I really thought that the Royals would surpass the Twins and leave the cellar this week. It didn't happen, but I'm still convinced that it is going to happen. This team is better than the Twins, I have little doubt about that. The week wasn't all bad, they split a four game series with the division leading Detroit Tigers on the road but could only take one of three against the Indians at home.
Game 135: Royals 9 @ Tigers 5
The Royals offense is really beginning to click right now, but you know that things are going well when Sal Perez and Alcides Escobar hit back-to-back home runs. Luke Hochevar had another mediocre start (again) as he allowed 5 earned runs in 7 innings pitched, but he did strike out 7 and walk only 2. Luckily for the Royals, it was more than enough as they plated 9 runs in Detroit to take the series opener.
Game 136: Royals 1 @ Tigers 2
It's deja-vu all over again, the Royals played a one-run game that took extra-innings. This time, they were on the losing end as the offense was suddenly held silent by Tigers pitcher Doug Fister. Jeff Francis did his part as he held the strong Tigers offense scoreless through his 6 innings, but both Greg Holland and Aaron Crow allowed a run. It was just another heart-breaking loss, of which there have been many this season for the Royals.
Game 137: Royals 4 @ Tigers 5
Nate Adcock has done a pretty darn good job considering he had never pitched above A ball prior to this season. This game he was called upon to start and again, he did a pretty darn good job. He went 5.1 innings, allowed 2 earned runs and walked nobody. The suddenly shaky bullpen allowed 3 runs (all by Blake Wood) to surrender the Royals lead in the bottom of the 8th inning. Eric Hosmer was the offensive star as he hit his 13th and 14th home runs of the season.
Game 138: Indians 5 @ Royals 4
Bruce Chen has been pitching very well since he came off of the disabled list, but it was surely just a matter of time until the soft-tossing lefty had a bit of a struggle. That time came in this game as Chen allowed 5 runs on 8 hits in 6 innings. It was almost good enough as the Royals held a 4 run lead going into the bottom of the 5th, but the scoring stopped there. Alex Gordon helped the offensive output by hitting his 20th home run, and short stop Alcides Escobar had a pair of hits in the game as well.
Game 139: Indians 1 @ Royals 5
Now THIS is the kind of game that makes Luke Hochevar a potential ace. He pitched 8 innings while striking out 8, walking 1 and allowing no runs on 3 hits. The offense also held up their end by scoring 5 runs on Indians starter David Huff. Rookie second baseman Johnny Giavotella smacked his 2nd home run and Jeff Francoeur had two hits including his 46th double this season.
Game 140: Indians 9 @ Royals 6
In his second start this week, Jeff Francis wasn't near as effective as he was in the first start. He gave up 4 earned runs in 5 innings and the bullpen followed his lead by giving up another 5 in the final 4 innings of the game. Giving up 9 runs isn't the kind of thing that an offense can overcome, though the Royals did try. They scored 6 runs, including 3 in the 9th but the Royals still came up short. The middle of the lineup did the best they could as Butler, Hosmer and Giavotella combined for 7 hits and 4 RBI.
Position player of the week: Eric Hosmer
Eric Hosmer has shown not only that he belongs in the Major Leagues, but that he is capable of being a star. This week he hit .440/.484/.840 with 3 home runs and 4 walks.
Starting pitcher of the week: Luke Hochevar
Hochevar had two starts this week and had a 3.00 ERA with 15 strikeouts and only 3 walks. He really seems to be taking a step forward this season. While he isn't likely going to be the ace that the Royals envisioned, he has proven he can be a positive contributor in the starting rotation.
Relief pitcher of the week: Everett Teaford
The relievers were not particularly good this week, especially the suddenly struggling Aaron Crow. However Everett Teaford had a pretty solid week as he pitched 3 innings, struck out 2 and allowed no earned runs.
The week to come
The Royals head back on the road following the very brief home stand. They hit the west coast as they visit Oakland to play the Athletics, then onto Seattle and the Mariners. Again the goal is to surpass the Minnesota Twins in the standings, and that's likely going to require a winning road trip, so I'm looking for a 4-3 trip, which is certainly plausible against these two teams.