By the way, the Royals played a baseball game Monday night.
It was easy to lose sight of that, considering what was going down even as warm-ups were wrapping up. Kelvin Herrera was gone; yet another franchise mainstay would be wearing a different uniform. Another link to the glory days gone; HDH officially in the dust. It was easy to forget about baseball for the night.
I mean, it’s easy to forget about baseball most night’s this year but stay focused.
Nothing the Royals do this year matters when it comes to the on-field product. But they can make the right moves to set themselves up for a better future; between this and the Jon Jay deal (and Lord only knows how many more to come) and the draft haul, it’s safe to say a start has been made.
But they’re gonna keep playing games anyway; can’t just shut it down for a couple of years and wait to “not suck anymore.” Monday wasn’t a bad day like any of the myriad beatings (Opening Day against Chicago, 16-0 to the A’s, others I can’t recall) or one of the seemingly billions of times they’ve lost by a run in a low-scoring game because a starter pitched well and either the bullpen pooped it away or the offense didn’t show up. This was merely a run-of-the-mill 6-3 loss, one of roughly 110 or so you can expect to observe as a Royals watcher this year.
I mean, the leadoff was a little different. Shin-Soo Choo, who you might remember from that time he snatched defeat from the jaws of victory for the Royals with a walk-off winner in May, homered to right on an Ian Kennedy Special (i.e. a belt-high fastball right down the middle) on the fourth pitch of the game. The 49-degree launch-angle was the highest by a Ranger since 2015.
[very Cecil Tunt voice] Mildly inauspicious.
Choo got the ball rolling again for the Rangers in the third as Kennedy’s control issues yielded a four-spot. One-out walks to Choo and Elvis Andrus, followed by a Nomar Mazara single (scoring Choo) and a three-run Adrian Beltre homer to put up five runs before the Royals scored one.
The Good Guys finally got on the board in the home half thanks to the bottom of the order, and in particular Adalberto Mondesi—his double scored leadoff hitter Abraham Almonte after the Wrong Almonte led off the inning with a single (his only hit of the homestand to this point), and Not Raul Jr. scored three batters later, moving to third on an Alex Gordon single and thing scoring via Mike Moustakas sac fly.
The low end of the lineup helped out again in the fourth, when Alcides Escobar laced a one-out single (his second hit of the homestand, if you’re picking up on a theme here), then scored when Rosell Herrera (by Missouri law, the Royals must employ a Herrera) banged his first hit as a Royal and drove in the first run of his MLB career. Mazara couldn’t run it down, the ball got to the wall and Herrera hit the jets to coast into third. Mondesi nearly extended the inning and cut the deficit to a run on a liner to deep center, but Delino DeShields Jr. tracked it down to end the inning.
But hey, 5-3 game! The Royals aren’t out of it!
Since the Royals put precisely one runner aboard after the fifth inning, it’s important to talk about what went on there. Whit Merrifield singled to lead off the inning (good!), but then was picked-off by Big Sexy Bartolo Colon (bad!). Gordon walked, followed by singles from Moustakas and Salvador Perez to load the sacks (good!)… but then Hunter Dozier grounded into the easiest 6-4-3 double play in the history of man.
That one falls under the category of “bad,” in case you were wondering.
Two walks, one to Jurickson Profar and another to Ronald Guzman, set the stage for Texas’ final run of the night. With runners on the corner, DeShields pushed a bunt into no-man’s land between the mound, the first-base bag and the second baseman. DeShields is fast; he was easily safe, as was Profar at the plate. Wily Peralta was pitching if that matters to you at all.
I mentioned one runner reached for Kansas City after the fifth, right? BECAUSE IT SEEMS LIKE THAT WAS IMPORTANT.
Kennedy was his regular-old mediocre self (6.0 innings, four hits, three walks, five earned… but eight strikeouts, somehow), while Colon picked up career win No. 244 (most-ever by a Dominican player) by scattering nine hits over six innings, allowing three earned. Colon has pitched against Raul Mondesi and Adalberto Mondesi; I’m hoping Adalberto has a kid who turns out to be a baseball prodigy so that 20 years from now, a 65-year-old Big Sexy can face him too.
The Bright Spot: All nine starters got a hit and only three struck out, which feels like progress?
The Nadir: Bidding Kelvin Herrera adieu while knowing we’re in for dozens of Peralta/Brandon Maurer flare ups over the coming weeks.
The Next Step: Hammel-Hamels is the order of the day Tuesday; Jason was good against the Reds (woo) last Wednesday, taking a hard-luck loss, while Cole comes in with a 2-1 record and 2.40 ERA on the road. You know what’s going to happen, even as Kansas City tries to stop a 13-losses-in-14-games slide.