On Friday night, the Royals’ roadtrip began the exact way the homestand ended: with the bullpen blowing a tie game.
Matt Strahm’s shaky command gave way when he allowed a tiebreaking home run to Matt Szczur, who was hitting a blazing .190 at the time of his pinch-hit blast. Then Chris Young poured a whole lot of gasoline on a fire that was already roaring. The Royals lost the game, 6-3.
Let’s start with the offense, because it was pathetic. This is a Padres team that 28th out of 30 MLB teams in ERA. Jhoulys Chacin, who is terrible, entered tonight with a 5.65 ERA in 12 starts. The Royals mustered a whopping three hits off him in seven innings. We can’t even talk about how they blew a bunch of RISP chances, because you have to get people on base to screw that up. They didn’t do that.
And now let’s talk about Erik Skoglund, because...good lord. He got four outs and gave up nine baserunners, which is 1.1 innings if you’re keeping score at home. It’s absolutely remarkable that the Padres scored just two runs off him given that line. That’s like...that’s utterly impossible. Single, double play, single, single, RBI single, K, single (caught stealing), double, RBI double, walk, walk.
The Royals’ bullpen was pretty good for awhile, holding the Padres offense to just one run until the eighth. But the problem was they couldn’t afford to give up any runs considering the incompetence of the offense. Eventually, the flood gates burst open, but then again, Chris Young is notorious for being a guy who unlocks the flood gates with a key he personally owns.
Scott Alexander shook off some rust and threw 2.2 innings of one-hit, no-run ball. He struck out four batters before giving way to Matt Strahm, who put the first two men he faced in the fifth on before wiggling out of the jam.
The Royals ended Chacin’s no-hit bid in the fifth when Eric Hosmer led off with a ground-ball single, and Salvador Perez followed it with a booming, two-run home run. He clobbered a hanging breaker for his 12th big fly of the year; it was a no-doubter that Chacin didn’t even bother turning around to see. At that point, it was 2-2.
Strahm flew through the Padres in order in the sixth before giving up the leadoff home run to Szczur in the seventh. Chris Young, as he always does, made things worse when he entered the contest, giving up three runs in the eighth.
The third of those three runs was hilarious, by the way, when Whit Merrifield and Jorge Bonifacio screwed up a fly ball to right field and it dropped between the two, going in the scorebook as an RBI single for Yangervis Solarte.
This is where I’ll use my job as a game recapper to provide some advice to the Royals: cut ties with Chris Young. Seriously. It’s over. Literally any arm in the minor leagues who could use experience at the big-league level (so any of them)...well, they could get shelled and it’d be sort of alright, because at least you were preparing for the future. Throwing the dorky-lumbering Young out there to get shelled every other night is pointless and should never happen again. He needs to be DFA’d immediately.
The Royals loaded he bases with nobody out in the ninth inning, but they could only manage one run on a Mike Moustakas sacrifice fly. Then Alcides Escobar, who is the worst OPS hitter in the 48-year history of the stat (seriously go look it up, out of nearly 7,000 players), hit into a double play to end the game. But don’t you worry: he’ll play tomorrow to run his consecutive starts streak to 38948938956894869128939825 straight games!
I think Strahm took the loss, which means he is 1-3 on the year.
The Royals are 26-34, and all of the work they did in that Astros series is completely gone. Tomorrow, they’ll look to even the series with a nationally-televised game on FS1 (no Steve Physioc! Rejoice!). Ian Kennedy (0-6, LOL ERA) will oppose Miguel Diaz at 3:10 pm CDT.
You want to see some good ball tomorrow for a good cause? Come out to MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, KS, at 10:00 am! Myself and Sarah Davis (popular Royals fan on Twitter) are managing a charity softball game for a cancer struck family. It’s on the university softball field and a handful of Royals Twitter personalities are playing. Come out and see some players with actual talent on display!