KC Royals left fielder Alex Gordon failed to extend his hit streak to 12 games on Sunday. Former teammate Ervin Santana held him hitless in three at bats.
Twins starter Ervin Santana‘s outstanding start was lost in the shuffle due to the Kansas City Royals winning their eighth game in a row. Santana lasted 7.0 innings, while allowing only 5 hits, 1 walk, and 2 earned runs along with 10 strikeouts. He rung up Alex Gordon once after his former teammate entered the game with an 11-game hit streak.
Alex Gordon went 0 for 3 the day after he mashed two home runs and a double against the Twins on Saturday. Despite taking a collar, Gordon is still hitting ,225/.326/.392. While that’s hardly anything to write home about, it’s much better than the .199/.302/.326 he was slashing on August 9.
Despite Santana shutting him down at the plate, Gordon still contributed to the KC Royals 2-1 win on Sunday. Gordon made an outstanding sliding play in the second to save at least one run. He also dove to snare a line drive to rob Jorge Polanco in the sixth.
During his hot streak, Alex Gordon slashed for a ridiculous .432/.523/.919 with 16 hits, 7 walks, 3 doubles, 5 home runs, and 8 RBIs in 37 at bats. He looked locked in for the first time in the 2016 season.
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The 11-game hitting streak turned around what looked to be a lost season for Gordon; it also has alleviated fears that his 4-year, $72 million deal will turn into an albatross for the KC Royals.
While many might dismiss the above sentence as hyperbole, it was a real concern. Gordon’s bat speed looked dead for the first four months of the 2016 season. His whiff rate is 28.2%, which is the highest in his career (even including his awful 2011 season which saw him return to the minors).
In short, it looked like Gordon was trying to guess on the fastball by swinging early. But, in his last 11 games for the Kansas City Royals, it looks like Gordon’s bat speed is back.
One explanation might be that Gordon finally recovered from the broken hand he suffered on May 23 when he collided with teammate Mike Moustakas while chasing a foul ball in Chicago. Many players report losing the strength to drive the ball even after the bone heals.
Alex Gordon has said nothing about struggling with his injury after his return. However, he probably wouldn’t give opponents that information if he had such a problem.
Whatever the reason for Gordon’s long slide, it’s clearly behind him now. He now has the chance to make up for lost production over the season’s final 38 games. If he can play anything like he has over the last 12 days, he could carry the KC Royals to a late playoff run.