I'll give you some facts, and you see if you can glean what happened tonight from these facts. The game was Yordano Ventura and the Kansas City Royals vs Cole Hamel and the Texas Rangers. The location: Globe Life Park in Arlington.
- Royals starters have been giving up 1.64 home runs per nine innings, worst in the American League
- The Kansas City offense has scored 3.95 runs per game, tied for worst in the American League
- The Royals offense has scored 3.5 runs per game in the month of July
- Texas' offense has scored 4.77 runs per game, fifth in the American League
If, from that data, you guessed that the Royals probably lost because they gave up a bunch of home runs to the Rangers, you would be correct. Ventura, though very good, could not keep the balls in the yard, allowing a trio of home runs in his eight innings of work. All three, thankfully, were solo shots, one to Roughned Odor and two to Mitch Moreland. Ventura's general excellence kept that damage limited, as he allowed only five baserunners over his innings while striking out six. But, at the end of the day, he left the eighth inning with the Royals trailing by one.
The Royals hit a dinger of their own, too. Paulo Orlando, who has been surprisingly solid as a hitter over his short career, smashed his second home run of the year in the second inning to give Kansas City a brief lead. The Royals scored their other run from Raul Mondesi's groundout in the fifth inning, the only inning where the Royals truly challenged for runs.
To their credit, the Royals ended the game with the tying run on third base. After a Kendrys Morales walk, Jarrod Dyson came in to pinch run. Dyson dutifully stole second base in the next plate appearance, squiggling over to third base on the plate appearance after that. Brett Eibner, hastily continuing his attempt to prove he really belongs at AAA Omaha, grounded out to end the game.
Unlike the powerful beating that the Royals took a few days ago at the hands of Mike Trout and Co., this game was far more insidious. The Royals took home the L both days, but this game looked like the Royals were competitive. They were not. Texas was better in every way--they had the better starter and the better hitters.
Kansas City's Great Funk, wherein they are a rather putrid 20-30 since the start of June, can be hung on a number of issues. But perhaps the biggest one is the total disappearance of the Royals' good hitters. Eric Hosmer--you know, the All-Star MVP and supposed seeker of a $200 million contract? He has a .638 OPS since June 1. Not gonna cut it. The $72 million man, Alex Gordon, has a .674 OPS in that same time frame. Since his last game in right field on July 3, Kendrys Morales sports a .557 OPS.
Tonight, those three hitters went 1-11 with a walk. That won't cut it.
There's another stat, too. The Royals haven't won back to back games June 29 and June 30. And--remember how we're tracking with the 2014 Royals team?--after matching up with that squad at 48-50, this club stands at 49-52, as opposed to 2014's 51-50. The Royals are losing ground.