The Kansas City Royals lost to the Detroit Tigers on Sunday, a 4-1 defeat as the offense was quiet during another James Shields start.
Miguel Tejada scored the Royals only run, a solo homer against Doug Fister in the second inning. The team had plenty of opportunities to score, as they had runners reach base in five of the six innings that they faced the starting pitcher.
Kansas City could not buy a hit with runners in scoring position, going 0-for-5 in those situations while stranding seven baserunners. The team did a good job forcing Fister to labor, as the starter threw 103 pitches in six innings, but could not capitalize on those opportunities.
The Royals may have made Fister throw a lot of pitches, but the starter did a good job pounding the strike zone, as he only issued one walk. Tejada had the only Royals extra-base hit, and the offense couldn't string their six hits together. These type of performances will happen when you trot out a below-average offense every game.
The Royals offense did nothing against the Tigers bullpen, as Drew Smyly, Bruce Rondon and Joaquin Benoit each tossed a scoreless inning of relief. If Rondon can thrive in the set-up role, the Tigers bullpen is suddenly not awful.
James Shields had a quality start against the Tigers, allowing three runs on nine hits over seven innings. Miguel Cabrera smashed a solo home run against Shields in the first inning, while Andy Dirks added a solo homer in the fifth. Brayan Pena hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the seventh, driving in the final Tigers run against Shields.
Shields had good command of his pitches, striking out six while walking none. The Royals defense also helped their starting pitcher, as Tejada made a great play in the second inning tracking down a Jhonny Peralta groundball, and Jarrod Dyson made some great catches in centerfield. Alex Gordon also made a great catch in the eighth inning that helped save extra bases.
Peralta hit Shields with a line drive in the seventh inning, which prompted attention from the training staff and Ned Yost. Shields ended up staying in the game, and showed no ill effects from the play.
Kelvin Herrera pitched two innings in relief of Shields. Herrera pitched a perfect eighth inning, but a second Pena sacrifice fly plated an insurance run for Detroit.
Just as two wins against the Tigers did not mean that this team was suddenly back in contention, one loss does not mean that the sky is falling. This Royals team falls somewhere between mediocre to below-average, and there is no reason to expect that fact to change in the second half of the season.
Kansas City will welcome the Baltimore Orioles into Kauffman Stadium on Monday, so get ready for lots of jokes about other team's hitting home runs. Wade Davis will start for the Royals against recently acquired and RoyalsRetro favorite Scott Feldman.