It's over, it's so over.
The Royals were officially eliminated from the playoff hunt by Seattle late last night, losing 6-0. It was the second straight night the Kansas City offense offered absolutely nothing. Given that much of the team's struggles this year could be traced directly to an offense that sometimes went MIA for weeks at a time, it seems appropriate that they should be eliminated on a night when the Kansas City bats mustered five hits and a walk: never putting more than one runner on base in an inning.
Ervin Santana, who struggled against Seattle earlier in the month (0 strikeouts in less than 4 innings), found the Seattle club tough sledding once more. He struck out just two Mariners, walked four ans surrendered a home run to Mike Zunino in a three run fifth inning that broke a scoreless tie.
After a one-two-three sixth, I assumed Ervin was done for the night, but Ned Yost decided he needed more and sent Santana back out to start the seventh, where he promptly served up a lead-off double. If this game had been close (i.e. if Kansas City had used wood bats instead of whiffle ball bats) that might have been a point of contention for us to dissect.
As it was, Brad Miller bunted which, in combination with a Smith throwing error, led to a fourth Seattle run. Smith also allowed a second home run to Zunino and one Michael Saunders in the eighth. Six runs was more than enough for Seattle.
Truthfully, one run was more than enough as Iwakuma had the Kansas City batters flailing at balls diving towards the dirt all night. A lesson: balls headed towards the ground will generally remain on the ground if you hit them. Seriously though, Iwakuma is good. I am not sure the Royals had a good approach against him, but he is no fun to face.
Cleveland won, as you already know, and Kansas City will play out the string in Chicago. For an organization that sometimes starts playing out the string in July or even June, it is progress that we have not used that phrase until the last week of the season.
The debate, raging already: is that enough progress?