As I wrote in the Game Thread:
Last Saturday, the Royals were coming off of a Friday night win and 2 games under .500. During the Friday night game, a Royals lefty SP pitched well, Salvy homered, and the Royals offense put up more than 4 runs. One week later and... not much has changed. The Royals are now 4-6 instead of 1-3. The offense is still scuffling a bit, the bullpen is still a bit iffy, and the starting pitching is still a hair better than expected.
Coming into the game, the Royals were 2nd in the AL in starter ERA and 2nd from the bottom in reliever ERA.* They were also 2nd to last in runs scored with only the surprising Blue Jays below them. The Royals played true to that formula in a 3-2 win, the team’s third straight.
*if the radio broadcast is to be believed
The first 6 innings went by mostly uneventful. Each team scored a run in the first after getting a couple of runners on. An Albert Pujols ground out brought home Ben Revere for the Angels and an Eric Hosmer single drove in Alex Gordon.
Each starting pitcher settled into their pattern for the rest of the game from there. Matt Shoemaker came in 0-3 against the Royals in his career, only lasting 16.2 IP in 4 starts with an 11.34 ERA. “The Cobbler” ran up a high pitch count but the only other run he gave up through 5 and change was a Brandon Moss solo shot in the 4th. The Royals hit him hard with a number of warning track shots from Moss, Mike Moustakas, and Paulo Orlando but they had nothing more to show for it. Darn parking lots.
Nathan Karns was really good for a second game in a row. He was at 62 pitches through 5* and looked to breeze through the 6th. After two quick outs, the Angels loaded the bases but Karns got Andrelton Simmons to fly out to Gordon to end the threat. His line on the night was 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, and 3 K. So, after a 54.00 ERA after his first game, it's dropped to 7.11 and 4.38 after the subsequent two.
*best guess - still not quite sure how pitch counts work with the new “no pitch” IBB and I had to go back and figure this out on the fly.
Of course, one of the big stories coming in was that it was Jackie Robinson Day. The home nine donned their gold accented 42s. Denny talked Jackie Robinson on the radio for a couple of innings. There were a number of other things on the periphery during the broadcasts, too. Phys mentioned the high rate of fouls with 34 already at one point in the 6th. Others in the game thread were mentioned the TV broadcast trying their hand at advanced stats and doing a halfway decent job with Ryan tackling FIP and Rex on launch angle.
In the 7th, Mike Minor was a bit of a mess, giving up a single, long fly out, and a four pitch walk to the bottom of the Angels order. Ned had seen enough and called for Joakim Soria. He struck out Yunel Escobar but gave up a single to Ben Revere that tied the game as Orlando's throw was bad and Hosmer did it no favors.
Yost called for an intentional walk of Mike Trout, the Royals 6th(!) on the young season. Honestly, I'm wondering if there's something about the new IBB that is making Ned call for it a lot more (the Royals issued only 8 intentional passes all last year). That set up a bases loaded confrontation with Albert Pujols, who was 0 for 6 in his career against Soria. The eight pitch of the at bat was a called strike three and the Royals escaped. Joakim came back and pitched a scoreless 8th.
Blake Parker and Bud Norris combined for a scoreless 1.2 in relief of Shoemaker. Jose Alvarez got Alex Gordon to start the 8th. But he left a fastball out over the heart of the plate and Mike Moustakas blasted it off the Pepsi Porch sign in right center. His 5th home run of the young season gave the lead back to the home team.
In the 9th, Kelvin Herrera induced a Cliff Pennington ground out and a long fly out by Yunel Escobar. Ben Revere struck out on three pitches, leaving Mike Trout on the on deck circle and giving "Absolute Zero" his 2nd save for 2017. Otters!
Like last Saturday, the Royals find themselves with a series win already under their belt against an AL West opponent. A Sunday win would sweep them up to .500 for the first time on the season. Hopefully Easter will be more kind to them than last Sunday. Ian Kennedy squares off against Tyler Skaggs.