Jakob Junis pitched well in the first five innings before starting to tire in the sixth. Adalberto Mondesi had his second consecutive game with an extra base hit. Billy Hamilton had his first three hits of the season. The Royals’ bullpen struggled for the second consecutive game, but they managed to hold on for a second consecutive victory against the Chicago White Sox to improve to 2-0 on the season. The win clinches the Royals their first series win of the season. Ian Kennedy recorded his first save.
Final Score: Chicago White Sox (6) at Kansas City (8)
Game Score: Jakob Junis (50)
- Billy Hamilton got his first hit as a Royal in the third inning. He had a nice, controlled swing and just punched a line drive to left field. This is the kind of hitting Hamilton needs to focus on all season. He pulled an inside fastball just foul earlier in the count that was just a few feet away from a home run.
- Hamilton advanced to second base on a fly out by Whit Merrifield to right field. A perfect throw would have got him at second. Hamilton forced Daniel Palka to make a perfect play and he couldn’t. That’s the kind of pressure the Royals have to put on defenses this year.
- A 3-for-4 day at the plate from Billy Hamilton in the ninth spot in the order is nice to see in the second game of the season and quite unexpected. If Hamilton can get on base expect Ned Yet to move him to the lead off spot whether it’s the right move or not.
- Adalberto Mondesi looks great at the plate right now. He tripled twice in the Opening Day game on Thursday. He doubled to right field in the third to score Hamilton from second and give the Royals a 1-0 lead.
- Mondesi is also an extremely talented defensive shortstop. If he struggles with anything it seems to be the routine play. He relaxes a little and will make a bad throw to first base at times. If he cleans that up he will be as solid as they come.
- Jakob Junis primarily throws a fastball and a slider. He’s been working on a change up but doesn’t throw it much right now. With one out in the sixth, Junis threw a two-strike change up away to left-handed batter Leury Garcia and got him swinging. Junis needs that third pitch in his arsenal.
- Junis tired quickly in the sixth inning once he got into the 80s in pitch count. His slider had been real good all game but let a two-seam fastball get too much of the plate against Jose Abreu which ended up in a three-run home run.
- Ned Yost made a nice pitching change with two outs in the top of the sixth. After Jose Abreu’s three-run home run, Eloy Jimenez singled with the Royals up just 4-3. Yost brought in left-handed relief specialist Tim Hill to face Daniel Palka. Hill got Palka to pop up to Mondesi at shortstop to end the inning.
- Jorge Soler is seeing the ball really well early in the season. His first two at bats on Opening Day would give you reason for concern. It’s not because he struck out twice but it’s how he did it. Soler’s second at bat was three breaking balls by left-handed pitcher Carlos Rodon. Soler swung weakly at all three and whiffed on each of them. However, in the bottom of the sixth he waited on the breaking pitched and hit a line drive to left field to score Whit Merrifield. Ever since that at bat Soler has doubled to left, walked, singled to left, doubled to left and doubled to left. What an impressive adjustment after looking lost in his first two at bats of the season.
- Jake Diekman pitched the eighth inning and got two soft pop ups to third base sandwiched around an Eloy Jimenez strikeout looking after falling behind 3-1 in the count.
- Ian Kennedy got the save opportunity. After giving up singles to the first two batters, Kennedy settled down and got Yolmer Sanchez to fly out to center, struck out Leury Garcia and then put a scare into fans when Yoan Moncada hit a relatively deep fly ball to right but was caught by Whit Merrifield to end the game.
- Kyle Zimmer has not appeared in the first two games. I have to think he will see mound time in Sunday’s series finale.
Next Game: Sunday at 1:15pm – Chicago White Sox (Lucas Giolito, 0-0) at Kansas City (Jorge Lopez, 0-0)