The Royals have yet to start a game on time, this year. They also have yet to lose. Therefore Royals fans should hope for delays before every game for the rest of the season. Also, for what it’s worth, the last time the Royals started a season 2-0 they won the World Series. So let’s do that again.
Jakob Junis, in a miniature of his 2018 season, cruised in this game right up until he didn’t. The moment also happened to be at the same time as the White Sox started their third trip through the order. Coincidence? Probably not. In the end, he came in just shy of a quality start with 5.2 innings pitched and three runs allowed. He did strike out six and only walked one, but he also gave up the first home run in Kaufman stadium this season. A three-run bomb to Jose Abreu.
In contrast, White Sox starter Reynaldo Lopez struggled all day. Lopez, facing a Royals lineup that many have criticized as lacking the ability to reach base, walked four while only striking out a pair in four innings. He also gave up six hits and four runs to qualify for the loss.
The Royals bats were definitely working today even without Lopez on the mound. Billy Hamilton had three hits and two runs scored; Alex Gordon walked twice, and was hit by a pitch once, and scored all three times he reached base; and Jorge Soler justified his position in the batting order with a three-for-three day that included a pair of doubles, a walk, and three RBI. Whit Merrifield continued his hitting streak from last year, raising it to 23 games, and Adalberto Mondesi added another extra-base hit - this time a double. Chris Owings was the only Royal with a stolen base, though.
Ned Yost meant it when he said there were no assigned roles in the bullpen - except that Kyle Zimmer will remain off the field. Brad Boxberger, who collected the save Thursday night, pitched the seventh inning today. He allowed three runs including a two-run shot to Yoan Moncada. Jake Diekman pitched a much cleaner eighth. Ian Kennedy was called upon to pitch the ninth and things looked a bit iffy for a minute when he allowed two singles on the first two pitches he threw but they would not advance any further as he retired the next three batters to earn his first career save. Tim Hill appeared in the sixth inning to clean up Junis’ mess; he did so with aplomb.
Last year the White Sox started the season by sweeping KC to start the year. Tomorrow the Royals will attempt to return the favor. Lucas Giolito will pitch for the Sox while Jorge Lopez will go for the Royals. Hopefully, the Royals can keep scoring enough runs to cover for a troubled bullpen.