. The third single, from Adam Jones, plated game's first run. Santana struck out Chris Davis to record the second out, but Matt Wieters turned on a 3-2 slider for a two-run double, giving the Orioles a 3-0 lead.
-The Royals would get a run in the 3rd inning. After Salvador Perez (0-for-4) grounded out to start the inning, Miguel Tejada (2-for-3) hit a single in his first at bat as he made the start at third base. Second baseman Elliot Johnson (2-for-3) followed with a single of his own, and that put runners on first and second with one out. Alcides Escobar (1-for-4) hit a two-out single to right field that scored Tejada, and put the Royals on the board.
-Ervin Santana settled in after that opening frame, and finished with a final line of 6 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 4 K, 1 BB. Another quality start from the Royals righty.
-In the 7th inning, Perez again led off with a ground out, but was again followed by a Tejada single. Elliot Johnson's at bat was interrupted by sheets of rain that delayed the game for nearly 45 minutes. When the game resumed, Johnson flew out to center for the second out. Alex Gordon (2-for-4) continued to carry the offense by turning on a 2-2 pitch, and sending it over the right field wall for his 4th home run of the season. Gordon's bomb would tie the game at 3.
-Tim Collins came in relief for the bottom of the 7th, and despite one walk and questionable location, was trotted back out to start the 8th. Collins walked Adam Jones to start the inning, and as is normally the case, payed dearly for a lead-off walk. He managed to strike out Chris Davis, but was removed afterward.
-Luke Hochevar came in from the bullpen with one out and a runner on first in the 8th. Hochevar was charged with an error on a poor pick-off attempt at first base that allowed Jones to advance to second base. The former first round pick threw a low fastball to Matt Wieters with a 2-2 count, and the Orioles catcher did a tremendous job of reaching down and slapping the ball to left field. The Wieters hit would land JUST inside the left field foul line, and would go for a RBI double, giving Baltimore a 4-3 lead.
-In the 9th inning, Jeff Francoeur (0-for-4) was allowed to lead off the inning, and proceeded to fly out to center after drawing the count full. Perez would strike out, and then pinch-hitter Mike Moustakas flew out to left field to end the game.
-The Royals (17-10) improved to 3-0 in extra-inning games, and picked up the 11th come-from-behind victory of the season by knocking off the White Sox 6-5 in 10 innings.
-Wade Davis made the start, and after back-to-back poor outings bounced back with six innings of one-run ball. He allowed the lone run in the 3rd inning, and finished with a line of 6 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 3 BB, 5 K on 98 pitches.
-In that 3rd inning, Davis struck out the first batter, but then went single, walk, single to load the bases. Alex Rios came to the plate and hit a rocket to Mike Moustakas (2-for-5) who touched third for the first out, but could get nothing more. It was a tremendous play by Moose to not allow the ball to get by him for multiple runs. One run would score, but after an Adam Dunn foul ball pop-out, the inning was done.
-The 1-0 Chicago lead would hold up until the bottom of the 5th. Moose started the rally with a one-out single to right field. Jeff Francoeur (1-for-5) followed with a double to left-center field, and after a walk to Salvador Perez (0-for-2), the bases were loaded for Miguel Tejada (2-for-3). The former MVP took the first pitch he saw to left field for a RBI single. Alex Gordon (1-for-6) drove in a run on a ground ball error by White Sox second baseman Jeff Keppinger. Alcides Escobar (2-for-5) drove in the third run of the inning on a single to right field. The two teams would head to the 6th with a scoreboard reading 3-1 Royals.
-The score would remain the same until the top of the 7th. Tim Collins came in relief to start the inning, and served up a single, another single, and then a two-run double to Alejandro de Aza before being removed. Aaron Crow then came in to a one-on, nobody out situation with his team tied at three.
-Crow would get Keppinger to ground out for the first out, but served up a solo home run to Alex Rios to give Chicago the 4-3 lead. It was the first run allowed of the season by Crow.
-Chicago wouldn't score again. Luke Hochevar threw two perfect innings of relief. Greg Holland would collect his first victory of the season by pitching a perfect 10th inning.
-In the 9th inning, with the Royals down by two, Chicago closer Addison Reed walked Perez to lead-off the inning. He followed by walking pinch-hitter George Kottaras (0-for-0). Reed regrouped to get Gordon and Escobar to fly out. That set the stage for Billy Butler (1-for-4). With a full count, the Royals All-Star hit a double to right-center field, plating Kottaras and the pinch-running Chris Getz to tie the game.
-And in the bottom of the 10th, Lorenzo Cain (3-for-5) led off with a single to right field, and would later steal second. Moose and Frenchy would both be retired, but Getz was intentionally walked, and then Kottaras was walked on five pitches to load the bases for Gordon. The most consistent offensive player this season was just that in the 10th, as Gordon delivered a game-winning single to right center field securing the victory.
-The Royals (16-10) rode a remarkable effort from Jeremy Guthrie to a third straight win, taking the opener from Chicago, 2-0 at Kauffman.
-The offense gave Guthrie an early cushion in the first inning. After Alex Gordon (0-for-4) and Alcides Escobar (1-for-4) were retired to open the inning, Billy Butler (0-for-3) was hit by a Dylan Axelrod pitch. Eric Hosmer (3-for-4) followed with a single, and put runners on first and second with two outs. Lorenzo Cain (1-for-4) came through with a triple to right field that got by a diving Alex Rios to score both runners.
-The Royals offense would have plenty of other opportunities in the game, but was unable to capitalize. Chris Getz (1-for-4) hit a one out single in the 2nd, and was stranded on third to end the inning. Hosmer led off the 3rd inning with a triple, and was left stranded. The team had runners on second and third with two outs in the 7th, but was unable to knock them in.
-The lack of offense wasn't an issue because Guthrie was superb. His final line showed 9 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 3 K, 1 BB on 106 pitches. It was his first career complete game shutout, and in the process set a new franchise record for consecutive games without a loss at 17.
-The night went as follows for Guthrie. He retired the first four he faced, and then gave up a single. The right-hander then sat down seven straight, and then walked one and allowed a double. Guthrie regrouped to retire the next 11 hitters. Finally, after allowed two singles in the span of three batters, Guthrie ended the game by getting the final four he faced out.
-The team's defense was spectacular again tonight. Mike Moustakas (0-for-3) made a tremendous bare-handed play in the 3rd, which was followed by a similar play from Escobar. Hosmer had a vacuum for a glove at first base. The big lefty made back-to-back impressive scoops in the 5th. Even Guthrie showed some skill defensively by throwing out Alejandro de Aza after a nice bunt attempt in the 6th.
-Royals (13-9) split the first day/night doubleheader in team history, winning the opener 9-0, but falling in the night cap 10-3.
-Jeremy Guthrie was the story of the opener. He threw 6.2 innings of shutout baseball, scattering six hits, striking out five and walking three. Guthrie hasn't lost a game since August 3rd, and matched a team record held by Paul Splittorff by making 16 consecutive starts without a loss.
-The offense for the Royals started in the 2nd inning when Mike Moustakas (2-for-5 for the doubleheader) worked a two-out walk. Jeff Francoeur (3-for-8) drove him in with a double, and then came around to score on a Jarrod Dyson (2-for-4) double.
-Kansas City continued to put up runs on Cleveland starter Justin Masterson in the 4th, and once again, a two-out walk to Moustakas started it. Francoeur followed with a single, and then Dyson drove in Moose with a single to center.
-In the 5th, Alcides Escobar (3-for-8) connected on his 3rd home run of the season.
-The Royals would tack on three in the 7th. Chris Getz (2-for-7) led off with a single, and was followed by a single from Alex Gordon (2-for-8). A fielder's choice ground ball from Escobar scored Getz. Billy Butler (1-for-7) drew a one out walk, and with two on Eric Hosmer (2-for-9) drove Escobar in with a single to right field. After Salvador Perez (0-for-3) was hit by a pitch, Moustakas was walked with the bases loaded, plating Butler.
-Tim Collins faced one batter out of the bullpen in the 7th. Luke Hochevar struck out five over the final two innings of the game.
-KC put two more on the board in the 8th, thanks to a lead-off walk to Getz, and then a two-run home run from Gordon, his third of the season.
-In the night cap, things got ugly early. Will Smith was summoned from AAA-Omaha for the day/night doubleheader. MLB allows a team to add one player when this situation occurs. Smith, who was one of the team's top pitchers during spring, had a runner on first with one out in the first inning, but a routine 5-4-3 double-play ground ball to Moustakas went through his legs for an error. Instead of the inning being over, it became a 28 pitch problem for Smith, who allowed six runs, four earned runs, in four innings of work. He also struck out five with one walk.
-The Royals finally got some offense in the 4th when Francoeur reached base on an infield single with two outs. George Kottaras (1-for-4) drilled a double to right to put runners on second and third with two outs for Getz. The second baseman pushed both runs across with a single to center.
-Ned Yost called the game, "just a bad game," and he couldn't be more correct. The defensive follies continued in the 7th. Hosmer dropped a routine pop-up in foul territory, and the team looked foolish when they couldn't get Carlos Santana out in a rundown. Both errors would equal Cleveland runs.
-Bruce Chen came in relief, and pitched tremendously. His final line showed 3 IP, 2 R, 0 ER, 3 H, 4 K, 0 BB. JC Gutierrez threw two innings of relief, and allowed two runs on four hits. He didn't walk a batter and struck out one.
-The defensive miscues carried into the 8th inning. Escobar charged a ground ball from Michael Brantley, but couldn't make the tough throw to first as it went wild, but the play was scored as a single. The following batter, Asdrubal Cabrera, flew to deep right field where Francoeur dropped the ball, but again, it was scored as a triple. Both of those "hits" equaled Indians runs.
-Royals (10-8) dropped the opener in Detroit, 7-5.
-Wade Davis made his first start since last Wednesday in Atlanta, and was helped out by some tremendous defense early. Alex Gordon (1-for-4) and Eric Hosmer (1-for-1) made an extra-base saving catch/stab in the 1st and 2nd innings, respectively.
-The Tigers put the first run on the board in the 2nd inning. After Hosmer's stab on a liner down the line to retire Victor Martinez, Wade Davis got Andy Dirks to ground out. Jhonny Peralta reached on a two-out single, and then Alex Avila walked. Omar Infante singled to left field to plate Peralta and give Detroit a 1-0 lead.
-The Royals bats exploded in the 3rd, getting to Max Scherzer for four runs. Salvador Perez (2-for-4) led off with a single to right, followed by another single to right field by Chris Getz (1-for-3). Gordon followed suit with a single to right, driving in Perez. Alcides Escobar (2-for-5) continued the onslaught with a single to the left field, scoring Getz. Billy Butler (1-for-5) made it five straight hits with a single to center, scoring Gordon. The final run came on a sacrifice fly from Eric Hosmer, and the Royals led 4-1.
-Detroit got two back in the bottom of the third as Wade Davis continued to struggle with his command. He got Torii Hunter to ground out, but an absolute blast of a double to center from Miguel Cabrera was followed by a walk to Prince Fielder. Victor Martinez drove Caberera in with a double to right field. Jhonny Peralta hit a two-out single to right that scored Fielder, but Jeff Francoeur (0-for-4) gunned down Martinez at the plate to end the inning. The Royals still led 4-3.
-KC was sat down in order in the 4th, but the same couldn't be said out the Tigers in the 4th. Wade Davis started the inning by walking Avila, and then giving up a single to Infante. An Austin Jackson ground ball to third was played by Mike Moustakas (0-for-4) and he made the tag on Avila to get the lead-off runner.
-That set the stage for the play of the game. With one out and runners on 2nd and 3rd, Torii Hunter grounded to Moustakas, but it went right through his legs, and allowed Infante to score. It was a tailormade 5-4-3 double play that could have ended the inning.
-It only got worse from there. Miguel Cabrera plated Jackson with a sacrifice fly to center field. Davis walked Fielder, and then gave up a RBI single to Victor Martinez. That would end the day for Wade Davis. His final line showed 3.2 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 K on 95 pitches.
-Luis Mendoza came in relief and walked Dirks. He then walked in a run after a tough battle with Peralta. Mendoza ended the day after throwing 2.1 IP, 1 H, 3 BB, 2 K on 47 pitches.
-In the 5th inning, which would turn out to be Scherzer's final frame, the Royals got a back-to-back walks from Getz and Gordon to lead off the inning. Escobar singled to load the bases, but Butler dribbled one to Scherzer who tossed it home for the easy out at the plate. The bases-loaded threat wouldn't pass by as Scherzer walked Hosmer to make it 7-5 Tigers. Lorenzo Cain (0-for-3) and Francoeur struck out to end the inning.
-Moustakas' night only got worse in the 7th inning. He came to bat with two outs and runners on first and second, but popped out in front of home plate to end the last threat the Royals would make.
-Royals (7-6) fell to Atlanta, 6-3, in the opener of a two-game series.
-Jeremy Guthrie brought his 2-0 record into the game, and looked to be on his way to a third victory. After setting the Braves down in order to start the game, Guthrie surrendered a solo home run to Juan Francisco in the 2nd. Francisco took a big cut at a 1-0 change-up, almost as if he was expecting a fastball, and smoked it down the right field line. I believe that is a foul ball 8 out of 10 times, but it stayed fair tonight.
-The Braves lead was short-lived. Chris Getz (1-for-4) led off the 3rd with his first home run as a member of the Royals.
-The Royals would take a 2-1 lead in the 4th. Salvador Perez (0-for-4) reached on a throwing error by Atlanta third baseman Juan Francisco. After a Mike Moustakas (1-for-4) single, Jeff Francoeur (2-for-4) came up and drove in Perez with a bullet up the middle.
-Kansas City led 2-1 until the 7th inning. Francisco connected on his 2nd home run of the game after Guthrie missed on an 0-1 fastball that was left over the middle. The game was tied headed to the 8th.
-Guthrie's day was done after seven. His final line showed 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K.
-In the 8th, Eric Hosmer (0-for-4) went down swinging to lead off. Perez flew out to right field on a terrific catch by Jason Heyward. Lorenzo Cain (2-for-4) hit a single to right field, bringing up Moustakas. Keep in mind, Billy Butler (0-for-1) was on the bench, but Moose was allowed to bat, and ended up striking out.
-I thought that was the key decision in the game. I would have pinch-hit Butler for Moustakas. I figure he's the best doubles hitter on the team and with Cain on first, a Billy double would have likely scored Cain. With Craig Kimbrel in the Atlanta pen, I looked at this as the Royals last, best chance.
-With Guthrie at 91 pitches, Ned Yost went to Kelvin Herrera in the 8th. Herrera got the lead-off man to ground out, but put home runs on a tee for Heyward and Justin Upton. Herrera's shaky location continued with a third solo home run in the inning to Dan Uggla. In total, Herrera would allow four runs in the inning, and the Royals trailed 6-2 with three outs left.
-In the 9th, Frenchy singled to lead-off. Getz hit into a fielder's choice. Billy Butler was summoned to pinch-hit in the pitcher's spot, but struck out. Alex Gordon (2-for-5), who has a 12-game hitting streak going, drove in Getz with a single to right field.
-That's as close as it would get. Alcides Escobar (0-for-5) grounded out to end the game.
-Luis Mendoza made the start, and it will be his last for more than a week. Ned Yost said before the game that Mendoza will be skipped the next time through the rotation because of the amount of off-days over the next week.
-The right-hander and the defense behind him were shaky in the first inning. After getting the lead-off man to pop out, Mendoza gave up a single to Melky Cabrera. The former Royals would steal second, and take third on an errant throw from Salvador Perez (1-for-4). Jose Bautista would strike-out, and Edwin Encarnacion walked to put runners on the corners with two outs. J.P. Arencibia hit an RBI single, followed by an RBI double from Adam Lind, and the Blue Jays led 2-0.
-The Royals bats backed their starter by tacking on three runs in the opening frame. Alex Gordon (1-for-4) hit a lead-off single, and after an Alcides Escobar (1-for-4) strikeout, Billy Butler (0-for-2) walked. With two on, Perez poked an outside pitch to right-center field for an RBI single. Mike Moustakas (0-for-3) walked, and following a Jeff Francoeur (0-for-4) strikeout, Lorenzo Cain (1-for-4) hit a two-run single to center giving the Royals a 3-2 lead.
-Mendoza didn't let the crowd at Kauffman enjoy the lead long. He served up back-to-back doubles to lead off the inning. Colby Rasmus would score from second on Emilio Bonifacio's double. In fact, Bonifacio came all the way around the score on his double. He advance to third on the throw home from Francoeur, and took home on Perez's second error of the game, a lazy throw to third. Royals trailed 4-3 after an inning and a half.
-Toronto would put a 5th run on the board in the third. Encarnacion hit a routine ground ball to Moustakas, but his throw was too high for first baseman Miguel Tejada (0-for-4), allowing him to reach on an error. He would come around to score on a sacrifice fly.
-The final Royals run came in the 5th inning. Elliot Johnson (1-for-3), making the start at second base, lead-off the inning with a well-timed bunt single to jump start an offense that had seen the previous ten batters sat down. Escobar would drive him in with a double. The 5-4 deficit would be as close as the Royals would come.
-Mendoza was pulled after 5.2 innings. His final line showed 7 ER, 7 H, 3 BB, 2 Ks. He left the game with two-out and runners on second and third, and turned it over to Luke Hochevar.
-Hochevar first batter was 4-time all-star Jose Reyes, who took a 2-1 fastball back up the middle for a two-run single. Hochevar walked the next batter, but sat the next seven hitters down in order. J.C. Gutierrez threw a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
-Royals (5-3) dodged the rain to the take the second of three against Minnesota, 7-4.
-Jeremy Guthrie improved to 2-0, but things didn't look great early on. The righty allowed a solo home run to Joe Mauer in the first inning, but nothing else while working with a tight strike zone from the home plate umpire.
-The Royals offense didn't allow Guthrie to hang his head, exploding for five runs in the first frame.
-Alex Gordon (2-for-4) opened the inning with a single. Alcides Escobar (3-for-4) followed with a bloop to shallow left field that feel between the left fielder and shortstop, putting runners on first and second. Billy Butler (2-for-4) drove Gordon in with a double to left field. The sweet swings continued with Mike Moustakas' (1-for-4) smooth poke to right, plating Escobar. Salvador Perez (1-for-4) hit a fly ball to center that popped out of the glove of a diving Darin Mastroianni, going for a double and scoring Butler. Eric Hosmer (1-for-4) completed the scoring with an RBI ground-out. The Royals led 5-1 after the first inning.
-Guthrie returned to the hill with a four run lead, but allowed a lead-off double to Trevor Plouffe. He would eventually score on a two-out RBI single from Eduardo Escobar.
-Like the first inning, the Royals offense had Guthrie's back again in the second. Gordon led-off the inning with a triple to the right field corner. He was knocked in by Escobar after an eight-pitch battle with Twins starter Mike Pelfrey. The Royals led 6-2 after two innings.
-Guthrie gave up another home run in the third. Josh Willingham blasted a 2-1 offering over the left field wall, but as has been the case with Guthrie, he limited the damage and held the Twins in check for the rest of the 3rd & 4th innings.
-Jeff Francoeur (1-for-4) became the seventh Royal to collect an RBI with his 3rd inning double to the center field wall, scoring Hosmer who led off the frame with a single. The Royals led 7-3 after three innings.
-Guthrie gave a run back in the 5th. Minnesota's 9th hitter, shortstop Eduardo Escobar, hit his first career home run on a 92 mph heater that was left up on a full count. Guthrie would leave after 6.2 innings with a 7-4 lead. His final line shows four runs on six hits, two strikeouts and one walk.
-The Royals offense was mostly silent over the final five innings, outside of a two-out double from Lorenzo Cain (2-for-4).
-Tim Collins faced the minimum in his inning and a third of work. He allowed just one hit, but an inning-ending double play got him out of the 7th.
-The rain started to fall heavily at the K in the 7th inning. It was pouring when Ned Yost send Greg Holland to the hill to close it out. Holland got Plouffe to fly out to open the 9th. He then went walk, strikeout, single, walk. The rain was falling, the bases were loaded and Joe Mauer stepped to the plate. The former A.L. MVP struck out on a 1-2 pitch, ending the game. Holland collected his second save of the season.
-Royals (4-3) win in the home opener, topping the Twins 3-1.
-Ervin Santana made his second start of the season, and things didn't look great early. The righty struck out the lead-off hitter, but allowed four singles to the next five hitters. Minnesota was looking for fastballs, and when they got them, did a great job of not over-swinging. Joe Mauer scored on a one-out single from Ryan Doumit. 1-0 Twins.
-Doumit made a critical base-running mistake in the first inning. After Doumit's RBI single, Tyler Plouffe laced a single to left field, but as Doumit rounded second and headed for third, Justin Moreneau was held at third, leaving Doumit in no man's land. It would have been bases loaded with two out, but instead it ended the inning. It was a key mistake because Santana got into a groove after the first, so if Minnesota was going to get to him, it had to be there.
-Santana set the next nine hitters down in order, and gave the team just what it needed with Kelvin Herrera and Greg Holland likely unavailable. Santana's final line was 8 innings, 8 hits, 1 earned run, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts.
-The Royals offense managed only five hits through the first seven innings, but came alive in the eighth.
-The 8th inning was started with a lead-off double from Lorenzo Cain (2-for-3). Chris Getz (0-for-2) followed with a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt, moving Cain to the third. Alex Gordon (1-for-4) continued his tremendous start by putting a beautiful swing on Twins starter Kevin Correia's 0-1 offering, smacking it over an infield that was playing in, good for an RBI single. 1-1.
-Alcides Escobar (1-for-4) delivered on a hit-and-run with a perfect first pitch knock to the right side. Gordon would come all the way from first to score, and Escobar was on with a one out double. Billy Butler (1-for-3) knocked in his 9th RBI of the season by plating Escobar with a single to right field. 3-1 Royals.
-Aaron Crow closed the door in the ninth. He struck out Plouffe, walked Chris Parmelee, but induced a game-ending 5-4-3 double play to post the Royals fourth win in the last five games.
-Royals (2-3) fell 4-3 in Philadelphia, evening the three-game series through two.
-Luis Mendoza made his first start of the season, and despite two walks in the first three innings, cruised through four innings, allowing one hit. Phillies starter John Lannan matched Mendoza's effort through four.
TOP of FIVE - Lannan made his first noticeable mistake by hitting Lorenzo Cain (0-for-2) to lead-off the inning. Jeff Francoeur (2-for-4) jumped on a 2-2 pitch for a double. With runners on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out, Miguel Tejada (1-for-3) hit a ground ball to the right side, plating Cain. Tejada got the start at third base for Mike Moustakas, avoiding the lefty vs. lefty situation.
-Elliot Johnson (1-for-2) got the start at second base for left-hander Chris Getz. Along with the more appealing match-up, Ned Yost has noted how he wants to keep his bench fresh. Johnson followed Tejada's knock with a single up the middle, driving Francoeur in. Royals led 2-0.
BOTTOM of FIVE - Mendoza matched Lannan's mistake by walking John Mayberry to lead-off the inning. After a fly out and a sacrifice bunt, Mayberry was driven in from third on a Ben Revere single that lined off the glove of Tejada. Royals led 2-1.
TOP of SEVEN - Francoeur smacked the second pitch he saw to center for a lead-off double. Tejada followed with another seeing-eye hit, but this time a double to right, scoring Francoeur. Royals led 3-1.
-Mendoza finished the game with a line of 6 innings, 2 hits, 1 earned run, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts. Aaron Crow threw a perfect seventh with one strikeout. Kelvin Herrera threw an electric eighth, bookending strikeouts in a perfect inning.
BOTTOM of NINE - Greg Holland walked Chase Utley to start the frame. It was a good battle between the two. He then walked Ryan Howard on four straight pitches. The Royals closer appeared to be over-throwing at the end of the Howard at-bat and during the following walk of Michael Young. Holland was able to strikeout the next two batters, but Kevin Frandsen hit a pinch-hit, three-run double to win the game.
-Salvador Perez didn't do much offensively, but he was a machine behind the plate. I counted instances in the 2nd, 3rd and 9th where his defense shouldn't go unnoticed. Mendoza's sinker and Holland's control issues would have caused problems for most catchers.
-Royals (2-2) crushed the Phillies in the series opener 13-4.
-Wade Davis made his Royals debut (4 IP, 4 ER, 9 H, 2 K, 0 BB). Davis gave up all four runs, and allowed all nine hits in the first three innings. He was throwing a steady diet of fastballs and change-ups, but wasn't hitting his spots. The approach for Philadelphia quickly became to wait on a fastball, and turn on it. He exited after throwing only 76 pitches.
-Davis set the Phillies down in order in the fourth, and then the Royals offense came alive. In the fifth, Chris Getz (3-for-5) hit a one-out single, followed by a pinch-hit single by Miguel Tejada (1-for-1). Tejada hit a ground ball to Phillies SS Jimmy Rollins, who tried to get the force at second, but great hustle by Getz left his attempt fruitless. Rollins made one of those little mistakes that end up being huge in the grand scheme of things.
-Alex Gordon (3-for-6) followed Tejada with a single, loading the bases. After an Alcides Escobar (2-for-5) ground ball went as a force out at home, Eric Hosmer (4-for-5) stepped to the plate and put together his best swing of the season. After showing great patience on a 2-2 count, Hosmer connected on a two-run single, cutting the Phillies lead to 4-2.
-Bruce Chen came in relief in the fifth, and had his best showing since being moved to the bullpen in spring. Chen set the Phillies 3-4-5 hitters down in order, including strikeouts of Rollins and Chase Utley.
-Chen's quick inning kept the Royals bats hot. Mike Moustakas (3-for-5) reached on a single. Lorenzo Cain (1-for-4) reached on a fielder's choice. With one out and a runner on first, Getz delivered again with a double to right. Ned Yost turned to his bench with runners on second and third with one out, and called on Billy Butler to pinch hit. With first base open, the Phillies decided to intentionally walk Butler, loading the bases for Gordon. Yost showed faith in Gordon, and he delivered. The gold-glove left fielder hit and bases-clearing triple, putting KC up 5-4.
-J.C. Gutierrez came in, in the sixth, and set Phili down in order, with one strikeout.
-In the seventh, the Royals offense put four runs on the board. Hosmer walked, Salvador Perez (1-for-5) singled, and then Moose singled, once again loading the bases. Cain came through with a sacrifice fly to right. Jeff Francoeur (1-for-4) followed Cain's sac fly with a walk, loading the bases for the third time in the game. Chris Getz showed outstanding bat control, fighting one off to left field for a bases-clearing triple. The Royals led 9-4.
-The bullpen's domination continued after Tim Collins threw two innings of no-hit stuff. He walked one, but struck out three in two key innings.
-Two more Royals runs crossed the plate in the eighth. Escobar connected on his first home run of the season, and it was also the team's first homer of 2013. Hosmer followed with a single, and then following a Perez fly out, Moose hit a double that put runners on second and third with one out. Cain came through with an RBI single to left, and the Royals led 11-4.
-In the ninth, the offense tacked on two more. Gordon got it started with a two-out single to center. Escobar drove him in with a double to left. Hosmer capped off his memorable day with an RBI double to center.
-Luke Hochevar threw a 1-2-3 ninth inning to secure the win.
-In total, the bullpen threw five innings of no-hit ball, allowing only one walk and striking out six. The Royals pitching staff didn't allow a hit after the third inning.
-Royals (0-2) drop the series in Chicago, losing for the second straight game, 5-2.
-Ervin Santana was...well...Ervin Santana in his Royals debut. He continued his tremendous strikeout-to-walk ratio from spring, striking out eight White Sox hitters and allowing only one walk.
-Santana allowed 39 home runs a season ago, and picked up right where he left off. He surrendered a solo shot to Adam Dunn in the second, another first-pitch home run to Tyler Flowers in the third and a two-run shot to Dayan Viciedo in the fourth. The Viciedo bomb scored Adam Dunn, who walked earlier in the inning. I must give credit to Alex Gordon who showed incredible hustle by climbing the wall, reaching over and having the ball tip off his glove and clearing the fence.
-Santana's final line showed six innings of work, four runs on five hits, eight strikeouts and one walk.
-The Royals got the first run of the season in third inning, down 1-0. Chris Getz (0-for-2) reached on an error by the shortstop. After Alex Gordon (1-for-4) flied out, Alcides Escobar (1-for-4) reached second base on a fly ball that was dropped after Viciedo and shortstop Alexei Ramirez ran into one another. The dropped ball allowed Getz to get from first to home, tying the game at one.
-KC's second run game in the sixth inning. The Royals trailed 4-1 when Gordon led off the inning with a double to left. Escobar's ground-out moved him to third, and then a routine ground-out by Billy Butler (0-for-4) scored Gordon.
-The Royals offense had its best chance to tie the game up in the seventh inning. Eric Hosmer (0-for-4) reached on another dropped fly ball, this time by Dwayne Wise in left field. Lorenzo Cain (1-for-4) moved Hosmer to third on a base hit to right field. After a Jeff Francoeur (0-for-4) strikeout, Miguel Tejada (0-for-0) pinch hit for Getz and walked. The bases were loaded with only one out, but Gordon flew out to left and Escobar flew out to right, ending the threat.
-Chicago tacked on another run in the seventh, a solo home run from Ramirez on the second pitch from Luke Hochevar. It was Hochevar's first appearance out of the pen since 2010 and he was lucky to say the least. Following the home run, the righty allowed a single, a walk, and then a sacrifice bunt from Alejandro De Aza that put runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out. A passed ball allowed Flowers to attempt to steal home, but a quick play from Salvador Perez (1-for-4) stopped him at the plate. Hochevar ended the inning with a fly ball to right.
-The biggest disappointment from these first two games, in my opinion, has been the lack of production from the 3-4-5 hitters. Butler, Moustakas and Perez are a combined 4-for-23. The team is 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
-Royals (0-1) fall to the White Sox, in Chicago, 1-0.
-James Shields was terrific in his Royals debut. The righty went six innings, allowed one run on eight hits, while striking out six and not walking a batter.
-Shields faced his first challenge in the 2nd inning when back-to-back one-out singles put two on, but Shields struck out Tyler Flowers and Gordon Beckham to end the inning.
-The Royals offense was a tad jumpy in the opener. White Sox starter Chris Sale was dynamite, but was helped out by a very eager offense that only got deep in a count (six pitches or more) twice in the 7.2 innings that Sale threw.
-In the third inning, the Royals had the lone opportunity to get to Sale. Jeff Francoeur (2-for-4) led off the inning with a single, and after a Chris Getz (0-for-3) ground-out, Alex Gordon (0-for-3) walked and Alcides Escobar (2-for-4) reached on a single. Unfortunately for Kansas City, Billy Butler (1-for-3) struck out on a filthy four-pitch sequence by Sale, and then Mike Moustakas (0-for-4) popped out to the second baseman on the second pitch.
-Sale's pitch count was in terrific shape throughout the game. He ended after 7.2 innings, scattering just seven hits while striking out seven. James Shields' pitch count was high early in the game. He was at 37 pitches after the second, 89 after five. The White Sox showed a lot more patience at the plate than did the Royals.
-In the fifth inning, Shields faced Tyler Flowers, and on a 2-2 pitch, left a change-up high and over the middle of the plate, and Flowers didn't miss. It was the one mistake that Shields made all day, and turned out to be the difference in the game. Gordon Beckham followed with a single behind Eric Hosmer (1-for-1), and after two White Sox were retired, Alex Rios connected on a shot to right field that was cut-off by Alex Gordon, halting Beckham at third. A routine groundball by Adam Dunn ended the inning.
-Aaron Crow came in relief in the seventh inning and looked good. He struck out one hitter in a clean inning.
-In the eighth, Getz and Gordon were retired to start the inning, but a single up the middle by Escobar gave Billy Butler a chance to tie the game. Escobar stole second and advance to third on a wild pitch. Butler walked, but Moustakas was sat down on three straight strikes. Again, a tad bit jumpy at the plate.
-Kelvin Herrera was erratic, but good enough in the eighth. He walked the first batter and threw five straight balls before striking out Dunn and Viciedo, sandwiching a Paul Konerko fly ball to right.
-In the ninth, the Royals saw Salvador Perez (1-for-4) ground out to shortstop to start the inning. Eric Hosmer let a beautiful pitch go by on a 3-1 count, but drew the walk. Lorenzo Cain (0-for-4) made the same mistake against White Sox closer Addison Reed on a 2-2 count, but he ended up striking out. That left the game in the hands of Francoeur, and on the first pitch, he grounded out to short to the end the game.
-Royals face Chicago again on Wednesday. Ervin Santana vs. Jake Peavy.
-Royals (23-7-2) didn't pick up a win in a pair of split-squad games today, falling to Milwaukee 9-1, and tying the Cubs in the night cap 9-9 in 10 innings.
-In the loss to Milwaukee this afternoon, Luis Mendoza made his first start since being named to the rotation. HIs final line was 5.2 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K. The two unearned runs came in the 5th inning on a ground ball to third baseman Miguel Tejada. The former A.L. MVP made the pick-up, but slipped while racing to the base for the force-out. In the 2nd inning, Brewers shortstop Jean Segura hit a sharp ground ball was hit to Tejada, but he was unable to snag in with a backhanded attempt. The play was scored as a double, but in my opinion should have been tallied as an error. Segura went on to score, so that run could be viewed as unearned, as well.
-Despite the ten hits allowed by Mendoza, only one was hit hard, a two-run home run from Rickie Weeks. "Most of the hits were ground balls," Mendoza said. "That's what I'm looking for. That means my ball is moving down." Mendoza is in line to start the second game of the Philadelphia series on April 6th.
-LHP Francisley Bueno allowed just one hit in his one inning of relief. Following the game, Bueno, along with infielder Irving Falu, were optioned to AAA-Omaha. Earlier in the day, fellow lefty reliever Donnie Joseph was optioned to Omaha, as well. This means a few things.
-The move of Falu assures Miguel Tejada, Elliot Johnson and Jarrod Dyson of the three utility positions. Those, coupled with the optioning of David Lough earlier in the week, mean the 13 position players are all but set. Max Ramirez is still on the roster, but I don't expect that to be for much longer. He'll be optioned to Omaha within the next few days. Speaking of Tejada, he was the offensive star in the loss to Milwaukee, going 2-for-3 with a walk. The team only had two hits, so it wasn't hard to find the stand-out.
-As far as Bueno and Joseph are concerned, this means that Ned Yost and Dayton Moore are content with Tim Collins and Bruce Chen as the lone left-handers on the pitching staff. It also narrows the candidates for the final bullpen spot. J.C. Gutierrez, Dan Wheeler and Louis Coleman are in the mix, but Gutierrez is the only one without remaining minor league options. Gutierrez threw a perfect inning of relief in the tie against Chicago, striking out a pair.
-The only other remaining position battle is between George Kottaras and Brett Hayes for the right to back-up catcher Savador Perez. I believe Kottaras deserves the spot.
-In the night game, James Shields made his final start before Monday's Opening Day in Chicago. He faced the minimum through the first four innings, allowing just one hit, but erasing it with an inning ending double play. His final line was 5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. "I ended (spring) strong," Shields said. "I felt very good out there, very crisp."
-Shields continued after the game, "Our team's ready to go. One of the things I'm most proud of is the way we handled ourselves in the clubhouse, and translated our attitude in the clubhouse out on the field. I think that's one of the reasons we won so many games this spring training, and hopefully we can translate that it into the season...This team's really good. We're fundamentally sound. Fundamentally sound."
-It was another offensive show in the late game. Lorenzo Cain hit his 2nd home run in the 2nd inning. Mike Moustakas tied Alex Gordon for the team lead in home runs (5) with his lead-off blast in the 3rd, followed by a centerfield shot from Salvador Perez, his first. Gordon didn't let Moose enjoy it for too long, as he connected on his sixth home run of the spring in the very next inning.
-Chris Getz had the rare 6-for-6 night. He hit four singles, a double and a triple, raising his spring average to .450. Cain, Moustakas and Gordon also have a spring average above .400.
-The one low-light of the night was Luke Hochevar's first blow-up appearance since being moved to the bullpen. He was leaving a lot of his pitches up in the zone, and surrendered five runs on five hits, along with one walk in just two-thirds of an inning.
-I won't call Aaron Crow's inning and a third of two-run ball a low-light. He cleaned up Hochevar's mess in the 8th, but then started the 9th inning with a double to left field. Then a long fly ball to centerfield tipped off the glove of Lorenzo Cain and went for a triple, but seemed to be a ball that Cain would normally get.
-Royals (22-6-1) tie a franchise record for most wins in spring training by topping the Dodgers 8-2 in Surprise.
-Wade Davis made his second start since returning from shoulder inflammation. Much like his previous start, he was solid early, but faded earlier than most Royals fans would want from a starter. Keep in mind, Davis was in the Rays bullpen last year, but has been a starter in the past. Davis cruised through the first four innings, with only one run crossing the plate. The run was unearned because of Mike Moustakas error. (A routine, inning-ending ground ball went through his legs)
-In the 5th inning, Davis started to tire at around 60 pitches. He walked two of the first three batters, and then allowed a single and an RBI sacrifice fly to Matt Kemp. Davis went five innings, allowed one earned run on four hits, three walks and struck out one. He threw 79 total pitches, 45 for strikes. Like many of you, I would like to see Davis show the ability to get up to 80 pitches before showing such obvious signs of fatigue.
-Nobody on offense had a stand-out night, but both Alex Gordon and Alcides Escobar both went 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored. Gordon is hitting .413 for the spring, while Escobar is at .315.
-Other RBI came from Mike Moustakas, Xavier Nady, Chris Getz and a pair off the bat of Salvador Perez, whose two-run double in the first inning got the scoring started.
-Miguel Tejada appears to have one of the untility infield spots taken, along with Elliot Johnson. Tejada went ... I spoke with Ned Yost about the battle between Tejada and Irving Falu this morning. He cited Tejada's experience and leadership as to what separates him from Falu. He hasn't made a decision public, but reading into his comments this morning makes me feel comfortable penciling the former A.L. MVP onto the 25-man roster.
-Luke Hochevar threw another fantastic inning out of the bullpen. A 1-2-3 9th inning that included a pair of strikeouts.
-Royals (21-6-1) knocked off the White Sox 8-2 in Glendale. The win puts the team one win away from matching the club record for spring training wins. Ned Yost couldn't find a fault after the contest, "we're playing pretty good. It is what it is, you know we're playing pretty good baseball right now."
-Jeremy Guthrie put together his second straight solid start. Despite the fact that he'll face this same White Sox team in the finale of the season opening series, Guthrie voted against pitching in a minor league game. The righty went six innings, allowing six hits, two runs, didn't allow a walk and struck out seven. "I feel like the progression's been really good," Guthrie said, "both the way I feel as well as the number of pitches."
-The bullpen was lights-out Sunday afternoon. Aaron Crow allowed a pair of walks, but didn't give up a hit and struck out one. Donnie Joseph surrendered a walk, but nothing else. Kelvin Herrera threw a perfect 9th inning to secure the victory.
-Alex Gordon continued his hot spring. He broke a tie with Mike Moustakas for the team lead in home runs by connecting on his fifth long ball in Cactus League play.
-Jeff Francouer appears to be a man of his word. Early in spring Jeff told me that he needs between 65-70 at-bats to feel comfortable at the plate. He's at 67 plate appearances after today, and has been hitting the ball a lot better the past few games. Frenchy went 2-for-3 today, with two doubles and a pair of RBI. "Frenchy's getting real, real close to being ready for the season," said Ned Yost. "The last week he's really started to get his timing, get his groove on, if you will."
-Chris Getz showed again why he won the second base battle. The former Wolverine went 2-for-3 with a walk, two singles and an RBI. In his first plate appearance he walked, and baited the pitcher to attempt to pick him off of first base. When the throw went array, Getz stole second and third, and scored on a Jarrod Dyson ground-out.
-Royals (20-6-1) top Arizona in Surprise, 11-10 on a game-winning RBI from George Kottaras in the bottom of the 9th.
-Ervin Santana was terrific in six innings of work. His final line (7 hits, 4 runs, 2 earned runs, one walk and 3 strikeouts) is a tad deceiving. In the 5th inning, Aaron Hill reached on a throwing error by Mike Moustakas. That was followed by a routine fly ball to deep centerfield that Lorenzo Cain lost in the sun. Hill's run was unearned, but the lost ball turned into a triple for Eric Chavez, and he ended up scoring on a sacrifice fly. Santana threw 86 pitches, 55 for strikes. Santana described his day as "good, positive. I was working everything down...I'm very excited with my performance."
-Tim Collins started the 7th inning, and wasn't good. He surrendered five runs on six hits (four singles, a double and a home run to catcher Miguel Montero. Collins, who was a member of Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, has thrown six innings this spring, giving up 9 runs on 11 hits. "Not too much concern," said Ned Yost, "There are some mechanical things we need to continue to address with him a little bit and Dave thinks he'll be fine."
-Chris Getz was officially named the starting second baseman this morning by Ned Yost. The team sent Johnny Giavotella to AAA-Omaha. When Getz entered the game in the 7th inning, he was playing left field. At the plate, Getz went 1-for-2 with an RBI. His average now sits at .378
-Updating two of the final three competitions in camp. The back-up catcher battle between George Kottaras & Brett Hayes seems to show the left-handed bat of Kottaras taking the lead. For the day Kottaras went 2-for-3 with a trio of RBI (including the game winner in the bottom of the 9th) and two walks. As for Hayes, he took a 0-for-1 to the locker room with a walk, as well. Kottaras is hitting .310, while Hayes is at .226. "He's (Kottaras) one of those guys, he never has a panic at bat."
-The fight for the final bullpen spot appears to me to becoming a two-man race between lefties Donnie Joseph and Francisley Bueno. Although both have minor league options left, they have out-performed righty J.C. Gutierrez. Yes, Gutierrez is out of options so the Royals risk losing him, but he allowed another run today in his inning of work. The run came on a homer from Alfredo Marte. He also scattered three hits. His spring totals are 12 IP, 12 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 8 K. They are not terrible numbers, but I believe the left-handers have pitched better in spring. When asked about Gutierrez, Ned Yost said, "He needs to put his best foot forward, especially going in to the last week."
-Utility infielder Elliot Johnson is very likely to make the 25-man roster. He can play all four infield spots, and showed off his bat today. Johnson went 2-for-3 with his first home run and three RBI. Yost was impressed with Johnson saying, "I'm just amazed at every position we put him at defensively he does an outstanding job."
-Other offensive highlights came from Alex Gordon (1-for-3 with his 4th HR, now hitting .418) and Billy Butler (1-for-2 with a walk & his 2nd home run. He now has a team-leading 17 RBI).
-Royals (19-6-1) took care of the Angels 13-9 in Tempe.
-James Shields made start just hours after Ned Yost officially named him the starter for Opening Day in Chicago. Normally starting pitchers don't talk to the media before a start, but Shields did because as he joked "it probably wouldn't be a good idea if I did it later, and I give up a nine-spot and then I'm announcing I'm the opening day starter."
-In the game, Shields did just that. He threw 91 pitches in just five innings, allowing nine runs, eight of them earned, 11 hits, three walks and two strikeouts. "My body felt great. My direction to the plate was terrible. My rhythm wasn't there in the first couple innings, little erratic."
-Ned Yost also confirmed that Ervin Santana, Jeremy Guthrie and Wade Davis will follow Shields in the rotation. Yost mentioned "we'll figure out the fifth when we figure out the fifth."
-Friday afternoon also saw Luke Hochevar's third appearance as a reliever. He was solid once again. Hochevar threw a perfect sixth inning, striking out one hitter.
-The victory was also the return of Kelvin Hererra from the World Baseball Classic. The right-hander allowed one walk, but threw an otherwise clean seventh inning, striking out one as well. "Hoch and Herrera were electric, both of them. Very encouraged with both of those guys."
-Offensively, it was a show for the Royals. Billy Butler mentioned to a teammate that even though it was just a spring training game, that was a special outing.
-Eric Hosmer went 2-for-4 with his second home run of the spring and four RBI. Jeff Francoeur connected on his second dinger of the spring also. It was a mammoth shot to centerfield that cleared the batter's-eye fence, and went more than 450 feet. Billy Butler went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI. Salvador Perez went 2-for-3 with three RBI.
-The defense for the Royals was tremendous on Friday afternoon. Alex Gordon threw Mark Trumbo out at home, and Mike Moustakas made three Gold Glove-caliber plays at third. Ned Yost said, "Moose is really starting to get his defensive game in mid-season form."
-Before the game, the team released outfielder Endy Chavez from his minor league contract, leaving 38 active players in camp.
-Royals fell to 17-5-1 in an 8-0 loss to Texas in Surprise.
-Ervin Santana had his worst start of the spring, giving up six of the eight runs in just four innings. "Better down here (in Arizona) then up there," he agreed. He had one 1-2-3 inning, and that was only because David Murphy took a large turn at first, and was picked off 9-4-3. Santana allowed those six runs on ten hits, with only two strikeouts and one walk. "I was leaving the pitches up a little bit, behind the count too, so that's why it happened," he said.
-The Royals offense didn't help its struggling pitcher either. In what appears to be the line-up that the Royals will open the season with (although Giavotella got the start at 2B, and Getz, I believe is leading that competition), it was only able to muster five hits against Derek Lowe and Joe Ortiz. Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez all had a single, while Lorenzo Cain had a 2-for-3 night.
-The two runs and two hits I did not account for came in the 9th inning. Max Ramirez walked, followed by a Chris Getz single and a two-run double from Brandon Wood
-The Rangers pitchers faced the minimum three hitters in six of the nine innings.
-Luke Hochevar made his second appearance out of the bullpen. He allowed a pair of hits and struck out two. To be fair, one of the singles he surrendered was in-and-out of the glove of second baseman Johnny Giavotella. Ned Yost liked what he saw, "I'm impressed Luke had his fastball up to 97 MPH and a really, really good curveball."
-Lefty Donnie Joseph faced some real trouble for the first time this spring. He struck out the first batter he faced, and then a second, but a wild pitch on strike three allowed the hitter to advance to first. The 25-year-old then walked the next two, before another wild pitch plated the Texas base runner. He sat down the final two hitters he faced.
-Before the game, the team optioned Everett Teaford, Will Smith & Nate Adcock to Omaha. They also assigned Yordano Ventura, Blaine Boyer, Michael Mariot and Brian Sanches to minor league camp. After the game, Adam Moore, Cristian Colon, Brandon Wood, Anthony Seratelli and Willy Taveras were assigned to minor league camp. The Royals now have 39 on the active roster.
-Royals improved to 17-4-1 with a 10-0 victory against the White Sox in Surprise.
-Luis Mendoza made his first start since returning from the World Baseball Classic. He went five innings, scattered four hits, didn't allow a run, walked only one batter and struck out four. His spring ERA is 0.82. He threw 63 pitches, 42 of which were for strikes. Ned Yost wasn't tipping his hand afterward, "he's doing his part. Still have a couple of weeks left to see what happens, but it was a very nice outing today."
-In regards to making his case for the final rotation spot, Mendoza said, "Of course I want to start, but any position they give me, I'm going to take it and help the team any way I can." Mendoza's solid start comes just one day after Bruce Chen served up five home runs against the Cubs.
-James Shields made a start today, as well. He pitched in a minor league game, rather than face the White Sox, who he'll more than likely face on opening day. He said he threw about 75 pitches and worked what amounts to 7.2 innings. "I got some really good work in today...threw some quality pitches....threw a lot of strikes with my curveball today, which I was very pleased with."
-Offensively, the Royals could do no wrong early. They scored four in the first, and eight over the first four innings. Of the 13 hits from the starting line-up, only one was an extra-base hit. (Brandon Wood double)
-Eric Hosmer was back at 1B and hitting third. It was his first game since returning from the World Baseball Classic. He started the game with two singles up the middle, one was a dribbler, one was a bullet. Hosmer also drove in a run, but struck out his last two at-bats and is now hitting .407 for the spring.
-Chris Getz reached base safely in each of his four plate appearances, with a pair of walks, an error on the third baseman and a single. His spring average now sits at .314. Johnny Giavotella came in for Getz, and went 1-for-1 with a run scored. He's hitting .297.
-The back-up catcher competition continued today. George Kottaras went 1-for-3 with a pair of RBI. He's at .292 for the spring; while Brett Hayes drove in a run, as well, hitting in the DH role. Hayes' average is .250.
-Max Ramirez picked up his team-leading 14th RBI of the spring. Billy Butler knocked in a pair, matching Ramirez with 14.
-Royals improve to 16-2-1 with a 7-5 split-squad victory over San Diego.
-Luke Hochevar made his first appearance out of the bullpen and looked sharp. He threw two perfect innings, with a pair of strikeouts. "You get that shot of adrenaline which is nice. It's fun," said Hochevar. He pounded the strike zone, throwing 16 of his 23 pitches for strikes.
-Wade Davis threw a minor league game with High-A Wilmington. It was his first game since being scratched last Saturday because of shoulder inflammation. He faced a total of 12 batters in his three innings, allowing just one hit and striking out six. "It's all good," he said after the outing. "Everything went really good today, arm's strong, didn't get tired at all....could have thrown a lot more today." Davis threw 44 pitches, 29 for strikes against the Padres High-A affiliate.
-Salvador Perez caught Davis in the minor league game, and will do the same Sunday with James Shields. Perez is still trying to build a rapport with the two new members of the Royals rotation. Perez did hit a home run in today's game.
-Will Smith made the start, going four innings, scattering five hits, allowing five runs (only one was earned) and striking out a pair. It was Smith's first start since Ned Yost mentioned he was still in the running to win the final spot in the rotation. "I could have had better location today, not the best, you can always keep working."
-It was a very ugly game defensively. Four errors between the two teams, but it could have easily been seven. Brandon Wood, Billy Butler and Will Smith accounted for the Royals three miscues. All four errors took place in the three innings.
-David Lough continues to hit everything. He went 2-for-3 with a single and a double. He's 17-for-31 this spring.
-Lorenzo Cain knocked in a pair of runs. His spring average is now .444.
-Royals improve to 15-2-1 with a 5-3 victory in Goodyear against the Indians.
-Jeremy Guthrie didn't have his best stuff, but found a way to give KC four innings. He allowed two runs on five hits, while walking and striking out a pair. He said afterward, "A good day to continue to get innings. I feel like I haven't really pitched in spring...Still trying to find a rhythm. I think it's because the outings are so spread out." Guthrie's last outing was rained out after a couple of innings.
-Greg Holland allowed his second home run of spring. Ned Yost said "Hollie struggled a little bit, but we're in that time in spring training where we are starting to build arm strength with him."
-The battle at second base continues to go back and forth. Ned Yost told me before the game that defense is probably the most important trait for that position. Chris Getz and Johnny Giavotella were solid in the field, and both drove a run...or two. Getz hit an RBI double. Giavotella went 1-for-3 with an RBI double.
-Lorenzo Cain and Salvador Perez both had two hits.
-Francisley Bueno threw two perfect innings. With the move of Luke Hochevar to the pen, the need for another lefty becomes clear. He and Donnie Joseph appear to be the favorites, but with Bueno's MLB experience from a season ago, he's probably the front-runner.
-Royals improve to 14-2-1 with a 4-2 victory over Seattle.
-Ervin Santana allowed a solo home run, but otherwise was dynamite. He struck out seven Mariners in just four innings, while allowing only two hits and not surrendering a walk.
-Santana's numbers are impressive this spring. 9 innings pitched, 6 hits, 2 earned runs, 13 strikeouts and only one walk. He was asked after the game if he's a strikeout pitcher. He replied, "Do you remember what happened in 2008?" Santana struck out a career-best 214 in '08.
-Reliever Everett Teaford made his first major league spring training appearance of 2013 today, throwing a 1-2-3 inning. Teaford joked that Royals fans had forgotten about him, "for all the fans, I'm still here, who don't believe it."
-Ned Yost admitted after the game that outfielder Xavier Nady is battling plantar fasciitis. Nady had one of the Royals 4 RBI. (Perez, Butler & Lough with the others)
-Relievers Donnie Joseph (1 IP, 1 K), Dan Wheeler (1 IP, 1 H, 3 K) & Aaron Crow (1 IP, 1 K) drew the praise of Ned Yost.
The biggest lightning rod in Kansas City sports continues to be Chiefs QB Matt Cassel, but after today's performance the discussion should turn to the lack of pressure on Cassel coming from his two back-ups. Ricky Stanzi and Brady Quinn struggled mightily in Saturday's afternoon practice. Cassel was sharp and showed why he is the unquestioned starter under center entering 2012. Stanzi showed his age during drills that pitted the QBs, RBs and WRs up against the linebackers and secondary. The former Iowa signal caller didn't show the ability to look off defenders, leading to his receivers being blanketed by the defense. Brady Quinn accuracy and touch was off on this particular afternoon. Whether it was over-throwing receivers or standing in the pocket too long, his day was one to forget.
Linebacker Justin Houston was nowhere to be found, and the speculation is he was out ill. Andy Studebaker ran with the first team defense in his absence. Staying on the defensive side of the ball, coach Romeo Crennel wasn't taking it easy on his lineman and secondary personal in the second day of practice. The first-year head coach let Stanford Routt know his feet have to be quicker if he plans on keeping his role as the starting cornerback opposite Brandon Flowers. Despite riding his players hard early in camp, Glenn Dorsey and Dexter McCluster had nothing but positive things to say about the man at the helm of the 2012 Chiefs. Both players praising Crennel's ability to get the best of them without demeaning words or incessant yelling, a far cry from the 2011 Chiefs under Todd Haley.
Sunday's practice will be the first time we see the team in pads. 3:20 start and open to the public.
Next week's MLB All-Star Game, by my count, will feature only one sure fire Hall of Famer. Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter is the lone name, as of today, that is assured of a spot in Cooperstown. Of course Chipper Jones may be added through the final vote, but without Pujols, Ichiro, ARod and Mariano the game will be missing something.
Although the beautiful part of this mid-summer classic is that many of the names on the Kauffman Stadium field may become the next generation's living legends. Below is what I consider the greatest of the great...Baseball's all-time team. (post 1947)
1. CF - Willie Mays (NYG)
2. RF - Mickey Mantle (NYY)
3. 1B - Stan Musial (STL)
4. LF - Barry Bonds (SFG)
5. 3B - Mike Schmidt (PHI)
6. SS - Alex Rodriguez (TEX)
7. C - Johnny Bench (CIN)
8. 2B - Roberto Alomar (TOR)
Like many of you, I am excited about the possibility of a four-team college football playoff. Although, my anticipation of seeing a true champion crowned is short-lived. I can't help but think about the BCS commissioners presenting their proposal to the presidential oversight committee with the most significant people in the sport nowhere to be found.
The television contract for the playoff is expected to net five billion dollars. The coaches, presidents, athletic directors, sponsors and CEOs will line their pockets with millions, while the athletes should be "thankful" for a free education. An education, mind you, that takes a back seat to practice, games, workouts and film study. It's a free education that bars you from getting a part-time job, eliminates the possibility of benefiting from your stardom and limits who you are allowed to speak with.
They are the most vital part of the sport, and yet if they prosper from taking the sport into these uncharted waters, they are labeled selfish, diva, not a team player. Free tattoos? Terrell Pryor is the bad guy. You sold your jersey? A.J. Green is a punk. You went to dinner with Deion Sanders? Dez Bryant shouldn't be able to play. The narrative sold by coaches and presidents is unfair. In all three cases the coaches knew what was going, but because of the players talent decided not to sound the alarm. Not until the player is caught outside of the football facility is he treated like a rouge case.
While celebrating this week about college football joining EVERY OTHER SPORT with a legitimate playoff, let's remember this isn't for the fans. This isn't for the players. It's been agreed upon because the rich found a way to get richer and keep their rich friends very, very happy.
The best players in baseball will descend on Kansas City in just a few weeks. Plenty of outrage and arguments are sure to take place regarding who should and should not be playing in the mid-summer classic. Let me end the discussion.
1B - CWS - PAUL KONERKO
Prince Fielder makes a strong case, but with the way Chicago has played, and Konerko's remarkable average, he falls short.
2B - NYY - ROBINSON CANO
We all knew it would be tough for anyone to knock Robbie out of this spot, and probably will be for years. The Yankees threw Cano into the clean-up spot, and despite not being 100% comfortable there, he's settled in and continued to be a great all-around hitter. Jason Kipnis and Ian Kinsler have to understand.
SS - NYY - DEREK JETER
I never thought I would do this again. The 37-year-old has lived up the single digit uniform number expectations in the Bronx, and is putting on one last show. For as much as I love watching Asdrubal Cabrera and Elvis Andrus play, Jeter deserves the nod.
3B - DET - MIGUEL CABRERA
He still one of the best players in the game, and he has the RBI to prove it. Mark Trumbo has been fantastic, especially during Pujols' slump, but bounces all over the field. Beltre, Lawrie and A-Rod are have good season, but on par with the top two.
C - MIN - JOE MAUER
I know A.J. Pierzynski has some better power numbers, but he comes in second. Mauer is stuck in one of the worst line-ups in the A.L., and yet is still able to score as many runs and drive in only slightly less.
DH - BOS - DAVID ORTIZ
Yes, Adam Dunn is crushing baseballs in Chicago, but I can't put a guy hitting .230 in the starting line-up. Papi just has better numbers than everyone else.
OF - TEX - JOSH HAMILTON
Is an explanation needed?
OF - BAL - ADAM JONES
How long have we been waiting for this Adam Jones to show up? He got his money. He's keeping his average above .300 and the Orioles winning percentage above .500.
OF - NYY - CURTIS GRANDERSON
Even though that average makes me hesitate, his power numbers and run scored put him above Nelson Cruz.