Here we go. The first match-up of 19 scheduled between the Royals and the White Sox. If you buy into the idea there is no standout team in the AL Central this year, these games are crazy important. They usually are, but with no team possessing the firepower to run away with the division, it feels especially so this year.
The first contest goes to the Royals. If Tuesday’s game against the Red Sox had a 2015 vintage vibe, this one did, too. Don’t blink, but it looks like the Royals are putting things together.
The Royals are now 3.5 back in the Central.
Gee, I Don’t Have A Pun For This Space
Dillon Gee gave the Royals five innings of one run baseball. If we’re going to assign our starters a numerical place in a rotation, it’s safe to assume Gee slots in as the number five, no? When you get that kind of start from your number five, the rest is just gravy. Gee pitched around loading the bases in the second, escaping with minimal damage of just one run. In the third and fourth, he recorded the first two outs before seeing the next two reach base. In both instances, he was able to record the third out.
It was a high wire act for sure and because of the baserunners, he needed a few pitches to grind through the five, but no matter. Gee kept his team in the game, which is exactly what you want from your number five.
WPA Play(s) Of The Game
Paulo Orlando loves hitting against his old team. All he did on Friday was to collect three hits in four at bats, driving home two and scoring one. His double in the sixth to tie the game pushed the Royals Win Expectancy 16 percent to the good. After Alcides Escobar reached on an infield single, Lorenzo Cain added another 20 percent to the cause with a tw0-run double.
Jose Quintana, who has been quite brilliant this season, held the Royals in check through the first five. In fact, it was that familiar futile feeling that sometimes comes across when watching this offense. Just when the Royals manage just a single hit in the first five frames and you’re ready to stick a fork in the good guys, they reel off seven hits in their next ten plate appearances.
Let’s take a moment to appreciate the defensive brilliance of Alcides Escobar. In the seventh inning, he couldn’t get a clean glove on a ball up the middle that went for a hit. After the next batter walked and the White Sox were threatening to cut into the Royals lead, Escobar atoned for his previous play by ranging to his right for an amazing grab of a line drive. He then had the presence of mind to rifle the ball to Omar Infante at second base to kill the inning.
Escobar hasn’t been as dazzling with the glove this year as he has in the past, but he’s certainly still capable of the highlight reel play.
And Now, I’d Like To Say A Word About The Royals Bullpen
Day baseball as Danny Duffy squares off against Miguel Gonzalez. Read about the match-up in our series preview. Game starts at 1:10 and is on FSKC.