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July 25, 2017

What You Need to Know

Relentless Royals

by Stacey Gotsulias


The Monday Takeaway

Back in 2015, when the Royals made a run to their first World Series title in 30 years, they were often described as relentless. They would just hit the opposing team into submission no matter who it was. And while the 2017 incarnation of the Royals isn’t quite like the 2015 version, they have rattled off six wins in a row and are 7-3 in their last 10 games.

On Monday night they faced Justin Verlander and the Tigers, both of whom aren’t quite what they used to be but have shown flashes from time to time.

Rumors are flying that Verlander could be on his way out of Detroit, where he’s spent his entire 13-year career, and on Monday he put on a bit of a show for the scouts in the crowd. He struck out nine batters in seven innings of work.

He wasn’t without his mistakes though. Like this hanging slider that Jorge Bonifacio sent out to left in the sixth inning.

And Verlander knew it, as you can tell by that leg kick when the ball left Bonifacio’s bat. After the game, he told reporters, “Just a crappy pitch, caught the barrel."

After the Royals went up 3-0 in the sixth, the Tigers roared back (not sorry), and scored three runs off Jason Hammel.

The game remained tied until the top of the 12th inning, when those relentless Royals decided enough was enough. Salvador Perez got things started with his 20th home run of the season, which was immediately followed by Mike Moustakas’ 29th home run of the season to put the Royals up, 5-3. Those guys also went back-to-back against the White Sox on Saturday.

Here’s Salvy’s home run.

And here’s Moose’s home run.

The Royals held on and won 5-3. They are now only a-game-and-a-half in back of Cleveland for the AL Central lead, which seemed nearly impossible a month ago. But it’s baseball and they’re the Royals, and if the last three seasons have taught us anything it should be to never count them out.

Quick Hits

Oh, hey, Giancarlo Stanton hit two home runs in a game. Again. This time, he did it against the Rangers in Arlington.

Here is dinger number one: A two-run shot to left.

Here is dinger number two: A solo shot that went oppo taco.

Stanton now has seven multi-homer games and 11 home runs in July alone, and he’s now tied for the MLB lead with Aaron Judge at 32. It’s really such a shame that the Home Run Derby screwed up Stanton’s swing.

***

Hunter Renfroe also hit two home runs on Monday night.

First, he hit the tar out of a ball off Mets starter Jacob deGrom in the seventh inning to get the Padres on the board. It was deGrom’s 69th pitch of the game and it landed on top of the Western Metal Supply Co. building. Statcast measured it at 462 feet and as you will see from the reaction of some of the people who were up there, they were not expecting a ball anywhere near them. Others looked like they didn’t even know a baseball game was being played.

It was Renfroe’s 18th round-tripper of the season. But he wasn’t done. Renfroe also hit a home run in the ninth inning off Mets reliever Addison Reed. His second shot didn’t hit the roof of any buildings but it went to dead center field.

Renfroe’s got some pop in his bat. Alas, it wasn’t enough and the Mets held on for a 5-3 win.

Jacob deGrom won his eighth consecutive decision, tying the Mets’ franchise record.

***

Bartolo Colon faced the best team in baseball and it wasn’t an unmitigated disaster. He only lasted five innings and didn’t factor into the decision, but he kept the Dodgers off the scoreboard until the fifth inning. Then things fell apart a bit. He gave up back-to-back home runs to Joc Pederson and Yasmani Grandal.

Then he gave up a triple to Yasiel Puig, who scored on a Chris Taylor single.

Colon was taken out and relieved by Buddy Boshers in the sixth inning. The Dodgers would go on to win the game 6-4 thanks to another Cody Bellinger home run. They were down 4-3 and Bellinger hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth off Taylor Rogers.

And in some news that will make some people feel old (or maybe just me): Bartolo Colon has now pitched to both father (Clay Bellinger) and son (Cody Bellinger).

***

Defensive Play of the Day

Manny Machado is a joy to watch when he’s not victimizing the team you root for. In this case, he made this play against the Rays so this was a nice play to witness. It was a good play all around by the Orioles infielders, but it was started by Machado ranging to his right in foul territory like it’s no big thing.

Don’t look now but the Orioles are only three-and-a-half games out of a Wild Card spot. Sure, they’re competing with a bunch of other teams but they’ve been playing well of late and beating division rivals, which is important in the AL East.

What To Watch On Tuesday

Sonny Gray (3.18 DRA, 88 cFIP) makes the start for Oakland in Toronto on Tuesday night. Will it be his last as an Athletic? There are many trade rumors swirling around the 27-year-old righty so it’s quite possible that his start in Rogers Centre could be his Oakland swan song. Gray will face off against Cesar Valdez (5.37 DRA, 107 cFIP), a Blue Jays reliever, who is starting in place of starter Aaron Sanchez who is on the DL with a recurring blister problem. All eyes, including some scouts, will be on Gray. 7:07 ET

Madison Bumgarner (3.64 DRA, 92 cFIP) will be making his third start since returning from the disabled list and he is still looking for his first win of the season. Granted he’s only made six starts, but it’s still rare for Bumgarner to have a zero near his name. Jameson Taillon (3.68 DRA, 84 cFIP) and the Pirates will be looking to keep that zero there. 10:15 ET

Stacey Gotsulias is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Stacey's other articles. You can contact Stacey by clicking here

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