The Kansas City Royals managed to keep reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber winless for the year. With a 7-4 victory, Kluber was hung with the loss that now drops his season record to 0-5 in seven starts. By allowing 5 runs over 5 2/3 innings, his ERA rose to an un-majestic 5.04 and it has only been getting worse.
On the mound for the Royals was darling of the staff Edinson Volquez, who also pitched himself into a dilly of a pickle. After forming a blister on his thumb Volquez was yanked after only completing 3 innings.
Our two best pitchers so far, Volquez and Duffy, went out and combined for four total innings of terrible baseball, but the Royals still won one of them and the series – their sixth (6-2-1) in nine series, remaining in first place at 18-10, one-half game ahead of Detroit, who the Royals begin a three-game series tonight in Detroit, featuring the return of Yordano Ventura from his seven-game suspension.
Volquez saw his ERA rise to 2.65. So even with this game he still has a pretty sparkling resume. Ned Yost said after the game that the trainers indicated he should not miss any time due to the blister and is expected to make his next start.
There were some GOOD things to happen for the Royals in this game that have greater implications than simply one win, including Eric Hosmer hitting an absolute rocket to center field for his fifth home run on the season and his second first-inning three-run HR of the series. Hosmer raised his season line to an incredible .324/.403/.565. He didnt hit his 5th HR until game 90 last year – or, 62 more games than this year.
Two pitchers made their returns this game, Luke Hochevar and Greg Holland. Holland had been out since April 17th with a pectoral strain and threw one perfect frame in his return. Hochevar missed all of 2014 after undergoing Tommy John surgery to repair his throwing arm. Hochevar managed a perfect frame himself, even striking out two batters after not having pitched in a year and a half. Having a healthy Hochevar adds one more formidable arm in an already stacked bullpen. Papa Hoch had a 1.92 ERA in 70+ innings during the 2013 season, and had risen to the role now held by Wade Davis.
Franklin Morales got back on the horse after a having a rough outing in Wednesdays matchup and threw two innings of one-hit ball with two strikeouts and no runs.
Omar Infante managed to break out of his recent funk somewhat, collecting an important double to score a couple of much needed runs.
One of the dark spots in the lineup was newly assigned leadoff man Alex Gordon having two strikeouts. In his last three games, he has struck out seven times including six in the last two days.
Mike Moustakas had a 3 for 4 day, and is attempting to keep pace with Hosmer atop the Royals offensive leader board, improving his line to .327/.392/.460.
Also of note: The Royals have acquired catcher Drew Butera from the Angels in exchange for minor league infielder Ryan Jackson. Butera fills the shoes of Eric Kratz who was placed on the DL with a foot injury. Francisco Pena will be sent back down and can continue working on development as a catcher instead of riding pine behind Salvador Perez. Eric Kratz had only amassed 4 AB on the season before being hurt, running down the line in his only AB on Sunday.
Kelvin Herrera had his suspension reduced and began serving a 6-game suspension Thursday.
Alcides Escobar has still not returned from a concussion he suffered after being struck in the ear hole last Wednesday in an at bat against Danny Salazar. Christian Colon has filled in, and has done an acceptable job. While not overwhelming with his bat (.255/.314/.319) he has been adequate on defense, which about all anyone can ask of a utility infielder.
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- Luke is a blogger/administrator at Royals Blue