The Royals come into Saturday’s slate of games in last place in the Central, but they don’t play like a last place club. They made the Sox earn Friday night’s game in walk-off fashion, but on this day, the Royals got to the Sox bullpen and slowed the Sox run with a 9-6 win on the South Side.
Edwin Encarnacion. His two-run homer gave the Sox a 3-1 lead, and hopefully they start to come in bunches for him. For all the power the Sox have provided, the DH hasn’t added much to the total.
Nomar Mazara. He didn’t contribute anything offensively, but he made a terrific defensive play, sliding toward the foul line in right field to make a catch to end the sixth before it got out of hand in the 7th. For a team that was not expected to be good defensively, the Sox have been better than anticipated this year, and the results in the win-loss column bear that out.
Dylan Cease. If there were an “uneven” category, that’s where I’d slot Cease today. He threw 4.1 innings Saturday with 5 strikeouts, but 6 walks. Command was an issue, and that’s the reason that he didn’t go any further in the game, despite only allowing a solo home run in the 2nd.
Tim Anderson. He had another 4-hit day, and kept the 9th inning rally going. He had a pair of singles and a pair of doubles in his 4-for-5 day. He also was solid defensively, as that aspect of his game has improved from earlier this year.
Nick Madrigal. The young second-baseman returned from injury and had a pair of hits and showed no ill-effects from the separated shoulder a few weeks ago. It’s a good sign for the Sox as he’s another guy who is a good contact hitter and can help set the table for Anderson for the thunder in the middle of the order. And, he is excellent defensively to boot.
#soxmath. Today, I won #soxmath. Until I didn’t. According to Jason Benetti, they chose my tweet since mine appeared first in the feed, even though it wasn’t, chronologically. So, after a “review board” convened, the win was awarded to someone else. However, I’m claiming the W, and I’ll still get something from the prize shelf eventually when Jason and Steve get that back up and running. Thanks for sorting that out and reaching out to me, Jason!
Zack Burdi and Ross Detwiler. The normally reliable bullpen had a hiccup in the 7th inning, as the Royals put up a 5 spot to put the game out of reach, even for the Sox powerful lineup. Burdi got under his pitches and it cost him, as he allowed 5 runs on 4 hits in just a third of an inning of work. Detwiler, who hadn’t pitched in almost a week, came on and didn’t throw a first-pitch strike to any of the 8 batters he faced as he allowed 2 runs on 4 hits in the 8th. Hopefully it’s just a minor blip, but Aaron Bummer is playing catch at the Sox Schaumburg alternate training site, so hopefully reinforcements are on the way for the ‘pen.
Yoan Moncada. He left the game in the 9th after sliding into second after reaching on an error. He’s been battling a leg injury of some kind this season, and it appears he may have re-aggravated that Saturday, which is unfortunate, since he seemed to be returning to form after having a couple days off this week surrounding the Pirates series. To win the division, they’ll need Moncada to be healthy.
So the Sox dropped out of first place after Cleveland won in St. Louis, but they’re still in the thick of the division race. They get one more crack at the Royals Sunday afternoon with Dane Dunning getting the start before heading up to Minnesota to take on the Twins in a crucial 3-game set Monday-Wednesday.