Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Jason Vargas (51) Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Vargas Pitches The Kansas City Royals Into First Place

 

 

Jason Vargas was stellar once again as the Kansas City Royals (8-7) shutout the Minnesota Twins (8-8) by the score, 5-0. What a difference 4 days can make early in the season. Royals fans, including this one, bemoaned about everything that was wrong about the team. Now, Kansas City is in a tie with the Detroit Tigers for first place, who are 7-6, and are a few tiny percentage points ahead of the Royals due to 2 less games played.

On the Mound

For the fourth straight start, Jason Vargas was brilliant. He pitched 7 innings, allowed 7 hits, 1 walk, and he struck out 4. He pitched out of trouble in the 1st, and was probably left in too long in the 7th, but he ended his night with the shutout in place. He lowered his ERA after 4 starts to 1.24, and he has pitched at least 7 innings in each appearance as a Royal.

Aaron Crow and Louis Coleman each went an inning, keeping the Twins off the scoreboard.

At the Plate

In the 6th, two guys who have been slow to get things going early this season, were instrumental in in providing some insurance runs. The runs themselves proved to be unnecessary, but when Billy Butler singled, and Mike Moustakas ripped a line drive home run, it gave us all hope that both are are their way back to being what the Royals need them to be.

Alcides Escobar raised his season average to .294 by going 3 for 3 with 2 runs scored. Omar Infante went 2-4 with 2 RBI, and Eric Hosmer added 2 hits.

This and That

The Royals are 8-0 this season when they score 4 runs or more. Conversely, they are 0-7 when they score 3 or less runs.

Alcides Escobar started the season by going 0-14 in the first 4 games. In the 11 games since, he is hitting .405 (15-37). While he is red hot with a .919 OPS in that stretch, he has not walked at all (walked once in the 1st game of the season, but not since), and has Batting Average on Ball in Play of .469. Still, if he can maintain his average around the .290 mark, as he did in 2012, it would be extremely valuable to the Royals.

Alex Gordon continues to play Gold Glove defense in left field. He took a routine double by Josmil Pinto, in one of the deepest parts of Kauffman Stadium, and delivered the ball to second, where it was waiting when Pinto arrived. He also made a running, tumbling catch, and another when he crashed into the wall in foul territory. This guy is something else.

KC Kingdom Player of the Game

What more can we say about the early season work produced by Jason Vargas. His 7 innings of scoreless excellence earns him his team leading fourth Player of the Game. Other candidates include Alcides Escobar, Omar Infante, Mike Moustakas, and Alex Gordon for his outstanding defense.

The Twins

Ricky Nolasco, who shut down the Royals a week ago, was roughed up in this one. He went just 5.2 innings surrendering all 5 runs on 11 hits. He struck out 3 and walked none. For the second straight night, the Royals were unable to get a hit against their opponents’ bullpens. In these last 2 games, KC has zero hits in 5.1 innings against the relievers.

Josmil Pinto was the only Twin with 2 hits, and he was thrown out at second on one of them.

Up Next

Bruce Chen (0-1, 6.30 ERA), who had this start pushed back from Thursday, is slated to start for the Royals. Kevin Correia (0-1, 5.30 ERA) will go for the Minnesota Twins. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 Central.

 

Batting AB R H RBI BB SO BA OPS
Darin Mastroianni LF 4 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .083
Brian Dozier 2B 4 0 1 0 0 1 .210 .818
Joe Mauer 1B 4 0 1 0 0 0 .277 .735
Chris Colabello RF 4 0 1 0 0 0 .350 .950
Trevor Plouffe 3B 4 0 0 0 0 0 .288 .801
Josmil Pinto DH 3 0 2 0 1 0 .243 .918
Kurt Suzuki C 4 0 1 0 0 1 .256 .668
Aaron Hicks CF 3 0 1 0 0 1 .189 .528
Pedro Florimon SS 2 0 1 0 0 0 .132 .425
   Jason Kubel PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 .333 .924
   Eduardo Escobar SS 0 0 0 0 0 0 .214 .429
Team Totals 33 0 8 0 1 5 .242 .507

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table

TB: J Pinto 2; K Suzuki; P Florimon; C Colabello; B Dozier; J Mauer; A Hicks.
GIDP: J Mauer (2).
Team LOB: 7.
With RISP: 0 for 3.
Fielding
Outfield Assists: C Colabello (E Hosmer at 2nd base).
Batting AB R H RBI BB SO BA OPS
Nori Aoki RF 4 1 1 0 0 1 .264 .724
Omar Infante 2B 4 0 2 2 0 0 .275 .673
Eric Hosmer 1B 4 0 2 1 0 0 .298 .734
Salvador Perez C 4 0 0 0 0 0 .278 .778
Alex Gordon LF 4 0 1 0 0 0 .268 .722
Billy Butler DH 3 1 1 0 1 1 .170 .428
   Jimmy Paredes PR-DH 0 0 0 0 0 0
Mike Moustakas 3B 4 1 1 2 0 0 .140 .518
Justin Maxwell CF 4 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .091
Alcides Escobar SS 3 2 3 0 0 0 .294 .680
Team Totals 34 5 11 5 1 4 .324 .813

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table

2B: A Escobar (4, off R Nolasco); A Gordon (5, off R Nolasco).
HR: M Moustakas (2, off R Nolasco; 6th inn, 1 on, 1 out to Deep CF-RF).
TB: M Moustakas 4; A Escobar 4; A Gordon 2; E Hosmer 2; O Infante 2; B Butler; N Aoki.
RBI: M Moustakas 2 (5); O Infante 2 (7); E Hosmer (5).
2-out RBI: O Infante.
Team LOB: 6.
With RISP: 4 for 8.
Fielding
DP: 1. O Infante-A Escobar-E Hosmer.
Outfield Assists: A Gordon (J Pinto at 2nd base).
Pitching IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA Pit Str
Ricky Nolasco, L (1-2) 5.2 11 5 5 0 3 1 6.08 108 75
Michael Tonkin 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2.70 2 2
Jared Burton 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 12.00 11 7
Brian Duensing 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 13 8
Team Totals 8 11 5 5 1 4 1 5.62 134 92
Pitching IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA Pit Str
Jason Vargas, W (2-0) 7 7 0 0 1 4 0 1.24 113 71
Aaron Crow 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 12 8
Louis Coleman 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 3.86 15 11
Team Totals 9 8 0 0 1 5 0 0.00 140 90

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table

Balks: None.
WP: None.
HBP: None.
IBB: None.
Pickoffs: None.
Follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.

Tags: Alcides Escobar Alex Gordon Jason Vargas Kansas City Royals

comments powered by Disqus