Danny Duffy pitched well, Jorge Bonifacio drove in all three runs and most importantly, Matt Davidson was 1-for-4 with two strikeouts, taking off his Royals-killing superhero cape for an afternoon to allow the Royals a 5-0 win at Not-Comiskey Park.
The thing about a series between two utterly abysmal teams is that both have hope. I have no doubt that the two-game batting practice session the White Sox enjoyed to open the season aided them as they got out to a… um… 5-16 start, and didn’t help the Royals any as they wobbled out to a… 5-16 start. My point is obviously that I have none but IF I DID, it would be that both of these teams are rancid and you should be appreciative that I recapped this game so you didn’t have to watch, you ungrateful swine.
As is regularly the case, the Royals scored first, in the first, to take an early lead. Whit Merrifield slapped a liner into left-center and then, with the post-rain fog still enveloping the field, Bonifacio clubbed a towering shot into the bullpen that Uncle Rex lost in the gloom for a two-run homer.
Duffy kept running into trouble and getting out of it in the early going. Like so:
- In the second, Yoan Moncada singled and advanced on a Duffy wild pitch—if we’re finding a bad note for Duffy today, it’s definitely the two wild ones he uncorked, both of which put runners in scoring position. Duffman got Ryan LaMarre to ground out and end the second-inning threat.
- With two outs in the third, Tim Anderson and Leury Garcia posted back-to-back singles to bring up Jose Abreu, who watched a pretty fastball nick the bottom of the zone for strike three to end the frame.
- In the fourth, walks to Kevan Smith and Yoan Moncada, followed by a wild pitch to LaMarre, put runners on second and third with one out, but Duffy settled down to strike out LaMarre and then got Yolmer Sanchez to line out to Alex Gordon in left.
- In the sixth, Abreu led off with a walk, followed by a Davidson lineout and Smith single. Duffy induced a Daniel Palka flyout and a LaMarre grounder to third to end another threat.
The Royals tacked on another run via Bonifacio’s fifth-inning RBI triple that had some accompanying fireworks. After Paulo Orlando led off the inning with a single, Reynaldo Lopez was called for a balk and manager Rick Renteria—still salty from the third strike on LaMarre the inning before—objected, vociferously, and was run by Adam Hamari. After Alcides Escobar struck out and Whit grounded out, Jorge got his triple to score Paulo.
Anderson was no doubt happy to see this day come to an end, as twice he was robbed at the dish. In the fifth, Merrifield ranged deep into right field to snare a pop up heading for no man’s land, while Gordon laid out for a sliding grab in the seven to take away another hit. Payback for Opening Day, far as I’m concerned.
The Royals had a golden opportunity to make the Merrifield-Bonifacio pairing stand up again in the eighth after Two-Hit Whit dumped a single into right and stole second, his 17th steal of the season. But instead of letting the hot stick keep swinging, Bonifacio either elected or was told to lay down a bunt and move Whit up; Lopez, reacting quickly, fired to Sanchez at third to nail Merrifield on a bang-bang play.
It would’ve ended the threat, except Salvador Perez went oppo-taco for his season’s 13th homer, the first of the opposite field variety. Jason Hammel and Wily Peralta then shut it down in the eighth and ninth to give the Royals a by-God chance at heading into the All-Star break with a series win.
Unusually Happy Tweet of the Game
— Bandon Decker (@Bandon_Decker) July 14, 2018
The Bright Spot: 114 pitches, 74 for strikes, eight strikeouts, four hits, three walks for Duffy. When he got in trouble, he worked out of it. He got stronger as the game went along and might’ve still had enough left in the tank for the eighth, although it’s probably for the best that we didn’t find out. Also this, from Joel Goldberg. Let’s see if we can never pitch Duffy at home again?
One more Danny Duffy note. He has a 0.29 ERA in his last 5 road starts, allowing 1 run total in 32 innings at Oakland, Houston, Milwaukee, Minnesota and Chicago
— Joel Goldberg (@goldbergkc) July 14, 2018
The Nadir: Tough to quibble with most of what happened Saturday. The bullpen didn’t screw it up. Most everybody got a hit, and even those who didn’t did other things well (see a pair of good Alex Gordon stops in left field). I guess if I were planning to pick nits, I’d say Mike Moustakas’ 0-for-4 with a strikeout wasn’t his finest moment, but as one of three-ish consistent hitters in the lineup, he’s due an off-day every so often.
The Next Step: SOMEBODY is going to start for the Royals tomorrow. Either Burch Smith will lead a staff day or Heath Fillmyer will get the nod, or hell, maybe they’ll toss Drew Butera out there for poops and/or grins. All depends on who you ask and when. Lucas Giolito, the American League leader in walks, will get the nod for Chicago, mostly because there are rules and someone has to start.