If you like watching the Royals score lots of runs, and if you also like watching Boston Red Sox fans be sad, then you had a really good Sunday afternoon.
The Royals clobbered the Red Sox, 13-5, to take three out of four from Boston over the weekend. Just about everybody in the lineup had a noteworthy day at the plate, anchored by the best day of M.J. Melendez’ career thus.
Look - I’m known for being a pretty big pessimist with my writing style. For the most part, I think Dayton Moore and J.J. Picollo have been awful for the last few years, and my thoughts on guys like Mike Matheny, Hunter Dozier, Ryan O’Hearn, and others are well known. That should make this next statement noteworthy, considering it’s coming from someone that doesn’t usually see the Royals as rosy as most fans do: they have something with this core. Witt and Melendez are superstars in the making, and guys like Pasquantino, Pratto, Eaton and Massey could absolutely be regular players on playoff teams down the line. I also think Kyle Isbel is a piece and he needs to be playing every day as well. It is vitally important that they continue to play these five guys every single day, because the rest of this season needs to be centered around getting them as much experience as possible. In the offseason, you can go spend some money on pitching pieces, but this lineup has some dynamite potential.
Melendez was the star, as he went 2-for-3 with a career-high 6 RBI. He hit an RBI single in the third, swatted a three-run homer in the fifth inning, and added a pair of sac flies later on. The bottom third of the order - Michael Massey, Nate Eaton, and Kyle Isbel - went 6-for-9 (plus two walks) with 9 runs scored and 5 RBI. Amazing what happens when you let the young guys play!
Here’s your scoring summary: Mike Massey scored on a balk to open things in the third, and Melendez’ RBI single made it 2-0. Melendez hit a three-run bomb in the fifth for a 5-0 lead. Boston scored three straight, but things fell apart on their bullpen in the later innings. The seventh inning saw Nate Eaton and Kyle Isbel hit consecutive triples - the first for the Royals since 2013. Isbel and Melendez (sac fly) got the RBIs. Then, in the eighth, the Royals added six more, with Massey picking up a two-run single for his first career RBIs. Isbel doubled home two runs, Melendez drove in another on another sac fly, and Witt Jr. singled home the final run of the frame. 13 runs.
Brad Keller was also really good on this day, as he skated through six innings by only allowing four hits. He did walk three, but he struck out four and held the Red Sox to one run - a solo home run by Rafael Devers in the sixth. He is 6-12 with the win. Taylor Clarke gave up two runs on a Tommy Pham homer. Another two runs scored in the ninth. 13-5.
The Royals are 44-65. The record is bad, but it really doesn’t matter for the last 50 or so games of the season. Let the young guys play baseball. Rebuilds aren’t supposed to take decades. You can go from bad one year to good the next. Lock Cal Eldred in a closet somewhere and hire anyone else to be this team’s pitching coach. Also, get a manager that’s good at coaching up young guys. With the right acquisitions, coupled with this division being mediocre every year, they could absolutely contend next year. They just need to make smart moves to get there, which for this front office, might prove to be a challenge.
I am fully expecting Mike Matheny’s lineup to feature Hunter Dozier and Ryan O’Hearn tomorrow with at least one of the six guys I listed above riding the pine. But I hope I’m wrong. Not only are the young guys good, they’re entertaining as well. They need to play!
Up next: it’s a tough week for the Royals, as Chicago comes in for four and then the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers are here for the first time since 2014. Tuesday is a double-header, with Brady Singer and Lance Lynn going in game one at 3:10 pm.