The 2012 season has begun for the Kansas City Royals, and the season began with a thud, rather than cheers and whistles.
Tied 0-0 as Bruce Chen left the game after the 6th inning, the Royals lost the season opener 5-0.
The Royals Bullpen
Bruce Chen threw a wonderful game. The bullpen, however, did not. Aaron Crow entered a fresh set in the 7th and proceeded to strike out the side. The eighth inning, however was not as nice. After inducing a fly-out by Vernon Wells, Crow allowed three consecutive singles, then was replaced by Greg Holland. Holland allowed an infield single (should have been scored an error), then a rope triple to right by Eric Aybar, clearing the loaded bases. At that point, the game was over, but the Angels tacked on another run
The Royals Offense
Some people will want to give the Royals offense a break. Sure Angels starter Jared Weaver is one of the best pitchers in the American League, but 4 hits in the game does absolutely nothing to help the team get a win. Opening day against on of MLB’s best is no excuse, in my mind.
Nobody believed Bruce Chen should be the opening day starter for the Royals. I doubt Bruce even believed it. Damn’ the nay-sayers! Chen matched Angels starter Jared Weaver pitch for pitch through 6 innings while allowing only 3 hits and striking out 4 hitters and walking none.
I wasn’t happy to see Crow enter the game in the bottom of the 7th inning, rather than Chen.
That’s right! In the first game of his second tour with the Royals, Yuniesky Betancourt gave fans absolutely no reason to dislike him on opening day. Betancort is an upgrade over Chris Getz, both offensively and defensively and looks very smooth turning the double play from the other side of the bag. Although Yuni is expected to get the start against lefties and Getz is expected to start against righties, Ned Yost went with Yuni against Weaver because of Yuni’s past success against the Angels’ righty. The move paid off, as Yuni went 1-3 in the game and reached base on an error.
Overall, the Royals defense looks quite stellar (minus the play in the 8th inning on the Peter Bourjos grounder, which should have been an error, but ruled a hit). Lorenzo Cain appears to be an upgrade over Melky Cabrera in center field (although Cabrera wasn’t bad). The Twitterverse was a buzz about the Royals defense while watching the game last night.