Chris Young continued a trend of ineffectiveness as the Royals fell to the Athletics 5-3 Saturday afternoon.
A first inning single by Billy Burns and a walk to Marcus Semien was followed by a Josh Reddick home run, giving Oakland the early 3-1 advantage that they would not relinquish. Semien added a sacrifice fly to push the lead to 4-1 as Young continued to labor with his control.
Kansas City cut the lead to 4-2 on a Rey Fuentes single in the fourth, scoring Omar Infante. Stephen Vogt pushed the advantage back to three with a seventh inning home run (his second in as many games) off of Dillon Gee. Gee was spotty in relief of Young, giving up two hits and two walks without a strikeout thru three innings of work. Danny Duffy worked a scoreless eighth, recording a strikeout and not allowing a baserunner.
The Royals attempted a comeback in the ninth. Omar Infante walked, then Fuentes reached on an error by the second baseman Lowrie. Yost decided to bring Salvador Perez off the bench to hit for Drew Butera, who had gone 1-for-2 on the day with a walk. Perez promptly grounded into a double play. Alcides Escobar followed with a single, scoring Infante. Mike Moustakas hit a soft line drive to second base to end the game.
The real story is Chris Young, who for the third game in a row has looked completely ineffective. He allowed ten baserunners in four innings on eight hits and two walks. Thru three starts, he has gone just 13.2 innings, giving up 20 hits, 7 walks, and 3 home runs. His ERA on the year 7.90, and Young has taken the loss in all three of Kansas City's defeats so far this season.
Whether it is just a passing phase or the new normal remains to be seen, but the slack is growing more sparse by the week. If it were, say, Edinson Volquez or Yordano Ventura, one would be more inclined to write it off as a bad stretch. But Young so precariously balances his effectiveness on the head of a pin that any small stretch of doubleplusungood performance leads you to wonder whether or not he's just kind of lost it. It'd be helpful if the starts were redeemable in some way, but walks are up, strikeouts are down, home runs are up, hard contact is up, and the sense that a replacement is necessary is growing.
Kansas City will try to take the series in the rubber match tomorrow afternoon. Kris Medlen (1-0, 3.60) will twirl for the Royals as the Athletics counter with Chris Bassitt (0-0, 2.92).