Tonight begins the future of the Kansas City Royals. As Eric Hosmer makes his debut, many thousands of baseball fans will be watching or listening, both at Kauffman Stadium and around the country/world. In an effort to give this momentous occasion some coverage for you fans, we at Kings of Kauffman are running this live blog to keep you updated on all the occurrences of the Hosmer debut and the Royals game around it. And I don’t want to miss out on mentioning the returns of Coco Crisp and, more importantly, David DeJesus to the K.
So, stay tuned and feel free to talk with me via the comments as I document a piece of Royals history.
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6:24 - Nick Wright had some great coverage on 610 Sports this afternoon. He was mentioning that Mike Moustakas was the player at Omaha that was the most excited for Hosmer. Also, Robert Ford later aired an interview with Dayton Moore in which Moore talked about the benefits of promoting prospects when the team is winning. Moore also stressed that they want to put the best team on the field and Hosmer allows them to do so.
6:30 - Lefties are batting .220/.289/.317 against Athletics starter Gio Gonzalez with 13 strikeouts in 45 plate appearances. He’s only given up one double and one home run to lefties. That’s something to watch with Hosmer’s appearances.
6:39 - With Omaha, Hosmer hit .500/.568/.813 against lefty pitchers with a double, three home runs, five walks, and six strikeouts.
6:41 - In an interview with 610 Sports, Yost said that Hosmer is a “very polished player” that can excel at all parts of the game. He likes his even more than he liked the Brewers’ Ryan Braun when Yost was the Milwaukee manager.
6:50 - Before the game starts, make sure to catch up on your Hosmer news with the recent articles about Hosmer here at Kings of Kauffman, which are listed here.
6:59 - Hosmer: “It’s unbelievable. I’ll be playing here tonight in Kansas City and I’m excited.”
7:02 - Hosmer: “I don’t think it’s still really clicked in that I’m going to play a major league game…I get to debut in Kansas City in front of the fans, so I’m excited.”
7:04 - If you think Hosmer didn’t have enough plate appearances at Omaha to earn a promotion, he’s at least in a better position than the Giants’ Brandon Belt, who saw just 61 PAs at AAA in 2010 before starting with San Francisco on Opening Day 2011. Hosmer had 97.
7:10 - Play ball! Sean O’Sullivan starts us out with a ball.
7:11 - Hosmer and Gio both got hair cuts at the K today. Anyone know if they have a professional barber? Just curious.
7:13 - Glad that the fans cheered for DeJesus. He was always such a good guy for the Royals.
7:15 - O’Sullivan is doing about what you’d expect from him. Nice to see DeJesus and Hosmer chatting at first, though.
7:17 - O’Sullivan is one of those guys that I feel like I could see at a bar and never even remotely guess he’s a pitcher.
7:18 - Hosmer takes a grounder and throws to Alcides Escobar to start the double play, which ends back with Hosmer. Good start!
7:23 - I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Mike Aviles is making up for his slow start…even with the strikeout there. He’s hitting .378/.400/.757 in his last 40 plate appearances.
7:24 - Gordon hits a bomb to left center, much to the delight of the large crowd. It’s good to hear some loud cheering.
Royals up 1-0
7:27 - As Buster Olney said on Twitter, lefties had hit only one home run against Gonzalez in 41 plate appearances before Gordon’s jack.
7:29 - Here‘s a picture of Hosmer starting the double play in the first inning.
7:31 - This just in: Escobar is not Yuniesky Betancourt.
7:33 - MLB.tv is running ads for Umpire School during commercial breaks. Any takers?
7:34 - Big ovation from fans with most standing for Hosmer. Gotta love that.
7:35 - Hosmer was on a 95 MPH fastball down the chute.
7:36 - Works the count full after going to 1-2 and takes a walk in his first plate appearance.
7:39 - Betemit hits into a double play; Hosmer out at second.
7:43 - The good thing about what O’Sullivan has done lately is that he’s mostly keeping the ball on the ground. When it makes a mistake it’s rarely a huge mistake. That’s the kind of thing you want to see from him.
7:45 - Coco Crisp’s stance reminds me of Kevin Youkilis’ in its mind-numbing strangeness.
7:50 - Crisp still has a terrible arm, but that was a nice rip by Escobar to deep left center.
7:51 - Aviles gets the triple he wanted Wednesday night by bouncing one off the wall in right center, bringing Treanor home from first.
Royals up 2-0
7:54 - The replay of Gordon’s home run swing makes me realize just how strong the guy is. Doesn’t look like a standard homer swing, but the ball just flies off the bat. Add in the fact that it’s against a lefty and to the opposite field, and this is definitely a different Alex Gordon than we’ve seen in the past.
7:56 - Nice to see a crowd like this tonight. They haven’t announced a number yet, but I haven’t seen that many people there since the first series of the season.
7:58 - Alcides Escobar is everywhere.
8:02 - Jeff Francoeur is a good guy. Apparently, he introduced himself to Hosmer’s parents and told them he’d lend Hosmer a suit until he could get one of his own. He then said Hosmer would be well taken care of.
8:03 - Hosmer’s mom, who filmed every one of his high school at bats, is filming them again tonight.
8:04 - Hosmer works another full count from 2-1 before taking another walk.
8:06 – Hosmer steals a base! He absolutely took off. Already in tune with the aggressive running of these Royals.
8:08 - Betemit not making Hosmer run too much tonight as he strikes out again. Anyway, Hosmer looks like his pitch recognition is well-tuned. It seems like he may have some adjustments to do just to connect on major league pitching, but that’s to be expected. Fouled a couple off tonight and waits for his pitch. We’ll see what happens during his next PA.
8:12 - O’Sullivan may be seeing things unravel here. Athletics are just putting them where the Royals aren’t.
Royals up 2-1 after three straight A’s singles
8:15 - Ellis knocks a liner deep to left. Gordon at least gets the glove on the ball. Could’ve caught it, but had he not touched it, that’s a run.
Tie game at 2 after double play ball with bases loaded
8:18 - I will say this: O’Sullivan is locating pretty well. Every once in a while, the ball is just a bit too hittable, as Crisp hits a grounder that gets a force out at second.
Athletics up 3-2
8:21 - Matt Treanor guns down Crisp on a steal attempt and Crisp is furious. Have to wait for the replay to see for sure, but the ball was in there in time to get him. Looked like a play that could easily go either way.
8:25 - Jarrod Dyson is joking around with Hosmer in the dugout. That’s the advantage of having some of those younger guys around. They’re good guys for the promoted prospects to talk to.
8:28 - Aviles took off and Gonzalez threw to first, but A’s first baseman Conor Jackson dropped the ball (literally) and Aviles gets his base. Would’ve been a rundown or straight out otherwise. Sometimes, fortune favors the brave.
8:32 - Escobar throws to Hosmer for the out. It’s a recurring theme tonight. also, I’m okay with hearing that for the foreseeable future.
8:34 - Hosmer is already showing considerable growth of his Spring Training beard. That’s just since yesterday. Impressive.
8:40 - Noticeably absent tonight is Billy Butler’s bat. However, Francoeur is luckily in with a double. The throw from DeJesus in right skipped by LaRoche. Runner in scoring position for Hosmer.
8:41 - The “Let’s Go Hosmer” chants have begun.
8:42 - Hosmer strikes out looking on three pitches. Gonzalez really hit his spots there.
8:45 - O’Sullivan has compiled zero strikeouts through seven innings, but has only walked one (the very first batter) and has induced 12 groundouts to six flyouts. Anytime he gives you that, you better get some runs to support that good outing. Royals need to take their opportunity here as Gonzalez tires.
8:50 - Gonzalez still pitching strong as he strikes out Treanor. Sidenote: keep an eye on the St. Louis-Milwaukee game.
8:52 - Alcides Escobar uses his speed to beat Gonzalez to first for an infield single on a grounder to Jackson. Time to make something of this.
8:57 - Aviles strikes out on a checked swing, ending the threat. Gonzalez now has thrown 110 pitches, though, so the Royals might have a better chance facing the Athletics’ relievers from here on out.
9:03 - O’Sullivan finishes off a quick eighth inning with two groundouts and one flyout. Really nice outing for him, as he’s only thrown 89 pitches to this point. Royals should reward his hard work with a win tonight.
9:05 - Grant Balfour, formerly of the Rays, in for the Athletics. He’s pitched pretty well so far this year.
9:08 - Melky works a full count after a 1-2 count and then strikes out on a seventh-pitch fastball on the outside corner.
9:10 - Gordon grounds out to first after three pitches.
9:13 – Butler pops out on the eighth pitch of his at bat, making Balfour throw 16 pitches in the inning. To the ninth!
9:15 - Tim Collins is brought in to relieve O’Sullivan and face some lefties. He’s apparently being turned into a LOOGY.
9:18 - Jackson has flown out to Francoeur three times tonight. He’s trying to buck the groundout trend.
9:21 - Brian Fuentes is in for the Athletics to try to finish this off. Francoeur, Hosmer, and Betemit due up.
9:24 - Francoeur pops out for the first out of the ninth.
9:27 - Hosmer takes some good cuts on fouls and works a full count from 1-2, but is called out on a strike just outside and low…
9:29 - Betemit pulls off a single to left center on the fourth pitch of his at bat. Nice to see Dyson, who comes in to run for Betemit. I wonder if he’ll steal…
9:30 - Unsurprisingly, Dyson steals. And more unsurprisingly, he’s safe. That’s what speed do.
9:31 - Treanor chops one to third and the throw is barely in time to first baseman Conor Jackson, who took a hard hit from a charging Treanor. Jackson’s arm was in the base path and really got torqued around. That’s on Jackson there.
Athletics win 3-2
In the end, Hosmer looked good out there. He showed discipline. He made (mostly) good swings. The two strikeouts were called and on a strike on the edge and a ball. He has the ability. The next challenge will be getting the ball into play. This Athletics rotation is tough, but we should see that before long.