- Dillon Gee struggled to keep runners off the basepaths
- Tyler Skaggs’ curveball stymied the Royals hitters
- Royals pitchers allowed 22 hits. Every Angels starter got at least one hit.
- Drew Butera pitched
This game felt like one of those horror movies or TV shows in which the characters discuss the various elements that repeat in every horror media. The tropes, the stereotypical characters, who gets killed by whom and when and where. It was the "Royals pitching (acceptable substitute - offense)" in "Kauffman Stadium" with a "candlestick". It sure felt like the offense wielded candlesticks in a game played with lumber and leather.
Dillon Gee started off the game/movie by scaring us. Halloween remains a few months away, so I would rather the Royals dispense with the suspense. Luckily, Gee obliged, but only temporarily. He avoided the big first inning, but the Angels scored anyway.
Yunel Escobar drove the first pitch of the game into left field for a single. On the second pitch of his plate appearance, the third pitch of the game, Kole Calhoun doubled to the left field corner. Alex Gordon sort of misplayed it off the wall and apparently bobbled the ball in trying to get it back to the infield. Escobar (Yunel) scored.
The horror continued with a walk to Mike Trout, but Gee induced fly ball outs from Albert Pujols and Daniel Nava. In his first defensive opportunity, Raul Mondesi botched a play from Andrelton Simmons, which loaded the bases. Gee got Ji-Man Choi to line out to Cheslor Cuthbert to end the nightmare before it got to Freddy Krueger-levels of terror.
Unfortunately, that was just the prologue. The plot developed in the second and third innings, Gee scattering a few hits here and there, but the true nature of the game was revealed in the fourth inning. A single, a walk, and a deflected-ball single loaded the bases with but one out. Calhoun grounded out to Alcides Escobar, though he chose the forceout at third base rather than anything else. The ball was hit pretty hard, and it was apparently all Escobar could do to get that out.
Mike Trout hit another ground ball to shortstop, this one hit quite a bit less hard. Escobar could not make the play, and another run scored. The impression I got was that this grounder was an easier play, yet Escobar could not get it (the radio said something like he makes that play 99 times out of 100). Characters were dropping like flies to the villains in every way imaginable (poor offense, poor pitching, poor defense, poor baserunning).
After a 1-2-3 fifth inning, the first of his, Gee promptly allowed a home run in the top of the sixth to make it 4-0 Angels. Johnny Giavotella then knocked Gee out of the game after hitting a double. Chris Young came on in relief and allowed a single to his first batter, but he then got three straight outs, one of which was a sacrifice fly, to end the inning. This was not unlike the end of the first big burst of villainy perpetrated by the antagonists of our imaginary, yet all too real, film.
Our protagonists faced a little more adversity in the eighth inning. Johnny Giavotella led off with a double and then stole third for ... reasons. Escobar (Yunel) punched a single through a shallow infield to score Gio. Young allowed another single after that but no more runs.
In typical fashion, the villains laid the final blow in the ninth inning. Chris Young allowed a single, a double, and another single to let yet another run cross the plate. Chien-Ming Wang replaced Young and got a groundout, but the eighth run of the game scored anyway. Wang then allowed five more runs to score as the antagonists laid waste to everything and everyone. The ninth inning ending felt a little more Mad Max or Smokin' Aces than, say, The Conjuring or The Babadook. The situation was so dire that the Royals called upon Drew Butera to get the last out of the ninth. At least someone ended up with a clean pitching line.
The only thing missing from this story was any sort of pluck from our protagonists. Instead, the Royals spent their evening running from the dark basement to the rickety shack filled with chainsaws to the pool with exposed electrical wiring nearby. There was no triumph against Tyler Skaggs. At least they try again tomorrow.