August 22, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Kansas City Royals right fielder Jeff Francoeur (21) misses a foul ball in the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
For a game in which the Royals scored first and trailed just 2-1 after five and one-half innings, it never seemed like Kansas City was going to pick up a win today.
That feeling had much to do with the fact that after allowing a two out rbi single to Jeff Francoeur, James Shields proceeded to retire 16 of the next 18 Royal batters. The Rays' hurler was pretty much on auto-pilot until the 8th inning when the Royals once more mounted a late rally that fell short.
After Eric Hosmer took a changeup for an iffy called third strike, Ned Yost was ejected for perceived inappropriate language generally launched in the direction of the home plate umpire. The Royals then got us somewhat interested when Johnny Giavotella (yes, Johnny got a hit!) singled up the middle. After a Cain strikeout on just four pitches (he hit the trifecta, taking a changeup for a called strike, fouling off a changeup and swinging and missing on a changeup), Alcides Escobar tripled on the first offering from Shields. I know it's a beaten horse, but tell me again why you would ever want Escobar bunting?
Alex Gordon then greeted reliever Jake McGee with a single and the Royals found themselves within one run with Billy Butler coming to the plate. Kyle Farnsworth, one of something like 12 former Royal relievers on the Rays' staff, came on and retired Butler on a groundball back to the mound. Kyle...Freaking...Farnsworth.
Luis Mendoza walked four and hit one in less than five innings of work and pretty much could not throw a breaking pitch for a strike all day. To be honest, it was a heck of an effort to just give up two runs through all that. The Royals' bullpen had an off-day, with four pitchers combining to give up three runs in 3.2 innings of work.
This was not one of those demoralizing 'oh-we're-horrible-the-sky-is-falling' kind of losses. Nor was it a 'we-are-a-laughingstock' loss. It was not even a 'man-we-got-screwed' loss - although the balls and strikes, best we can tell, were called with some degree of curiosity today.
Basically, it was just one of those days.