The first Royals-Tigers tilt of the 2016 season fell in favor of the good guys. A tidy pitching performance and some timely hitting, along with a home run, powered the Royals to their 10th win of the season.
U Got The Look
What else can we say about Sexy Ed Volquez? The guy may not be an ace in the pure sense of the word, but I’ll be damned if he’s not front of the rotation material. Seven innings, five hits, and just a single walk to go against five whiffs. That’s some solid pitching. He tossed 112 pitches, 71 for strikes. Basically, he put it up there and dared the Tigers to do something about it. They didn’t.
Volquez now sports a 1.46 ERA with an 8.0 SO/9 and a 2.9 BB/9. He’s relying his world class defense and goes for the strikeout when he can. On Thursday, the key pitch for him was the sinker. The Tigers put 13 of them in play, but only three fell for hits. As usual, his go-to pitch with two strikes was his change. He threw 23 of them, but only eight for strikes. Three of those strikes was of the swing and miss variety.
Not a dominating performance, but plenty good enough.
Sign O’ The Times
As usual, a Royals pitcher could feel comfortable serving it over the dish because the best defense in the universe was behind him. On this night the highlight reel was claimed by Alex Gordon, who ran a considerable distance to corral a Justin Upton drive to left-center.
Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?
Early on, it seemed as though the Royals were intent on wasting myriad opportunities Tiger starter Mike Pelfrey provided. The Royals strung together three consecutive hits in the first to plate one run. They put two more runners on in that frame, but couldn’t cross the plate again. In the second, a walk, a single, a double steal, and another walk loaded the bases with one out. Nothing.
It felt like one of those games the Royals offense will have every once in a while. They get the opposition starter early, but don’t deliver the knockout punch. The starter finds his rhythm and the Royals, having squandered their best opportunity of the game, then struggle to hang on.
Baby I’m A Star
Mike Moustakas did it again. Another home run, his fifth of the young season. According to Statcast, this one flew a distance of 423 feet and left his bat at 107 mph. Last year, Moustakas hit a career high 22 home runs, but didn’t hit his fifth until May 27. Pretty soon, I’ll get around to looking at more of his exit velocity. That’s your WPA Play Of The Game by the way, good for moving the Win Expectancy needle over eight percent to the good.
The Moose Bomb came in the same inning Jarrod Dyson bunted Omar Infante to third when there were no outs. Small ball. Long ball. Something for everyone. The Royals aim to please.
The Eastern Division leading Baltimore Orioles make their only trip to Kauffman this season for a weekend series. In a potentially combustible match-up, Yovanni Gallardo will square off against Chris Young. My prediction? Runs.