USATSI_10027863_168381442_lowres

Road Trip From Hell

Was it the worst week ever? Not in a traditional Monday to the weekend sort of week. (Or Sunday if you’re a monster who can’t properly read a calendar.) Seven days. Seven games. Seven losses. The Royals left Kansas City after a 5-3 home stand with an even-steven record of 7-7 on the young season. They return to The K stuck on seven wins. And now with 14 losses.

Brutal.

It was a stretch of games where the Royals never really threatened to win. Early one run leads evaporate. Bullpens implode. Rallies fizzle.

The losses pile up. Let’s recap.

Game 1
Royals 0, Rangers 1, 13 innings

Brief Glimmer Of Hope
This was a truly brutal game that seemingly was going to last forever. When Eric Hosmer drew a four-pitch walk against Dario Alvarez to lead off the 12th inning, it pushed the Royals win expectancy to 58 percent. He didn’t score.

Moment of Despair
It could have been when Travis Wood entered a scoreless game in the bottom of the 12th. In that frame, he drew the heart of the Rangers order. Upon successful navigation of that minefield, Yost doubled down and sent his scuffling lefty back to the bump for the 13th. Well, nothing good is going to come from that. After a one-out double from Joey Gallo, Wood and Delino DeShields battled for nine pitches before the hammer fell on the 10th, a middle-middle change on 3-2.

Game 2
Royals 2, Rangers 6

Brief Glimmer Of Hope
Optimism slapped us in the face early, just two batters into the game. Alex Gordon was hit by a Cole Hamels pitch and Lorenzo Cain doubled him home. That gave the Royals a 65 percent Win Probability. Two batters in to the game! Amazing! Alas, any potential rally was squelched on a pair of ground outs and a whiff.

Maybe they scored too early.

Moment of Despair
Nate Karns needed 23 pitches to navigate through his half of the first, but did put the Rangers down in order. He got the first two outs of the second. Then, all hell broke loose. A Robinson Chirinos home runs, followed by a Jurickson Profar walk, followed by a Gallo bomb. As we quickly came to learn, three runs against the Royals is an insurmountable lead.

Whatever. Karns, feeling charitable, tossed another home run to both Chirinos and Gallo before he hit the showers.

Game 3
Royals 1, Rangers 2

Brief Glimmer Of Hope
With the game tied at one, Drew Butera led off the eighth inning with a single. That knock gave the Royals a Win Probability of 57 percent. That edge lasted four pitches, or at least as long as it took for Gordon to ground into a double play.

Moment Of Despair
Another gut punch in the form of a walk-off. Wood opens the bottom of the ninth allowing a single to Rougned Odor. Enter Peter Moylan to pitch to Elvis Andrus. After Odor swipes second, the Rangers shortstop ends the game with a single.

At least it was quick.

Game 4
Royals 2, Rangers 5

Brief Glimmer Of Hope
Back to back jacks in the top of the third had us hoping those preseason articles about the newly minted Kansas City Power Company weren’t written in vain. Mike Moustakas launched a 393 foot bomb to right field and Jorge Bonifacio clubbed one 421 feet to left. The 2-0 lead was the literal peak of the Rangers series. When Jason Hammel retired Nomar Mazara for the second out of third, the Royals Win Probability sat at 69 percent.

It was nice. For a moment.

Moment Of Despair
It all went to hell in the fourth inning. Hammel walked Ryan Rua on five pitches and then hit Gallo and Chirinos to load the bases. A four pitch walk to Profar followed and out came the hook for Hammel. The final tally: 18 pitches. Four strikes.

Scott Alexander was called upon and escaped with really minimal damage, but the go-ahead run crossed the plate on a ground out. It was probably too much to ask the Royals to score again.

Game 5
Royals 1, White Sox 12

Brief Glimmer Of Hope
A little two out rally courtesy a Chicago error allowed the Royals to tie the game in the top of the third. Moustakas doubled home Whit Merrifield and the Kansas City Win Probability hit 48 percent.

Moment Of Despair
Through his first three starts, Jason Vargas had been the Royals best pitcher. And that actually is saying something considering how uniformly strong the starting pitching had been. He wasn’t as sharp through his five innings, and left the bullpen with a three run deficit. The mathematical terrorists of Moylan and Wood added a multiplier of 3.67 to the equation.

Blowout city.

Game 6
Royals 5, White Sox 10

Brief Glimmer Of Hope
This one was back and forth through three innings as both teams traded punches like heavyweight boxers sparring for the title.

Ahhhh, who are we kidding? This was more like when the stick bops the muscle bound menace on the nose trying to act tough. Hitting against Rule 5 acquisition Dylan Covey, the Royals tallied one in the first on a Sal Perez single and added another in the third on a Gordon base hit. That run-scoring single gave the Royals a 61 percent chance to break the skid.

It only served to wake up the slumbering giants from the South Side.

Moment Of Despair
With two down in the fourth, the Sox got to Danny Duffy for a pair of doubles and a single. They got two more in the fifth on a single, double, and triple. It was just that kind of night. There was never the killer blow that put the Royals down for the count. It was just one where Duffy couldn’t put hitters away and got knocked around – and out – by the extra base hit.

Game 7
Royals 2, White Sox 5

Brief Glimmer Of Hope
After surrendering a pair of two out doubles to plate two in the first, Karns settled in and for the next several innings. In the third, the Royals got a one out triple from Eric Hosmer but couldn’t score. In the fourth, they put two runners on ahead of Bonifacio who came through with a single to slice the deficit in half, giving the Royals a 51 percent Win Probability.

Alas, after the three straight batters reached to open the inning, the next three went down without advancing the runners.

Moment Of Despair
Karns did pitch well, but served a poorly located offering to Avasail Garcia in the sixth that was put into orbit for two runs, effectively ending the game.

It also served as punctuation for a dismal road trip.

Related Articles

1 comment on “Road Trip From Hell”

Jeremy

Thanks for reminding me…

Leave a comment

Use your Baseball Prospectus username