The Sox managed to sweep a moribund KC team this week with some excellent Giolito pitching, solid offense in games 2 and 3, and a little help from Mother Nature in game one. What does it all mean? In the grand scheme of this season, not a whole hell of a lot. The Royals are intentionally bad, with not much in their future that’s going to change the situation (unless watching Billy Hamilton bat .185 is your thing), and the Sox are 3 starters away from having an average MLB rotation. That being said, the series was pretty fun, with some added spiciness tonight to add to an already simmering Hate Stew for these two teams.
TO THE BULLETS
-RIGHT TO THE SPICE! With Tim Anderson missing the first two games because of a sore wrist, it looked like we might not get a continuation of the shenanigans that occurred the last time these two teams met. That ended up not being the case, as Tim was in the lineup tonight and the first pitch from Glenn Sparkman sailed right over Timmy’s eyebrows and off the visor of his batting helmet. Granted this was probably not an intentional pitch (it was a changeup that Sparkman lost the grip on and not a 4 seamer), but with the officiating crew well aware of the dumb shit that went down a few weeks ago, home plate ump Mark Carlson wasted no time sending the moon faced Sparkman to the showers. This prompted Ned Yost to stop digging in the dugout trash long enough to come out and vomit some old timey coachins on home plate, but Carlson was not to be swayed. Much to Anderson’s credit he kept his cool and walked down to first, later to get the last laugh in the bottom of the 8th, when he laced a double off a good Ian Kennedy slider to put the Sox ahead for good.
-Timmy shouldn’t have had to be so heroic however, but the continued mismanagement of the pitching staff by Renteria lead to the Sox blowing a 7-1 lead. Going into the 6th, it was pretty clear that Rey Lopez was running out of gas. That combined with the dreaded 3rd time through the order lead to him being charged with 4 runs in the inning. Lopez ended up going 5.2 and throwing 118 pitches, 32 of which came in the 6th when it was clear he didn’t have it anymore. Jace Fry and Marshall came in and performed admirably, but then it was KHT (Kelvin Herrera Time) and all of a sudden the game was tied. It wouldn’t shock me to see Herrera on the IL here shortly, as he hasn’t been right since he tweaked his back awhile ago.
-Alex Colome had himself a heck of a series, getting the win in the continuation of game one yesterday, then getting the save later that night. Tonight he was called on again to close out the win as well, pitching a solid 9th for his 11th save of the year. With the emergence of James McCannonballs as a legit (at least for now) backstop, the trade that brought Colome here can be viewed as one of Hahn’s better moves in the past few offseasons.
-Lucas Giolito is now officially A THING. It looked like his start against the Astros might have been a mirage if you watched the 1st inning in game two. He started out pretty wild, walking one and plunking one, then giving up a bomb to Alex “Soul Stone” Gordon. After that shot, Gio pulled his shit together and mowed the Royals down for the next 7 innings, never throwing more than 16 pitches in an inning. His changeup is a thing of beauty, and his fastball has some pretty hilarious movement on it. Top that off with 2 more offspeed pitches and he looks like a legitimate “top of the rotation” kinda guy. To think this time last year I watched him give up 8 runs in 1.2 innings to a god awful Orioles team. It’s a very welcome change.
-Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada are hitting for power again! They’re both still striking out too much, but I have a feeling once the weather settles into a warm pattern those folks sitting in the first 10 rows of the OF need to pay attention. Moncada’s dinger tonight was also opposite field, which is awesome to see him taking what the pitcher is giving him.
-Eloy is still seeing nothing but a steady diet of sliders and curveballs. When he gets his eyes timed with his wrists he’s gonna be right back to murdering the ball, mark my words.
-Leury Garcia started out the year with a brutal stretch, but over the past few weeks has turned things around completely. He’s a Marwin Gonzalez-type player, with value all over the diamond and can also provide a little offense. His robbery of Jorge Soler tonight was a well-timed thing of beauty, resulting in Soler tipping his cap to the diminutive center fielder. I still don’t care for him leading off, but you can do a lot worse than him right now.
-Yonder Alonso is now batting .172, which is exactly what you want out of your fucking cleanup hitter. /wanking motion.
-Next up is a 4 game series with the Tribe, with 3 of those starts featuring some form of Banuelos, Covey or Nova. I’m sure Jose Ramierez will be hitting .340 by Monday.