The Royals struggled in game one but pulled out a dramatic win in game two to split a doubleheader on Friday.
Big Picture: The Royals split a Saturday doubleheader against the Toronto Blue Jays. Toronto won the first game 5-1. Kansas City won the second game 3-2. The Royals now lead the American League Central by 1 1/2 games over the Cleveland Indians. They are up two games in the loss column.
Notes: The Royals traded OF Nick Heath to the Arizona Diamondbacks for RHP Eduardo Herrera. Heath was recently designated for assignment… The Royals made LHP Richard Lovelady the 27th man for the doubleheader Saturday… Ervin Santana got the start on the mound in the second game Saturday.
Offense Sleeps In: The Royals forgot to show up on offense against Steven Matz in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader. Nicky Lopez broke up Matz’s no-hitter in the sixth inning, and Andrew Benintendi soon after doubled him home for the only Royals run. Those were the only two hits of the game. And sure, technically, Matz could not get an official no-hitter because it was a seven-inning game, but it’s as mentally defeating as a nine-inning no-hitter for the team being shutout.
Pitching Struggles Are Real: Mike Minor allowed four runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. Minor looked terrific in facing the first two batters of the game. But then a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. single, a Randal Grichuk single, and a Lourdes Guerriel Jr. double gave the Blue Jays two runs after getting two outs. Those two runs were all that Toronto needed. The other two runs were on solo home runs. Other than that, Minor pitched pretty well.
|Guerrero Jr., 1b||50||3||2||2||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||0|
|Gurriel Jr., lf||31||3||0||1||2||0||0||1||0||0||0||0|
Waiting For Milone: Blue Jays P Tommy Milone throws more change-ups than anything else, and the Royals had trouble waiting on it. His pitch was falling out of the reach of Royals bats after they started their swing. Milone struck out the side in the first inning.
What Hansers! Hanser Alberto made a nice grab in the second inning on a line drive that appeared to be going over his head at shortstop. In the sixth inning, he fielded a blistering ground ball from Vladimir Guerrero Jr. that appeared to be past him when he gloved it and then threw out Guerrero at first. Incredible! Alberto has been good defensively so far this season. He has played third base when Hunter Dozier was dealing with a thumb injury. And in game two Saturday, he gave Nicky Lopez a rest and played shortstop. He’s a much more valuable piece of the bench than I expected him to be.
Let’s Talk About The Double-Cut: The double-cut is something that many teams don’t do well. Now, that doesn’t mean the play goes to heck if a team doesn’t use the double-cut, but a properly executed double-cut can prevent runs.
The double-cut is usually done by the shortstop and second baseman when a ball is hit to the wall. Some teams will use different positions based on where the ball is hit and who is on their roster, but this is usually how it is done. The two infielders work together as a single cut-off man. One will be closer to the outfielder, and the other will be closer to third base or the plate, depending on the situation. The two infielders will be 20 or so feet apart. The outfielder is supposed to throw to the player closer to him, but with it being a long throw, if it is high or if it bounces closer to that infielder for an in-between hop, they let it go and let the second cut-off man get it.
The San Francisco Giants were fortunate in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series. They didn’t run the double-cut properly on a ball Alex Gordon hit to the wall with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. A misplay in left gave Alex the possibility of circling the bases and tying the game. Brandon Crawford was the primary cut-man. The throw came in near his feet. He should have let it go for the second cut-man instead of playing the in-between hop. That’s a tough hop, and it easily could have deflected off of him and allowed the game to be tied up. However, Crawford successfully fielded the ball, and that kept Gordon at third.
In Saturday’s game against the Blue Jays, the Royals ran the double-cut perfectly, and the runner still scored. Shortstop Hanser Alberto was the primary cut-man for a throw coming from left fielder Andrew Benintendi. Benintendi overthrew Alberto, but Whit Merrifield was there to grab the throw and fired it home for a play at the plate that was just late.
In baseball and life, the lesson is that sometimes you do things perfectly and lose, and sometimes you mess up and win. Take from that what you will.
Salvy Splash! Salvador Perez crushed a 79mph curve with two outs in the bottom of the seventh for a walk-off win. It’s the first walk-off win for the Royals since 2019.
Next Up: Kansas City goes for the series win on Sunday. Brady Singer gets the start for the Royals against Robbie Ray for the Blue Jays.
|Guerrero Jr., dh||21||2||1||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|– Biggio, pr||15||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|– Grichuk, rf||15||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Gurriel Jr., lf-1b||18||2||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|– Espinal, pr||15||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|– Jansen, c||15||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|– Taylor, cf||15||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|– Lopez, ss||15||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
Thanks for reading…