RECAP: Royals 0, Nationals 2; Shutout Time Machine

The West Coast hangs heavy. A smell is in the fabric and it can’t be washed out. It pervades the bats. It’s soul crushing. I’m wearing all black as I write this.

The Royals were shutout for the third time in four games on Monday. The offense is a dumpster fire. That’s really all you need to know. And you already know this. So, why are you here? Are you some kind of masochist?

WPA Play of the Game

I’m no expert in torture, but I’d imagine if you were locked in a room where the only sound was a constant drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet, you would go mad. That’s what this game was all about. There was no knockout blow delivered by the Nationals. A double and a ground out in the first brought home both runs. Against a capable offense, those runs are an annoyance. Against the Royals, they actually stand up!

So the WPA play of the game feels kind of minor. It came in the eighth inning after the Alcides Escobar leadoff double. According to the Run Expectancy Matrix, in that situation a run comes across 40 percent of the time. With the Royals heart of the order coming up, you’d normally like their chances. Except this isn’t normal times.

Up comes Lorenzo Cain.

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 10.22.23 PMAnd down goes Cain.

And with it, the Royals Win Expectancy dropped another 7.7 percent. Two strikeouts later, the inning was over.


The offense will overshadow the effort from Edinson Volquez. He scuffled in the first inning, needing 29 pitches to escape with two runs surrendered. From there? Cruising.

The sinker was working for Sexy Ed. The change-up? Not so much. He allowed eight change-ups in play, six of them went for hits. But no big deal. Volquez was able to work around the stray baserunners after the first. He did everything he could to keep his team in the game.

Tip of the cap to Danny Duffy as well. He froze Bryce Harper on a brilliant fastball to end the eighth. Duffy found himself in a spot of trouble in the ninth, but made a nice play on a tapper down the third base line and then came back to get a pair of strikeouts.

Really nice pitching from the Royals tonight. To bad we can’t say the same for the bats.

Wasted, Part 2

The Royals are missing meaty pitches. Collectively. On Monday, they’d get a favorable count, find a pitch in the heart of the plate… and foul it off. It was extremely frustrating to watch. Cain is a primary provocateur. Alex Gordon is the same. Kendrys Morales. The list goes on and on. The at bat that stood out to me was Gordon’s appearance in the ninth against Jonathon Papelbon. Papelbon lives around 91 mph these days, fell behind to Gordon and served a buffet of pitches in the zone. Yet all Gordon could do was foul them off. The 10th pitch of the at bat was a middle-middle fastball… that Gordon hit about 250 feet in the air to center.

Goo Gonzalez pitched well in his start. The Nationals bullpen has been solid, but they presented opportunities. The Royals couldn’t capitalize.

Wasted, Part 3

I’m not sure what’s happening with Cain. He’s not hitting. He dropped a fly ball that had a degree of difficulty, but that was well within his range. The biggest fail of the night was when he tried to steal third base with two outs and Morales up in the third. Who knows what he was thinking? It was an unnecessary risk that turned into a dumb out.

Up Next

Chris Young tries to inspire the bats as he faces off against Tanner Roark. It’s a 7:15 start. Maybe they’ll score a run.


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