After a record-matching afternoon, Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie relaxed on Sunday in what appeared to be his T-shirt of choice. It’s Royal blue, and, in a nice homage to the old milk ads, reads simply: “Got Swag?”
By RUSTIN DODD
The Kansas City Star
“That’s a question to ask everybody every day,” Guthrie deadpanned.
Whatever Guthrie has right now — swag or not — it appears to be working pretty well for the Royals.
Guthrie threw 6⅔ scoreless innings in the opening game of Sunday’s doubleheader, lifting the Royals’ to a 9-0 victory over the Indians, their fifth win in six games.
Guthrie, who improved to 3-0 and lowered his season ERA to 3.06, also worked his 16th straight start without a loss, a feat that tied the club record set by Royals Hall of Famer Paul Splittorff during the 1977 and ’78 seasons.
“I knew that it had been a number of starts in a row, just because I’ve seen people talk about it,” Guthrie said of the record. “But ultimately, it means a lot, because it means that hopefully the guys behind me, when I go out, are confident we have a chance to win the game.”
This, of course, is exactly what the Royals had in mind when they signed Guthrie to a three-year, $25 million deal during an offseason overhaul of the starting rotation.
Guthrie’s 6⅔ scoreless innings pushed the Royals starters’ streak of scoreless frames to 16⅔, dating back to James Shields’ start on Thursday in a victory over Detroit. And the Royals entered Sunday’s nightcap at 13-8, the franchise’s best 21-game start since opening 17-4 in 2003.
The biggest reason for the turnaround: The Royals’ starting staff was just 5-9 with a 5.18 ERA in 21 games in April last season. After Guthrie’s outing on Sunday, the Royals’ starting staff lowered its collective ERA to 3.07 in 21 starts.
“I think it’s nice to have the guys that we have pitching so well around the entire rotation,” Guthrie said. “To see Ervin (Santana) go out there (Friday) and do what he did, that gives everybody else confidence.
“To be able to see him dissect the lineup and be as dominant as he was yesterday, it gave me a little bit of a blueprint.”
The Royals changed course on Sunday after previously stating that single-game and other non-season tickets from Friday’s rainout against Cleveland could only be redeemed for admittance to Sunday’s second game, which served as the makeup for the postponement.
For fans who purchased tickets on Friday, April 26, as part of a mini-plan, group or individual sale — and didn’t attend on Sunday night — those tickets may now be used for any of the remaining seven games on the current homestand.
In addition, season tickets from Friday’s game may be redeemed for any of the previously published “season ticket holder” redemption dates, according to usual club policy.
The Royals said unredeemed parking vouchers also will be good for any remaining game on the current homestand.
Saberhagen sells ring
More than 27 years after Bret Saberhagen led the Royals to the 1985 World Series title, his championship ring fetched a nice five-figure sum in a memorabilia auction that concluded on Sunday.
Saberhagen’s ring went for $73,409, less than a game-used Babe Ruth bat that went for $171,190, but more than a Rollie Fingers championship ring that went for $56,501.
Saberhagen, who retired in 2001 after winning 167 career games and two Cy Young awards, was also set to auction off his 1985 World Series MVP trophy, his Gold Glove Award and his Cy Young Awards.
The auction, conducted at SCPAuctions.com, included more than 1,000 sports memorabilia items and brought in a total of more than $5.1 million.
Proceeds were set to go to The Bret Saberhagen Makes A Difference Foundation and Saberhagen’s children.
“It was a little tough for my mom more than anybody,” Saberhagen said before the auction. “She said basically said, ‘Why are you doing this?’ I said, ‘Mom, what’s this stuff going to do? I’m going to eventually pass away and it’s all going to be sitting in boxes.’
“Now it’s great, because somebody who really wants it is going to be able to cherish it and do what they want with it. So I’m excited about whoever ends up getting this stuff.”
Dyson steps up
For 20 games, Royals manager Ned Yost had trouble finding playing time for reserve outfielder Jarrod Dyson, who entered Sunday with just 16 at-bats on the season.
But Sunday’s doubleheader served as an ideal opportunity to slide Dyson into the lineup, and he responded with a two-for-four day and two RBIs. The early RBIs, which included a double down the right-field line, came off Cleveland starter Justin Masterson, a talented right-hander who would have made for a tough matchup on the right-handed Lorenzo Cain.
“Dyson has been swinging the bat so well in batting practice,” Yost said. “It’s really jumping off his bat every day. So that’s what it looked like his first at-bat and his second at-bat.”
Dyson raised his batting average to .300 on the season while swiping his fifth stolen base.
“Just to get some at-bats, it’s huge for me,” Dyson said. “I’m not playing that much, and our outfielders out there are doing a great job, so you can’t really expect to play when they’re out there doing their thing.”
Former Royals first-round pick Bubba Starling is heating up.
Starling, a Gardner native, went one for three with a homer and two walks for Class A Lexington in a 7-4 victory over Augusta on Sunday afternoon. Starling, who was taken fifth overall in the 2011 draft, is now batting .333 (eight for 24) with two homers in his last six games.
• Shortstop Alcides Escobar recorded his 500th career hit on a solo home run against Justin Masterson in the fifth inning of Sunday’s opener. Escobar, who has three homers, is already halfway to his career high of five homers, set last season.
• Third baseman Mike Moustakas had a bases-loaded walk in the seventh inning, the fifth time this season the Royals have pulled off that feat.