That's how many home runs were hit in this appalling four-game series against the New York Yankees in The Bronx. Seventeen home runs. The Kansas City Royals, actually, had quite a few of those. But they're not a team built for this kind of play, in this matchbox of a stadium, with two clearly hurt starters (Kris Medlen and Chris Young, both of whom find themselves comfortably on the disabled list), and one of whom being Ian Kennedy. From 5:30pm central earlier this evening:
The starter for these Royals is Ian Kennedy, who has been nothing short of stellar. However, Kennedy does get a lot of flyballs and, well, Yankee Stadium is Yankee Stadium. Prepare for a bumpy ride.
Kennedy gave up three home runs tonight en route to a 7-3 loss. Yankee Stadium suppresses everything the Royals do well and punishes them for everything they don't; this isn't exactly the kind of push needed to get out of a rut, and it's getting harder and harder to call this a rut.
Despite Ned Yost's lineup clearly not working, he is not letting us off Mr. Bones' Wild Ride. Yost's strength and weakness is his propensity for extraordinary stubbornness in the face of, well, anything. It's taken him three years to realize that maybe Omar Infante is actually terrible, and he has yet to realize that Alcides Escobar leading off is a 'invading Russia in winter' level of bad idea. Yost stuck with Rios last year despite his continued inability to do anything offensively, and we can be sure that Yost will trot out Kendrys Morales every day at DH even if he's hitting like Tony Pena, Jr.
Tonight, Escobar and Morales combined to go 0 for 7 with two strikeouts and a walk. Around them, Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, and Alex Gordon went a combined 5 for 11 with a home run, a walk, and one strikeout. If it were just tonight, maybe it could be forgiven, but Escobar and Morales have an OPS under .600 for the year.
If it seems like I'm delaying the recap, well, I am. There's just not much to say. The Royals have now dropped 13 of their last 17 games. Yet again a starter labored, giving up too many runs or lasting too few innings--thankfully only the former tonight. The offense wasn't bad, but with nine hits and a pair of walks you would hope to get more than three runs.
The game was really close in only one half of an inning, which was the top of the fourth. After Ian Kennedy gave up home runs in the first and second innings, the Royals gathered and unleashed some offense. After a Morales lineout, Alex Gordon shot a beautiful home run into right-center field. Salvador Perez struck out, but then the newbies, Cheslor Cuthbert and Christian Colon, smacked a double and a single, respectively, to score with two outs. Jarrod Dyson, who has been an extraordinary disappointment offensively as a starter, struck out. 3-2, Yankees.
The Royals never got within one again. Didi Gregorious hit a two-run shot in the bottom of the frame to get back the three-run lead, and the night was effectively done. Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, and Aroldis Chapman is an insurmountable wall. The Yankees didn't even need Chapman.
Tomorrow, the Royals go home to face the struggling Atlanta Braves. Of course, the Yankees were struggling and they came away with three games in the four-game series with Kansas City. Maybe it's just not our year.