Royals Squander Chances on Opening Day, Fall to Angels

KANSAS CITY, MO - Alternate by hair color. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The Angel bullpen tried to let the Royals back into the game, but the Royals wouldn't take the offer. Kansas City had multiple baserunners on in the 7th, 8th, and 9th. Thus, the Royals found a way to lose a frustrating opener, falling 4-2 to the Royals. A boring loss became something of a painful one. Had Alex Gordon's long fly ball been 10 feet over, the Royals would have won on a dramatic walk-off HR. It wasn't.

  • In contrast to the Angel bullpen, the Royal 'pen was mostly effective. Aaron Crow, mysteriously moved to the bullpen for an indefinite amount of time, struck out three of the four batters he faced. (Why, by the way, is Crow now sporting the obligatory white MLB player facial hair? He's movie star handsome without it.) Nathan Adcock, who made the team for no apparent reason managed a scoreless inning, thanks to Jeff Mathis deciding to try to score on a single to Francoeur. And finally, Tim Collins also produced a somewhat iffy clean sheet. The bullpen might very well be the strength of this team, and that might be the difference between losing 100 games and not.
  • After a long first inning, Luke Hochevar settled down and pitched a decent game. Overall, it was a performance that neither greatly pushed the Royals towards victory nor one that buried them. It was one that, on balance, you'd take. He wasn't helped out by his defense on a few plays and did allow two home runs. The latter isn't a great sign for a guy who works best when he's getting groundballs, but here we are.
  • Jeff Francoeur got the Royals back in the game in the 7th with a yank-pull home run. Then, with the bases loaded in the 8th, Francoeur struck out with a weak and hours late swing on a ball at eye-level. Here we are.
  • Alex Gordon looked terrible, including a strikeout to end the game. Kila looked a little better, but only managed a walk himself. Mike Aviles made an error and butchered a mostly routine popup, though he did manage a solo HR later in the game. Not a great opener for my guys.
  • The Royals gave up a homer and a double to Jeff Mathis. In the same game.
  • I'm not basing this off of merely today's game, because Escobar and Treanor actually had a few hits. However, the bottom of this lineup is just bad. Which isn't exactly a new thing, yet it still hits me every time.
  • Yost had an odd game I thought. In the 8th, he went all-in with the pinch runner strategy. When Butler walked, putting men on first and second with one out, Yost inserted Mitch Maier for Butler. I'm not a huge fan of removing the lineup's clear #1 hitter, especially when it wasn't unlikely that he might come to the plate again in the 9th. When Kila walked to load the bases, Yost then ran for him. Perhaps, the first move makes the second more appropriate: if you go all in for tying and winning the game in the 8th, you should go all in. You can argue the decision either way. Both moves were more or less the same play: you're gunning to score on a double down the 1B line or in the gap. But how likely is that? Yost then followed this up by allowing Treanor to leadoff the 9th, which was less defensible.
  • In the 9th inning the fans behind the plate included two dudes in Angels jerseys and a guy in a Brewers jersey. Great job rich fans.
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