The Royals spent the preseason hearing for the first time in a long time that they might have an outside shot at competing in the weak American League Central division. That was something we haven't heard about the Royals in a long time. And for seven innings, they did everything right.
They got a great start from Gil-ga-Meche who pitched seven innings of seven hit ball with no walks and one earned run. He left the game with the lead. Young Alex Gordon knocked in two runs with his first home of the season in what Kansas City fans hope are the first of many. Young David DeJesus threw out a runner at home and a runner at second. Everything was going great.
And then the Royals manager brought in Kyle Farnsworth. Cubs fans, Tigers fans and Yankee fans all gave each other knowing and smirking looks. And they were all correct in knowing what was coming.
First, Josh Fields surprised everyone with a bunt single towards third. Great play. Dewayne Wise flied out to center (which is the only time the guy put a ball in play all day after three strikeouts). Young Chris Getz singled to right and Fields raced to third. Now it's first and third, one out. But Farnsworth then strikes out Carlos Quentin and you could see all the Royals' fans get some hope. Suckers!
Next up is the aged Jim Thome, now 39 years old and sitting at 541 homers. Farnsworth delivers, and in the immortal words of Stuart Scott, "Boo-yaah!" Thome clobbers the pitch to deep center, three runs score. The Royals fans now know what so many have come to learn before. He's Farnsworth, never your Money'sWorth. Jermaine Dye then singles, but mercifully decides to try to steal second and is thrown out to end the inning.
Bobby Jenks comes in the next half inning to close the game for the White Sox and the game is over. What a pity for the Royals, who could have had a real nice start to their season.
Today was the thirty-second time in Farnsworth's career that he has blown a save. He has now given up sixteen homers in his last 61 innings. He has allowed 93 base runners in those 61 innings.
Farnsworth used to throw 100 MPH and now throws around 95 to 96. Not bad in today's game, but the thing about his fastball is that it is dead straight. He gets no movement at all. You would think that in all these years, he would have picked up something from somebody on how to make his ball move a little bit. But no, nothing. So if someone like Thome is sitting dead red and a straight fast ball comes in there even at 95, he is going to crush it.
The Fan shouldn't be so mean to the guy. He might be a very nice guy and a good family man, who knows. But this much has been proven, he just can't do it when he needs to and has shown that time and time again. The Royals paid him a lot of money. But they should just swallow it and bury him in long relief. That's the only place he can't really hurt them. If he pitches in another meaningful situation for them for the rest of the year, they might as well get a gun and play Russian Roulette.
It is a pity. The Royals could have set a tone. And even though it's only the first game of the year, it's a kick in the pants on what could have been a great ballgame for them. But Chicago, New York and Detroit have all been there with Darnsworth and the results are never pretty.