The campaign to #MakeTheRoyalsScoreAgain finally resonated. Fitting it would be in Florida, amirite?
And sure, two-through-four in the lineup were 1-for-the-evening, and that one came with two outs in the ninth and the Royals mustered no walks against a staff walking nearly nine percent of hitters faced this season. The Royals managed to score more than one run, which passes for a banner evening at this point in a miserable season.
I’m gonna blow through this real quick because, as lifeless as the offense was, I was expecting to take another night off recapping this nonsense. In many ways, it was almost liberating—like a long-time snitch for the cops, I’ve probably seen too much to continue but have become too indoctrinated to do anything else. I’m Bubbles from The Wire, basically.
Oh yeah, Tampa Bay defeated Kansas City, 6-3.
It’s a real testament to mediocrity to luck into a double play and still give up multiple runs in the inning afterward, but these are the Royals and mediocrity is often rewarded with a contract extension ‘round here. If you don’t believe me, ask Alcides Escobar and his sub-.650 career OPS.
Anyway, Kevin Kiermaier led off the Tampa second with a single but immediately snuffed out at second on a Willy Adames one-hopper to short that ultimately became a double-play ball thank to Esky, Whit Merrifield and a good stretch at first by Lucas Duda. Two down, nobody on, good times right?
Wrong. In frighteningly rapid succession, the Rays had a Michael Perez single, Carlos Gomez double and Brandon Lowe single to plate both and grab a 2-0 lead. Life comes at you fast.
Whit Merrifield led off the fourth with a homer which, hooray, but it was sandwiched around nine straight outs to start the game and four more after it before Ryan O’Hearn hit his first career double. That kind of night which, again—1-for-16 from the part of the offense that’s allegedly the most well-equipped to provide run support will do that to you.
Another crooked number went on the board for Tampa in the sixth, starting on the most anticlimactic play in sports: the safety squeeze! After Adames singled and moved to third on Merrifield’s error, Carlos Gomez laid down a good bunt that brought the speedy Adames to the plate. Back-to-back singles by Lowe and Mallex Smith brought home Perez, whose bunt Merrifield misplayed in the first place.
The Sheriff gunned down Kiermaier on a steal attempt to end the seventh, continuing a pretty good season behind the dish for Salvador Perez—it was his 23rd runner caught stealing this season, one behind Jonathan Lucroy for the league lead and the only player among catchers with 500 or more innings behind the plate with a better-than-50-percent caught-stealing percentage.
The Royals brought it to within a run in the eighth thanks to a two-run blast to dead-center by Hunter Dozier (exhausted dad disclosure: I tweeted about how garbage “Ryan” Dozier was last night). It didn’t last long—with one out in the bottom of the eighth, Gomez singled, stole second and scored on Smith’s single. Smith took second on Brett Phillips’ throw, then scored a run himself on a Matt Duffy single. Great job [checks notes] Jason Hammel.
Rosell Herrera’s ninth-inning single was all that stood between two-through-five and a hitless evening. Of course, he got thrown out at the plate, WITH NO SLIDE, to end the game so… this recap is over.
Your Tweet of Despair
This #Royals team deserves to be 51 games under .500…..in August. They play bad, bad baseball.
— EZ Newman (@eznewm) August 23, 2018
The Bright Spot: O’Hearn had three hits. The Royals had seven. Eric Hosmer has a 100 OPS+. I’m hoping the SEO picks up Eric Hosmer and we get some extra clicks because of it.
The Nadir: Duda, Perez and Alex Gordon: 22 combined years of MLB service. No hits against the glorified staff day of a 66-61 team.
The Next Step: The march to 110 losses can hit the next milestone—90 defeats—in Thursday’s finale against the Rays. Danny Duffy will come off the disabled list and oppose Tyler Glasnow, one of the centerpieces in the Chris Archer trade, in his fifth start as a Ray.