It was a great night for the Royals on Friday, as they used two home runs to take down the first-place Boston Red Sox, 5-3.
The only people in Kansas City that were left sad were the many, many Johnson County Boston fans in their Walmart Red Sox jerseys. There were plenty of them at the K on Friday night, but the good news is that they left unhappy.
The biggest moment of the night was the ridiculous three-run moonshot home run by Adalberto Mondesi. With two on in the third inning, Mondesi absolutely unloaded on one, crushing it into the Travis Hafner-landing area of the Rivals bar in right field. It was measured at 464 feet, making it one of the longest home runs in the history of Kauffman Stadium. The video is great, but if you watch it, you may want to watch it on mute, considering Steve Physioc butchered the call by shouting “into the corner” as the ball is barreling 25+ rows deep towards the right-field restaurant.
Mondesi has four homers in nine games this year. This team is so much better when he plays. Now we just have to hope a bumblebee doesn’t sting him and put him on the IL for another six weeks.
Other offensive highlights: Salvador Perez hit his 18th homer of the year in the seventh, and he’s so strong that it looked like he popped it up when it came off his bat. Whit Merrifield had two doubles, including a run-scoring shot in the sixth that scored Nicky Lopez. Mondesi’s three-run homer, Perez’ solo shot, and Merrifield’s second double plated the team’s five runs.
Kyle Zimmer got the surprise start, and he was brilliant as an opener. He pitched two scoreless frames to open the night, giving up three inconsequential hits and striking out three with 34 pitches. From there, it was Kris Bubic who entered for the third inning, and he got the next eight outs before being chased in the fifth.
Bubic allowed six baserunners and got just eight outs, so he was fortunate that it wasn’t worse. That once-upon-a-time minuscule ERA is now up to 4.17. He’s regressed a bit, but he pitched with some poise in this game. The winning pitcher was Ervin Santana, who entered in the fifth and put out a bases-loaded fire to escape the frame. He worked a scoreless sixth, Jake Brentz cruised through the seventh, Scott Barlow gave up a solo homer to Rafael Devers in the eighth, and Greg Holland handled the ninth for his fourth save.
Barlow and Brentz both have ERAs under 2.10. They’ve been awesome. Combine them with Zimmer and Staumont, and you suddenly have a bullpen that has some pieces. Also, as weird as it sounds, Santana has been tremendous this year. The team has struggled, but it really isn’t the bullpen’s fault.
Physioc had another brutal blunder when Nicky Lopez turned a double play in the second inning, and the boob shouted “WHAT A PLAY BY WHIT MERRIFIELD!” Whit Merrifield was in right field. All he had to do was look at the lineup card, or, you know, know the faces of the players on the team that he’s called every day for the last 10 years. I believe the Royals only put Physioc on TV to make their fans mad. He must have nudes of everyone important in the organization. How else would he still have a job?
Lopez, by the way, had an excellent game. He lined two opposite-field hits (and drew a walk), and he had three dynamic plays on defense. He turned two double plays, one of which was a 5-4-2 odd sequence in the third inning. He also made a tremendous play to close out the eighth inning on a sharp ground ball by Marwin Gonzalez. No hyperbole: it was one of the best defensive games I’ve ever seen a Royals player have. If he could just hit at an Alcides Escobar-like level, he would be a legitimately valuable piece for this squad. I think you have to play him every day. His defense is too good, and he may not provide any pop, but he at least has decent plate discipline and can hit to all fields.
The downside of the evening, other than having to listen to Steve Physioc’s voice, was watching Hunter Dozier continue to suck. It was another 0-for-4 night for Hunter, who is now hitting an unbelievable .148 in 182 at bats. For perspective, Tony Pena Jr. hit .169 in 225 ABs in 2008, and Chris Owings hit .139 in 135 ABs in 2019. I think Hunter Dozier’s season is even worse than those two, considering the $25 million contract that was signed just prior to Opening Day. The Royals should really consider taking the automatic out and skipping his at bats from here on out. It’ll help the pace of play a bit, and that way we won’t have to watch him embarrass himself anymore.
This is a weird team. They get swept by Detroit and then they come out and play really well against one of the best teams in baseball. At long last, the 11-losses-in-12-games stretch is over, and they got just their second win since June 4.
The record is 31-37. They’ll go for the series tomorrow, when Brad Keller gets the ball for a 3:10 pm start. He will be opposed by Martin Perez, a left-hander who has been shelled for 11 runs in his last two starts, spanning just 3.1 combined innings.