MLB: Kansas City Royals at New York Yankees

Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

Through it all, through the 30 barren years between championships, the Royals offense never looked as wretched as it has in the last week of games.

The carnage:

Royals 1 – Cleveland 6
Royals 1 – Cleveland 7
Royals 0 – Cleveland 7
Royals 1 – Baltimore 4
Royals 1 – Baltimore 9
Royals 0 – Baltimore 4

I mean, 37 runs allowed in a six game stretch is less than ideal under any circumstances. That’s a shade over 6 runs per game.

But this is another article about the dregs of the offense. You don’t need a calculator to add the number of runs the Royals have scored over the last six games. You only need a hand.

Since this is the Royals and they don’t give a damn about doing anything halfway, it shouldn’t be a surprise this is bordering on a historic stretch of offensive futility. Major League Baseball teams just don’t put their bats away in this kind of totality for a week of games. The last team to score one run or less in six straight games was the 2011 Minnesota Twins. That team lost 99 games. Before that, the last team to experience such an offensive hibernation was the ’92 St. Louis Cardinals. Those Cardinals somehow won two of their six games. National League baseball before steroids was amazing.

A quick check of the Baseball Reference Play Index show the Royals are just the 11th team in the expansion era to play Dead Ball Era offense.

Rk Strk Start End Games W L AB R H 2B 3B HR BA OBP SLG OPS Opp
1 HOU 1963-06-18 1963-06-25 9 0 9 284 3 47 4 0 1 .165 .213 .190 .403 CHC,CIN,MLN
2 OAK 1978-09-12 1978-09-17 7 1 6 224 6 41 3 0 4 .183 .211 .250 .461 KCR,TEX
3 KCR 2016-06-03 2016-06-08 6 0 6 193 4 37 7 0 1 .192 .250 .244 .494 CLE,BAL
4 MIN 2011-08-21 2011-08-26 6 0 6 192 5 39 11 1 1 .203 .271 .286 .558 NYY,BAL,DET
5 STL 1992-06-30 1992-07-05 6 2 4 194 4 33 5 0 2 .170 .207 .227 .434 PIT,SFG
6 ATL 1985-05-08 1985-05-14 6 1 5 182 2 32 6 0 1 .176 .235 .225 .460 NYM,MON
7 LAD 1984-07-26 1984-07-31 6 2 4 172 3 25 6 0 1 .145 .241 .198 .439 ATL,CIN,SDP
8 TOR 1978-09-26 1978-10-01 6 0 6 182 4 26 1 1 3 .143 .175 .209 .383 NYY,BOS
9 CAL 1969-05-13 1969-05-18 6 1 5 183 4 28 3 0 1 .153 .221 .186 .407 WSA,NYY
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 6/9/2016.

The four runs scored by the Royals in these six games also represents a sort of bottom for the franchise as far as offensive output. Never before has a Royals team had a six game stretch where they scored so few runs. The previous low was six runs done just twice in team history. The 1990 team did it, as did the 1974 team. Newsflash: Both those teams were poor baseball teams.

This doesn’t answer why this is happening. Why are the Royals so awful at the plate? Obviously, part of the reason can be pinned to injury. Remove Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas from the order and the offense just isn’t going to be the same. Go ahead and fall in love with Whit Merrifield, Brett Eibner and the rest of the rookies, but at this point they just aren’t adequate replacements for two middle of the order stalwarts.

Then, there’s Kendrys Morales and his year-long walkabout.

Then, there’s Ned Yost’s lineup construction. No team has gotten less production out of the top of the order as the Royals. Alcides Escobar, I’m looking at you. It’s never fun to say I told you so, but a .274 OBP and a 50 OPS+ is no way to leadoff your batting order.

It’s unscientific, but this performance is a confluence of injury, poor performance from key bats, along with Yost’s old school stubbornness. Sadly, the only thing Yost can affect is now not enough to pull this team out of its tailspin. These are dark offensive days. It may be awhile before we see the dawn.

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