Royals Drop Second Game to White Sox
First the good news. Unlike on Opening Day, the Royals crossed the plate (twice even) on Wednesday afternoon. The bad news: unlike Monday’s game, the Royals gave more than one run.
Apr 3, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Kansas City Royals left fielder Alex Gordon (4) climbs the wall to try and catch a ball hit for a home run by Chicago White Sox left fielder Dayan Viciedo (not pictured) in the fourth inning at U.S. Cellular Field. The Chicago White Sox defeated the Kansas City Royals 5-2. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Ervin Santana brought two concerns with him to Kansas City. First, would he stay healthy? Second, would he again approach 40 home runs allowed? On Wednesday, he didn’t do much to allay the fears presented by the second question. Santana surrendered first-pitch leadoff homers to Adam Dunn in the second inning and later to game one hero Tyler Flowers in the third inning. In the fourth, Dayan Viciedo went deep with Dunn on base after Santana’s only walk (though Alex Gordon tried his best to keep it in the yard).
After another leadoff solo homer off Luke Hochevar, the White Sox had put up five runs, enough to carry the 5-2 victory.
Despite the homers (if you’re one to look for the bright side), Santana struck out eight batters and only walked one. He was working with a 90-91 mph fastball, but, though both leadoff homers were on 89 mph fastballs. Otherwise he gave up only two other base hits. That’s probably no consolation to Santana and the Royals, though.
Chris Getz scored the first run of the Royals season in the top of the third by reaching on an error by Alexei Ramirez, then scored after Viciedo bobbled a ball in left field following an Alcides Escobar single. They scored again after an Alex Gordon ground rule double and ground outs from Escobar and Billy Butler than got him home.
The Royals worked White Sox starter Jake Peavy, driving up his pitch count early, but he struck out six and walked nobody, so he wasn’t taxed with many baserunners and had a fairly comfortable day. The White Sox bullpen held the Royals in check but not before escaping a jam.
Leading off the seventh, Eric Hosmer reached on an error in left field and moved to third on a Lorenzo Cain single. After a Jeff Francoeur strike out, the White Sox brought in left-handed Donnie Veal to face Getz and Gordon, only to see Miguel Tejada instead, pinch-hitting for Getz. Tejada walked in his first Royals plate appearance, but flyouts from Gordon and Escobar squandered the bases loaded situation.
The Royals never threatened again, going down in order in the top of the eighth and ninth.
A few things I take away from the game: Eric Hosmer saw 23 pitches in four plate appearances to lead the team, including a nine pitch at bat in the second inning against Peavy. Through two games (small sample size alert), he’s at least fouling off pitches and keeping at bats alive and he’s staying patient. Ideally, that signifies that he feels comfortable, but we’ll have to keep an eye on his progress.
Jeff Francoeur saw 11 pitches, grounding out on one pitch in the third inning, then on two pitches in the ninth to end the game. In the seventh inning, he saw three pitches, but the snarky response is to note that it was only because he struck out swinging at all three.
Hochevar’s inning included the following outcomes, in order: home run, single, walk, sacrifice bunt, runner out at home after wild pitch and line out. He could have had better bullpen debuts.
Tomorrow, the Royals try to avoid a sweep, sending Jeremy Guthrie against Gavin Floyd.