Recap: Royals 4, Twins 3; Speed Thrills

We are Royals fans. We know what speed do.

But sometimes it’s fun to be reminded.

A Christian Colon walk, followed by Terrance Gore pinch running and it was pretty much all over. Well, except for the errant pickoff throw and the wild pitch. Come on. You knew somehow Gore was going to cross the plate. The fact he slid headfirst and his momentum almost carried him into the Royals on deck circle was a bonus.

Ballgame. Sweep. A 4-1 homestand to open the season.

WPA Play of the Game

Sure, it’s Gore sliding almost into Raytown. But let’s give a nod to Eric Hosmer, reprising his role from Game Five as the guy who drives home Lorenzo Cain to cut the opposition lead to one. At the time of Hosmer’s triple, the Royals held a slim 10 percent chance of winning. With Cain safely across the plate and Hosmer standing on third, their Win Expectancy was up to 41 percent.

Productive Outs

And spare a happy thought for Kendrys Morales, whose sacrifice fly brought Hosmer home with the tying run. Morales fell behind 0-2, fought off a couple of nasty sliders, and still went down and out of the zone to carry a nine iron about 360 feet. More than enough distance.

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That’s the thing about this team. No matter the situation, you have faith someone will find a way to get things done. It’s like 2015 all over again, which given the cast of characters is largely unchanged, not surprising. Still, the fact they are able to do this again a year later is amazing. Royals Devil Magic lives.

Speaking of 2015

This offense seems like it’s already partying like it’s 2015. World beaters one night, shut down by Ricky Nolasco the next. But there is that fun, never-say-die attitude that continues to permeate this team. A home run isn’t a minor event, but it’s about chipping away at a lead. That’s where Mike Moustakas came in with a bomb in the sixth. His second in two games. We know our Moustakas and we know these home runs come in bunches. It would be nice if he went on a tear early in the season. Not unlike last year where a hot start gave him confidence. If you’re like me, you’re skeptical of Moustakas’ transformation as an opposite field hitter. But he’s already gone the other way several times and now the power. He could be set to build upon his career year at the plate. That would be something.

Eddie Still Feeling Sexy

Edinson Volquez was damn impressive. Ten strikeouts, nine of them coming on swings and misses. He got dinged in the sixth when he was running low on gas and the Twins stole the Royals singles train, but you really can’t ask for more from a starting pitcher than what Volquez gave.

His sinker was averaging around 95 mph, but the swings and misses came on a devastating change-up and a snappy knuckle curve. He threw 27 change-ups, 20 for strikes and generated nine swings and misses.

From Brooks Baseball, here is a plot of the pitches that resolved all of the plate appearances against Volquez. Notice the cluster of strikeouts down and out of the zone.


Those strikeouts are the change-ups and curves the Twins hitters were routinely swinging over. They’re not the most disciplined group, but Volquez gets a ton of credit for knowing exactly how to attack. We’ve seen some really great pitching performances in the first week of the season.

Up Next

The Royals hit the road for a seven game trip, featuring a four game set in Houston, followed by three in Anaheim. Seven games in seven days? What? It’s like baseball season is finally here.

Stay tuned for your Astro series preview.

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