Pray tell, what aside from absolute madness would compel a man to spend his Friday night watching the Kansas City Royals and Chicago White Sox endeavor to baseball?
Well, part of it is that hey, the Royals may win one. I hold no illusions about this most of the time right now, as we’re all in separate stages of our acceptance of Kansas City’s version of The Process. Losing is fun! I love watching guys begin playing out the string in late April. When Ned Yost forgot how many losses the Royals had, I was less surprised by that than I was that they’d won five games.
These are the times that try men’s souls, but they’re also the times when you can enjoy baseball for its spectacle and not because of the wins or (many, many, many) losses.
Which… Friday was another one, of the 7-4, extra-inning variety. 5-19, making Ned nearly correct!
The Royals struck the first blow thanks to Mike Moustakas, who is the only thing saving the offense from complete and utter ineptitude at the moment. Moustakas, who is destined to make some contender happy at the deadline, took a 2-2 fastball to the fountain in left-center for his eighth home run of the season in the very first inning, the first of two runs in the inning as Jorge Soler doubled home Salvador Perez to give the Royals a crooked number early.
I want to talk about that home run for a moment, because it’s the kind of thing I don’t think we appreciate enough from prodigious power hitters like Moustakas. He took a 97 mph fastball, on the outside corner, barreled it and drove it out of the park. And it got OUT: 106.7 mph exit velocity. I couldn’t find a harder-hit opposite field shot by Moustakas in his career, at least during the Statcast era. Prodigious sluggers are often cast as dead-pull hitters, but Moustakas’ ability to use all fields remains impressive.
Now, because these are the Royals, two runs was in no way going to stand up over nine (or more!) innings. In fact, Danny Duffy got precisely one out before Leury Garcia knocked in Yoan Moncada with a triple, then scored on Adam Engel’s safety squeeze (and if you haven’t, hear Denny Matthews describe a safety squeeze just once in your life, it’s a delight) to tie it up.
Now, we’re about 400 words into this thing so I feel like it’s only fair to remind you that Matt Davidson plays for the White Sox. He led off the fourth with a home run (hold that thought), then observed Engel tripling home Trayce Thompson as the White Sox took the lead. Matt Davidson might be Satan, but we’ll get to that later.
The Royals actually didn’t go quietly Friday night. Well, not so much “didn’t go quietly” as “were let back in the game by Chicago miscues.” In the bottom of the seventh, Whit Merrifield and Moustakas led off with back-to-back singles. Aaron Bummer replaced starter Reynaldo Lopez following a Salvador Perez lineout, which moved Merrifield to third. Then… Bummer uncorked a wild one to score Whit.
After Duda grounded out, moving Moustakas to third, Nate Jones replaced Bummer. Jorge Soler tapped one over to Tim Anderson at short, who threw on the run—well wide of the mark at first. Moose scores. Tie game. The 15,000 or so in attendance went… not exactly wild, but there was a smattering of applause.
The eighth went quietly. The ninth went quietly. And you know what that means: the Royals presented their bullpen with another opportunity to blow a ballgame! Tim Hill even tossed a quality inning in the 10th.
And I swear, it could not have been more than 20 seconds after the broadcast showed the “Kansas City’s bullpen has gone four innings without giving up a run, loogit ‘em go!” graphic that Davidson, who should honestly be put before a war tribunal at this point, launched a two-run homer off Hill, his second of the game and seventh (!!!!!!) against the Royals in Kauffman this year.
.@Matt_davidson24 now has seven homers at Kauffman Stadium this season.
That’s the most by a road hitter in a season EVER … It is April 27th. pic.twitter.com/JVBmGRVssC
— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) April 28, 2018
GO TO LITERAL HELL, @MLBStatoftheDay.
Moncada doubled. Garcia singled him home. The Royals offense whimpered through the bottom of the 11th like a puppy during a thunderstorm. Cool cool.
The Bright Spot: Moustakas and Soler are the Royals best two hitters by several factors. Jon Jay isn’t, but he got two hits all the same.
The Nadir: Honestly, why in God’s name would anyone pitch to Matt Davidson at this point?
The Next Step: We’ll play two tomorrow at the K. Matt Davidson will somehow hit nine home runs and then levitate to heaven. All is bad.