Yeah, Shaun Marcum was awful, but let’s not kill Ron Roenicke for it

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My first impulse after Shaun Marcum’s Game 2 four inning, five run performance was that he shouldn’t be allowed to start another playoff game this year.  Then, after thinking it over and looking up and down that Brewers roster, I came around to Ron Roenicke’s way of thinking: who the hell else could he pitch if not Marcum?

The answer that most people came back with was Chris Narveson, who had an ERA nearly a full run higher than Marcum’s in the regular season, walked more guys and allowed more hits than Marcum did.  Sure, Marcum has been pitching terribly and it didn’t seem like a good bet that he’d turn it around, but Narveson hadn’t been getting anyone out in the postseason either.  When left with two unpalatable choices, don’t you go with the guy who, if he remembers who he is, is capable of pitching the better game?

That’s what Roenicke did anyway, and it obviously didn’t work.  Marcum got destroyed and the game was all but over before it began.  But let’s not lose sight of the fact that after Marcum’s four-run, one-inning performance, Narveson came in and have up five runs in an inning and two-thirds.

So yes, you can be angry at the fact that Roenicke started Marcum if you’d like, but please, tell us all what the better course would have been.

Royals outfielder Gordon to retire after 14 seasons

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Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon, the former first-round pick whose rollercoaster career took him from near bust to All-Star and Gold Glove winner, announced Thursday he will retire after the season.

Gordon was the second overall pick in the 2005 first-year player draft following a standout career at Nebraska, where he won the Golden Spikes Award as the best amateur in baseball. He made his big league debut two years later and, after a few years shuttling back and forth to the minors, moved from third base to the outfield and finally found success.

He wound up playing his entire 14-year career in Kansas City, joining only George Brett and Frank White as position players with that much longevity with the franchise. He heads into a weekend four-game series against Detroit with the third-most walks (682), fourth-most homers (190), fifth-most doubles (357) and sixth-most games played (1,749) in club history.

The three-time All-Star also holds the dubious distinction of being the Royals’ career leader in getting hit by pitches.

While he never quite hit with the kind of average the Royals hoped he would, Gordon did through sheer grit turn himself into one of the best defensive players in the game. He is the only outfielder to earn seven Gold Gloves in a nine-year span, a number that trails only White’s eight for the most in franchise history, and there are enough replays of him crashing into the outfield wall at Kauffman Stadium or throwing out a runner at the plate to run for hours.

Gordon won the first of three defensive player of the year awards in 2014, when he helped Kansas City return to the World Series for the first time since its 1985 championship. The Royals wound up losing to the Giants in a seven-game thriller, but they returned to the Fall Classic the following year and beat the Mets in five games to win the World Series.

It was during the 2015 that Gordon hit one of the iconic homers in Royals history. His tying shot off Mets closer Jeurys Familia in Game 1 forced extra innings, and the Royals won in 14 to set the tone for the rest of the World Series.

Gordon signed a one-year contract to return this season, and he never considered opting out when the coronavirus pandemic caused spring training to be halted and forced Major League Baseball to play a dramatically reduced 60-game schedule.

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