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.
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.
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.
- Salvador Perez
- Jason Vargas – 4
- Alex Gordon – 2
- Bruce Chen
- James Shields-2
- Yordano Ventura – 2
- Mike Moustakas
- Danny Duffy
- Omar Infante
- Mike Moustakas
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.
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.
|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|
|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|
|Ricky Nolasco, L (1-2)||5.2||11||5||5||0||3||1||6.08||108||75|
|Jason Vargas, W (2-0)||7||7||0||0||1||4||0||1.24||113||71|