After not playing a game for like 310 days or something, the Royals went up to Cleveland and got shut out on Opening Day. The final score was 2-0.
There is very little information to report about involving the Royals offense. They were very bad. They struck out a lot. Shane Bieber set an Indians record with 14 strikeouts on Opening Day. Had he struck out one more, he would have tied the MLB Opening Day Record. In all, the Royals struck out 18 times.
There were two big chances to score, though. Let’s run through them:
Inning 1: Adalberto Mondesi got thrown out trying to steal second even though replay showed he quite possibly, if not probably, got in there safely. Mike Matheny did not challenge, for some reason. Salvador Perez singled a couple of batters after that, which probably would have scored him. Instead, they were held scoreless.
Inning 5: With two on and two out, Mondesi was thrown five straight out-of-the-zone breakers. He swung at three of them and struck out swinging.
Also, they opened the ninth with Alex Gordon getting hit by a pitch, but they promptly made three quick outs after that to diminish any excitement.
On the pitching end, Danny Duffy was excellent. He used a plethora of infield pop-ups to his advantage in the first four innings, but he put two men on with one out in the fifth and was suddenly and shockingly yanked by Matheny. The look on Duffy’s face was priceless. If a pitch count was the reason, the announcers made no reference of it. Instead, the announcing team praised Matheny for having a quick hook. Now see, it’d be one thing if you were quick hooking Duffy for prime Wade Davis or Greg Holland. When Scott Barlow is the fireman you scramble to get into the game, it isn’t being strategic, it’s just a bad move.
Sure enough, Barlow gives up back-to-back RBI hits to give Cleveland their only two runs of the day. The first one, belonging to nine hitter Oscar Mercado, should have been a double play but the defense was shifted all weird. Leadoff man Cesar Hernandez hit a sharp double down the line after that. 2-0.
The Royals’ bullpen was fine after the Barlow blow-up. Greg Holland worked around a couple of baserunners to pitch a scoreless sixth, his first inning in Kansas City since August 2015. Tyler Zuber breezed through the seventh and then used a double play to get through an eighth, giving him two scoreless innings to begin his season.
In all, the Royals managed four hits, and they were all singles. Whit Merrifield, Salvador Perez, Alex Gordon, and Nicky Lopez collected them. They finished with four hits and three hit-by-pitches. Maikel Franco looked the worst, I think, as he K’d three times in four at bats.
Also, the strike zone was terrible. The Royals didn’t make things easy on themselves, like when Bubba Starling watched a ton of right-down-the-middle fastballs and was called out looking over and over again, but at least a third of the strike three calls were quite obviously balls, both on the grid and from an eye test perspective. Did Mike Matheny question any of them? No, he did not. He sat in the dugout with that dumb bandana-looking “mask” draped over his mouth like a dunce.
Ryan and Rex were like “yeah, this is what Mike Matheny is here to do!” when he pinch hit Erick Mejia and took Nicky Lopez, who had one of the four hits, out of the game. Then Mejia struck out.
This is what St. Louis got years and years of: head-scratching bullpen management. It’s like being a Carl Peterson-era Chiefs fan all over again. When an elite franchise like the 49ers (Cardinals) look for an upgrade at an important position like quarterback (manager), the Chiefs (Royals) scoop up the other team’s leftovers in Elvis Grbac (Matheny) and act like they hit the lottery. Matheny is going to be terrible, and everyone in Kansas City besides Dayton Moore was against this inevitable hire before they went for it. Even worse than that will be the broadcasting team making excuse after excuse for the befuddling decisions we’re sure to see plenty of.
The Royals are 0-1. It’s the equivalent, in a short season, of being swept in a three-game series. They will try tomorrow to get to .500 behind the MLB debut of Brady Singer, who will oppose a man that always makes the Royals look like grade schoolers in Mike Clevinger. First pitch is at 4:10 pm.