Kansas City Royals drop series; Fulmer dominant for Detroit
By Colby Wilson
Michael Fulmer blew through the Kansas City Royals like a hurricane Thursday afternoon. Yet with two outs in the ninth, all was not lost for Ned Yost’s boys.
Not to bury the lede, but the Kansas City Royals lost—badly—Thursday afternoon, dropping a 7-3 contest to Detroit in their first series loss since May. That’s the bad news.
There was worse news in the form of yet another shaky Jake Junis start and a borderline masterpiece from Michael Fulmer, who got 8.2 innings toward a shutout before completely running out of steam.
But there were some actual bright spots in all this, and I thought that instead of descending into the madness that was this game, maybe we’d point some of those out first.
The Kansas City Royals could’ve rolled over and let Fulmer have his shutout. He had breezed through eight innings and the first two outs of the ninth and it was pretty clear that Kansas City had no answers for him.
After routine at-bats by Alcides Escobar (first-pitch pop out) and Alex Gordon (soft groundout to the mound), Ramon Torres worked the count to 1-2 before fouling off four straight offerings and lining a single into left. Jorge Bonifacio singled to right.
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Two men on, two down. Seven run game. No big deal.
Drew Butera pinch-hit for Lorenzo Cain, a curious move on its face which paid dividends when Butera roped a double into the gap to score both Torres and Bonifacio.
A man in scoring position, two down. Five run game. Still nothing worth getting that worked up over.
Eric Hosmer lines one into left, where Justin Upton continues to awkwardly try to play despite mounting evidence that he has no idea how. He misplayed the ball, allowing Butera to score.
A man on. Two down. Four run game. I mean… maybe we’ve got something here?
The Kansas City Royals did not, because the next batter was Brandon Moss. But still. That fighting spirit may be called upon often in the coming months.
The stakes were pretty low, sure, but Neftali Feliz pitched well in his inning of work and Kevin McCarthy made it through the meat of a still-dangerous Tigers lineup and allowed just one run on a J.D. Martinez single. Where a month ago the Royals pen was consistently throwing gas onto the fire each time out, they’ve at least been content lately to merely let the existing blaze burn itself out. Actual firemen may contradict this analogy freely.
The Tigers did score seven runs, six against Jake Junis and all via home run. Upton sent one out in the first, Ian Kinsler homered in the third and Andrew Romine (possibly fictional person) capped it in the fourth.
One could argue that Junis settled down (after staking Detroit to a six-run lead) and made short work of the Tigers in the fifth and sixth, and that’s technically an accurate statement. Just don’t expect a lot of people to agree with it. Six innings, six earned–that speaks for itself.
Next: What could 2018 look like?
After dropping the series to the Tigers, it cannot be overstated how vital the upcoming four-gamer with Minnesota is. Fortunately, Jason Vargas kicks it off tomorrow at 7:15 p.m. (CT) at Kauffman against Ervin Santana.