When the Great Scorer eulogizes the 2017 Kansas City Royals season, I imagine that among the first few sentences will be the phrase “Lost by 10-plus runs to two division rivals in less than a week.”
You won’t find that sentence on the proverbial headstone of many playoff teams, that’s for sure.
The Detroit Tigers—who spent the last 45 or so days trading away everyone who could do baseball things, particularly things like smack the living crap out of the ball—battered an (allegedly) contending Royals team for 15 hits and 13 runs, including six home runs, as Kansas City’s grasp on the postseason became still more precarious.
The Tigers—the Tigers!—scored in six of eight innings, including every inning from the fourth on. 2017 AL Cy Young (Minus the Final 81 Games) winner Jason Vargas surrendered a seven-spot in the second inning. Trevor Cahill was not only the Royals best pitcher on this night, it wasn’t even close; I’m not certain that even writing that phrase isn’t a form of hate speech.
Three days ago I wrote this and aside from some name changes, practically all of it applied Tuesday night, right down to Andres Machado being prominently involved again. At least they scored this time—in fact, they even held a brief lead after a first-pitch Melky Cabrera ground out with the bases loaded (way to work the count, Melky) scored Whit Merrifield in the first inning.
Then the Tigers scored 10 straight runs.
I want to save the “What in God’s name happened to Jason Vargas?” conversation for later this week, but tonight was special in the scope of Dr. Vargas’ second-half collapse. In the second, five Tigers came to the plate and five Tigers scored before Vargas recorded an out. JaCoby Jones and Mikie Mahtook (real names and not MLB the Show stock characters) hit homers.
Vargas did not get a third inning. I will have PLENTY more to say about his rapid decline.
The rest of the night reads like the most boring home run derby in the history of mankind.
In the fourth, John Hicks homered for Detroit.
In the fifth, it was Jose Iglesias’ turn.
For variety’s sake, Lorenzo Cain homered for the Royals in the sixth to reduce the deficit from ‘beating’ to ‘mild thrashing’; however, Hicks singled home Mahtook in the bottom of the frame to push the Detroit lead back to nine.
Jones’ second homer of the game would make it a 10-run Royals deficit.
Hicks’ second homer of the game would be the final run of the game and give the Royals their fourth loss by double-digits in the last 10 days. The good news is that it gave Ned Yost another opportunity to remove his starters. The bad news is that you’d like for Cabrera, etc., to either be prominently involved late in contests in winnable games come September, or you’d like them to be the ones kicking the crap out of bad teams.
As it stands, the Royals are the bad team. Only the most head-in-the-clouds Royals fans would believe otherwise right now.
Maybe Jason Hammel can sort this out Wednesday night against Matthew Boyd. That starts at 6:10 p.m. (CT) and if you believe Hammel can do that, I’ve got some oceanfront property in Overland Park you’d probably be interested in too.