Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but the Royals lost another close game in which their starting pitcher did very well but the offense contented itself with making farting noises and stomping back to the dugout.
Danny Duffy got in trouble in the first inning after allowing a lead-off double and a sacrifice bunt but ended the threat with a ground out and a fly out. After that Duffy settled down until the fifth inning when he allowed another lead-off double followed by a sacrifice bunt. This time Carlos Santana, who hit that first double, made Duffy pay by lining a single right past Duffy’s ear into center to drive in the only score of the game.
Duffy ended up pitching 6.2 innings and only struck out 2, but he did get 12 ground outs. It was a very well pitched game by the Duffman but since this is the American League he’s relying on his teammates to help him out and they failed.
For his part Mike Clevinger, who averaged 4.1 innings last season and 5 innings in the minors this year, made his first big league start and it was the best of his young career. He pitched 5.2 innings - tying a career high - but didn’t allow a run and struck out 5. He did walk 4, including Eric Hosmer twice. Clevinger looked to be in trouble in the bottom of the fourth when he gave a one-out walk to Hosmer and then allowed his only hit of the day, a double to Salvador Perez. Clevinger struck out Dos Jorge on a pair of curveballs, Soler looking and Bonifacio swinging.
It was noted in the game thread that Clevinger has had pitch count issues, and the Royals didn’t really press that issue. In their defense he actually seemed to be nailing his spots on a pretty regular basis, but there were somy ugly swings and misses on pitches nowhere near the zone, too.
Cody Allen tried to give the Royals a chance in the ninth inning. He beaned Lorenzo Cain to lead off the inning, got Hosmer to fly out and Perez to strike out, then walked Jorge Soler - his first time on-base for the Royals this season. Ned went to his bench to get Brandon Moss to pinch hit for Jorge Bonifacio and flew out to end the game.
Mike Minor and Scott Alexander continue to be effective coming out of the bullpen. You have to think that Kelvin Herrera is near to losing his closer’s role and they might both be pushing for more appearances late in close games if Joakim Soria takes over as closer.
The Royals extend their streak of not winning a series to 6 straight series. They have scored 3 or fewer runs in 22 of 30 games. In the immortal words of Andy McCullough, “That seems....less than ideal.”
They start a 4-game series in Tampa Bay, tomorrow night.