The idea all offseason was that the Royals would go only so far as their starting pitching in 2012.
Sure, it’s early, but first impressions are that Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar didn’t get that memo. After Bruce Chen threw six scoreless on Friday night, Hochevar came back to toss a solid game of his own, giving up just two runs in 6.1 innings. He struck out four while walking two, including striking out the side in the fifth. He allowed a baserunner in every inning up to that point, getting help from double plays and pickoffs to get through. The Angels never got to him though, as often happens in a Hochevar start.
Unlike Friday, the Royals got some help from their bats. Dan Haren gave up five runs in 5.1 innings, including homers from Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas. Hosmer’s homer in the fifth was the first of the year for the Royals. Kansas City struck out another nine times, including three from Moustakas, but they put the bat on the ball all day, banging out 12 hits. Humberto Quintero contributed two doubles in his first start as a Royal and Chris Getz had a double and stolen base after coming in as a defensive replacement. He scored on a throwing error after the throw to third sailed into left field on his steal attempt.
That’s a good bounceback after season opener like Friday where they had only managed four hits and the top of their order went hitless with nine strikeouts.
The rubber game is tomorrow afternoon and the Angels should trot out another heavily right-handed lineup against southpaw Jonathan Sanchez. For his career, Sanchez doesn’t have a huge platoon split, but righties have produced a .237/.343/.388 line against him during his career versus a .210/.300/.342 line from lefties.