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|Posted: 17th October 2018, 06:58 Post subject: games as he struggles to lock
|Rookie Colin Moran isn’t big on showing emotion Youth Harold Landry Jersey , so he took it in stride after hitting his second grand slam of the season. Manager Clint Hurdle, though, put the feat in perspective.
”Two grand slams in a year is pretty cool. Some guys don’t hit one their whole career,” Hurdle said after Moran’s slam helped carry the Pirates to a 7-5 victory against the San Diego Padres on Sunday. ”In his rookie season, too. He hunts pitches. He’s got a lot of confidence when he goes to the plate. He prepares.”
In fact, none of Hurdle’s 32 home runs over a 10-year career came with the bases loaded.
Corey Dickerson and Elias Diaz also homered for the Pirates, who took two of three games.
Moran connected off Tyson Ross with two outs in the fifth to put the Pirates ahead 6-3. He also hit a grand slam in the home opener on April 2, a 5-4 victory against Minnesota.
Ross, who singled and then had his first career stolen base a half inning earlier, faltered with two outs in the fifth. Austin Meadows doubled, Josh Bell walked and Josh Harrison beat out an infield single to load the bases. Moran then drove a 1-0 pitch to right for his eighth homer.
”It’s cool,” Moran said of hitting two slams in one season. ”But I guess it was just kind of nice to get some runs in there and get us the lead, so that was the biggest thing.”
The only other rookie in Pirates history to hit two grand slams in a season was Wally Westlake in 1947. Moran was the first Pirates player with two grand slams in a season since Jose Bautista in 2006.
”Those are cool things,” Hurdle said. ”They don’t happen for everybody. They don’t happen to many guys whatsoever. It goes back to preparation, opportunity and then production, and he’s been able to pull that off. … He’s ready to hit. He knows what he’s hunting to hit.”
Moran made his big league debut with Houston in 2016, appearing in nine games. He appeared in seven games with Houston last season before being sent to Pittsburgh along with Joe Musgrove and two other players in the deal for Gerrit Cole. Moran had 34 big league at-bats coming into this season.
”He’s one of the calmest people I’ve ever played with,” Dickerson said. ”He just has no emotion. He has a good plan. He does the same thing every day. You don’t ever change stuff up. He’s very simple. Simple sometimes is the best in great moments like that. He came through.”
Dickerson homered in the second, his sixth, and Diaz homered leading off the sixth, his sixth.
The Padres closed to 7-5 on Wil Myers’ infield RBI single with one out in the sixth and then loaded the bases on Eric Hosmer’s walk. But Steven Brault got Hunter Renfroe to hit a flyball to right that wasn’t deep enough to bring in Jose Pirela, and Kyle Crick struck out pinch-hitter Christian Villanueva.
Crick (1-1) pitched 1 1-3 innings for the win. Felipe Vazquez pitched the ninth for his 17th save.
Ross (5-6), who has been mentioned in trade rumors Youth Da'Ron Payne Jersey , was chased by Diaz’s homer. Ross had his worst start of the season, allowing seven runs and seven hits, with three walks and no strikeouts.
”I didn’t throw the ball particularly well,” Ross said. ”I could’ve been a lot better with two outs and two strikes. That’s kind of where I really got myself into trouble.
”That big fifth inning, had two strikes on Meadows and two outs, and double to left and then everything kind of unfolded from there. Days like this happen. I still had a chance to win that game, just wasn’t able to put hitters away when I had two-strike counts.”
Said manager Andy Green: ”You’ve got two outs and nobody on and Tyson on the mound, you kind of like that situation right there. Next thing you know, bases are loaded and one pitch is hit out of the ball park, and that kind of changes the trajectory of the game. It’s a frustrating one.”
Pirates starter Jameson Taillon went 4 2-3 innings, allowing four runs, three earned, and seven hits while striking out four and walking three. He got the first two outs of the fifth before allowing Renfroe’s homer to left, his fifth, that pulled the Padres to 6-4. Taillon allowed singles to Cory Spangenberg and Carlos Asuaje before making way for Edgar Santana, who struck out Freddy Galvis.
Ross hit a sacrifice fly that gave the Padres a 2-1 lead in the second. He singled with two outs in the fourth and then got the first stolen base of his career. He was stranded when Manuel Margot grounded out.
Renfroe also hit an RBI double in the third.
The Padres agreed to terms with LHP Ryan Weathers, their first-round selection, seventh overall, in June’s amateur draft. He is the son of former big league pitcher David Weathers.
Pirates: RHP Nick Kingham (2-3, 3.82) is expected to be recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis to start Monday night’s opener of a three-game series at the Los Angeles Dodgers, who will counter with LHP Alex Wood (4-5, 4.00).
Padres: LHP Clayton Richard (7-7, 4.29) is scheduled to start Tuesday night’s opener of a two-game series at Oakland Youth Derrius Guice Jersey , which counters with RHP Chris Bassitt (1-3, 2.82).
Drop into just about any bank or supermarket or sports bar in the Kansas City metro area these days and there’s a good chance you’ll see one of several photographs from just a few years ago hanging on a wall. It might be Yordano Ventura unleashing a fastball. Or Eric Hosmer sliding into home at Citi Field in New York. Or Wade Davis with his arms thrust high into the air, his blazing fastball having just closed out Game 5 of the World Series and making the Kansas City Royals the world champions.
More than likely, you’ll find the now-iconic photograph of Union Station, where an estimated 400,000 people turned out to celebrate the club’s first title in three decades.
Those photos are reminders of better times. And how quickly things can change.
The Royals, who were indeed baseball royalty in 2015, are now neck and neck with the Orioles for the worst record in baseball. They’ve traded off their star closer, their best players are struggling and the prospects that might one day raise them from the abyss are years away from joining the club.
”The record is what it is. The hitting is what it is. The pitching is what it is,” said Royals manager Ned Yost, who presided over the rebuild that led to back-to-back World Series appearances. ”I have to continue to lead. We have to make sure this year has not been a waste.”
How did things fall apart so quickly?
To start, the Royals doled out big contracts to players that have not produced. Left fielder Alex Gordon consumes 14 percent of the payroll in the third year of a $72 million, four-year deal, but he’s hitting just .247 with five homers and 15 RBIs. Right-hander Ian Kennedy consumes 11 percent of the payroll in the third year of a $70 million, five-year deal, and he’s 1-8 with a 5.11 ERA.
The few stars that remain on the roster have likewise struggled to produce.
Salvador Perez likely will see his streak of five straight All-Star games end. The catcher, in the third year of a $52 million, six-year deal, is hitting .255 with 11 homers and 33 RBIs.
Good luck winning many games that way.
The Royals were 25-61 heading into their off day Thursday and had lost 24 of their last 28 games. They needed to go 38-38 the rest of the way just to avoid the ignominy of 100 losses.
Making things worse: The Royals are losing that many games with a payroll of about $144 million.
Another reason for the precipitous slide was year after year of poor drafts. Only one of their 13 first-round picks since 2010 is currently on the 25-man roster; Hunter Dozier is hitting .223 in 44 games as he struggles to lock down an everyday job.
”As a young guy you know you’re going to fail, and in some ways we want you to fail because that’s how you’re going to get better,” said Yost, who is going through the same slow learning process with infielder and erstwhile top prospect Adalberto Mondesi.
The son of longtime big leaguer Raul Mondesi, he is hitting .214 in 42 at-bats this season.
”We also don’t want to heap too much on their shoulders Youth Nyheim Hines Jersey ,” Yost said, ”so it’s balancing act.”
Maybe that’s why the Royals have been slow to gut their roster in favor of a complete rebuild, even if that appears to be coming. They’ve already traded utility outfielder Jon Jay to the Diamondbacks and star closer Kelvin Herrera to the Nationals, getting five prospects in return that the Royals hope will help restock a farm system that remains one of the worst in baseball.
More moves could be coming, too. The Royals are hopeful of trading third baseman Mike Moustakas, who signed a one-year deal when no long-term offers materialized last offseason. Versatile infielder Whit Merrifield could land a few solid prospects, and left-hander Danny Duffy and even Perez could be made available, though both have torpedoed their value with poor seasons.
The combination of an old and bad team has been made even worse by the fact that the Royals are, well, pretty boring. They don’t hit an abundance of homers. Their starting rotation includes the first two pitchers to hit 10 losses in the majors. There are no young stars yet worth watching.
As a result, the Royals are drawing an average of 20,283 fans to Kauffman Stadium. That’s a drop of more than 7,000 from last season and more than 13,000 from their championship season.
Still, for all the gloom, the typically irascible Yost has taken a decidedly optimistic approach to this season. He’s been through these long and painful rebuilds and come out the other side.
It takes patience. It takes smart moves. It takes more patience.
”There’s a lot of things to look at that you’re happy with, even though the record is what it is,” he said. ”There is progress that you’re going to see on the back end, in the light, just as we did in 2013 and 2014, when we turned the corner the last time.”