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Royals Pitching Can’t Slow Down Astros Bats

Glenn Sparkman pitching.

The Kansas City Royals’ pitching was one of the biggest concerns coming into summer camp, and it still is, considering several pitchers won’t be ready for Opening Day. The Kansas City Royals played their second exhibition game against the Houston Astros on a muggy, humid day in K.C. The game ended just short of the 4-hour mark with the Houston Astros clubbing five home runs in a 15-6 win over the Royals.

Innings 1-3: Sparkman/Lopez Struggle To Find The Zone

Jorge Lopez pitching during the 2018 season at Detroit.

Glenn Sparkman got the start for K.C. However, he did not last long. After giving up a run in the first, he then continued to struggle to find the strike zone. He then walked 3 batters in his 1.2 innings and was taken out of the game.

Jorge Lopez then came out of the bullpen to try to keep the damage at a minimum. However, Lopez plunked his first two batters (not intentionally) and then the Astros took a 3-0 lead. The Royals showed some fight in the bottom of the 3rd though. Erick Mejia singled and drove in two runs. Also, one of the newest Royals, Franchy Cordero, singled and drove in the tying run to make it 3-3 after 3 innings.

Innings 4-6: Astros Get To Jackson Kowar

Jackson Kowar pitching.

For the Royals, Jackson Kowar was pitching the fourth and fifth innings. Kowar is the Royals 4th best prospect according to MLB.com. Fans were really excited to see Kowar pitching with the Major League Club. Two pitches into his outing, Astros OF George Springer hit a solo shot deep into right-field. After that, Kowar gave up another run on a sacrifice fly in the 4th which then gave Houston the lead 5-3.

Onto the 5th, Kowar gave up a 3-run home-run to Alex De Goti. The young pitcher ended his day throwing 2 innings, giving up 5 hits, 2 walks, and 5 earned runs.

Gabe Speier then came into pitch the 6th. Speier seems to be taking the role of Tim Hill, who was traded to the San Diego Padres this past weekend.

Another story of the day was the Royals leaving runners on base. Throughout the game, K.C. left the bases loaded. In total, the Royals left 13 runners on base.

Innings 7-9: Astros Open The Flood Gates

Aledmys Diaz jogging around the bases.

In the final 3 innings, Houston scored 7 of their 15 runs. During the 7th, Richard Lovelady gave up two more Houston home runs which then made the score 10-3. K.C. called on Braden Shipley to limit the damage in the final two innings. Despite this, Shipley couldn’t get through his 2 innings of work and gave up 5 runs on 7 hits.

The one bright spot in this 15-6 shellacking was Bobby Witt Jr. Witt Jr. continues to stand out and went 2-3 with a single, double, 2 RBI’s, and 2 walks. He also stole a base earlier in the ball game.

Not only did Witt Jr. impress with his bat and base-running, but he also made an outstanding play at third base.

The game ended in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs after a walk to load the bases. The game was 15-6 and was well in hand. So it seems both sides agreed that they have seen enough after Astros pitcher Jojanse Torres hit his pitch count limit.

What’s Next

Cardinals and Royals logos.

The Kansas City Royals will close out their exhibition schedule Wednesday afternoon in St. Louis. They will make their first road trip and take on the Cardinals. This will be the last chance for the Royals pitching needs to get some work in before games start to count. Probable starters for tomorrow are Jesse Hahn for K.C. As for the Cardinals, they intend to split time pitching Miles Mikolas and Carlos Martinez. That game can be seen tomorrow on Fox Sports Kansas City with first pitch at 3:05pm central time.


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