Kansas City Royals

Royals dispatched in disappointing fashion in opener against Cleveland

Friday night’s contest was hard to watch. That’s why I’m posting it at 2 a.m. Frankly, it seems unfair to even recap the events that transpired, because all it served to do was emphasize the gulf—nay, the chasm—separating the Kansas City Royals from the Cleveland Professional Baseball Team.

Four Cleveland homers were more than enough—especially with Corey Kluber on the mound—to topple the Royals and leave little and less doubt about which Midwestern squad is tops in the American League.

(It’s not the Royals, FYI.)

Things went to pot right out of the gate for Ian Kennedy and the Royals; when Jason Kipnis smacks a dinger as the games second batter, and Jay Bruce follows it up with a two-run blast three batters later, things are not going that great for you.

It’s probable that, other than Tim Brown from Shawnee, no Royals fan enjoyed what transpired Friday night. It’s possible Mr. Brown would’ve given back a little of that $25,000 had the Royals been able to avoid sucking for most of the evening.

So Cleveland had three runs before the Royals got to bat. A decided disadvantage, even without factoring in Kennedy, his towering ERA and inability to keep the ball in the yard—after giving up two big flies in less than three innings in this outing, he’s now tied for 15th with 24 home runs allowed this season.

That makes 88 home runs allowed in the last three seasons by Kennedy, second only to James Shields during that span. And where Shields has allowed only 18 homers in 2017, Kennedy seems destined to give up 30 in three straight seasons.

Jamie Moyer, the all-time leader in homers allowed, never did that.

Fergie Jenkins, who led baseball in homers allowed seven times, never did that.

In fact, as far as an hour’s worth of cursory research shows, only a select few of the most prolific dinger-giver-uppers—Robin Roberts, Denny McLain, Pedro Ramos and as far as I can tell, most recently the late, lamented Jose Lima—have ever done that. Pretty exclusive club. I’m rooting for it; infamy always beats irrelevance.

Anyway, back to Friday. The Royals lone run in a 10-1 drubbing came off one of the season’s more improbable homers—Brandon Moss taking Corey Kluber deep. It was Moss’ 16th jack and good for him. He’s graduated from awful to merely bad. Well done.

The rest of the game reads like Royals schadenfreude.

  • With the bases loaded in the third, Yan Gomes singles to drive in two and drive Kennedy from the game.
  • In the sixth, Francisco Lindor singles to score Carlos Santana.
  • Bruce crushes another homer in the seventh.
  • Edwin Encarnacion, who scored on Bruce’s second homer, gets in on the act in the ninth.

And the Royals? Their next (last?) best chance was killed by, of all people, Mike Moustakas in the fifth. With runners on second and third following Moustakas’ double, Moss grounded out to first. Carlos Santana, thinking quickly, threw behind Moustakas, who had doddered off second base and was easily tagged out by Lindor.

Rally snuffed. And, effectively, so was the game. I’d bring up the sixth inning, which featured singles by Eric Hosmer and Melky Cabrera, but then Cleveland brought in Andrew Miller in his first appearance off the disabled list and Andrew Miller did Andrew Miller things. You know how that goes.

Well hey, at least things get easier Saturday. That’s when Jason Vargas, of the 7.08 July-August ERA, takes on Trevor Bauer, who is 4-0 with a 2.41 ERA in his last five starts. Should be a real festival.

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