One can’t bag on the Royals not taking a 45-year old best described as ‘rotund’ straight to the woodshed because as presently constructed, Bartolo Colon would be the Royals No. 2 starter.
One can bag on the Royals for other reasons, like staking a three-run lead, putting men on in crucial spots late and not capitalizing or surrendering walk-off home runs with the closer just hanging out in the bullpen in extra innings. I give you permission after a 4-3 loss in Texas; the record is 17-35 (all royalties to Rustin Dodd).
The Royals scored first, which is less awesome than it sounds because they score first quite often and were just 11-13 this season when doing so (of course, they’re 7-22 when the opponent scores first so…). Hunter Dozier singled, hustled to second on a bouncer by Ryan Goins that took the double play out of the equation and advanced again on an Alcides Escobar base knock. Taking it back to the top of the lineup, Jon Jay scored Dozier on a single and Whit Merrifield cleared the bases with a double. And sure, things could’ve been even better—Mike Moustakas was intentionally walked to put two aboard with one out but Salvador Perez continued his slump with a lineout and Jorge Soler (Bad Jorge!) struck out chasing a 2-2 changeup out of the zone.
As Ian Kennedy does, he set about making sure that the lead he was given began shrinking nearly as quickly as it was given to him. Delino DeShields singled, advanced to second after a Shin-Soo Choo’s Corpse grounded out (into the shift, and which would’ve gone into the outfield after it took a wonky hop on Dozier at first if Goins hadn’t been right behind him)(bear that in mind Jason Hammel) and scored on Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s single.
The lead shrank to a run the next inning. Jurickson Profar led off with a triple, while a hanging two-seamer (can you hang a two-seamer? I trust Kennedy to find out) to Joey Gallo, who banged it off the 407 mark in right-center for a run-scoring double.
And that was it. Aside from the fact that it took him 90 pitches to get through five innings (at which point the Abominable Bullpen of Kansas City took over), Kennedy’s day was fine. It was fine. Fine seems like the best you’re gonna get out of Kennedy anymore. Two years and $33 million to go, gang!
Of course, it took Brad Keller all of four batters to surrender the lead. Gallo walked, then stole (well, that can’t be right) second, ultimately scoring on a Ronald Guzman double. It’s not the largest lead given up by the Royals this season, but still… don’t do that. Especially don’t do that against a team that’s now 22-32.
As for Young Bartolo, he chugged along for seven innings, surrendering only the three-spot in the third. Five hits, three earned, four strikeouts. The ERA is down to 3.55. When Kennedy’s 45 years old, he’ll be coaching or fishing. Bartolo Colon is a national treasure, for this and many other nations. I know this is Royals-centric, but come on. Bartolo Colon might be the last thing we as a nation consider to be universally good and right. I pray for his continued… well, good health is probably an oxymoron for someone so large, but I want him to pitch until he’s 60.
Three times in the later innings, the Royals put a man on with one out or fewer on the board.
In the seventh, Dozier led off with a double. He didn’t score.
In the eighth, Merrifield led off with a walk. He didn’t score.
In the ninth, Gordon stroked a one-out single. You can take it from here.
Nine innings of Royals-Rangers just wasn’t enough (said nobody, ever), so this went to extras. For a change of pace, the Royals didn’t put anybody on in their half of the tenth inning. Technically speaking, neither did the Rangers—Shoo’s Corpse led off the Texas tenth with a walk-off homer.
What was Kelvin Herrera doing during all this? No idea. He’s the closer, meaning he can only appear to get saves in Ned Yost World. So… yep. We’ll call it a day right here.
The Bright Spot: Any day with Bartolo is a good day.
The Nadir: Giving up a three-run lead is rarely a good thing.
The Next Step: Hammel v. Hamels duel closes out the series in Arlington on Sunday. Jason (1-5, 5.70) has been bad. Cole (3-4, 3.38 ERA) has been better. The victor moves on to face Jon Hamm in the Ultimate Ham-Related Name Contest. For the Royals, it’s the difference between a series split and a pretty embarrassing series loss to a not-great team. Goins will bat leadoff, unless he’s the cleanup hitter. This recap is over.