Dannnnnnng y’all. The White Sox are really bad now.
I’m not saying this as a good development, although the Royals won a game (and the series!) by defeating the White Sox 10-5. But for the grander scheme—bottoming out, securing draft position, the hallmarks of rebuilding baseball teams—it’s a bad development. The Royals have six more games against Chicago, and are now just three behind (ahead?) of the White Sox in the race to the bottom of baseball.
Who knew losing Joakim Soria would send them into a tailspin?
Either way, the Royals spanked Chicago in this one. Those are the kinds of things that happen when you bat someone named Daniel Palka cleanup.
(An aside: I was poking around on Chicago’s Baseball Reference page for something and noticed that Chris Getz is the White Sox Director of Player Development. A certain member of the BPKC family delighted in painting Ryan Goins as “the poor man’s Chris Getz,” and somehow that dude is in charge of player development. No wonder the Sox suck.)
Jakob Junis’ night did not get off to the most promising of starts. His first offering of the night was launched over the rightfield fence by Yoan Moncada to give the Sox a 1-0 lead, and three pitches later Yolmer Sanchez was cruising into second with a double. Dubious beginnings, to be certain.
Junis settled down, got out of that pickle (Jose Abreu pop up, Palka groundout, Avisail Garcia strikeout) and then the offense… went to work? Not often you could say that about a Royals offensive outing, but they banged out 10 hits and 10 runs, all in innings three-through-six.
In the third, Ryan O’Hearn and Alcides Escobar led off with walks, so right there is a bad sign for Dylan Covey. After Adalberto Mondesi laid down a sac bunt that was biffed at the bag by Moncada—one of two errors for him on the night—the bases were loaded for Whit Merrifield.
The normally-reliable Whit did the worst possible thing, hitting a comebacker to Covey for the 1-2-3 double play. Typical Royals, yet Alex Gordon cranked a two-run double to score Esky and BERTO and put the Royals ahead for good.
New guys Brett Phillips and O’Hearn did the damage in the fourth. Phillips doubled with two away and O’Hearn drove him home with a single to left, and Phillips’ speed did the rest. That boy can fly.
Phillips did another good late in the fifth inning, part of a five-run frame that put the Royals up seven. After BERTO led off with a flyout, the next six Royals would reach:
- Merrifield via single
- Gordon via walk
- Salvador Perez laced one to Sanchez, who made a nice play at third and throw to Moncada at the second-base bag to start the double play. Moncada didn’t do his part, however, missing the catch. Merrifield scored. Gordon to third.
- Lucas Duda singled, scoring Gordon. Salvy to second. Xavier Cedeno on to relieve Covey.
- Rosell Herrera greeted Cedeno warmly, drilling his fourth offering inside the left field line and one-hopping over the fence for a double. Perez scores, Duda to third.
- Phillips singles, scoring Duda. Rosie to third, which would allow him to score on a Cedeno wild pitch.
In the sixth, the Royals would end their offensive outburst with a two-run Gordon bomb—his seventh of the season, and third and fourth runs driven in on the evening. He hadn’t driven in four in a single game since Aug. 18, 2016; he drove in three runs, total, all of last August.
The beauty of a nine-run lead is that it’s quite the chore for even the Royals bullpen to give it away. Not that they didn’t try—in the sixth, Junis ran into some trouble. Kevan Smith singled and Moncada walked to lead off before Junis got Sanchez to strike out.
Abreu walked. Then Palka walked, scoring Smith. Mound visit—the inning’s first, somehow. Garcia struck out, which looked like it may help get the Royals out of the inning. Then Leury Garcia singled to score Abreu and Palka. Junis was removed—final line: 5.2 innings, six hits, four earned, five strikeouts. Sixth win—his first since… holy cow, May 18? He went from 5-3 with a 3.61 ERA to 6-11 with a 5.12 ERA. Life moves quick.
A leadoff Abreu double and two-out Leury Garcia single gave Chicago its fifth and final run. Brandon Maurer, the King of Low-Leverage situations, pitched a scoreless ninth.
Unusually Happy Tweet of the Game
I mean, literally, I don’t know who they are, Herrera, Phillips, O’Hearn. The baby #Royals are fun to watch though.
— Michelle (@Michelledbish) August 2, 2018
The Bright Spot: Gordon. The new guys (4-for-13 combined, two runs scored, three RBI for Rosie, Phillips and O’Hearn). Brian Flynn tossed another scoreless inning and a third. Maurer did not crap his pants.
The Nadir: On a night when the Royals hit up and down the lineup, who would you bet was the only member of the lineup not to get a hit?
It’s Escobar, this isn’t a trick question.
The Next Step: Brad Keller and Reynaldo Lopez for the finale at 1:10 p.m. (CT). Keller got kicked around pretty good in his last outing in New York, but the Yankees have a way of doing that in the Bronx. Lopez has a 7.22 ERA in his last seven starts, so it’s not like he’s coming in with momentum either.