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Royals 3, Tigers 2: How sweep it ain’t

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Is it time to sacrifice a live chicken to wake up the bats?

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The end of a four-game series with the Kansas City Royals mercifully came today, on a chilly Michigan Monday, with a 3-2 loss.

Spencer “Big Red” Turnbull and Brad “The Georgia Peach” Keller, two extreme-groundball pitchers, started today, so the worms at Comerica Park were on high alert the whole afternoon.

Keller’s season so far has been, shall we say, lousy: coming into today, he’d started four games, lasted a total of 12 innings, given up 22 hits and walked nine. This was after last season’s abbreviated, but solid, results: nine starts and a 2.47 ERA. Keller struggled with his command early on, bouncing a 53-footer during Miguel Cabrera’s plate appearance in the first.

In the third, Nicky Lopez bounced a hard chopper past Harold Castro at first base, which hit the right-field ball boy’s stool, and took a funny bounce; when the dust settled Lopez was on third with one out. And now, a slightly-earlier-than-normal edition of our long-running series...

Bring On the Robot Umps

Pitch #2 to Carlos Santana: ball, I guess?

Horsefeathers. That was a strike.

Pitch #3 to Carlos Santana: two-run home run, Royals up 2-0.

Robbie Grossman decided to do something about that right away, leading off the bottom of the third with a rocket of a double to right. A Harold Castro groundout to second moved Grossman up to third, and Cabrera squeaked a grounder through the middle, plating Grossman. Jeimer Candelario’s soft fly ball to right pushed Cabrera up to third, putting runners on the corners. Willi Castro hit a soft grounder to short, and Cabrera — not the swiftest of foot these days — made a futile break for home and was thrown out.

Niko Goodrum led off the fourth with a line-drive triple to right, and Greiner blooped a pop-fly into shallow centre to tie the score at 2.

Jarrod Dyson led off the fifth with a double squeaked just inside the line to left, and was bunted to third by Nicky Lopez. Whit Merrifield lined out to deep left which gets counted as a sacrifice fly, putting the Royals up 3-2.

Keller lasted six innings, and the outing lowered his ERA from 12.00 to 9.00. Scott Barlow walked Grossman and Harold Castro to start the seventh, but then Cabrera, Candelario and Willi Castro struck out. Sad trombones played somewhere, softly, in the distance.

Daniel Norris pitched a nicely uneventful seventh, and Jose Cisnero followed suit in the eighth. If the Tigers can continue getting shutdown innings out of the bullpen in the coming weeks, we’ll have that going for us, which is nice.

Akil Baddoo crushed a fly ball to left-centre which bounced off the very top of the wall; he ended up on third, and yes, in the past few days, that’s two should-have-been-home-runs for him. However, as Cody Stavenhagen pointed out...

Gregory Soto’s top o’ the ninth was far more involved than his bullpen-mates’ outings: with two out, Hunter Dozier and Anthony Benintendi singled to put runners on at the corners. However, he induced a Hanser Alberto flyout to end the frame.

The fireballing Josh Staumont pitched the ninth for the Royals, and got the save.

The Tigers hope to reverse their fortunes tomorrow night against the White Sox in Chicago.

Roster Moves

It’s not the most exciting news out there, but it’s a Monday in April.

A Variety of Things

  • Spencer Turnbull’s final line today: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K. Playing to type, he had 6 groundball outs and 2 flyball outs; he also threw 81 pitches and, out of that, had 53 strikes (65.4%). That’s what you want to see out of ol’ Big Red.
  • Harold Castro actually walked twice today. I need to write that down in my diary.
  • On this date in 1920, Canada beat Sweden 12-1 in the first-ever Olympic ice hockey gold medal final game in Antwerp. A week of winter events were held several months before the summer events. The hilariously-named korfball was held at this Games as a demonstration event.