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Behind a Surprisingly Masterful Bruce Chen, Royals Defeat Tigers

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DETROIT - Unstoppable Chen.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
DETROIT - Unstoppable Chen. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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What a game and what a start by Bruce Chen. Quietly, the Royal offense was mostly helpless for most of the afternoon, yet it always felt as if they were totally in control. A loss today would have sent the Royals to 4-4 and that much closer to falling behind in the AL Central. Instead, at 5-3 the Royals remain "surprising" and will inspire hope for a few more days.

  • Bruce Chen made one of the best starts of his career this afternoon, rebounding after a rough first start. Chen went six innings, scattering three hits and one walk. Stunningly, he also struck out seven. I can understand a guy being lucky/good with regards to not allowing hits, but the strikeouts take the start to another level. One of the Tiger radio guys referred to Chen's start as "The Art of Pitching." I don't really know what to say about Chen's start: it was apparently some combination of Brian Bannister on a good day and Greg Maddux
  • Just imagine what he would have done if a real pitch-calling pitcher-mentoring guru like Jason Kendall or Matt Treanor was back there? Do we ever hear anything about Pena being a great pitch-caller? No, of course not. If Bruce Chen had pitched that game with Kendall behind the plate they might have just cancelled the rest of the season and declared that perfection had been reached.
  • The reputation of Yost, when it came to handling starting pitchers, was that he often left them in the game too long. Well, that wasn't the case today, as Chen was lifted after just 82 pitches.
  • A second interesting Yost decision game an inning and a half later, when Aaron Crow was lifted for Tim Collins. Collins walked Brendan Boesch, struck out Austin Jackson, then walked Will Rhymes. Thanks to a quick 7th inning, Crow only threw 18 pitches, and I'm not sure why Collins was brought in to face Boesch. All Boesch did last year was a) have a hard to spell last name and b) hit lefties, to the tune of .337/.403/.548. By the time Collins left, the bases were loaded. Though naturally Tejeda ended the Tiger rally with one pitch. Odd inning.
  • I swear the Royals throw someone out at home every game.
  • Billy Butler was thrown out either trying to steal or getting caught in a hit-and-run in which Kila didn't swing. Solid.
  • Joakim Soria got a swinging strike today.