Eric Hosmer, Kansas City Royals

Royals By-Standers To The Judge Show

Aaron Judge clubbed two home runs and it gets worse.

That should’ve been the title for Monday’s matinee at Yankee Stadium, but it wasn’t because that was far too depressing and honestly, if you got past whatever I did settle on for a title—and if you did that, on this website, chances are you’re a Royals fan or a masochist—then you deserve better than you’re about to read here. But you won’t get it, because this is the last week of the Royals as you came to know them during the time where they enjoyed their most success and the world is a cruel place that you should become intimately familiar with.

The news here is Judge, who’s built like a colossus chiseled out of granite and armed with a smile right out of the Ryan Gosling playbook. He tied Mark McGwire’s rookie record for home runs in the third inning and then, for grins, broke said record four innings later. If he’s the future of baseball—said future basically being players the size of Rob Gronkowski performing a nightly rendition of the Three True Outcomes—then baseball’s future is going to get considerably more interesting*.

*–For interpretation purposes, that means more watchable for casual fans who only want runs and home runs and can’t see the beauty in a 3-2 pitcher’s duel between people like Kyle Gibson and Jason Hammel. Those people are savages but they have TVs and consumer habits too, I suppose.

Greg Bird also homered as he continues a September spent convincing the Yankees to pass on Eric Hosmer. Sanchez followed Judge’s homer in the seventh with one of his own. Nobody will be presenting the baseball show of September 25, 2017 on Trevor Cahill’s behalf at the contract negotiation table.

Did you notice how I spent 250 words scarcely mentioning the Royals at all here? That’s because they were tertiary at best to this ballgame, window dressing in a uniform. Aside from a brief, shining moment in the seventh inning—Salvador Perez and Mike Moustakas going back-to-back—the Royals acted less as adversary and more as plot advancers.

Need someone to issue a belt-high fastball to Aaron Judge for a home run? Special guest star Jake Junis! With appearances from Trevor Cahill!

Four Yankees had multiple RBI. C.C. Sabathia, who broke into the league back when they still rode trains from city to city and signed his initial Cleveland contract back when they were the Naps, turned in a quality start for his 13th win. At least Ryan Buchter and Scott Alexander combined for two-thirds of a scoreless inning, because the rest of the bullpen was a trash fire.

Because there’s no reason to subject you or me to another second of this punishment, I’ll close with my favorite sequence of the day. In the eighth, Mike Morin replaced Scott Alexander and even got a groundout from Jacoby Ellsbury to start the frame. So far, so good.

On the first pitch of the ensuing at-bat, Ronald Torreyes popped up behind the first base bag in short right. Whit Merrifield, Eric Hosmer and Jorge Bonifacio converged on the ball.

Nobody came up with it clean. Torreyes, thinking quickly, headed for second. Bonifacio came up firing, only the throw got away and Torreyes—who, under the auspices of a less-vengeful deity, has popped up to Whit or Hosmer or Bonifacio—wound up on third. And the Yankees scored three more runs.

Doesn’t get more 2017 Royals than that.

I’m gonna go gargle bleach. Let’s do this again tomorrow when Jason Vargas, who was better in May 2017, faces Anibal Sanchez, who was better in May 2010, at The K. A win for Vargas would be his 18th, most by a Royals hurler since Kevin Appier in 1993.

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