The KC Royals looked like a contender Wednesday afternoon in yet another demolition of the San Francisco Giants. As often as we’ve said that, is it starting to come true?
The story is not the final score (7-2), nor is it the fact that the KC Royals have quietly crept within a handful of games of the (admittedly putrid) AL Central lead.
It’s that, after six weeks of constantly coming up with new ways to lose and disappoint the fanbase, the Royals have quietly elected to stop sucking and start doing that thing where they beat teams they’re supposed to beat. Case in point, a Giants team going nowhere.
(Quick aside: Did the Giants contract some kind of team-wide virus? There’s no reason that team should be this bad. I’m not the only one who thinks that, right? The Giants are bad.)
This West Coast road trip is off to a 4-1 start after sweeping the Giants. A four-game trip down the coast a Mike Trout-less Angels squad could vault the KC Royals near the top of the Central—a sweep would get them back to .500 on the season. It’s not improbable that the Royals could get back to .500; it’s improbable that it could possibly happen so quickly after a lackluster start.
The long ball undid former KC Royals World Series hero Johnny Cueto in this one, as he allowed a trio in the first three innings. Mike Moustakas got it started with a solo splashdown in the second…
… while Jorge Bonifacio and Lorenzo Cain went back-to-back in the span of three pitches in the next inning.
The lone run surrendered by Jason Hammel came in the fourth on an Austin Slater single, which scored Brandon Crawford. Hammel keeps improving, posting quality starts in four of his last five outings; given that he started his KC Royals tenure as an outright tire fire, Hammel projects to improve to soul-crushingly mediocre by the All-Star break.
Bonifacio would grow the lead with an RBI double in the sixth, while Cain (single) and Moustakas (sac fly) would push the lead out to six runs in the eighth.
(Jorge has been one of the AL’s better rookie batters, right? Obviously, Aaron Judge is sucking the air out of the room and Chicago’s Matt Davidson has had some power moments, and Trey Mancini and Andrew Benitendi are playing roles for contenders. Since mid-May, Bonifacio is slashing .284/.346/.558 with seven homers and 17 RBI in 25 games. Who would’ve thought Bonifacio would be the most successful Jorge in Kansas City through mid-June?)
Eduardo Nunez drove in Aaron Hill in the ninth to conclude the scoring for San Francisco—the third time in five June appearances that Kelvin Herrera has given up at least one run. But I’m not worried. Are you worried? You shouldn’t be worried.
Matt Strahm will make his first big-league start against the Angels in the series opener, Thursday. He’ll face Ricky Nolasco, who… 2-7, 4.81 ERA. Maybe the Angels should consider a first-timer too. Anyway, first pitch is 9:07 p.m. (CT) in Anaheim.