A frustrating season for the Royals continues with yet another twist: seemingly every player they may want to trade is falling apart.
Edinson Volquez, in an audition for contenders looking to add a starting pitcher before the trade deadline, was rocked by the Texas Rangers, putting his team in a big hole from the beginning. He settled down for a few innings before his troubles returned towards the end of his outing, and by the time his day was done, his ERA had risen to an ugly 4.70. As a result, the Royals offense was never really given a chance, and the final result was an 8-3 loss.
Texas jumped on Volquez early, as four of the first five Rangers reached to build a 3-0 first-inning lead. A walk and a single set up an RBI groundout by Ian Desmond, and the second run was scored on a single by Adrian Beltre. Then, Rougned Odor (or "Francisco Lindor", according to Steve Physioc), swatted his 20th home run of the year, a solo shot that made the score 3-0.
After Alcides Escobar led the game off with a single, the Royals offense didn't manage another hit until the fifth inning. In the bottom half of that frame, Texas added two more runs on RBI hits by Nomar Mazara and Mitch Moreland to make it 5-0.
Kansas City struck back in the top of the sixth. Eric Hosmer launched a two-run, opposite-field home run, just his second since June 10, to put the Royals on the board. The blast won the Sonic Slam contestant a nifty $3,500, but the line continued to move when Kendrys Morales and Salvador Perez singled to bring the tying run to the plate. Alex Gordon worked the count full, but he ultimately struck out, ending the Royals' only chance the rest of the night to tie the game.
Jurickson Profar smashed a solo bomb in the bottom of the sixth to push the score up to 6-2, Texas. After completing the frame, Volquez's night was over after six innings. He allowed nine hits and six runs, throwing 105 pitches. He struck out five and walked two.
The Royals cut the deficit back to three in the top of the seventh when Raul Mondesi scored on a double play, but Texas got two runs in the bottom half of the frame against Peter Moylan and Brian Flynn. Moylan's man Desmond scored from third on a wild pitch in Flynn's first pitch thrown, and then Odor rocked his second home run of the night. He's already hit three home runs in this series, which is only just now halfway over.
The 8-3 score held until the end. A.J. Griffin, the Texas starter, got the win after allowing just three hits and two runs in 5.2 innings. He is 4-1. Volquez took the loss, dropping him to 8-9.
The Royals are 49-53. They are four games under .500 for the first time since May 2014. For those of you who remember that time period, Kansas City dropped to 24-28 after being swept at home by the terrible Houston Astros. Things got a lot better for that team. For the 2016 squad, which is now 17-34 on the road, a happy ending doesn't appear to be in the cards.
Other notes from the evening:
- Eric Hosmer is just 3 for his last 31. Remember one month ago when he was having a "career year?" His batting average is all the way down to .282, which is almost exactly what his career average is (.280).
- Lorenzo Cain returned to the lineup after missing more than a month with a hamstring injury. He went 0-for-2 with a walk and a hit by pitch, scoring a run on Hosmer's sixth-inning big fly.
- Kansas City is 7-17 in the month of July. The Royals have not won back-to-back games since June 30 - JUNE THIRTIETH.
- Alcides Escobar has the lowest OBP of the nine Royals in the lineup by 24 points, yet he continues to lead off every single day.
- The Royals have now given up 136 home runs, just one behind Minnesota for the most in the American League. It's the third-worst mark in baseball.
- Against the American League West this year, Kansas City is a brutal 10-18.
Tomorrow: Ian Kennedy, who gives up a ton of home runs himself, will try to slow the hot-hitting Rangers. He will take on Martin Perez. The game is at 7:05 CDT.