Don't look now, but the Kansas City Royals appear to be capable of playing completely mediocre baseball.
The team lost 4-3 to the Oakland Athletics on Sunday, their third straight one-run loss at the O.co Coliseum. The Royals have now been swept in two of their last three series, and have gone 3-9 in their last 12 games.
The Royals offense didn't look completely inept today, as they managed to score three runs. Alex Gordon led the offense with four hit performance, driving in a run in the third and scoring a run in the fifth. Eric Hosmer, Chris Getz and Billy Butler all had mutli-hit games.
The offense continued to show some improvements with plate discipline, drawing four walks to compliment the teams 11 hits. The team stranded 12 runners today, unable to pick up timely hits or hit for enough power to drive in multiple runners when they did hit with runners on.
Luis Mendoza had a perfectly acceptable performance for a fifth starter, allowing two runs on eight hits over six innings. Mendoza struck out four, walked none, and left the game with the lead despite some more questionable run support. I'll take that kind of start from Mendoza every time.
The Athletics picked up an unearned run in the seventh. Derek Norris hit a single to centerfield, but reached third base when David Lough misplayed the ball. Coco Crisp drove with a sacrifice fly to even the score.
Yoenis Cespedes smacked a leadoff homer off Kelvin Herrera at the start of the eighth inning to give the Athletics their fourth and final run of the game. Herrera has now surrendered 8 home runs over 19 1/3 innings.
The Royals threatened to score with two outs in the ninth, as Billy Butler and Eric Hosmer hit back-to-back singles off Ryan Cook. Mike Moustakas ended the game with a groundout to second, lowering his triple slash line to .178/.252/.311.
The loss pushed the Royals to 20-20 on the season, and are closer in the standings to the last place Chicago White Sox than the first place Cleveland Indians. There is still plenty of time to turn things around, but some things need to change.