Oh neat, Francisco Liriano got the win for Ron Gardenhire against the Kansas City Royals.
If this were 2006, that would not be a problematic sentence, because Liriano was an All-Star and Gardenhire was coaching the playoff bound Minnesota Twins. Twelve years later, somehow both are once again gainfully employed in the American League Central, this time in Detroit, and are still pantsing the Royals, this time in a Monday snoozeroo that showcased a lifeless Royals offense in a 6-1 loss.
The bad news:
Royals have given up 24 runs in the first 3 games. Tied with the 2006 team for the most in their first 3 games of any season. Second worst run differential (-13), behind the -16 (21-5) last year.
— Brandon H. (@BHIndepMO) April 2, 2018
The good news:
Good, good. Let the tanking flow through you. #RaisedRoyal
— Darin Watson (@Darin_Watson) April 2, 2018
So in a way, even bad news is good news if you’re an optimist like our man Darin.
In fact, one should probably become accustomed to this sort of loss, as we’re likely headed for 90 or more of them this year. It’s not like they were in danger of being no-hit, and heaven knows that chances abounded against Liriano; it’s just that when you’re hitting Paulo Orlando fifth and nobody is batting an eye at you, things are already bad and unlikely to get better. At least Ned Yost is managing his bullpen; it took a weekend for Gabe Kapler to start getting curious glances in Philadelphia, so life could be distinctly worse (I’m guessing).
As for the game itself, Drew Butera scored Alcides Escobar on a sac fly in the third and … that … was … it? The Royals never put more than one man on base in any inning, didn’t get anyone in scoring position after Esky’s two-out triple in the fifth and honestly, the most inspiring moment of the day was probably that one time Jorge Soler hit one a long way, really hard, for an out. That kind of day; that kind of season. It’s April 2, by the way.
Jason Hammel wandered out and Jason Hammel’d all over the place, “scattering” seven hits and five earned across five innings of listless work. He struck out three but, fair being fair, he walked three as well. He immediately set out erasing the one-run lead given him in the top of the third, opening the home half with a single-walk-strikeout before Miguel Cabrera singled to drive in Dixon Machado.
The Tigers put the game away, for all intents and purposes, in the fifth. Leonys Martin started it with a one-out single, moving to third on a Jeimer Candelario double. After Cabrera was intentionally walked, Nicholas Castellanos singled to drive in a run.
Then Victor Martinez singled to drive in a run.
Then James McCann reached (blood pressure rising) on a Whit Merrifield error to score a run.
The Royals elected to use a mound visit but by then the damage was long done. Two innings later, Martinez would drive in another run via sac fly to bring us to our final score.
Bright Spots: Boy that Drew Butera can hit sacrifice flies with the best of them, can’t he? And what about a two-hit game (both for extra bases!!!!) from Alcides Escobar?! Maybe Jesus wasn’t the only one who arose after a bit of a hiatus.
The Nadir: I’m not much in the mood for discussing the baseball game, so here we’ll shoutout MLB.tv for telling me I have my subscription updated for 2018, only refusing to allow me to watch on my large computer screen at my desk and instead resorting to my iphone. #FirstWorldProbs
At least the front office had a productive day, DFA’ing Miguel Almonte in order to pick up Abraham Almonte under the little-known “One Almonte per team” rule as laid down by Ban Johnson in 1911. This is head-scratching even for this team, and then you factor in that A. Almonte has a .690 career OPS and M. Almonte was thought to have something of a future around here.
The Next Step: Jake Junis! Jake Junis is young and promising, unlike Hammel and Ian Kennedy. Maybe he’ll get the Royals their first win of the year! He’s set to square off against Matthew Boyd in Tuesday’s 12:10 p.m. (CT) start; Boyd is 2-4 with a 7.91 ERA against the Royals, he’ll probably throw a no-hitter or something.