The first inning seemed to take forever as Ian Kennedy and Lucas Giolito combined for more than 50 pitches. Kennedy’s problem was that he couldn’t finish batters and he ended up giving up a run. Giolito’s problem was a lack of control and he gave up 2. Things mostly calmed down after that, though.
Giolito did fight his control the entire game, but it was Mike Moustakas’ legs that punished him the most. Moose hit a 2-out double in the third inning and Lucas Duda followed up with a parachute single to center to drive him in - Duda’s second RBI of the game after a bases-loaded walk in the first inning.
Kennedy only really got in trouble again in the fifth inning. He allowed two singles to lead off the inning but struck out Yoan Moncada before inducing a 5-4-3 double play from Avisail Garcia. Kennedy and Giolito both picked up quality starts, leaving after the sixth inning but Kennedy was the one in line for the win having only allowed 4 hits and 2 walks while striking out 5 in his six innings.
Justin Grimm pitched a scoreless sixth and flashed some really nice looking pitches, Tim Hill looked pretty good in the ninth, but Brandon Maurer impressed no one when he allowed a lead-off home run to Moncada to start the eighth inning. An infield hit, a groundout, a walk, and a second groundout later left runners at second and third with 2 out for Wellington Castillo. Castillo took the 3-0 pitch deep into right field over Jon Jay’s head and off the wall to give the White Sox back the lead. Maurer will have to do a lot better than that if the Royals are going to be able to deal him or use him on any future winning clubs.
The Royals made things interesting in the bottom of the ninth. Alex Gordon led off with a single but was erased at second base when Alcides Escobar failed at sacrifice bunting. Ryan Goins struck out for Drew Butera but Jon Jay walked to reach base for the third time in the game. Whit Merrifield put a charge into a ball but ultimately it was a routine flyball to centerfield to end the game.
The Royals are now 0-2 with abysmal bullpen failures accounting for both losses. Even if the lineup and rotation can perform to the 90th percentile expectations it’s going to take a much better bullpen if the Royals want to surprise anyone and get into playoff contention. Or even win their first baseball game.