Earlier today, our very own David Lesky proffered some very interesting explanations for the Royals lack of success when it comes to the bullpen and where that leaves them for the future. I encourage you to read it, because:
- It’s very good
- Gettin’ dem clicks
The upshot, if I understand it (Lesky tends to write above my level of comprehension) is that the Royals are very bad out of the bullpen (hey, no surprise there) and will need to find some reinforcements either from the farm (Hello, Lovelady!) or in free-agency to shore up what’s been an all-around disaster area this season.
What he didn’t bring up is that the starters aren’t really holding up their end of the bargain with anything resembling regularity. Kansas City starters have accounted for 40 quality starts in 113 attempts this season; Tampa Bay, which regularly starts pitchers it has no intention of throwing for more than an inning or two, has 30 quality starts, according to Baseball Reference.
That sets up the punchline that is the Royals, who lost 5-0. Brad Keller, the starter, did not register a quality start, although he did pitch into the sixth to keep the game out of the hands of the Brandon Maurers of the world for as long as possible.
By and large, Keller was “effective” if you use the term as applied against other Royals starters—he made it into the sixth inning even, after giving up four earned runs. For grins—after all, the Royals are (and it’s been awhile since I did this, and it’s getting closer) outscoring opponents 74-72 in the first inning while being outscored 549-340 in subsequent frames—Keller let the Cubs stake the lead in the first inning.
Up until tonight, I’d never heard of David Bote and if I had, I would assume it was from an insurance advertisement. But he did the Royals up good, driving in two with a two-out triple in the first inning to score Javier Baez (one-out single) and Ben Zobrist (one-out double).
Because nothing of consequence happened in innings bottom one-through-four, aside from some nice Baez catches, a great Jason Heyward grab and a Salvador Perez gunning down of Zobrist on a steal attempt, we’ll fast-forward to the fifth. That’s where your boy Bote broke bad once again, banging a run-scoring single to score Baez and make it 4-0 after a relatively pedestrian sac fly by Zobrist brough in Victor Caratini for run No. 3.
The fifth and final Cubs run followed this formula: Bote (that man again) walk, Kyle Schwarber single, Ian Happ sac fly. And what, pray tell, were the Royals up to during this? A quick summation of Kansas City’s “offensive” evening:
(I use quotations because it was the offense and it was offensive. Has everybody gotten the joke who’s getting it? Okay, moving on.)
- First inning, Perez singles
- Second inning, Alcides Escobar singles
- Third inning, Alex Gordon singles
- Fifth inning, Whit Merrifield singles
- Seventh inning, Adalberto Mondesi singles
- Eighth inning, Rosell Herrera singles
And… yep, that’s the list. Four Royals—Perez in the first inning, Hunter Dozier in the sixth, BERTO and Escobar in the seventh—reached scoring position.
Oh, and you know how I mentioned Maurer? Would you be stunned to know he gave up a run in the eighth? You wouldn’t? Me neither. This team is trash. Six losses in a row. The record is [Rustin Dodd bashes my head in with a sock full of quarters]
Your Tweet of Despair
Alcides Escobar should not be within 200 miles of a major league organization #Royals
— Timothy Finley (@LetsGetTacoBell) August 8, 2018
The Bright Spot: Escobar and Dozier each reached base twice. Brian Flynn and Wily Peralta threw scoreless innings of relief. Ned Yost can wear the hell out of a windbreaker.
The Nadir: Drew Butera at first. Dozier at DH. Escobar anywhere. This is the hill I will die on, and if I must give my life so that lineup makes a lick of sense, so be it.
The Next Step: Familiar foe Jose Quintana moved from the South Side to the North Side last trade deadline and this is his first appearance against the Royals since. Also in attendance: Heath Fillmyer, who has never faced any member of the Cubs lineup. He’ll catch ‘em by surprise.