They say that you can't win a baseball season in April, but you can lose one. If we consider a single game to be the microcosm of the season, a 1/162nd slice of the greater pie, you could therefore insist that you can't win a game in the first inning, but you can lose one.
Well, the Royals lost a game in the first inning. Not due to an implosion, or poor performance, but caused by the fickle nature of human physiology, a natural occurrence of the inhuman practice of throwing baseballs very hard far more often than you were ever supposed to.
Danny Duffy left today's start after throwing a single pitch. Though there were faint hints of optimism, and a minute belief that the Royals could rally around the likes of Liam Hendriks and a host of also-ran bullpen guys, it was fairly apparent by the fourth inning that this wasn't going to be the case.
I could tell you about the fact that Brandon McCarthy is a very good pitcher, and should be expected to have games like he had today. About the Yankees, despite their deficiencies, are still a pretty okay team, particularly behind the likes of Pineda, Tanaka, and McCarthy when they are healthy. That guys like Jacoby Ellsbury, Mark Teixiera, Martin Prado, and the like should be expected to have a good game now and then.
But none of that particularly matters, as we all consider the possible prospect of not having Danny Duffy around for the rest of the season. Initial reports were optimistic, but Royals fans, by their very nature and decades of negative reinforcement, aren't prone to optimism.
The omens were littered throughout the game thread:
Hendriks pitched four innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on seven hits with no walks and three strikeouts. The BABIP fairy was at least partially to blame, but the Yankees saw him well; despite not giving away any free passes, Hendriks did not have much command, throwing 71 pitches.
"I'm not Louis" Coleman came in and pitched an inning, effectively putting the game out of reach by yielding two runs on a walk and three hits.
The offense continues to look completely overmatched, as it has for the better part of two weeks now. Lorenzo Cain had an uncharacteristically awful game, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
The lone bright spot of today's contest was Brandon Finnegan. He made his major league debut. He entered in the sixth and cruised through two innings of work, striking out two, walking none, and yielding zero hits.
Detroit lost earlier today, so the Royals remain 2.0 games ahead, pending the outcome of the suspended game. They go for a series win tomorrow, and will send Yordano Ventura to the mound to face Shane Greene.