What can we say about Bruce Chen?
The guy is simply a freak of nature.
Yeah, the Twins offense is dreadful (except on Monday when it was pretty good) but whenever a starter puts up a line like this…
7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 SO
Chen threw 88 pitches and 62 of them were strikes. He was cruising.
And they were largely low stress innings. The Twins put a couple of runners on second, but both reached there with two down – a double by Dozier and a single and a steal by Mastroianni.
I was surprised Yosty didn’t send him back out for the eighth inning. At only 88 pitches and with Chen being a low effort kind of guy (not exactly a flamethrower who runs out of gas) and with those low stress innings, it seemed like an opportune time. Save Greg Holland for another night and let Chen go eight before turning it over to the ninth inning guy.
Shows you what I know when Holland comes on and simply punches out the side.
— The Royals gave their free baserunning out away early in this one when Alex Gordon was picked off first in following his first inning walk.
— Chen evened the ledger when he scored a pickoff of his own. Looked extremely close to a balk to me where the lefty isn’t allowed to bring his right leg past the pitching rubber, but it wasn’t called so good enough. Dozier was going on movement, so nice job by Chen to get the ball to first to start the out.
— The Royals seemingly had an opportunity to tack on an insurance run in the eighth when Gordon laced a one out double. Although he was the giver of the Royals Free Out on the bases in the first with his pickoff/caught stealing (that’s how it’s scored) I can’t hang a baserunning blunder on A1 in this situation. The ball was sharply hit, Gordon was going on contact when he saw it wasn’t hit to the left side of the infield, took two steps and was caught in a proverbial no man’s land. Maybe the proper play was to freeze until you saw the ball get by the pitcher, but I’m betting Gordon was thinking about getting a good jump so he could score on a single up the middle. With one out and Butler up, maybe he should have played it safe, thinking Butler could at least get him home with a fly ball. Dunno.
— The Jonathan Broxton highwire act came on in the ninth. Really, the only true scoring opportunity for the Twins all night came in the ninth inning. Antacid time. A double and a walk with one out and he gets a pair of fly balls to end the game. The Dyson grab was a little unnerving. He hasn’t exactly inspired confidence out there when asked to run far to make a grab.
— The Royals now have three wins on the homestand. More importantly, they are still on track to win six of their nine games against the A’s, Twins and Pirates.
— Speaking of Pirates, with the glory of interleague the Royals will be forced to play Eric Hosmer in right, slide Jeff Francoeur to center in order to keep Butler’s bat in the lineup at first.
Seriously, with an interleague game scheduled every day of the season next year with the Astros moving to the AL, it’s time to put the DH in the National League. It’s laughable that the Royals construct their team the way they do and then are told they can’t use it in that fashion.
Fix it, Bud.