Sometimes, you hang to the bitter end because that’s baseball. The Royals lost 3-2 on Wednesday in a game that featured eight innings of torpid offense. If you stuck around you were treated to a home run infused comeback that, on this night, fell just short.
Back to Back
Alex Gordon has whiffed a lot. He hasn’t hit the ball hard very often. He is off to one of his patented slow starts.
An 88 mph fastball from Tiger closer Francisco Rodriguez, belt high that split the plate, could change that. Witness.
Gordon hammered it for the Royals first run of the game. Finally. It was a wall-scraper, but it looks the same as a Bryce Harper bomb on Gameday. With Gordon off the home run schneid, maybe he can finally start spraying some hits around the yard.
Salvador Perez followed. He decided to punish a middle-middle change-up.
Two batters. Two dongs. And the Tigers lead was cut to a single run. Alas, that was all the Royals could score.
WPA Play of the Game
The Royals did not go quietly behind the home runs. Jarrod Dyson and Alcides Escobar drew back to back walks with two out, bringing Mike Moustakas to the plate. At this point, the Royals had just a 17 percent chance of winning the game. A glimmer.
Moustakas, as you probably know, has been stinging the baseball. His strikeout rate is down and he sees just a shade over four pitches per plate appearance. If you want a guy who’s working the count and getting some good hacks, Moose is your guy. Sadly, it didn’t work out that way.
Remember back to Game 6 of the ALCS when Ben Revere went all Paul Bunyan on the trash can after Wade Davis struck him out? The frustration was based on the fact the home plate umpire made a poor strike call that changed the entire tenor of the at bat. Moustakas didn’t turn his bat into a lethal rubbish bin weapon, but if he had, no jury would have convicted him.
The second pitch was off the plate, but called a strike. Moustakas didn’t offer at the third pitch because it was too far inside. But he did bite on a 2-1 pitch. Then, with two strikes, he fished for a sweeping change off the plate and missed for the final out of the game.
See if you can find the pitch that home plate umpire David Rackley called for the first strike.
I hate to complain about a single strike call, but this one was large. And it wasn’t consistent.
Soria’s Tune-Up To Fix His Mechanics
Do the Royals read BP Kansas City? Maybe. On the same day we wrote about Joakim Soria struggling to locate his pitches, the Royals said they were making a mechanical tweak on Soria’s delivery so he can better spot his pitches. This is certainly good news and time will tell how this change works. So far, so good. The eighth inning man needed 20 pitches to get through a clean frame. No strikeouts, but he did get three swinging strikes. Progress.
Cool Hand Luke
Could there be any other header? Luke Hochevar entered the game with the bases loaded and one out and he escaped with no damage. The guy is becoming a helluva fireman. He’s inherited 11 runners this year and allowed just one to score.
Ian Kennedy deserves a mention. Another solid outing from the Royals starter. Eric Hosmer has a 10 game hitting streak. There were a couple of TOOTBLANS in this one, which is never fun to watch. Although I suspect Gordon breaking for home during the Perez rundown in the fifth was the correct move given the situation.
The series wraps tomorrow. Mike Pelfrey against Edinson Volquez. Feel sexy, everyone.