Failure In The Fifth Dooms Royals

Rob Carr

When a team does not score much, they cannot afford a bad inning.

Alex Gordon had just homered and the Royals were down just 2-1. While hardly dominant - well, barely adequate actually - Luis Mendoza had overcome a two run homer by J.J. Hardy in the first to record three straight scoreless innings. I felt good about the Royals' chances to avoid their first three game losing streak of the season.

Then the bottom of the fifth happened and it happened all over the Royals.

Chris Dickerson (remember long ago when he was available for nothing and I wanted him on the Royals? Still do - I have a hard time letting things go) squeezed a double past Eric Hosmer. These things happen in baseball: doubles down the line, home runs that are just barely fair and just barely clear the wall. What happened after that, however, was not bad luck, but instead bad baseball.

Alcides Escobar fielded a Nate McLouth grounder and, in attempting to get Dickerson moving to third, threw the ball off of the Oriole. That's the second time in as many days the Royals have tossed balls of a Baltimore runner. I don't think it's a good strategy.

A Manny Machado single scored Dickerson, then Machado attempted a steal of second. That's when it got awful.

George Kotteras had an error, so did Alcides Escobar. Runners ran, the ball skittered around and the Orioles had another run without Nick Markakis swinging the bat. Immediately thereafter, Mendoza uncorked a wild pitch and another run scored and Markakis still had not swung the bat. Two hits, two errors, two stolen bases and three runs.

For the Royals, who have scored three runs or less in 18 of 30 games, a five to one lead was pretty much insurmountable.

Mike Moustakas had a nice night with two singles and a sixth inning two run bomb that kept the game interesting. Sadly, a visit from baseball karma led to Moustakas coming to the plate in the eighth with two on and two out. Mike jumped on the first pitch and fouled out to catcher Matt Wieters. It's not exactly a Meatloaf quote, but three out of four ain't bad.

Offense from Moustakas would go a long way towards solving the Royals' real problem. While we have blamed the closer and the manager, then the manager and Luke Hochevar and, now tonight, the defense, but the real problem with the 2013 Kansas City Royals is they don't score enough runs often enough.

More runs means less agony over relieving your ace who has thrown eight scoreless innings. More runs means Luke Hochevar is pitching with a three run lead (or not at all) instead of a tie game. More runs means a defensive meltdown in the fifth inning is not a disaster.

More runs, Mr. Moore.

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