For the third straight week, the Kansas City Royals won at least haif the games they played. It's a nice stretch that has included some very tough teams. Last week began with the Royals proving they were better than the Baltimore Orioles and ended with them showing that they are not too far from the Detroit Tigers. It was a great week of games and included some a couple of Major League debuts. I know that many casual fans have drifted towards the upcoming football season, but good things are happening for baseball fans in Kansas City.
2 Indians -4.0
3 White Sox -5.5
4 Twins -10.0
5 Royals -12.0
Game 109: Orioles 8 @ Royals 2
Royals starter Bruce Chen was pushed out of the game early as he hit 115 pitches before the completion of the 5th inning. He combined with Louis Coleman to allow 4 runs in 8 innings, but Everett Teaford allowed 4 of his own in the 9th. Most of the runs were superfluous as the Royals offence could only muster 2 runs. Melky Cabrer and Eric Hosmer each had a pair of hits and both of Hosmer's went for extra-bases. Still, the Royals weren't able to figure out O's starter Alfredo Simon and took the loss.
Game 110: Orioles 2 @ Royals 6
Luke Hochevar is showing more and more why the Royals picked him at the top of the draft. He put together a masterful performance to shut down the Orioles in this game as he went 7 innings and struck out 7 while allowing 4 hits and 1 walk. It's the kind of outing you need from a top of the rotation starter. He was backed up by Greg Holland, who did what he does. - strike everyone out and not allow baserunners. The offense did their job as Butler hit his 13th home run, Escobar his 5th triple and Gordon his 32nd and 33rd doubles. Rookie catcher Manny Pina made his debut as he also collected a pair of hits.
Game 111 Orioles 4 @ Royals 9
This game was a hitfest as the teams combined for 30 hits. The Royals collected 17 of that 30 thanks to a 4 hit night for Alex Gordon and a 3 hit night for Jeff Francoeur. More importantly, the Royals plated 9 runs to their opponents 4 to take the series. Jeff Francis had a rough night as he allowed 4 runs in 5 innings. However, he was picked up by the reliable bullpen which allowed 0 runs in their 4 innings of work.
Game 112: Tigers 4 @ Royals 3
The Royals were baffled by Tigers starter Rick Porcello through 6 innings, however they found something in the 7th as they plated 3 runs to tie the game. The scoring began with a 2 run single from Johnny Giavotalla, who was making his Major League debut. Royals starter Felipe Paulino got over a shaky start and allowed only 3 runs as well. The game was knotted going into extra-innings. Unfortunately, the Tigers scratched a run across on reliever Aaron Crow and the Royals were shut down in the bottom of the 10th.
Game 113: Tigers 4 @ Royals 3
It was a tall order for Royals rookie starter Danny Duffy. He had to face a potent Tigers offense and try and beat their ace pitcher Justin Verlander. While he didn't succeed in either of those endeavors, he does seem to be improving and becoming more comfortable in his role. He gave up 3 runs in 5 innings, but the Royals were still in the game when he departed. The offense came up pretty empty against Verlander as Jeff Francoeur was the only player to have a multi-hit night. They did make the best out of their 5 hits by scoring 3 runs, but it came up just short.
Game 114: Tigers 3 @ Royals 4
Bruce Chen book-ended the week on the mound and made up for a poor start by finishing strong. He held the Tigers to 3 runs in 5 innings while striking out 5 and walking none. The fireworks, however were on offnense as rookie Johnny Giavotella had a monster day with a home run and a double off of Tigers starter Max Scherzer.Outfielders Alex Gordon and Jeff Francoeur did their part on defense as they each picked up another outfield assist.
Position player of the week: Johnny Giavotella
Yes, he only played in 3 games, but he made a significant impace. Plus he gets bonus points for having his Major League debut and for booting Chris Getz from the lineup. In his 3 games, he had a home run, a walk, a stolen base and 2 doubles. The kid can rake, the question remains whether his defense can hold it's own at this level. If he can continue to hit well, it won't matter.
Starting pitcher of the week: Luke Hochevar
Back to back fantastic weeks for Luke Hochevar, how long has it been since we've seen that? He's showing signs that he has figured a thing or two out in terms of dealing with runners. If he can work out that kink, he'll be worthy of a high draft pick and hold down a solid spot in the rotation for years to come. This week, he struck out 7 and allowed 1 earned run in 7 innings of work.
Relief pitcher of the week: Greg Holland
Holland is the Royal reliever with the lowest walk rate, highest strikout rate and lowest hit rate on the team. He leads the team in ERA and averages over 11 strikeouts per 9 innings. He gets over-looked due to Soria's long-term succes and Aaron Crow's draft status and All-Star appearance, but he's the best reliever on the team right now. Last week, he threw 5.0 innings and struck out 5 while walking only 1.
The week to come
The Royals hit the road this week as they visit Tampa Bay and Chicago to face the White Sox. They'll need to win some games this week, because it gets very difficult the following week as they face New York and Boston.
8/8-8/11 @ Tampa Bay 8/12-8/14 @ Chicago