Royals blow early lead, fall 4-3 against Red Sox

Jim Rogash

The Royals lost this game for America, I guess.

Plenty to talk about after this game, so I will spare you a long introduction.

James Shields gave the Kansas City Royals another solid start. The Boston Red Sox, as they normally do, worked his pitch count, so the right-handed starter only threw six innings. But his six innings were quite effective, as Shields only allowed one run while striking out eight hitters.

The game was lost in the eighth inning on a three-run homer by Daniel Nava. Tim Collins started the inning for the Royals, allowing a Johnny Gomes double and a Dustin Pedroia walk. David Ortiz followed Pedroia by hitting into a double-play, because clutch. Ned Yost then removed Collins for Kelvin Herrera, who allowed a walk to Mike Napoli before the Nava dong.

I've seen people on Twitter and in the game thread crushing Yost for multiple decisions that he made during the game today, but have not seen a consensus on what moves he should have made instead. Some want Herrera to start the eighth, some wanted Collins to finish the eighth inning. Many are still pissed about an Alcides Escobar bunt in the top of the sixth in which the Royals willingly sacrificed an out.

Yost definitely could stop bunting runners over from second to third, but that probably did not cost the Royals the game. I also didn't think any of his bullpen decisions were too controversial, other than letting Collins face Gomes, who mashes lefties. People are understandably upset and Yost is an easy target, but I'm not sure he earned all the vitriol being sent his way. Herrera was the one who surrendered the home run with a poor pitch.

Lorenzo Cain continued his torrid hitting with 4-5 on the day with two doubles and a home run. Cain is now hitting .392/.429/.529 on the season. While the triple slash line looks nice, it's being fueled by a completely unsustainable .475 BABIP. Even with the three extra-base hits, his ISO is still below league-average at .137. Combine his middling power with a below-average walk rate and an average strikeout rate, and you do not end up with a recipe for his current level of success at the plate. Cain, to me, still looks like the player he has always been at the plate, just with a more fortunate BABIP.

Salvador Perez had a couple of really nice plays late in the game. The catcher hit a two-out triple in the sixth inning to give the Royals a 2-1, then picked Nava off of second base with no outs and two runners off in the seventh. Perez is still struggling mightily at the plate, but both plays were nice to see.

George Kottaras is alive, as Ned Yost used him as a pinch hitter for Chris Getz in the ninth inning. Kottaras looked good in his first plate appearance as a Royal, drawing a walk against Andrew Bailey.

Kansas City and Boston will play two tomorrow, with the the first game starting at 12:35 p.m. CT.

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