The Royals finally came back home to the friendly confines of Kauffman Stadium after a road trip that saw them lose six of seven against the White Sox (sweep) and Rangers (3 out of 4), respectively. There was some hope coming into this home stand that with all the positive draft day vibes from Monday (which included the drafting of potential franchise player Bobby Witt, Jr.), and the anticipation of the Big Slick this weekend that the Royals would come in motivated and ready on Tuesday against a Boston team coming off a rough series against their rivals, the New York Yankees.
Well, things started well enough for the Royals, as Cheslor Cuthbert proved that the Rangers series, his first of the season, was not an aberration…
Unfortunately, things only went down from there, unfortunately and as expected (it’s tough being a Royals fan in 2019), as the Royals lost 8-3. Let’s take a look at some key takeaways from the opening game of the Royals’ opening June home stand.
There’s no one more dangerous on the base paths in Major League Baseball today than Adalberto Mondesi…period. Mondesi stole his 22nd base of the year, which was his 22nd in 25 attempts this year. His stolen base total is seven higher than the second highest total in the Majors (Tim Anderson of the White Sox, who has 15), and while his stolen base total is impressive, Mondesi is proving to be no one trick pony: he his posting an .805 OPS and .285 batting average through Tuesday’s game. Furthermore, he is flashing excellent leather at the shortstop position, as evidenced by 5.8 runs above average defensive mark this year, and great plays like this one below
But let’s be honest…it’s all about the vroom…
Yes, Witt Jr. may be the shortstop of the future for the Royals and should take that mantle in the next 3-5 years. But as of now, let’s not forget about Mondesi who keeps the Royals relevant, newsworthy and exciting one stolen base at a time.
I’m not sure if this will be Alex Gordon‘s last year with the Royals or professional baseball in general. All signs point to it being so, especially considering that Gordon will be a free agent, the Royals need to move on, and I don’t know if Gordon really has a strong desire to sign anywhere else (and you could say other MLB clubs may not have a strong desire to sign him either).
However, it is nice to see Gordo bounce back after being ridiculed on an annual basis since he signed his massive extension. Tonight was another solid game for Gordo as he went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. Furthermore, he is also batting .281 with a .863 OPS in 210 at-bats this year.
This may be the last tour of duty for Gordo in Royals white and blue. Whatever you feel about him and his recent contract this much is true: he’s always been a loyal Royal and it’s nice to see him have this kind of season after seeing him struggle so immensely the past couple of seasons.
Not a bad outing for Glenn Sparkman, who went 5.1 IP, with 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO. However, after getting into some trouble in the sixth, the bullpen, once again couldn’t hold the lead. Scott Barlow 2 hits, a BB, and 2 runs in 0.2 IP, lefty Jake Diekman gave up 3 hits, a BB and 3 runs in 1 IP, and Kevin McCarthy gave up 2 hits, a BB and 2 runs in 1P.
As you can see, not exactly a sterling performance that Ned Yost’s bullpen will be talking about anytime soon.
It will be interesting to see what the Royals will do with the fifth spot in the rotation. As good as Sparkman has been this year, he doesn’t have the stamina or skill set to go five plus innings on a consistent basis. They will need help from the bullpen, especially during games where he will only be able to go three or four innings. However, considering the bullpen gave up seven runs in relief, it definitely makes leaning on the bullpen much more difficult in those scenarios.
It’s going to be a scramble for Ned to find the right bullpen rotations throughout the 2019 season.