To begin the Players’ Weekend, the Royals matched up with the Indians for the third consecutive season. Usually a time for athletes to express themselves with unique nicknames and colorful uniforms, 2019 dressed the players in either all-white or black. Scoring one run for the third straight game, Kansas City fell to the Tribe in game one, 4-1.
Limping into Cleveland after dropping two of three to a bad Baltimore team, the Royals called on Jakob Junis to put the club back in the win column. Allowing three runs or less in his three starts in August, the right-hander would seek similar success against a team he’s struggled mightily with. Following a scoreless frame in his first inning of work, the Tribe quickly pounced on Junis. Allowing the first two men to reach in the bottom of the second, Junis surrendered a two-RBI single to Tyler Naquin, who continued his dominance over Kansas City. Two batters later, Francisco Lindor a.k.a “Mr. Smiles”, rocked one out to right-center field and over the wall to give the Indians a 4-0 lead. Ending his quality start streak at three, Junis just couldn’t solve his problems against Cleveland. Here’s the numbers to show:
In 2019— Cody Tapp (@codybtapp) August 23, 2019
Junis's against everyone that isn't the Indians:
Junis against the Indians:
The Royals did appear to have the looks of a rally in the top of the fifth. After Alex Gordon led off with a single and Ryan O’Hearn walked, Indians’ starter Zach Plesac faced his first jam on the evening. However, Bubba Starling was called out on strikes, Meibrys Viloria grounded out softly and Brett Phillips flew out to center field to end the threat.
In the top of the sixth, Kansas City finally snapped its scoreless streak on Players’ Weekend in Cleveland, dating back to 2017. At 32 innings, Hunter Dozier broke the streak by lining a triple past a diving Oscar Mercado and into the gap in right-center. Bringing home Nicky Lopez, who previously extended his hitting-streak to seven games, the Royals cut the deficit to three. Unfortunately, this was the closest they would get.
By the way, the Royals have not scored in 32 straight innings during Players' Weekends here in Cleveland. Back in 2017, the Royals got shut out here 4-0, 4-0 and 12-0. I remember the players wanted to set the unis on fire after the series.— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) August 24, 2019
On the bright side, Kyle Zimmer relieved Junis in the fifth and proceeded to toss two scoreless innings in his first outing since being re-called. Josh Staumont repeated the same for the seventh and eighth, throwing 14 strikes on 20 pitches.
Dropping their third in a row and 84th overall, the Royals will attempt to salvage at least one win before saying goodbye to Cleveland until 2020. Tomorrow, Glenn Sparkman will counter Mike Clevinger. First pitch is set for 6:10 CT.