clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

As was written, Royals lose to Twins' soft-tosser Cy Milone 6-2

New, comments

Royals drop their fourth straight game, all at home, all with a completely listless offensive performance and rocky starting pitching.

Cy Milone does as was foretold by the prophets.
Cy Milone does as was foretold by the prophets.
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Since the beginning of time, the Royals have nonsensically endured struggles of mythic proportions against an entirely pedestrian entity despite the befuddling lack of logic to these struggles. Over the eons since Man began walking upright across the earth, the Kansas City Royals have proven almost entirely unable to hit soft-tossing lefties. When these men--these men who are neither intimidating nor especially good at their jobs--face the Royals, they are imbued with the spirit of Cy Young, their names suddenly changed, their repertoires suddenly bewitching despite no discernible change to the balls they throw and mystically enjoying an inverse relationship to their mediocre nature.

The softer the tosser? The greater their troubles.

The softer the tosser? The greater their troubles.


Tonight with the Royals' Kryptonite toeing the rubber in the form of Tommy Cy Milone, the game's outcome may as well have been written on tablets found atop Mount Sinai or scrawled across golden plates unearthed from a hill near Manchester, New York.

Where the starter with the truly impressive arsenal struggled mightily and was let down both by his own command and the defense behind him, the one whose array of pitches could only be qualified as pedestrian left the opposition scratching their heads as they walked back to the dugout, routine groundout after routine groundout.

Yordano Ventura labored over 5.1 innings, needing 107 pitches to complete the relatively modest task of recording 16 outs. He did manage to record eight strikeouts, half of the outs he recorded, but the mercurial hurler allowed 13 baserunners--eight hits (including an Aaron Hicks home run to lead off the game) and five walks.

Were there hiccups that were out of his control? Sure.

Faced with the opportune match-up to record a double play with no outs and a 40-year-old runner on first in the sixth inning, Ventura induced the prescribed elixir to his problems, a grounder up the middle from the bat of a catcher, Kurt Suzuki. Alcides Escobar fielded an admittedly tough ball up the middle, and then attempted to rush the backhanded flip to the bag and left it nowhere near second baseman Ben Zobrist, recording neither one nor two outs. Were the ball just cleanly fielded and slowly flipped to the bag, Hunter would have been out by a mile. That catcher Kurt Suzuki, whose speed can best be qualified as "not slow for a catcher," was the man who put the ball in play should indicate that this could easily have been a double play in a different world in which fated events played no role in the outcome of a mere game.

Eduardo Escobar lined a single in the next plate appearance, scoring the runner who should very easily have been retired via a force-out at second, putting the Twins up 2 - 1.

In the Shared Blame Department, the top of the sixth also saw Yordano Ventura uncork two wild pitches, both of which proved to hurt the Royals' chances for a victory (and both of which followed what should have been a strike-three call on Brian Dozier, who upon replay was shown to have swung and missed at a 1-2 breaking ball that spiked into the dirt only to have been erroneously credited with putting wood on the ball, giving him a second life that proved costly for Ventura and the Royals).

With an Aaron Hicks strikeout coming between the Escobar single and the Dozier plate appearance, a different sequencing of events sees Ventura finishing the sixth with the score still tied at ones. Instead, his non-strike-out of Dozier was followed by a consecutive wild pitches that moved runners from first and third to second and home and then again from second to third.

Since 2012, only Russell Martin has been behind the dish for more wild pitches (178) than Salvador Perez's 166.


That Salvador Perez is actually quite bad at staying in front of wild pitches seems to concern no one. Since 2012, only Russell Martin has been behind the dish for more wild pitches (178) than Salvador Perez's 166. Stopping a wild pitch is no picnic, but this is definitely an area of trouble for Perez that seldom gets acknowledged publicly. Neither wild pitch was so wild as to absolve the catcher of blame. The first, specifically, seemed likely to have stayed in front of Perez had he simply dropped to his knees.

So rather than it being 1 - 1 heading to the bottom of the sixth as could easily have happened, Ventura walked to the dugout down 3 - 1, giving way to Kelvin Herrera with runners at first and third and just one out. Joe Mauer hit a sacrifice fly to deep center to run the Twins' total to four runs before Herrera could extract the Royals from the inning with a Miguel Sano grounder to third baseman Mike Moustakas.

The Royals turned to their afternoon addition to the roster Joba Chamberlain in the seventh inning. Whether the intention was to put a 4 -1 game out of reach or not, the Nebraska native quickly ceded two more runs to the Twins, needing but not receiving a highlight reel catch down the foul-line in left from Paulo Orlando to end the inning without harm done.

Six runs was more than Tommy Milone needed tonight. Cy Milone needed just 95 pitches to complete seven innings of work. His fastball that sat in the upper-80s continued to pound the lower half of the strike zone as Royal after Royal stroked grounders as had been written at the beginning of time.

That tonight presented a chance to strike a blow against the city who stole the team from the city who stole the Blues 115 years ago, a wound that festers still fed by generations of fathers instilling sons with deserved vitriol towards the thieving bastards, mattered little. That Cy Milone is not actually that good mattered little. That the Royals' offense scored 27 runs against the retread staff the Tigers are currently trotting out over two games late last week mattered little.

The offense sputtered. They got on base just seven times against Milone. They only struck out four times, but Cy Milone is the embodiment of the Twins' organizational philosophy. He pitches to contact, and even with a defense that can most favorably be labeled "average," the contact he got from the Royals was paltry. The Royals hit six balls in the air out of the infield against Milone. Two of those could be qualified as hard hit.

The Royals added a second run in the seventh when Salvador Perez drove in Kendrys Morales on a sacrifice fly to center field, but third base coach Mike Jirschele, who apparently is Dave Owen reincarnate, waved Mike Moustakas--a man no one would accuse of being fast in the first place and missed time last week due to a minor hamstring injury--home from first on a Paulo Orlando double that nearly left the park but was played pretty cleanly by Eddie Rosario off the bounce back off the wall. Moustakas was out, and the play was not particularly close at home.

When the name of the third base coach continues to be invoked with concern, disgust, and consternation, there might be a problem.

The Royals are losers of four consecutive games now following the sweep at the hands of the White Sox and tonight's loss to Cy Milone and the Twins.

Luckily for the Royals, the Toronto Blue Jays dropped their series opener at Boston today, but the New York Yankees--who are coming up hot on the Jays--won against Baltimore, meaning the Jays trail the Royals by 4.0 games, but the Yankees are right behind them at 4.5 games back for home field advantage.

With the Royals struggling to score against the likes of John Danks, Erik Johnson, and Tommy Cy Milone, concerns for the Royals may veer a bit into being histrionic, but a team that seemed very sharp for the better part of five months suddenly looks dull and listless, and neither the Jays nor Yankees seem to be wilting.

Tonight's was but one loss; but if this played out as was foretold, what other worrisome developments might have been foretold by the prophets regarding these Royals today and beyond?