Another Tuesday, another loss. Another brutal performance from the Royals offense.
As the Royals sink further into baseball oblivion (they have won just four games out of 23 in June), let’s take a moment to fully appreciate the offensive ineptitude they have exhibited of late. Tuesday’s 6-1 loss to the Brewers marked the 19th consecutive game where the Royals scored four runs or less.
How about some perspective?
As Nigel Tufnel once said, that’s too much f’n perspective. For real. The old team record of scoring four runs or fewer in consecutive games was 14. The Royals blew past that last week. This is absolute insanity. You figure at some point you’ll have a game where someone runs into a three-run home run and you maybe tack on a sac fly or scoring on an error or something. Not this team. Not these Royals.
I guess in order to hit a three-run home run you have to be adept at actually putting runners on base. You need at least two to hit a three-run home run. (Math, everyone!) Ahhhh, that’s the rub. The Royals are having a hard time getting anyone on base. For the month of June, the Royals team OBP is .254. Or as I like to look at it, they are making an out three-quarters of the time.
But wait! When you set your arbitrary endpoints for the start of the month, that includes a couple of games where the Royals touched home more than four times. (It also includes a pair of times when the offense was shutout. Naturally.) Adjust the time frame to when the streak started back on June 5, and the OBP is at .242.
At least they’re not tanking. Am I right?
This translates to 2.1 runs per game in the month of June. Overall, the numbers are abysmal any way you slice it. I wanted to blame Jon Jay for the current slide. He was productive for the Royals at the top of the order, with a .363 OBP and surely removing his bat would have a negative effect on the offense. Sure enough, leadoff hitters are batting .243/.303/.314 since Jay departed. And, their streak of scoring four runs or less in a game pretty much began when Jay was dealt to Arizona. The Royals were averaging 3.96 R/G while Jay was on the team. Since he left, it’s 2 R/G.
To be this awful for this long requires a total team effort. And it has been that. June hasn’t been kind to anyone.
The table is sorted by sOPS+ which measures the player’s OPS+ relative to the league split. OPS+ isn’t the most comprehensive offensive stat, but when taken in the context of the total league, it can be a decent yardstick. The three batters who are better than the league average this month are three who haven’t spent the entire month on the roster. There’s Jay, of course, and Duda who has recently returned from the disabled list. Herrera is a pleasant surprise. He’s playing like a guy who wants to stay in the majors. We can focus on his walk rate and BABIP later. As for the rest? Blech.
Oh, hey! There’s Alcides Escobar with an sOPS+ of 4. Four! I’m singling him out here only because I’m tickled that since the Royals have insisted they aren’t beholden to his consecutive games streak and that he will now sit from time to time, he’s started every single game. Just not at shortstop. Oh.
But as usual, there aren’t exactly better options available. Jorge Bonifacio is slated to return to the team this weekend when the Royals travel to Seattle. I suppose that has the potential to help, but at this point who really knows. And does it matter?
It seems like every article written about the Royals this season contains some variation of the line, “We knew they’d be bad, but we didn’t know they’d be this bad.” And if the expected trades of Mike Moustakas and possibly Duda come to pass, things only figure to get worse for a team currently on pace for 113 losses.