Sometimes you score four runs in three games against Cleveland, and sometimes you get to face Dylan Bundy.
The Baseball Gods repaid the Kansas City Royals for many of the travails they suffered in April, gifting the Royals 10 runs and four homers against a clearly overmatched Bundy in a 15-7 drubbing at Camden Yards.
And look… I don’t watch many Baltimore games. Record-wise, they suck. They’re worse than the Royals, who to date have been worse than practically everybody else. That said, Dylan Bundy might be really good most of the time! His numbers are not indicative of someone who sucks! He was just awful in the first inning, although only for seven batters. Those seven batters:
- Jon Jay single
- Jorge Soler homer
- Mike Moustakas homer
- Salvador Perez homer
- Lucas Duda walk
- Whit Merrifield walk
- Alex Gordon homer
And say good night, John Boy. While I’ll concede that Salvador Perez had to go down and get his—and also hit it nearly 108 mph—Soler, Moustakas and Gordon got fat pitches that got all of the zone and drove them. Moustakas and Gordon hit alleged fastballs that didn’t quite scrape 90 on the gun. So while this was a lot of fun, please don’t run away with the idea that this was the Royals starting to show some life and fire and maybe get back into this thing. This was professional hitters crushing a man on his single worst day as a professional.
Moustakas then drove in two more runs in the first, off some dude (Mike Wright Jr., but who’ll really remember 20 years from now, this will go down as Dylan’s Debacle), and Perez scored Soler on a sac fly. That’s 10 runs if you’re counting, and I’ll now let some tweets carry the load here because there was a 10-run first inning, so the subsequent eight-plus really don’t require much analysis and I’ve got about 500 words to go.
That was eventful.
— David Lesky (@DBLesky) May 8, 2018
The last time the Royals scored 10 runs in the first inning was 2006 against Cleveland. The Royals wound up losing 15-13.
— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) May 8, 2018
— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski) May 8, 2018
The question now: Can Danny Duffy hold this lead?
— Craig Brown (@CraigBrown_BP) May 8, 2018
Dylan Bundy faced seven hitters. He allowed four homers, seven base runners, two walks and seven runs. He did not record an out. His Game Score was -19, which ranks tied for the 13th worst of all time and the second worst since after 1940.
— Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) May 8, 2018
(Props to Rustin on that one, that’s incredible. Although Rany disagrees. Vehemently. And if you go through Rany’s thread, he’s right and the Game Score should be 10, which still is awful but it isn’t among the worst ever. Still worth noting, which is why you just read a 50-word aside.)
After 14 batters came to the dish in the first inning, it was obviously a bit downhill for the offense after that point, a 90-run pace being somewhat unsustainable. On the mound, Danny Duffy used his insurmountable lead to get into the sixth inning for the first time! The Duffman picked up his season’s first win thanks to 5.1 innings of six-hit and largely untroubled ball—aside from Chris Davis’ second-inning home run, which I missed because I was eating Chinese and this game neither needed nor warranted my undivided attention for nine innings, Duffy was… sharp?
I mean, he wasn’t vintage Duffy. He put guys on. Guys singled. I’d say Duffy spent a lot of time in the stretch, but given the big deal that was made about him returning to the stretch full-time, that doesn’t mean anything. He put people on base. He worked around it. It was a professional pitching performance, probably made easier given how large Duffy’s margin for error was in this game. People will make a big deal about the offense suddenly becoming reinvigorated—my small hope for this game is that it gave Duffy the opportunity to work on pitching rather than trying so desperately to maintain whatever slim lead he was given or keeping the game close in hopes that his offense would come alive. Time will tell.
Let’s see, what else? Oh, the fifth and sixth were good Royals innings. Soler scored Ryan Goins on a sac fly. Moustakas homered again, boosting his stock as July rolls ever closer. Goins drove in Gordon and Alcides Escobar an inning later, which is how you know God’s smiling down on you—those were his first two RBI this season.
You’d hope that a two-touchdown lead might inspire a little swagger in the bullpen guys, who could certainly use it. And I’m even willing to chalk up the two homers Burch Smith surrendered to a bit of fatigue, although he’s worked two-plus innings in four of his last six outings.
But whenever it seems like a record-setting negative run differential is just a couple good games away from being no more, just know that Blaine Boyer will be there to take your hopes and dreams, set them on fire and throw them on a neighbor’s doorstep. Boyer, who’s currently more flammable than a big bag of charcoal, managed to give up four runs in a 15-3 ballgame. And he wasn’t exactly facing the American League All-Stars—he didn’t even have to face Adam Jones, the only player outside of Davis and MAYBE Mark Trumbo that casual baseball fans could pick out of a lineup.
Baltimore’s ninth consisted of a Jace Peterson walk, a Craig Gentry double, a Jonathan Schoop single (scoring both), a Trumbo single, a Davis ground out, a Danny Valencia sac fly, an Anthony Santander single and a Caleb Joseph line out. I don’t want to discuss it anymore than that. Blaine Boyer needs to be stopped. Give me Scott Barlow or give me death!
The Bright Spot: Ten-run first innings don’t just happen every day.
The Nadir: Four-run innings late in the game for Royals opponents, particularly when Boyer is involved, have become a frighteningly common occurrence.
The Next Step: Eric Skoglund, who was not great in his last outing, faces Andrew Cashner, who has to be shaking in his cleats at the prospect of facing this offensive juggernaut. Early start again for those of us in Central Time, scheduled for a 6:05 p.m. (CT) first pitch.