It was an unusual game and an even more bizarre viewing experience on Sunday afternoon, but the Royals picked up just their third Sunday victory of the season, beating the Detroit Tigers, 7-4 at Comerica Park.
Let’s start with the broadcast. It was an “announcer-less broadcast,” or at least, that’s what it was dubbed by Peacock in the description. When people weren’t actually talking, it was a really cool viewing experience that made you feel like you were actually at the park. But much too frequently, we got interviews of the groundskeeper or a stadium vendor or a couple of weird reporters trying stadium food. This broadcast model definitely has potential, as I thought the innings without any commentary whatsoever were really neat.
As for the game, the Royals jumped to a 5-0 lead and then held on late despite their usual dose of shenanigans. Edward Olivares and Emmanuel Rivera hit homers in the second inning to make it 3-0. Two more runs were added in the fifth on an Andrew Benintendi double and an Olivares walk with the bases loaded. Brady Singer, at that point, was cruising, and it looked like the Royals were going to coast.
Singer gave up a couple of runs in the fifth and got squeezed into a walk that loaded the bases (immediately following a Clown Cal Eldred mound visit, because of course), but Jose Cuas got the final out of the fifth to end the threat. Whit Merrifield made a really nice diving catch to save a couple of runs. The Royals got one of the runs back on another bases-loaded walk in the seventh, this one by Michael A. Taylor.
Entering the day, the Royals had one walk with the bases loaded in 76 games. Today, they had two.
Mike Matheny, who said yesterday that the bullpen had several guys down and was being overused, played bullpen roulette all afternoon. It was the exact opposite strategy you’d expect a manager whose bullpen was in shambles to use. Cuas, who is used all the time, threw three pitches. Jackson Kowar got the sixth and looked great, going 1-2-3 in 15 pitches. He’s up here to be the long reliever, yet he only got one inning of work, as Dylan Colemn came in the eighth and gave up two more runs. Taylor Clarke worked in and out of trouble to escape the eighth.
Ninth inning: Nicky Lopez drove in Olivares on his fourth hit of the day. Kyle Isbel got clobbered in a collision with the catcher when he was thrown out at the plate. Vance Wilson’s third-base coaching job continues to be less than excellent. Then Scott Barlow, available today, earned the save and closed it out. He has 12 saves.
The Royals deserved to lose this game with their general sloppiness. Fortunately, the Tigers were even more sloppy, which made a big difference.
Bobby Witt Jr’s slump continued, as he’s down to .233 on the year. But Vinnie Pasquantino drew two more walks (the team had eight, which is really good) and also reached base a third time on a HBP. Edward Olivares, Andrew Benintendi, and Emmanuel Rivera all had two hits. Nicky Lopez was 4-for-4! Good game for the bats.
This was a pretty positive recap! Here are two complaints to make it more typical of what I normally write: Matheny is a clown and I’m so eternally sick of watching Ryan O’Hearn hit for this team. I hope they both get left in Detroit this weekend.
The Royals won the series and are now 29-48 on the year. Next up: they go to Houston for four with the Astros. Oh, joy. Tomorrow, 3:10 pm, Jonathan Heasley and Justin Verlander.