Going into this game, Rangers' starter Ross Detwiler boasted a shiny 7.22 ERA and a 6.56 FIP in six starts for the Rangers. Royals' starter Jeremy Guthrie nursed a 5.70 ERA and a 5.15 FIP. It was, as sterlingice and BlitzAce71 both mentioned in the game thread, the exact opposite of unstoppable force vs. immovable object. Perhaps stoppable force vs. movable object? Oafish force vs. wandering object? Let's just say that very few people bought a brand new tv and sound system from Best Buy, took a day off work, and goggled at the pulsing, raw talent offered by these gripping pitchers. If you did, please teach me how to enjoy such mediocrity, as it will help when I next go to McDonalds.
It was immediately apparent that Detwiler was upholding his end of this terrible matchup. Four batters into the top half of the first frame of the game, the Royals had loaded the bases with one out. Alex Gordon beat out a double play ball, scoring Alcides Escobar and propping the Royals up 1-0 against the terror to come. Omar Infante promptly ended the threat with a quick flyout.
The Royals struck again in the fourth inning. Against Detwiler's quickly climbing pitch count, Infante and Paulo Orlando led off with back to back singles and were both sacrificed ahead by a Drew Butera bunt. Detwiler hit Jarrod Dyson with a pitch (stunningly Dyson's first this year) to load the bases yet again. This time, the man at the plate came through with a two-run single, that man being Escobar.
Detwiler's performance was art in the same way that one can call my cat's litterbox art: organized chaos surrounded by crap, a few cups of litter away from an abomination in the laundry room. The Texas pitcher managed 5 innings, squirming out of multiple jams whilst somehow only allowing a trio of runs, looking terrible the entire time.
If Detwiler's performance today was art as a litter box is art, Guthrie's previous performances this year were art as the 1993 live action Super Mario Bros movie was art. Both were terrible, both thoroughly embarrassed the eager fans, and both featured terrors beyond what should be experienced by the human mind. The main differences were basically A) Guthrie hasn't utilized awful prosthetics in a failed attempt to look like a lizard creature and B) you don't have to watch Super Mario Bros. every fifth day, which basically gives it the edge over Guthrie.
For four innings, Guthrie, rightfully repelled by this alarming analogy, tossed scoreless and efficient baseball. Sure, he didn't look good doing it, but style is secondary to results. In the fifth inning, the Rangers climbed aboard the singles train; Thomas Field, Carlos Corporan, Delino DeShields, and Prince Fielder bribed the BABIP Fairy to gather their quartet of singles, plating two runs in the process. 3-2, Royals. Guthrie wiggled out of the inning without any further damage.
Such ends the tale of the Two Starters of Woe. Still, the game continued. In the sixth inning, the Rangers and Royals went to their bullpens with, well, different results. Anthony Bass and Sam Freeman combined to allow three baserunners, both surrendering runs. Escobar drove in Butera, whose multi-hit game is a rarity, dropping Bass. Lefty Freeman struck out Mike Moustakas. Freeman did not strike out Eric Hosmer. Hosmer smashed a home run, because Hosmer cares not for losing.
ERIC HOSMER SIDE NOTE
I'm trying not to freak out about The Hoz, but it's beginning to get difficult not to. Yes, twice out of the past four years he's hit below league average. But something has changed. Hosmer was on fire from July to the end of the year last year, and he carried that into the postseason where he hit .351/.439/.544. By the end of this game, a three-hit adventure with his seventh home run of the year, Hosmer's line became .333/.404/.580. His wRC+ is 172. Yes, Hosmer is hitting 72% above league average. Here is an exhaustive list of every Kansas City Royal who has hit at or above a 172 wRC+ for the year:
- 1980, George Brett, 198 wRC+
Eric Hosmer has 7 home runs. Eric Hosmer is on pace to hit 32 home runs. The last time a Royal hit over 30 home runs was in 2000 (Jermaine Dye with 33). The Royals record for most home runs in a single season is 36. Eric Hosmer is on fire, and should it continue, Hosmer might just have the second-best offensive season in Royals history.
/ERIC HOSMER SIDE NOTE
Once the Kansas City bullpen got to work, the game was effectively over. Ryan Madson, Luke Hochevar, Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland combined to allow a single run over the final four frames. Davis' ERA is still 0.00. Holland nabbed his seventh save of the year.
The Royals begin an eight-game home stretch tomorrow as the New York Yankees come to town. Afterwards, the Royals face the Cincinnati Reds sandwiched by two off days. Finally, the I-70 series resumes, as the St. Louis Cardinals face our beloved Royals for a three-game set over Memorial Day Weekend.