Vargas dominates again in KC Royals win in San Francisco
By Colby Wilson
The stakes (obviously) were lower than the last time the KC Royals visited San Francisco. But beating the Giants, by the bay, is still a satisfactory outcome.
Jason Vargas was fantastic—again—for the KC Royals. This was a late-night game, but I’m pretty certain I didn’t copy-and-paste that from the last time Jason Vargas was awesome.
So steady has been Vargas’ march to the top of the league leaderboard in most relevant categories—and he’s now in prime position to become the first pitcher in either league to 10 wins this season—that I want to make the same plea to FanGraphs’ Jeff Sullivan that I’ve been making the last few weeks.
Namely, that Vargas’ 2017 campaign deserves acknowledgment as having been supremely good. Doesn’t mean Vargas has made some kind of astronomical leap, nor does it mean he’ll be any better than a solid No. 3 for the rest of his career. It’s just that he’s been fantastic from April to mid-June of THIS YEAR.
Which continued in Tuesday’s 8-1 drubbing of the Giants
All that stood between Vargas and a spotless outing was a Brandon Crawford sac fly in the second inning. He went seven innings, scattered five hits and struck out six—which, at this point, is the norm. His ERA is 2.10. He’s beaten the breaks off of everybody all season. I don’t care if his peripheral numbers don’t prove that he’s Roger Clemens circa meeting Brian McNamee.
Jorge Bonifacio put the KC Royals ahead for good in the third with a two-run single, which followed a trio of inning-opening singles from Alcides Escobar, Alex Gordon and… Vargas… on a bunt?!
(There also was a shark sighting. I don’t think Rex and Ryan spend a lot of time near the coast. They were excited. I wish I could provide that link.)
The KC Royals blew the game open in the sixth inning. Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer led off with singles, followed by a Salvador Perez strikeout and infield single from Mike Moustakas. With the sacks full, Escobar doubled to score Cain and Hosmer, putting the Royals up 4-1.
After Ty Blach intentionally walked Alex Gordon and struck out Vargas, he was lifted for Cory Gearrin. Which was probably a good managerial move, except for the part where Whit Merrifield cleared the bases with a triple and then scored on Bonifacio’s single to make it 8-1, where the score would stay for the game’s duration.
(Teeny-tiny shoutout to Travis Wood for tossing two scoreless, hitless innings with the game no longer in doubt. For a guy who has spent much of 2017 with an ERA north of 8.00, that very much counts as progress.)
Jason Hammel meets up with Johnny Cueto, who has to be the most appreciated player in KC Royals history with fewer than one year on the roster, in tomorrow’s 2:45 p.m. (CT) series finale.