Kyle Davies’ contribution to the Royals’ 10-inning, 5-4 victory over the Blue Jays on Monday night might get lost in the ecstasy over the overtime win.
But, as manager Ned Yost noted, Davies limited the damage very well in his seven innings. He pitched out of jams and helped himself with no walks, an indication that this command-challenged pitcher is getting a strong hand on his fastball.
“That’s the big thing. You gotta make them put the ball in play,” Davies said. “You look at all the hits, I think there was one home run and how many singles? (Eight.) . . . For the most part I made them have to put good swings on the ball and they couldn’t drive it.”
Davies had no decision and remained winless in his last eight starts. But he’s been very impressive to Yost, especially in his last four outings.
“He just pitched a nice game tonight,” Yost said.
Davies has gone seven, 7 2/3, six and seven innings in his last four games.
“That’s what I have to pitch at. I have to pound the strike zone and get some quick outs. I know they got 10 hits, but for the most part they were pretty soft singles,” he said. “As a pitcher, you just want to keep [your team] in the ball game and you can’t do that by walking them and running up your pitch count.”
Davies made 93 pitches including 57 strikes. That’s one of his best percentages this season.
Royals manager Ned Yost saw the ultimate example of Willie Bloomquist’s usefulness in the space of two innings in Friday night’s 10-inning, 2-1 win at Anaheim. Bloomquist, as a pinch-runner, stole a base and scored the tying run in the ninth inning. Then he belted a RBI single for the winning run in the 10th.
“He’s a National League player – that’s a National League style. A National League player can have a major impact on a game. You can sit there for nine innings and jump right into the fray and make a difference,” Yost said.
“It’s a little more difficult to do that in the American League. But what Willie brings is a comfort that I can do anything I need to do.”
The stolen base was impressively made while the third batter, Mike Aviles, was up and he did it successfully because he bided his time and picked just the right spot.
“He was making sure he gave himself the best opportunity to be successful instead of just blindly running,” Yost said.
Next pitch Aviles ripped a double and Bloomquist scored from second.
Bloomquist finished the game at first base and made a sharp fielding play and throw to second base for a force-out in the ninth. That’s another part of Bloomquist’s value.
“You can play him absolutely anywhere in the field with the exception of behind the plate and I’m not so sure that he couldn’t handle that,” Yost said.
Bloomquist was on deck in the 10th and had not yet batted in the game so the Angels walked David DeJesus intentionally to get to him.
“I was not the least bit upset when they walked David DeJesus yesterday because I just knew that Willie was one of the guys, just like (Wilson) Betemit, who’s out hitting early, he’s prepared to get in that game and be successful. And that’s what you want your bench people to do.”
Bloomquist ripped a RBI single and, after a slow start this season, that made him 14-for-38, .368, since May 22.
Northwest Arkansas’ Naturals are having a good season with the best record in the Texas League, 37-24, as of Monday, and they’ve been rewarded. Nine players will be on the North Division roster for the league’s all-star game on June 30 at Midland, Texas.
Five Naturals were voted into the starting lineup: second baseman Johnny Giavotella, third baseman Mike Moustakas, outfielders Paulo Orlando and Derrick Robinson, and designated hitter Clint Robinson. Also on the squad are pitchers Mike Montgomery, Edgar Osuna and Mario Santiago and outfielder Tim Smith.
The Naturals’ manager, Brian Poldberg, will skipper the North squad. Hitting coach Terry Bradshaw and trainer Tony Medina also will be on the staff.
The 24-man rosters in the North and South divisions were selected by a voting panel that included league officials, managers, coaches, radio broadcasters and beat writers.
Worth noting: For a while on Friday, reporters thought that Wilson Betemit was starting at shortstop in the series opener against the Reds. It made some sense because Betemit had pounded two home runs including the game-decider in a 9-8 win over the Twins the previous night at Minneapolis. Turned out that a Reds’ employee got the wrong “Bet” when copying down the Royals’ lineup. Yuniesky Betancourt was at shortstop as usual and Betemit was back on the bench. . . . More Betemit: He was just the third Royals player to hit two home runs in the first game he started for them. The others were Mark Quinn on Sept. 14, 1999, against the Angels and Calvin Pickering on Aug. 22, 2004, against the Rangers. . . . . Three players from the Royals’ Wilmington club are on the Single-A Carolina League’s All-Star team. Eric Hosmer, who leads the league with a .361 average, is the starting first baseman. Also selected were catcher Salvador Perez, who is batting .284, and pitcher Alex Caldera, 6-3 with a 2.84 ERA. Hosmer has just two homers but has 22 doubles and 37 RBIs. The Carolina League will oppose the California League All-Stars on June 22 at Myrtle Beach.
Worth noting: Outfielder Rick Ankiel, in his first rehab game with Triple-A Omaha, went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in a 6-0 loss to Oklahoma City. Alex Gordon, who had one hit, is batting .416 in his last 16 games. . . . Catcher Wil Myers, leading Single-A Burlington with eight homers and 37 RBIs, was named starting catcher for the Western Division in the Midwest League All-Star game on June 22 at Fort Wayne. Also named was pitcher Bryan Paukovits, the Bees’ top winner at 3-3 with a 3.31 ERA. Bees manager Jim Gabella will manage the Western All-Stars. . . . Right fielder Jamie Romak’s hitting streak for Single-A Wilmington reached 16 games (27-for-60, .450). . . The Royals’ draft choices included infielder Michael Liberto of the University of Missouri, their 21st pick. . . . If the Nationals’ rotation holds, the Royals are likely to face Stephen Strasburg when they visit Washington on June 21-23.
Right-hander Gil Meche’s long trail of travail took another bad turn on Saturday when the Royals placed him on the 15-day disabled list because of bursitis in his pitching shoulder.
His scheduled Sunday start against the Red Sox will be taken by left-hander Bruce Chen. Right-hander Victor Marte was recalled from Triple-A Omaha to take Meche’s spot on the roster.
Meche’s ailment is believed to be related to the shoulder problems he had during Spring Training. His first start of the season was delayed several days as he continued to recover. He’s made nine starts but was without a victory at 0-4 with a 6.66 ERA.
In his last outing on Tuesday night against Texas, Meche pitched six innings and gave up six runs, all resulting from four homers.
Throughout the season, Meche has contended that his physical condition was good and that his shoulder was OK. He pitched one complete game on May 8, an eight-inning loss to Texas in which he threw 128 pitches, fourth-most in his career.
Chen has pitched 10 games out of the bullpen this season with a 1-0 record and 2.89 ERA. The veteran has 121 big league starts with a 28-40 record and 4.70 ERA in that role.
Marte was with the Royals briefly earlier this season and appeared in one game. For Omaha, he has a 3-1 record, two saves and a 3.46 ERA in 14 relief appearances.
Being at Fenway Park gave Royals manager Ned Yost a chance, when prompted by reporters, to re-live his crucial home run for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1982. It was a three-run, ninth-inning shot over the Green Monster that gave the Brew Crew a 6-3 win over the Red Sox in the waning days of their championship run.
“The funny thing about it, it was like a college atmosphere. The players met me halfway (to the plate) because they knew how big it was, too,” Yost recalled..
There was more to the story.
“I put on the shin guards and the pitcher came over and grabbed me by the shirt and yelled, ‘Hey! We’ve got three more outs to go. Now get your head in the game!’ I said, ‘All right, all right,’ ” Yost said, sitting on the same bench in the visitors’ dugout..
Yost paused for the kicker.
“The pitcher was Bob McClure.”
McClure, of course, is now Yost’s pitching coach with the Royals.
That Yost tale and others were included in a lengthy feature story posted on royals.com Tuesday.
Yost and the Brewers went on to win the division title that weekend at Baltimore and, of course, wound up in the 1982 World Series which they lost to the Cardinals. Yost, as the backup catcher, got just one at-bat in the Fall Classic.
“I walked,” Yost said. “I never walked and I got up against John Stuper and I said, ‘This is my one World Series appearance and I’m going deep.’ I was swinging out of my rear end, trying to hit a home run and the guy ended up walking me.”
One home run that entire year was all that Yost would get but it was a big one.
Ned Yost was hoping the Royals had long memories when they faced the Texas Rangers on Tuesday and Wednesday. In fact, short memories would do because the Rangers’ embarrassing four-game sweep of the Royals took place just last May 6-9.
“Absolutely,” Yost said. “I think that if everybody on our team doesn’t want to extract a little revenge, there’s something wrong with them because that wasn’t a fun series for anybody. I mean I watched it on TV and it wasn’t fun for me.”
The sweep at Texas likely was the last straw for Trey Hillman as manager of the Royals. Three days later, he was dismissed. And so each of these two games is not just another ballgame.
“Go ahead, get ready, boys, get back at ’em. That’s my philosophy,” Yost said.
“I don’t think it’s like a playoff-type mindset but you definitely remember those types of situations when you go in and you have a rough series and you get swept. It’s fresh in their minds and I don’t think they want that to happen again.”
Left fielder Alex Gordon went 3-for-4 and raised his average to .362 in Triple-A Omaha’s 4-1 win over Colorado Springs. Even though Gordon is hitting well and making progress as he converts to the outfield, the Royals brought up infielder Wilson Betemit instead of Gordon on Tuesday. That made sense because Gordon needs to continue playing, not sit on the bench at Kansas City. There’s no spot right now in KC where he could be playing every day unless Mitch Maier was lifted from the outfield and he’s been a solid player as Rick Ankiel’s replacement in center. . . . Left-hander Edgar Osuna is 5-1 for Double-A Northwest Arkansas after pitching eight innings of a 7-3 win over Arkansas. His ERA is 1.21 and, oddly enough, opponents have scored more unearned runs (12) than earned runs (7) during his nine games.
— Dick Kaegel
Third baseman Mike Moustakas keeps lighting up the sky at Springdale, Ark. He blasted a couple of two-run homers for Double-A Northwest Arkansas on Thursday as the Naturals completed a four-game sweep of Tulsa. That brought his Texas League-leading average to .394 and he was tied for the league lead in homers, 10, and RBIs, 33. And that’s despite missing 12 games because of injury.
Royals manager Ned Yost, who assessed Moustakas before taking the managerial job, was asked about the Moose’s rise toward the Major Leagues.
“He swung the bat for me very, very well. Played very good defensively there. I mean he’s getting closer,” Yost said. “There’s no thing like just going out and playing and getting experience at that level. The thing that I keep looking at in these guys is they’re getting closer. When he is ready to go, we’ll know when that time it but he’s definitely getting closer.”
Could Moustakas be thrown out onto the Kauffman Stadium diamond right now?
“I don’t have to throw him out there now so that’s something I don’t have to think about,” Yost said. “If there was something that happened and we needed a third baseman, well, then we’ll sit back and look at it. But that’s not the case now and again I try to look every single day I try to look how we can make our club better with the guys here. He’s definitely in the plans for us long-term but, as of today, we keep going with what we’re going with and we’ve done all right.”
Right-hander Aaron Crow pitched that victory for the Naturals, improving his record to 2-3. . . . Eric Hosmer’s double in Single-A Wilmington’s 9-2 loss at Lynchburg put him second in Carolina League with 16. He was leading the league with a .384 mark. . . . Twelve-year-old Dylan Peters of Olathe, Kan., was in the Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat on Friday night. He wrote an award-winning book, “Tic Talk – Living with Tourette Syndrome” and has spoken to thousands of kids in the Kansas City area about accepting and comforting those who suffer from personal challenges.
Alex Gordon’s stay at Triple-A Omaha is going well. He was named Pacific Coast League Hitter of the Week. Gordon posted a .500 average (11-for-22) with three doubles, three homers, 10 RBIs and seven runs. He was also doing well in his conversion to left field from third base and threw out a runner at home plate.
It’s birthday time for the Royals. Jose Guillen turned 34 on Monday and Joakim Soria’s 26th is on Tuesday. . . . David DeJesus’ streak of errorless games had reached 188 games going into Monday night’s game against the Orioles. That was the third-longest streak among active outfielders. The Yankees’ Randy Winn was at 229 games and the Mets’ Jason Bay was at 222. Fourth was DeJesus’ teammate, Mitch Maier, with 165. . . . Who noticed this? Royals PR veep Mike Swanson certainly did. On Sunday, when the White Sox pitched Gavin Floyd against Brian Bannister, it marked the first Floyd-Bannister combination on the Kauffman Stadium mound since 1992. That was when the original Floyd Bannister, Brian’s father, last toed the rubber there for the Rangers in his final season. Actually, it occurred to Brian B. before the game but he didn’t say anything about it. Floyd Bannister pitched for the Royals in 1988-89. . . . Third baseman Mike Moustakas hit a grand slam, his seventh homer on Sunday but Double-A Northwest Arkansas lost at Springfield, 10-9. Left-hander Mike Montgomery took the loss, his first after four wins for the Naturals and Single-A Wilmington.