If you’re reading this immediately after it goes live without having seen the game you’ll be thinking to yourself, “Man, that was FAST.” And it was. Kyle Gibson and Brad Keller had a very nice pitcher’s duel going for seven innings. Brad was in and out of jams from the fifth inning on, but seven scoreless innings will always be seven scoreless innings. In the modern run environment, it’s damn impressive. Kyle Gibson, on the other hand, pitched eight scoreless innings. And he did it without walking a single batter; he only allowed a pair of hits.
The runs were scored when Minnesota catcher Mitch Garver belted a two-run home run off of Jake Diekman in the eighth inning. Jake is going to take a lot of grief for this outing. The guy who gives up the lead always takes an inordinate amount of the grief, after all. And you hate to see the Royals’ (current) “best” reliever come out of the pen and take the loss for the second straight game. But can we just talk about the lineup for a second?
In nine innings of baseball, they took zero walks. They struck out seven times. They got two hits. Jorge Soler got tossed in the fifth inning for arguing balls and strikes which meant Terrance Gore had to play the second half of the game. That means the Royals had two major league-quality hitters in their lineup after the fifth inning. Whit Merrifield and Alex Gordon. After Soler was ejected every qualified hitter in the lineup other than Gordon and Merrifield had an OPS under .600. And don’t come to me talking about how Terrance Gore’s .688 OPS means anything - it doesn’t. And Cheslor Cuthbert’s .910 OPS might be for real; maybe he’s figured something out. But this was only his twelfth game of the season and I hope you won’t hold it against me if I’m not quite ready to go all-in on him, just yet.
Kyle Gibson pitched very well, for sure. You don’t get even a AAA-quality lineup out that often if you’re not pitching extremely well. He didn’t just pitch well, of course, he pitched extremely efficiently. He threw only 88 pitches in his eight innings. I was honestly surprised he wasn’t allowed to go for the complete game shutout. The lineup the Royals played tonight was just pitiful. No wonder the Royals are said to be open to trading the majority of the roster. With how poor all of these players are the team doesn’t want them. Unfortunately, neither does anyone else.