Matt Strahm’s first start a beauty for KC Royals
By Colby Wilson
At this point, why say anything about the KC Royals recent success? A 15-hit barrage gave the Royals the win on Thursday; three weeks ago, it looked like they couldn’t get 15 hits in batting practice. Now they’re 5-1 on this road trip.
The KC Royals, man. The Royals. Our Royals, the ones that we spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about and speculating on.
A few weeks ago, the conversation was dominated by trade speculation, minor league roster perusals and a general sense that hey, everybody has a down year—so long as it’s not 29 consecutive down years in a row, that should be an acceptable trade-off.
Since the Twins easily handled the Mariners Thursday afternoon, a completed assault on the division standings will have to wait, but that the KC Royals still have a prime opportunity to cut into Minnesota’s lead this weekend.
Most of baseball had written this team off a month ago. HOW DID WE GET HERE?
Thursday, the KC Royals pounded out 15 hits against the Angels. An ineffective Ricky Nolasco “scattered” 10 over six innings, but couldn’t limit the damage opposite Matt Strahm, who made his first start.
Strahm, moving to 2-3 on the season, only threw 68 pitches but he made each one count. During his five innings, he scattered (no sarcastic quotations needed) three hits and an unearned run while striking out three.
Given that this is the same guy who was practically a Section Eight after the season’s first two weeks, I think we’re in a decidedly better place now.
The Strahminator surrendered a run-scoring single in the first to Albert Pujols, but the KC Royals would score four unanswered to take an unassailable lead. Alex Gordon (we’ll save our thoughts on him until the end) fired Kansas City’s opening salvo with a run-scoring double that scooted past Kole Calhoun’s glove in the second, then Our Lord and Savior Whit Merrifield doubled him home two pitches later to put the good guys in front.
Lorenzo Cain led off the third with a home run, then Gordo cranked a big fly an inning later with two down. For Gordon, it signaled the high point in a 3-for-5 night that left him a triple shy of the cycle and just a few hits away from going over the Mendoza line for the first time in 2017.
Gordon’s three hits led the KC Royals, but he was hardly alone in the multi-hit parade—Merrifield, Cain, Salvador Perez, Mike Moustakas and Alcies Escobar also had multi-hit nights.
After Scott Alexander replaced Strahm in the sixth, the Angels tacked on a run via Yunel Escobar single, but that would be all for our (extremely gracious) hosts. An inning later, Eric Hosmer doubled home Cain then Moustakas brought Hosmer and Perez (who reached via a Bermuda Triangle situation that landed between a cast of dozens of Angels) with a single to end the offensive output for the KC Royals.
(Honestly, this was probably unfair to the Angels, who don’t have Mike Trout and are screwed in the same general sense that any Mike Trout-less team might be.)
Next: The Kauffman Homer Conundrum
Joakim Soria and Travis Wood closed it out with two innings of one-hit ball for the KC Royals, who will toss out Ian Kennedy and his 0-6 record at 9:07 p.m. (CT), Friday. Jesse Chavez will be his opposite number.