Jason Hammel seemed like a free agent bargain at the outset of spring training, and while it is still early, the returns on his two-year deal are not looking great eight starts into his Royals career. Hammel gave up five runs on nine hits in six innings of work in a 7-1 loss to the Yankees, dropping to 1-5 on the year with a 6.20 ERA.
Hammel cruised through the first two innings, but in the third, Chris Carter led off with a single, and Brett Gardner walked, bringing up Gary Sanchez. Sanchez has hit nothing like his phenomenal rookie campaign, but he looked like his old self in the third, launching a three-run home run off Hammel, his third of the year, to put the Yankees on the board.
In the fourth, Hammel retired the first two hitters, but could not put Didi Gregorious away, allowing a single to the Yankees shortstop. Chris Carter followed up with a two-run home run to center field to make it 5-0 Yankees. It is the sixth home run Hammel has allowed in his last four starts.
Seth Maness gave up a run in the seventh to make it 6-0, so the Royals brought on the white flag with Travis Wood in the eighth. Wood walked Didi Gregorious and gave up a single to Chris Carter, but then things got weird. Brett Gardner then lined a pitch to right field, where Jorge Bonifacio seemingly caught it, then fired to second to get Gregorious who was long gone without tagging up. The play was ruled a trap by Bonifacio, but was challenged by the Royals. Upon replay, the call was overturned and Gardner was out, yet somehow Gregorious was allowed to return to second base. Why? I don’t know, baseball is weird. Gregorious would later come around to score, but hey, it’s not like it would have mattered.
The Royals offense did little against struggling Yankees starter C.C. Sabathia all night. He gave up just five hits - four singles - in 6 2/3 shutout innings of work with four strikeouts. The Royals loaded the bases in the seventh, but Whit Merrifield struck out to end the threat. They did manage a run in the ninth off Jonathan Holder when Jorge Bonifacio singled and Jorge Soler drew his second walk of the night. An Alex Gordon infield single - his second of the night - loaded the bases for Whit Merrifield to knock home a run on a force out to thwart a shutout. But it was still a bad loss.
This tweet kinda summed it up.
The Royals had a successful week last week, but tonight looked like the April Royals with no offense, and a poor Jason Hammel start. Hopefully it was an aberration, but the team will have to bring a better game plan to beat what looks like a pretty talented Yankees squad.