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Royals hang on, win 2-0

It’s hard to be much better than Brad Keller was today.

Brad Keller throws a pitch Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Ordinarily, in this space, I like to try to find things to tell you about the game that you couldn’t just see for yourself in the box score, MLB Gameday app, or other game recaps. I don’t always succeed, but I didn’t even have a chance today because MLB decided in its infinite wisdom that I was in the blackout zone for today’s Royals and A’s game. For the record, I’m visiting my family near Atlanta, GA. I don’t think I could get any further from those two markets and still be in the continental US. I did finally discover it working again in time to watch the Royals’ attempted rally in the top of the eighth but I missed all of Brad Keller’s start.

This is a pretty huge bummer for me because, by the box score, he had a heck of a game. He allowed only a single hit and no runs across seven innings. He only struck out six and he did walk three, but it’s hard to argue with seven shutout innings even if he’d given up more hits. If I had gotten to actually see the game I could have told you if it looked like he was in control or if the defense was really on top of things or if the Royals just got extremely lucky. MLB didn’t think that was necessary, today, so this is what you get.

The Royals scored their run thanks to two batters who wouldn’t even be on the roster if I was in charge. Michael A. Taylor hit a one-out triple in the seventh inning which led to a pitching change. According to the MLB Gameday app, there was an injury, but it doesn’t say who was injured or if the injured player came out of the game. In any case, Ryan O’Hearn pinch-hit for Emmanuel Rivera and hit a go-ahead double.

I had assumed it was a drive into the gap but apparently, it was a grounder that evaded the A’s first baseman instead. It didn’t even manage to reach a wall. According to Baseball Savant, it had only a 6% chance of becoming a hit based on exit velocity and angle.

The Royals got an insurance run in the ninth inning when Kyle Isbel - who ran for O’Hearn after his double and stayed in right field - was hit by a pitch, advanced to second on a bunt by Nicky Lopez, and scored on a single by Whit Merrifield. The bullpen locked things down for the Royals as Jose Cuas got two outs in the eighth and Scott Barlow earned the four-out save. The Royals have now won three in a row for only the third time all season.

Notes

  • Rex Hudler introduced us to a new way to jeer an umpire who isn’t calling strikes, “Poke a hole in that melon!” But make sure the umpire can’t tell who you are before you shout it at them.
  • Just in case you needed a reminder baseball is weird, eight of the nine hardest-hit balls of the game turned into outs. The extra-base knocks that turned into a Royals run were each around 85 MPH.
  • Rex and Ryan say the umpire had a tight strike zone and in the couple of innings I was able see he definitely missed a few that looked like strikes to me. But I couldn’t watch most of the game because of MLB so I can’t say for sure if they were right.
  • Also according to the broadcast, this marks the first series victory for the Royals over the A’s since 2017. It was also their first series win this season since May 13-15 at Colorado.

Tomorrow they have a chance to go for their first series sweep of the season as well as their first winning streak of four games or more. Brady Singer will take the mound for the Royals and try to recover from his five-walk outing last time out. The A’s will counter with 28-year-old rookie left-hander Jared Koenig who has not impressed in his first two career starts.