At least it was fast.
The Royals’ first game against a west coast opponent this season went pretty much the same way their earlier games against central opponents have gone. The starter wasn’t awful, the bullpen held the opponent scoreless, and the offense was MIA.
Brad Keller got the start for the Royals tonight. Things started off well as he pitched through the first three innings while allowing only a single and a walk. Disaster struck in the fourth inning, however. With one out Keller allowed back-to-back singles. Mariners second-baseman Abraham Toro hit a comebacker to the mound and Keller committed the first Royal error of the season, closing his glove too quickly and allowing all the runners to reach safely.
With the bases loaded, Keller had fully lost whatever mojo he had going in the first three innings. He allowed a two-run double to rookie Julio Rodriguez and a two-run triple to Jarred Kelenic. Keller got it together and escaped the inning, but with the Royals hitting as poorly as they have so far this year, the damage was already done.
Salvador Perez hit a solo shot in the top of the sixth and Bobby Witt Jr. added another defensive miscue in the bottom of the eighth. In all, the Royals had only three hits and one walk on the night. When your opponent scores four runs, that isn’t likely to get the job done. The Royals now have four starters in their lineup with batting averages under .150. Batting average is hardly the end-all, be-all and it’s hard to imagine those batting averages staying that low all season, but that’s pretty abysmal.
- The Royals still lead the American League in fewest errors. Don’t expect the errors to stay away all season, though. When you’ve got a group of young, athletic players like these they’re going to make some ill-advised plays from time to time.
- Salvador Perez’s home run was his first not on a Tuesday, his first that wasn’t part of a duo, and his fifth overall. That ties him for the American League lead with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and puts him one behind the major league leader, Colorado’s C.J. Cron. Just imagine how good things could be going if anyone could get on base in front of him!
- Hunter Dozier’s star continues to brighten. His double tonight kept his wRC+ at 126, which will absolutely play.
- Hunter’s success seems likely to be short-lived unless he finds some free passes in the near future, however. He is the last remaining Royals regular batsman without a walk. Even Salvy and Adalberto Mondesi have walked. And more than once, each!
The Royals will attempt to even the series tomorrow night in another west coast late game. Kris Bubic (0-1, 10.80 ERA) will go for Kansas City. The Mariners will counter with rookie right-hander Matt Brash (1-1, 3.38 ERA.)