Royals Recap: Santana & Bullpen Combine For 2-Hitter


The post All-Star break portion of the season started out well for the Kansas City Royals (44-49) on Friday. Despite a tepid offense, the pitching and defense were absolutely brilliant during the 1-0 shutout of the division leading Detroit Tigers 52-43).

Jul 19, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Ervin Santana (54) delivers a pitch in the fifth inning of the game against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

On the Mound

Ervin Santana was tremendous throughout the night. He allowed but 3 base runners on the evening, giving up 2 hits and a walk in 7.1 strong frames. Lorenzo Cain helped him out with two excellent catches in the deepest part of the field, right on the center field wall. Santana struck out six.

Kelvin Herrera was recalled before last night’s outing and he came through, stranding the lone inherited runner while striking out 1 or the two batters he faced. All-Star closer Greg Holland had to work to gain his 23rd save, throwing 29 pitches to the 3 batters he retired.

At the Plate

Much like the rest of the season, the offense was on idle. The Royals scored the only run of the night in the 1st inning when Billy Butler singled home All-Star Alex Gordon. The Royals left 8 on base  on the evening with the biggest culprit being Alcides Escobar, who had 5 of those.

This and That

Chris Getz went 0-2 with a walk in his return to the line-up. Many fans, including myself, find his presence on the roster a huge puzzle. I see very little positives about the fact the Royals deemed him the best option for second base, or for even being on the roster at all. The Royals flat out lied about Johnny Giavotella getting a shot to play second base every day, and even if the Moore and company have decided Gio is not the answer and never will be, I find it difficult to believe Getz is a better option than Irving Falu or the newly acquired Pedro Ciriaco. I just don’t understand why they continue to cling to Getz. There is nothing special about his play or skill set at all.

The Royals now trail the Tigers by 7 games and the Indians by 5.5. The fact remains the Royals still need to sweep the Tigers to have a shot at all to crawl back into the divisional race.

KC Kingdom Player of the Game

Though Cain had a big hand in maintaining the shutout with his outstanding defense throughout the night, Ervin Santana was great. His performance will either ramp up his value on the trade market, or fortify the Royals’ belief they must retain him for the rest of the year no matter what happens in the next 10 days. Most likely, both will happen and Santana and the Royals go nowhere.

Jun 29, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Kansas City Royals right fielder Lorenzo Cain (6) catches a fly ball in the fifth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers

The Tigers have the top offense in the American League but could only manage two hits Friday. Torii Hunter and native Kansan Andy Dirks each singled in the game. Jhonny Peralta drew an 8th inning walk.

Anibal Sanchez pitched pretty darn well himself, only surrendering 1 run on 4 hits over 6 innings. The one run was amazing considering he uncharacteristically walked 5 batters, none of which cost him a run. Only the Royals could not capitalize on 5 free passes in 6 innings.

Up Next

The series continues with Jeremy Guthrie (8-7, 4.25 ERA) trying to recapture his April form against ace Justin Verlander (10-6, 3.50 ERA) at 6:10.

AL Central Notes

Cleveland Indians (51-45): Scott Kazmir allowed 2 unearned runs on just 2 hits in a 3-2 loss to the Twins. Cleveland had only 4 hits, 2 by Michael Bourn, on the night.

Minnesota Twins (40-53): Joe Mauer singled home Pedro Florimon in the 8th inning, which turned out to be the winning run. Trevor Plouffe knocked in the other 2 runs against the Indians. The Twins bullpen didn’t allow a run in 3 plus innings.

Chicago White Sox (37-56): Alex Ramirez continued his solid season with 3 hits, 2 runs, and a RBI in the 6-4 loss to the Braves. John Danks allowed 5 runs in 7 innings to take the loss.