Royals Recap: Hustle Impresses In 5-3 Loss To Indians


June 25, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar (2) makes a throw to second for an out from his knees against the Atlanta Braves during the fourth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Offense just isn’t coming easy for the Kansas City Royals (43-48) right now. Like in May, the lack of hitting is resulting in losses like the 5-3 defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Indians (50-44) Saturday night. Despite this, the Royals did eventually score 3 runs, 2 of which were because of some terrific hustle. These runs ended a 22-inning scoreless streak.

On the Mound

For 6 of Jeremy Guthrie‘s seven innings, he pitched fairly well. Outside of the 6th inning, Guthrie only allowed 1 run to cross the plate, on 5 hits and 2 walks. In that fateful 6th, 2 hits and an intentional walk set the table for Guthrie to hang an off speed pitch naval-high and in the middle of the plate. Only a Royal batter could miss that pitch. Lonnie Chisenhall isn’t a Royal, so he blasted out of the park. Game over.

At the Plate

The Royals kept adding frames onto their scoreless innings’ streak before finally punching through in the 7th. Miguel Tejada singled in Salvador Perez, moving Lorenzo Cain to third. After a walk to Alex Gordon to get to Alcides Escobar (big surprise), the Royals’ shortstop hit a slow bouncer to his counterpart. Asdrubal Cabrera fielded it cleanly but Escobar was hustling all out and he beat out the throw. Cain scored, and Miguel Tejada, also hustling 100%, scored all the way from second. Those three runs were it for Kansas City.

This and That

The Royals not only went scoreless for 22 innings over three games, but they also have a streak ongoing of 37 innings in which they only scored in 4 individual innings. This covers all of the last 4 games, plus the ninth inning of their 3-1 victory in New York on July 9th.

Alex Gordon made yet another spectacular diving catch, robbing Nick Swisher of a double, and probably 2 RBI, in the first inning.

KC Kingdom Player of the Game

This is strange for me, especially in a game the Royals lost 5-3, but I am awarding co-POG’s today. Alcides Escobar and Miguel Tejada were directly responsible for all three runs but there is more to this award today than that. Two of those runs were strictly due to running and playing hard, and not giving up in any circumstance. The last two runs were scored because Alcides Escobar ran hard out of the box on a soft grounder, as he should. Maybe I am giving him too much credit here for doing his job, but I am quick to criticize his lack of production normally. Let’s not forget his effort.

Miguel Tejada led by example. Not only did he knock in the initial run, but he scored from second on a soft infield hit that his teammate barely beat out. Tejada, 39, was running on the 3-2 pitch, and did not stop at third on the throw, but hustled home to score a run. Tejada is doing his best to show this team how to play the game, and I admire that and his heads up hustle. You don’t see a runner score from second on a cleanly fielded infield hit very often.

May 31, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Kansas City Royals thrird baseman Miguel Tejada (24) fields during the game against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Texas won 7-2. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Indians

Today’s game is very important to the Indians. If they can sweep the Royals, and the Tigers lose to the Rangers, Cleveland will only be a half game out going into the break. They will have to fight off a Royals squad that has to be on the edge of desperation.

Jason Kipnis had another good game against the Royals, going 3-3 with a runs scored and a RBI.

Up Next

James Shields (4-6, 3.12 ERA) will try to salvage the series, the road trip, and maybe the season,  and give the Royals something positive to think about going into the break. A Royal loss and a Tiger win will probably be it for Kansas City in 2013 for they will be 8 games out in that scenario. Shields will face off against Ubaldo Jimenez (7-4, 4.37 ERA) at 12:05.

AL Central Notes

Detroit Tigers (51-42): The Tigers were shut down by the Rangers’ Derek Holland. Detroit only managed 1 run on 5 hits in 7 frames against Holland. Max Scherzer took his first loss of the season and is now 13-1.

Minnesota Twins (38-53): Royal-killer Sam Deduno took his act to New York, where he held the Yankees to 1 run on 6 hits in 7 innings. And I thought he could only do that to the Royals. This halted a 6-game losing skid and is only Minnesota’s second win in July.

Chicago White Sox (34-54): In game one of a double header, Alex Ramirez went 4-6 in a 5-4 victory of the Phillies. In game two, the White Sox reverted back to their woeful offense as they scored in the first inning against Philadelphia and didn’t score again, even though the game went 13. Michael Young had a walk off single in the 13th for the Phillies.