RECAP: A split twinbill is good for the Royals

With the Royals playing two today, I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to kill two birds with one stone and recap both games!

(Please send whiskey, I obviously need help).

Game One

This game was trash and bad. Alex Gordon was the only one who looked like a Professional Hitter™, which is all you need to know. Some Fulmer (Carson? Michael? Brad? Phill?) tossed seven shutout innings. Everyone involved for Kansas City should be suspended.

The only—literally, the only fun thing about this game—was that Ned Yost is now correct. The Royals have lost 20 games. Oh, and when I was listening to the radio broadcast, while Fulmer was rolling merrily along, Denny Matthews brought up how much he’s struggled this year which really… you want to talk about the pot calling the kettle black, it’s the radio guy for a 5-19 team lamenting somebody else’s struggles. But I digress—Denny is a national treasure. I wouldn’t crap-talk Vin Scully and I won’t do it to Denny either.

Anyway, you want an actual recap of this disaster, go read Rustin or Flanny. I got no useful analysis for you here. Game Two will be better. Because it couldn’t be worse.

Game Two

This was… not bad? Not bad. Good even.

Eric Skoglund was quite good. I don’t even mean that in a snarky “quite good for him” way, either. By any objective measure he was great. Seven innings, two hits, one earned. Nine strikeouts, which he accomplished a whole five times during his minor league tenure. Eric Skoglund was good! That’s fun.

Another fun thing? Alex Gordon! And no, you didn’t click your heels three times and return to 2013. Alex Gordon had two hits again in the nightcap. And he drove in three runs*! Alex Gordon is low-key hitting .348 since coming back from injury and my preseason prediction of AL Comeback Player of the Year is ON.

(*–his first three of the season, but still)

It wasn’t all sunshine and butterfly farts. Tim Anderson led off the game with a home run, which was mildly inauspicious. While much is made of Matt Davidson (0-for-3 in the nightcap! The Royals didn’t allow him to hit another homer! What a day!), Anderson has four home runs on the year and hit three of them against the Royals. He also pimped it just a little bit, to the chagrin of Salvador Perez. Hold that thought.

That was the first inning and aside from an Omar Narvaez single in the sixth, Skoglund dominated.

The Royals put up a crooked number in their half of the first. Mike Moustakas singled, Salvador Perez reached on an error (Leury Garcia did not have an amazing day in the field, also kinda-but-not-really misplaying a liner in Game One) and loaded the sacks on a Lucas Duda walk.

Then we had a fracas.

I mentioned Anderson’s homer and that he was obviously quite impressed with his own achievement. Once Perez reached second base, he and Anderson exchanged words. Then more words. Players spilled onto the field. The bullpens joined the fun. White Sox coach Joe McEwing, who was a diminutive sort in his playing days and certainly hasn’t added much bulk, endeavored to get between the two. Duda wandered over in a bemused sort of way. Nothing happened, but it was a lot of fun.

Back to baseball, up stepped Abraham Almonte, who may never be forgiven for not being Miguel Almonte but keeps coming up with hits. This two-hopper ate Anderson’s backhand attempt for lunch, everybody moved up and the Royals had a run. Gordon ripped a single to center on a full count to plate two and the Royals wouldn’t trail again.

Back-to-back doubles led off the fifth, with Jorge Soler plating Perez with the second offering. Soler was caught wandering off second on Duda’s looping liner and doubled off by Garcia, so it wasn’t all bad for Garcia in the outfield. Usually, Almonte’s subsequent walk—which would’ve left two on with one out for Gordon—would’ve been the what-if moment of the game, but in this case it wouldn’t matter.

That’s because Skoglund was on one, and because the bullpen even held serve on this night. For funsies, Brad Keller allowed singles to three of the first four batters he faced once he took over for Skoglund in the eighth, with Nicky Delmonico driving in Garcia to make it a 4-2 game and put two aboard with one out. Keller, showing poise rare for the Royals ‘pen this year, induced Anderson’s second double play of the game to get out of the jam and in the bottom of the inning, Gordon laced a double to score Almonte after a leadoff walk.

Aside from a one-out double, Kelvin Herrera shut the door in the ninth for save No. 5. He’s going to make a contender very happy. I keep telling myself they’ll deal him, because despite what you’ve just read, I am an optimist.

The Bright Spot: Game Two.

The Nadir: Game One.

The Next Step: Ian Kennedy pitches Sunday. I am cautiously optimistic. This is the rarely-seen five-game series, so all bets are off. Let’s get weird.

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