• ROYALS GIVE ONE AWAY — The Kansas City Royals spent much of Thursday trying to hand over their game to division rival Cleveland.
In the end, they did.
The trademark of the Royals’ past two World Series teams was that they didn’t give away games. But Christmas came early for Cleveland as the Royals’ defense sprang a leak with three errors, not to mention a couple of other plays that could be classified under the mental error category.
Alcides Escobar, Eric Hosmer and Paulo Orlando were all credited with errors. Omar Infante could easily have been charged in the eighth inning when he made a bad throw on a sure-fire, inning-ending doubleplay, with that turning into a run.
In the ninth, Orlando — who had just gone in for defensive purposes — apparently wasn’t ready to play. He gaffed on a grounder to right field that allowed the leadoff runner to go to second base. After a strikeout for the first out, Orlando left his feet for a line drive that he had no chance of catching, which turned into a triple. Moments later the game was over on a sac fly.
I immediately thought to myself that when Infante made his horrendous throw in the eighth, this was going to end badly. The Royals’ sloppiness simply wouldn’t stop and it’s the first really bad loss of the year.
The Royals are between the rock and hard place with Infante. In the third year of a four-year deal where they terribly overpaid, they’re stuck with him for another 1 1/2 seasons. His range has greatly diminished and he adds little-to-no offense. The Royals got a good year out of him in 2014, but he hit the wall after that and now he’s a liability, especially with exciting rookie Whit Merrifield poised to play somewhere in the lineup.
Kansas City management is not the type to eat a contract. They’re giving Infante more and more rest, but he’s making the routine plays an adventure. Don’t be surprised if Infante’s once- or twice-a-week benchings become three and four if Merrifield continues to play well.
This is the kind of loss that can send a team into a tailspin. Let’s hope the Royals can turn the page and receive a quality start tonight from Edinson Volquez.
• GOLDEN STATE UP 1-0 — What does it say about Golden State when its backcourt for the ages of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson stinks out the place and the defending champs still win by 15?
What it tells me is that Cleveland is doomed and the NBA Finals could be over quickly.
Curry and Thompson were a sickly 8-of-27 from the field and combined for just 20 points, yet Golden State’s bench outscored Cleveland’s 45-10 to lead to the easy victory.
Shaun Livingston, he of the ugly shot, scored 20 points to lead the Warriors. LeBron James scored 23 points, but he’s going to have to be much better if the Cavaliers are to make it any kind of series.