The biggest takeaway from this game is probably just how good of a baseball player Ryan Goins is.
I mean, sure, Danny Duffy had another bad start. He only managed to pitch 4 innings and allowed a pair of home runs while walking 3. His season ERA rose over 7 for a bit before settling back down at 6.88. And, yeah, Burch Smith picked up the slack with 3 innings of relief while only allowing a solo home run. Whit Merrifield also extended his MLB-best active hitting streak to 12 games with a double to lead off the sixth inning. Jorge Soler added another RBI single. And the Royals absolutely lost.
But everyone who questioned why Ned Yost kept letting Ryan Goins bat in clutch situations really needs to look in the mirror, today. Ned Yost has won a World Series. He’s won 1100 games at the major league level. What kind of accomplishment do you have that can compare to that? And his genius was proved once again as he put Ryan Goins in at 3B tonight after Cheslor Cuthbert got placed on the disabled list with back spasms. Ryan rewarded Ned with a pair of doubles and a walk while driving in 1 run and scoring 2 more.
Aaron Hicks managed an inside-the-park home run. It was the first of 5 home runs, 2 from Gary Sanchez, hit tonight by a lineup that you’d expect to hit at least that many home runs against this Royals pitching staff. 4 of those bombs were solo shots which they say don’t hurt you. But when you allow that many that can sting a bit.
But Goins had a 602 wRC+ on the night. He raised his season OPS by 100 points. He was the best hitter in the lineup tonight and he’s making his case to get more playing time so he can show that he might be the best hitter in this lineup, period. Goins threw in some sparkling defense at third in his first start at the position just to show that he could.
In the bottom of the ninth Ned finally did as the fans had been repeatedly asking and pinch hit for Ryan Goins in a clutch situation. Hunter Dozier was immediately called out after a ticky-tack review showed he popped up too far when sliding into second base attempting to advance on a wild pitch. Abraham Almonte, who took Goins’ spot in the lineup, hit a weak groundball to shortstop instead of the 5-run home run that Goins was clearly revving up for. Maybe next time Ned will stick to his guns and keep the best guy for the job on the field.
Forget all the prospects, forget all the pricey veterans, just give me more Ryan Goins.