In the game thread I noted that while Brad Keller is absolutely the Royals’ best starter since last season he really isn’t ace material. He did his absolute best to prove me wrong on that count, today. He pitched a very impressive eight innings, today. He only allowed five hits and a single walk. The four strikeouts are fewer than you’d like to see and the two runs allowed ended up being the difference in the game, unfortunately.
Lucas Giolito’s performance, on the other hand, was completely expected. He may have only gone seven innings but he gave up only three hits and a pair of walks while striking out a career-high 11. That’s more than twice as many strike outs as base runners. That’ll play.
The only runs of the game scored in the second inning when Eloy Jiménez poked an opposite field home run to right field following a José Rondón single in the second inning. If you wondered at that moment whether the Royals were going to be able to put up a fight Giolito gave you no reason to hope. He immediately struck out the side looking in the bottom of the inning.
Ned Yost was tossed from the game and I was somewhat surprised Jorge Soler managed to stick around for the entire affair as the Royals repeatedly complained about Homeplate umpire Bruce Dreckman’s strike zone. In fact every single strike out in that second inning was followed by some expression of disagreement by Royals batters. But the only egregiously bad call came Soler’s next time up, in the fourth inning. The pitch was at least three inches outside but was called strike three.
Another oddity in this game was that Terrance Gore and Whit Merrifield both essentially had bases stolen before Giolito even threw the pitch home. They were both more than halfway to second before he even began his motion. Unfortunately for them, Gore’s stolen base was eliminated as it came while Merrifield was striking out looking and Whit’s potential swipe was erased when Gordon swung at his pitch and skied it to center field.
It does feel nice to not have to write, “The Royals will try to avoid the sweep tomorrow” for what feels like the first time in forever. Instead, they will attempt to win the series. Glenn Sparkman will take the mound against Reynaldo Lopez.