Royals Recap: Lough Leads Off, Shields Excellent, Offense AWOL


May 17, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics shortstop

Jed Lowrie

(8) attempts to tag out Kansas City Royals right fielder

David Lough

(7) during the eighth inning at O.Co Coliseum. The Oakland Athletics defeated the Kansas City Royals 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

It seems whenever James Shields takes the mound the best he can hope for is a no-decision. Shields pitched an excellent eight innings of baseball, striking out nine, walking one, and allowing only two runs on six hits. The problem was two runs ended up being one too many to allow, and the Oakland Athletics slipped away with the a 2-1 win in game one of the three game set.

On the Mound

Shields, as we mentioned above, was excellent. There has been some fodder about whether Ned Yost should have replaced him after the seventh inning – Shields was at 102 pitches at that point – but you cannot fault Yost for what happened in the eighth. Yes, the bullpen was rested but aside from the one mistake to a hot hitting Josh Donaldson, Shields hadn’t shown a reason to be pulled. At some point the offense has to score some runs, especially against a pitcher who entered the game with an ERA over six.

At the Plate

David Lough, who was recalled from AAA to replace the injured Jarrod Dyson, was 2-for-4 in his debut with a double and an RBI from the leadoff spot. Lough was destroying the ball in Omaha so hopefully that carries over to Major League team.

Lorenzo Cain walked twice. I don’t have much more to add to that other than a Kansas City Royals player not named Billy Butler walked twice in a game. I find this astounding.

You can raise the panic level on Moose and Hoz up another notch. Mike Moustakas is now batting .189/.261/.331 on the season and was 0-for-3 Friday night. Eric Hosmer was 1-for-4 with another single. Hosmer now has an on-base percentage (.322) higher than his slugging percentage (.320).

And with all of that drama, it may now be time to start thinking about slipping Alcides Escobar down the order who is now batting .258/.287/.358 on the season.

This and That

Another trip to Oakland means another meeting between Jeff Francoeur and his favorite road fans. He went out to the parking lot to meet with the “Bacon Tuesday” fans who sit out in right field for most games. A few seasons ago he flipped a baseball with a $100 wrapped to it with a note telling them to buy more bacon and beer. He has also purchased pizzas for the same group.

Omaha reliever Blaine Boyer exercised a clause in contract to become a free agent in order to pursue an opportunity with a Japanese team. He was 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA in 13 appearances.

The loss sends the Royals to 20-18 overall and two games back of the Indians and Tigers for first place in the AL Central.

KC Kingdom Player of the Game

David Lough’s debut earns him KCK POG.

The Athletics

Coming into tonight’s game Jarrod Parker had a 6.86 ERA and allowing 11.7 hits per nine innings. He left tonight’s game with an ERA of 6.04 and allowed just four hits in seven innings. Oakland desperately needs Parker to turn things around if they want to jump back into the AL West race.

Josh Donaldson remains on fire, going two-for-three and smacking his sixth home run of the season in the seventh inning to tie the game. It may be a good idea for the Royals to avoid him for the rest of the series as he is the only A’s player who is having any kind of success at the plate right now.

Up Next

Game two of the series features Ervin Santana (3-2, 2.79) against Tommy Milone (3-5, 3.71). First pitch is scheduled for 8:05.

AL Central Notes

Detroit Tigers (23-17): Detroit used a two-run fifth inning to slip past the Texas Rangers 2-1. Miguel Cabrera was 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI, and Rick Porcello three five and two-thirds innings of one-run ball to earn the win.

Cleveland Indians (23-17): Jason Kipnis hit a walk-off three-run homer two beat the Seattle Mariners 6-3 in 10 innings. Drew Stubbs also had a home run for the Indians while Kenrys Morales and Raul Ibanez each homered for the Mariners.

Minnesota Twins (18-20): Jonny Gomes hit a sacrifice fly to score Dustin Pedroia in the top of the 10th inning to lead the Boston Red Sox over the Twins. Pedro Florimon had a two-run homer in the game in support of Twins starter Vance Worley who allowed just one unearned run in six innings.

Chicago White Sox (19-21): The White Sox shutout a flailing Anaheim Angels 3-0 behind the nasty stuff of Chris Sale, who went seven and two-thirds allowing just three hits and striking out 12. Alex Rios and Adam Dunn each hit home runs in support of Sale.