If you’re a regular reader you know we’ve spent a lot of time this season talking about the sixth and seventh innings. Those innings are important because most of the time the starting pitcher is running out of gas at that point and the Royals bullpen isn’t as deep as it has been the past two years. On Friday, Luke Hochevar bridged the gap in the seventh and the Royals beat the Rangers 3-1.
Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain continued his recovery from a hamstring injury sustained June 28. That included a sacrifice on Thursday, as he stayed in Kansas City while the rest of his teammates traveled to Washington to meet President Barack Obama at the White House.
The Kansas City Royals were praised Thursday at the White House by President Barack Obama, who spouted off a number of the team’s signature phrases, like “That’s what speed do.” But Obama said the Royals need to work on the players’ nicknames. He also touted the Royals’ involvement in the Urban Youth Academy.
Before President Obama honored the 2015 World Series champions Thursday morning in Washington, manager Ned Yost and players Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez interrupted press secretary Josh Earnest’s regular morning media briefing.
Ballplayers generate a lot of numbers and after a while it’s easy to view them as just that: a collection of emotionless numbers that can be plugged in or pulled out of any role. But it’s not that simple — ballplayers are human and humans tend to be complicated.
The Royals have compared the importance of this home stand to one in late September, in the middle of a playoff race. On Tuesday, manager Ned Yost said it was “go time.” Since then, the Royals have lost two games by a combined score of 18-7. The team’s playoff hopes are now in critical condition, and those words will be read as wildly optimistic by fans disgusted at such an ugly showing.
Follow along on your desktop or mobile device during Friday's game between the Royals and the Rangers for live stats and updates from The Star’s sportswriters, photographers and editors. First pitch is at 7:15 p.m. Fox Sports Kansas City will telecast the game.
On Thursday morning, Royals manager Ned Yost will travel to the White House for the first time since his days as a coach for the Braves during their World Series championship in 1995. The Royals will meet President Barack Obama, in the final year of his second term, and the occasion will mark a special milestone for Yost, too. Obama will be the fifth American president he has met during his career in baseball.
Cleveland tagged Royals starter Ian Kennedy for four home runs, more than enough fireworks in an 11-4 blowout victory on a hot, humid Wednesday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals, 47-47, fell to .500 for the first time since June 10, and when they arrive in Washington, D.C. later Wednesday night, they will sit nine games behind the first-place Indians in the AL Central.
The 2014 Royals made a charge from this point of the season into the playoffs, but there is at least a mild chasm between the two teams, and the situations they were each in in mid-July. With two straight loses to the Indians in Kauffman Stadium, which has been an near-magical home-field advantage for the Royals, that chasm seems to grow.