For those still clinging to the canard that there is momentum in baseball, I offer as Exhibit A this week’s series against the Chicago White Sox.
Game One – A dramatic come from behind victory, featuring not one, but two runners improbably scoring from second with two outs and a ball not leaving the infield.
Game Two – A game so moribund, a game so dreadfully boring that it could be used as a Baseball Hall of Fame exhibit called “The Worst Games of All Time.”
Game Three – Up against a dominant starting pitcher, the Royals not only won, but the bats (sort of) came alive.
The result was a 6-2 win over the White Sox that pulled the Royals to a half game back of the Tigers for first in the Central. Which means this weekend’s series against Detroit moved from “huge” to “insanely massive” on the scale of importance.
Of course this win came against the Sox ace, Chris Sale. Sale is only one of the most dominant starting pitchers in the league. And the Royals tuned him up in ways he hadn’t been hurt this season.
— The five earned runs allowed were a season high.
— As Steve Physioc noted on the radio, Sale had only allowed four runs in a start twice all season. The Royals scored four runs against Sale in the third inning.
— Regular readers know how I love Game Score. Sale’s Game Score of 33 was his lowest of the season. By 11 points.
— Sale had never allowed three hits in a game to a left-handed batter. Nori Aoki had three hits against Sale.
Speaking of Aoki, exactly how hot is this guy? Hotter than the surface of the sun? The Sox got him out twice in three games. He came to the plate 15 times in the three games and reached base in 13 of those plate appearances. He only scored three times, because this is still the Royals offense, but damn if this guy isn’t finally making things happen. It’s been an interesting season with Aoki. We had to wait something like 24 weeks, but that trade is finally paying a dividend.
And if that wasn’t weird enough, the Royals won a game where Raul Ibanez pinch hit for Jayson Nix. Wade Davis gave up another run. Baseball is a strange and mysterious game sometimes.
Worth mentioning also, was the performance of Yordano Ventura. As badly as the Royals needed the bats to come alive, it wouldn’t have mattered if Ventura hadn’t been able to steady the pitching ship. He delivered seven massively strong innings against the White Sox. Coming a year after his major league debut it was one of his best starts of the season in what undoubtedly was his biggest start of his professional career.
Bring on Detroit.