Although it didn’t actually have an effect on the final score, the Kansas City Royals tried something new against Cleveland, Tuesday night.
Specifically, they elected to fall behind early, make up the ground and THEN have the opponent rip them to pieces in the later innings. I want to call that progress, but I really hope that’s not what progress looks like.
Royals lost 6-4.
Thanks to Francisco Lindor, who may as well be a Batman villain as far as the Royals are concerned at this point, Cleveland jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Lindor—who was drafted after the Royals picked Bubba Starling and that’s something that needs to be mentioned more often—led off with a single, moved to third on Michael Brantley’s single and scored on a Jose Ramirez base hit that was deflected off starter Danny Duffy.
For laughs, Duffy walked Brandon Guyer to load the bases, with Yonder Alonso scoring Brantley on a sac fly.
Ah, but the Royals answered swiftly in their half of the first. Rosell Herrera’s one-out single started the rally and Lucas Duda’s sixth homer of the season, deposited into the right field seats, finished it. Two-run homer, tie game.
An inning later, the Royals did something they haven’t done a lot of in the last month: manufactured a couple of runs. Alcides Escobar’s Decomposing Body started the rally with a one-out single, then he politely got out of the way on Adalberto Mondesi’s ground out to second so Mondesi could flash that speed and steal second.
Merrifield blooped a single that Rajai Davis just missed to score Mondesi, then Herrera doubled to bring home Whit and suddenly, the Royals looked like a halfway-competent ballclub for the first time in a month or so. Things perhaps could’ve turned out even nicer had Guyer not made an outstanding grab against Hunter Dozier to lead off the inning, crashing into the wall and still completing the catch. The good times are never that good for Kansas City.
These lasted all the way into the sixth inning. By now, I think we can safely say that Danny Duffy is no longer a third time through the order sort of guy, as evidenced by his .290/.345/.510 slash line, 112 tOPS+ or any other number you care to reference. At present, after two times through, Duffy is cooked. He turned the Cleveland lineup over for the third time in the fifth and got through Lindor (single), Brantley (lineout) and Ramirez (pop out) with relative ease. Bullpen’s turn, right?
Not so, said the Ouija board Ned Yost consults for pitching decisions. Duffy then proceeded to walk Edwin Encarnacion, hit Guyer and give up a single to Alonso to load the bases for Gomes. Gomes then homered to turn a two-run lead into a two-run deficit on one pitch.
(Guyer’s gonna be sore in the morning. In addition to crashing into the wall to snare Dozier’s drive and getting hit, he fouled a ball of his leg late and had to leave the game.)
And then Duffy faced FOUR MORE BATTERS. I honestly don’t know what they’re doing over there sometimes, but you remove the guy whose running on fumes after he surrenders a grand slam. That’s just common sense.
AND YET INEXPLICABLY the Royals had actual, legitimate chances to tie or take the lead in the last two innings. In the eighth, Salvador Perez led off with a single and then moved to second with two down on an Alex Gordon single. Hunter Dozier proceeded to lace a single back through the box, which should’ve scored Salvy or loaded the bases.
It did neither. Rajai Davis went down to one knee in center, clearly happy to concede the run, and then THREW TO THIRD BASE, all while Mike Jirschele is holding up the stop sign for Salvy. By the time Salvy reacted and got the Rube Goldberg machine that is his body moving again, Davis had thrown to Lindor, who rifled the ball to Gomes at the plate to nail Salvy and end the inning.
I’m sorry, words really don’t do that sequence justice and until we can embed video again you’ll just have to trust me. Watching Perez try to take his body from stopped to full throttle in 0.02 seconds was like watching a tank try to go from stopped to wide open. I’m surprised he didn’t tear something.
Escobar flew out to open the ninth because reasons, but then the Artist Formerly Known as Raul Jr. singled and forced an errant throw by Tribe second baseman Erik Gonzalez that got into the dugout. After Merrifield was walked, a one-out, run-producing opportunity sat before young Rosell Herrera.
He struck out swinging.
Well, okay but then Salvy still rep—wow, second pitch hacking on a pitch in on his hands and he flew out to end the game.
Your Tweet of Despair
This team doesn’t have one good pitcher. Not one. #Royals
— Renwick Hayfield (@MIZ9ER) July 4, 2018
The Bright Spot: Young Rosie (good rap name) collected three hits and Kevin McCarthy produced his seventh straight scoreless outing and 13th in his last 15.
The Nadir: The clown show that was Perez’s eighth inning base running exhibition. You can blame him or Jirschele or both and it really doesn’t matter.
The Next Step: Well, tomorrow was supposed to be the guaranteed loss that is Ian Kennedy, but he’s gone and landed on the disabled list with an oblique strain, so that’ll fall to Trevor Oaks, probably. Serious Baseball Man Trevor Bauer will oppose him at 7:15 p.m. (CT) for the July 4 contest. Stay safe tomorrow, gang.