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Royals lose 11-2 to Mariners in a predictable horror show

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Guthrie is still pitching.

This happened. A lot.
This happened. A lot.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

In a game that was lost to the Royals before the first pitch was thrown, Ned Yost and the Royals mystifyingly let Jeremy Guthrie start a baseball game.

After striking out rookie Ketel Marte to start the game, Kyle Seager yanked a solo shot into the stands in right. At this point, some could have argued that Guthrie should have been pulled. Of course, those people never wanted to see him start another game in a Royals uniform or pitch in any situation in which a lead was something that the Royals needed protected. Those people would have been right to pull Guthrie then.

Guthrie is still pitching.

Nelson Cruz grounded out for the second out of the first. Keep track of these outs. There weren't many. Next batter: Robinson Cano. Dong. Hung. Three balls put in play. Two left the park.

Guthrie is still pitching.

Home Plate Umpire Bill Miller--apparently feeling a great deal of empathy for the Accumulator of Sneakers--rang up Franklin Gutierrez on strikes on a pitch that did not appear to be a strike. This was but the third out of the game for Guthrie, though on a full count it should have been a walk and Guthrie should still have been pitching. Oh, dammit.

Guthrie is still pitching.

The Royals put runners on the corners with just one out before feebly exiting the home half of the first without plating a run. The miracle of all miracles happened in the top of the second, with just one Mariner reaching base in the inning and his hit didn't leave the ballpark. Scholars will trip over themselves to try to explain such an occurrence for as long as man walks the earth, but no explanation for this scoreless inning will ever hold up against the rigors of the scientific method. The Royals struck out, struck out, and flew out softly in the bottom of the second.

Rather than take the money and run, Yost let Guthrie go back out in the third with the game still in reach, emboldened by the fool's gold that was a scoreless second. It was clear at this point that were he sitting at the table at The Mirage, Ned Yost would lose his entire nest egg waiting for a different fate than the inevitable one standing around the corner.

Ketel Marte tripled to lead off the third.

Guthrie is still pitching.

Kyle Seager reached on an Eric Hosmer fielding error, scoring the third Seattle run of the night.

Guthrie is still pitching.

On the fifth pitch of the inning, Nelson Cruz poked a grounder just out of the reach of Ben Zobrist's glove. This could have been an out. It wasn't. Seager advanced to second.

Guthrie is still pitching.

Robinson Cano ABSOLUTELY CRUSHED one, hanging a demoralizing dong into the fountains in DEEP right-center. A moon shot that could serve as the example in a baseball dictionary. 5 - 0 Seattle. His 28th home run allowed on the season. Still, Guthrie wondered if he would ever get to record the first out of the third.

Guthrie is still pitching.

Franklin Gutierrez sent a pitch deep to right field, coming inches shy of leaving the park. It also came inches shy of being caught by Alex Rios. But this is Alex Rios involved in the play. The result was written before the ball was hit. Gutierrez stood on second base when the ball returned to the infield.

Guthrie is still pitching.

Ned Yost finally got Miguel Almonte working in the bullpen at this point. Just a reminder for the folks at home: Jeremy Guthrie still awaited his first recorded out in the inning. For anyone wondering just when exactly Guthrie runs out of leash, it is sometime around the point at which the sixth run is in scoring position with no outs in the third and three monster dongs have been hung with another one coming just shy of leaving the park.

Seth Smith singled.

Guthrie is still pitching.

Jesus Montero grounded into a force-out at third, plating the sixth Mariners' run while beating out the back end of a double play. This was the first out of the inning. 6 - 0 not Royals.

Guthrie is still pitching.

Facing Brad Miller, Guthrie hung a curveball that was destroyed. The script could not change. His pitches were destined to be crushed. The seventh, eighth, and ninth Seattle runs crossed the plate. Finally Ned Yost trudged to the mound to send in the rookie Almonte. 9 - 0 Mariners.

The defense failed him a little, sure, but anyone who has seen Guthrie throw this season can imagine how six runs scored before the first out of the third inning was in the books without having read any of the above. Want examples? Here's a recap detailing how Jeremy Guthrie starts can go tits up can just go here and read the same old shit from last year. Or here. Or here. This happens a lot.

At this point, there is no excuse for continuing to trot him out to the mound expecting anything other than catastrophic results. Any leeway on this thinking evaporated months ago.

Maybe there's a baseball reason for Guthrie being thrust back onto the rotation rather than Chris Young when it was decided, justifiably, that Danny Duffy would be moved to the pen where he was going to be needed in the postseason. Of course, not cutting Guthrie months ago and eating the remainder of his contract is not justifiable.

Joe Blanton's services could have been retained. He was designated for assignment at the end of July and traded to Pittsburgh for a three-day old gas station sandwich and a book of matches from a Super 8 Motel.

Guthrie is still pitching.

Any attempt to paint his relief stints as effective or even palatable entirely ignores any commonly held standard for acceptable performance. In relief, he still had a 4.70 ERA, 5.82 FIP, 4.35 xFIP, and .340 wOBA against him. In under 150 innings, he has allowed 29 home runs.

Guthrie is still pitching.

Cooler heads will point to September records and momentum not being indicative of postseason success or failure, yet this is the second time Ned Yost has taken a team into the final month of the regular season with a huge lead in their division only to watch them falter down the stretch. The Royals' lead in the Central is insurmountable, but anyone watching them play for the past two weeks has to feel like they are watching a different team play than the one who rolled over the competition in the American League for the first five months of the season.

The rotation is in disarray. The bullpen is struggling. The Royals are falling back to the pack amongst American League leaders with home field advantage very much at risk.

Guthrie is still pitching.

The real problem tonight was surely that Guthrie didn't have a score to pitch to when the game started. Without the Royals having come to the plate first, Guthrie didn't know how many runs he could allow.

Or maybe it is just that most of Guthrie's starts are good with a few bad ones sprinkled in muddying the waters. Sure, this point-of-view regarding Guthrie cannot actually be backed up by facts--just eight of his 24 starts reached the mediocre threshold of being quality starts--but this man clearly should still be rostered on a team in the postseason hunt. He definitely needs to be making starts instead of Chris Young or the departed Joe Blanton while the Royals limp into the postseason.

Four home runs allowed. Four of his five flyballs allowed shot out of the park. The fifth missed leaving the park by about six inches. Nine hits. 63 pitches to record seven outs. Given that he ceded nine runs to the Mariners, that pitch count is surprisingly low.

Guthrie is still pitching.

The Mariners scored some more runs. The Royals managed five hits. Hisashi Iwakuma picked apart a listless Royals' offense, allowing just three hits in his seven innings of work, striking out ten and walking just one. Of course, any mounted rally from the Royals offense would have been one in vain. They loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth, but at this point, the game resembled a tilt between the Tacoma Rainiers and the Omaha Storm Chasers. They scored a run in the eighth and another in the ninth.