Royals: Top 5 moments in March/April from 2019 season

(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
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Kansas City Royals
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

Moment #1: Big Opening Day crowd and win

Regardless of team expectations, Opening Day’s are always special.  Baseball games start counting against your record, spring has arrived and even Kansas City Royals fans’ might have a glimmer of hope for a surprise season.

On March 28th, 2019 the Chicago White Sox opened the season in KC.  It was a 3:15 pm game with all the usual pomp and circumstance you would expect for the first game of the year.  It was a decent day as the temperature was 55 degrees and a wind blowing out to centerfield at 11mph.  31,675 packed the K to watch the Boys in Blue.

Taking the mound at the young age of 23 was Brad Keller who was a Rule 5 steal the prior year going 9-6 with a 3.08 ERA as he started 20 games and appeared in relief in another 21 contests.  He would be the second-youngest Opening Day starter in Royals history.

A pitcher’s duel developed between Keller and White Sox starter Carlos Rondon.  No hits allowed by either the first three innings.  Kansas City scratched out a run in the bottom of the fourth as Adalberto Mondesi tripled (after an overturned out call) and Alex Gordon chased him home with a sacrifice fly.

The pitchers dominated again until the bottom of the sixth.  Merrifield singled and stole second and third base and then Gordon was hit by a pitch.  Soler singled home Whit and then surprise addition to the team Frank Schwindel reached on an error which allowed Gordo to score.

The White Sox bullpen gave up two more runs in the seventh frame as Mondesi tripled again, this time scoring Merrifield.  Soler collected another RBI with double that brought Gordon around (he had replaced Mondesi on base due to a fielder’s choice).

Keller pitched seven scoreless innings giving up only two hits and one walk while striking out five.  With a 5-0 lead and 92 pitches thrown, Ned Yost made a call to the bullpen and Ian Kennedy tossed a 1-2-3 inning.

A common theme would play out in the ninth as the Royals bullpen struggled mightily.  The combination of Peralta, Jake Diekman, and Kevin McCarthy allowed three runs and had runners on base before Brad Boxberger ended the game retiring his only batter.

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The Kansas City Royals would win their next game on March 30th and actually spent a day in first place by themselves. The next day would bring a loss and a slip into a tie for first with a 2-1 record. The month of April was brutal and KC would be free-falling to another 100-plus loss season. But for one day, everything was perfect.