The KC Royals wrapped up a nine-game West Coast road trip in Anaheim Sunday afternoon, celebrating Father’s Day with a 7-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
The Royals struggled against Angels starter J.C. Ramirez early, striking out 6 times in the first 2 innings, but forced him to throw 45 pitches while doing so. The Royals ability to run the pitch count up proved to be beneficial the second time through the order. Torres lead off the 3rd inning with a double, and then walks to Cain and Hosmer loaded the bases for Salvador Perez.
Salvy popped up with 1 down, bringing up Moose in a big spot with 2 outs and the bases juiced. Moose delivered (surprise surprise) by smashing a double into the right-center field gap, scoring all 3 runners.
The Royals came out swinging again in the 4th. Alex Gordon, Ramon Torres, and Jorge Bonifacio all reached to open the inning. Lorenzo Cain then struck out, but after an Eric Hosmer sacrifice fly, Salvador Perez hit a mammoth 3-run homer to dead center.
The Royals’ offense rebounded to steal the show, like they have for much of this West Coast trip.
But the continued success of Jason Vargas should not go unnoticed.
Vargas opened the game by giving up a single to Angels’ leadoff man Cameron Maybin. A first pitch double off the RF wall by Kole Calhoun had the Angels up 1-0 early. Vargas was able to limit the damage, and after the first inning the KC Royals found themselves in a 2-0 hole.
Vargas was really good for the next 4 innings against the Angels’ lineup, then stumbled again in the 6th when the Angels loaded the bases with nobody out, and the Royals bullpen started to go to work. Dr. Vargas was having none of that, and escaped the jam by allowing a single run on a Ben Revere sacrifice fly, making it a 7-3 game.
Despite the minor hiccups, Vargas was really good, again. He struck out three over 6 innings, and hurled his 10th quality start of the year, earning him his 10th win of 2017.
Vargas’ continued success should be really encouraging for Royals fans. No matter if the Royals decide to sell, the Royals need Vargas to be good. The unfortunate injury to Danny Duffy has left a massive void in this Royals rotation, and Jason Vargas has given the Royals a chance to win every single time he goes to the mound.
Whether Vargas ends up being a valuable trade chip, or leads this team to a run in October, the Royals win over the Angels today continues to prove the value that Dr. Vargas brings to this team.
The Royals (33-35) now trail the Cleveland Indians (36-31) by 3.5 games in the AL Central. Kansas City starts a 3 game set with Boston on Monday evening at 7:15 pm at Kauffman Stadium. Cleveland travels to Baltimore for a big four-game set with the Orioles, who are currently in fourth place in the AL East.
Pitching matchups for the Boston series:
Monday- Hammel (3-6, 5.05) vs. Velazquez (1-1, 6.48)
Tuesday- Strahm (2-3, 3.67) vs. Sale (8-3, 2.82)
Wednesday (1:15 start)- Kennedy (1-6, 5.03) vs. Pomeranz (6-4, 4.19)