You’ve heard the phrase “what happens when an unstoppable force meets an unmovable object?” Regardless, we now have the answer to the phrase “what happens when an unstoppable force meets a movable object?” The answer is: strikeouts, and lots of them, in a rapid-fire fashion.
Many, many, many things went wrong in the Royals’ 11-2 loss. But it was the Royals’ performance against Rangers starter Andrew Heaney that carried the game across the Maginot Line into “embarrassing.” Coming into the game, the 2023 Royals had the sixth-highest strikeout rate in the league, and Heaney struck out an absurd 35.5% of all batters last year.
Bobby Witt Jr. began the game by singling and stole a base. Vinnie Pasquantino walked after Edward Olivares struck out, and Rangers right fielder Adolis Garcia misplayed a Salvador Perez fly ball to allow Witt to score.
But from there, Heaney got a strikeout and another strikeout to end the inning. Then, Heney got another strikeout, and another strikeout, and another strikeout, and another strikeout, and another strikeout, and another strikeout, and another strikeout before Matt Duffy flied out. That is nine (9) consecutive strikeouts, matching an American League record. Alongside Olivares’ first-inning strikeout, that made 10 on the day for Heaney.
Hunter Dozier hit a home run though! That happened!
You might be wondering to yourself, “hey, how did the Rangers score so many runs?” Some of it was bad luck; Travis Jankowski hit a grounder past the shift down the third base side that was the catalyst for a two-run second inning. Some of it was not bad luck, like Dylan Coleman walking four guys in one inning and Jose Cuas coughing up a grand slam ball to Adolis Garcia, who more than made up for his error in the first inning.
But screw all that, you know what we got? We got NATE EATON PITCHING, BABY! Eaton went up to the mound tossing 95 MPH and looking awfully competent. If the Royals can’t get Shohei Ohtani, maybe Eaton can be Ohtani-lite. Eaton pitching was, quite seriously, the highlight of the game, turning in the best position-player-pitching performance I have ever seen.
The Royals stink and are 3-8. There will be more games. Hopefully with Eaton pitching. Hopefully without the Royals losing.