- The Orioles knocked out Volquez early despite not hitting any home runs
- Manny Machado and Mark Trumbo were 0-8 with six strikeouts (h/t KCDrew59)
- The Royals offense once again looked listless despite getting nine hits to the Orioles' four
Well then. This looks pretty bad. After a brawl last night, the Royals came out completely limp tonight. They scored zero runs, which means they have now scored four runs in the last six games. The singles train was not even scheduled tonight, let alone actually departing to go anywhere of significance.
The Royals' offense tried to scrap together something in the top of the third inning, but all they ended up doing was scrap baserunners. Cheslor Cuthbert led off with a double down the left field line. Jarrod Dyson and Alcides Escobar were up next, and against a fly ball pitcher with a little skill at getting popups, the Royals bunted. Dyson popped up his bunt to a prepared Ryan Flaherty, who threw out Cuthbert at second for a double play. Escobar also bunted and got a base hit, but his bunt was not on the ground either. Flaherty was not in from third base on it. Whit Merrifield grounded out to the pitcher for the last out.
There really wasn't much action overall until the fifth inning. Edinson Volquez had been breezing through the game until that point, but then he got into trouble. Jonathan Schoop walked with one out, Pedro Alvarez got a hit through the shift, and Nolan Reimold walked to load the bases for Ryan Flaherty. Flaherty, he of the .215 / .285 / .358 career batting line, absolutely laced a line drive to right field. Paulo Orlando played it rather poorly, getting a slow jump and seeming off balance in his route, and the ball ended up just out of his reach. Schoop and Alvarez scored.
Adam Jones followed with a broken bat bloop that Jarrod Dyson caught in left field, but Dyson's throw home was off balance due to his momentum taking him toward right field. Count it as a sacrifice fly I guess. With a man still on second base, Hyun Soo Kim hit a grounder up the middle to score the fourth run of the inning. That ended Volquez's night.
His final line: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 5 K. Volquez had a one-hitter through 4.1 innings; the fifth inning was bad. Luke Hochevar came in and cleaned up the mess by inducing a weak fly ball for which Lorenzo Cain ran a mile to snag, but four runs crossed.
Chris Tillman shut down the Royals for most of the night. Aside from the aforementioned third inning, pretty much the only time they mounted a threat against Tillman was in the seventh and eighth innings. In the seventh, Salvador Perez and Orlando each hit singles, but they were sandwiched between three outs. Unfortunately, they did not get more than three outs to score a run. So they did not score a run.
Tillman allowed singles to Dyson and Merrifield in the eighth inning before being removed for Brad Brach. Brach struck out Cain but then walked Eric Hosmer to load the bases for Perez with two outs. Perez swung at and missed the first pitch, a low and outside slider. Perez swung at and missed the second pitch, an inside heater. Perez swung at and cracked the third pitch, a heater over the middle, but he hit it straight to the left fielder for an out.
The Royals got a hit in the ninth against Brad Brach, but they could not do anything with it. The offense got shut out, and the Royals got swept again. At least tomorrow is an off day. Ugh.
Whit Merrifield reaches bases a lot
Apparently Whit Merrifield set some sort of record for reaching base in his first 17 games -- I assume that record means first 17 games started. Whit did not reach base in a pinch-hit appearance on May 22nd, but his June 3rd and May 22nd pinch hit appearance are the only games in which Merrifield has not gotten a hit. He walked in that June 3rd game.
Coming into tonight's game, Merrifield's batting line was .319 / .338 / .420. He sure strikes out a lot and does not walk much, but he keeps hitting. Pitchers will adjust, so we'll just have to see if Merrifield can adjust back.
Remembering the Zack Greinke Trade
The broadcast played some snippets of an interview with Dayton Moore; one segment of that interview had Dayton recollecting the Zack Greinke trade for ... reasons. 10 year anniversary reasons. I suspect it could have been something planted to keep up public opinion for Alcides Escobar, whose .248 / .275 / .296 batting line at the top of the order has been a vacuum for sucking up any hopes of offense. Hot takes over here.
In his segment, Dayton said that the Royals would not have gotten Escobar without including Yuniesky Betancourt. Betancourt was bad for the Brewers in 2011, and he was bad again for the Royals in 2012. Betancourt was in Japan for 2014 (for 74 PA, with Esteban German to boot!) and in the Mexican league for 2015.
I bring this up mostly because it's just marvelous. Not marvelous in the sense that it's awesome; marvelous in the sense that this is something at which to marvel. The Brewers would not give up Alcides Escobar unless they got something more in return, one Yuniesky Betancourt.