Entering this series, we knew two things: the Royals were bad, and the Orioles were bad. Well... after watching the three games this weekend, we now know one thing very clearly: at least the Royals aren’t that bad.
The Royals earned their second sweep of the season on Sunday afternoon, beating the Orioles 9-1 at Kauffman Stadium. They stretched their season-best winning streak to five in a row.
After falling behind 1-0, the Royals scored five runs in the second, third, and fourth innings. Alcides Escobar, who reached base all four times up, ripped an RBI single to tie the game early. Jorge Bonifacio brought in two more on an RBI double the next frame. They added another run on a throwing error. And then in the fourth, Whit Merrifield hit an RBI single to make it 5-1, which held until the eighth inning.
That’s when Meibrys Viloria, making his MLB debut and starting at catcher, popped a two-run double off the wall to put the nail in Baltimore’s coffin. The best part was that he bat-flipped it. 7-1, Royals.
Then it turned into a boat race when Alex Gordon added an RBI double to cap a three-hit game, and Hunter Dozier, who suddenly is showing power, crushed an RBI triple. 9-1.
Jorge Lopez put forth his best start as a Royal. He piled up the strikeouts early, finishing with eight in 6.1 innings of work. He yielded five hits and just the one run while throwing 99 pitches. He earned his first win with Kansas City.
Merrifield is going to be on some MVP ballots. He had two more hits on Sunday afternoon, because of course he did, raising his slash to .312/.378/.449. He’s up to 36 doubles. He leads the AL with 30 stolen bases. He’s a 5-win player and it’s still September. Stud.
Kansas City is 45-91. They swept Baltimore at home this year, they swept them at home last year, and they’re 13-2 in their last 15 games against the O’s at Kauffman. It’s all because Jason La Canfora is a bad fan.
Baltimore is atrocious and the Royals would probably win 90 games this year if all 162 were against the Orioles, but I think there was a whole lot to be encouraged about this weekend. The offense continues to surge now that the lineup consists of mostly young players. The team’s power has skyrocketted over the last few weeks. Games have been fun to attend again. Ultimately, I know a lot of fans are concerned about the No. 1 draft pick and are almost disappointed Kansas City didn’t lose all three games this weekend to put them in the driver’s seat for it. I’m somebody who is all about statistics and analytics, and trying to improve your team for the future. But at this point, it’s just nice to win some baseball games. This week was a blast, and if it’s any indication for what’s to come in the future, the Royals could be back to competency sooner than we originally thought.
Up next: the Royals hit the road to play the first-place Indians, beginning with a 3:10 pm CDT first pitch on Monday. They’ll look to win their sixth straight game behind the arm of Jake Junis.