After clawing their way to 44-40 on July 5, the Kansas City Royals have now lost seven of their last eight games. Tonight’s 9-3 loss against the Detroit Tigers was the seventh.
The game wasn’t all terrible, as the Royals didn’t waste any time striking against Tigers starter Matthew Boyd. If you recall, the last time Kansas City faced Boyd they lit him up like a firecracker, tagging him for seven hits and four runs in only 3.2 innings on May 31. That start ballooned his ERA to 5.69, and Detroit demoted Boyd to AAA Toledo following the start.
Kansas City picked up where they left off. Boyd hit Whit Merrifield with a pitch in the foot to put the leadoff man on in the first inning. Jorge Bonifacio, playing as the DH today, singled on a sharp low liner up the middle. Boyd coaxed a fielder’s choice groundout from Lorenzo Cain, but Eric Hosmer singled up the middle to score Merrifield and make it 1-0, Kansas City. Salvador Perez cracked a sacrifice fly to score Cain, and an Alcided Escobar single scored Hosmer. The frame ended with Kansas City immediately greeting Boyd’s return to MLB with a 3-0 lead.
Unfortunately for the Royals, Travis Wood was starting tonight. In 26 games before today’s start, Wood’s numbers were pretty awful, at a 6.06 ERA for the year.
Wood’s numbers got worse.
The Tigers crushed Wood in the second inning despite lacking slugger JD Martinez, who was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks a few hours before the game started. Gifted a 3-0 lead, Wood gave up four consecutive hits to Miguel Cabrera, Mike Mahtook, Victor Martinez, and James McCann. Alex Presley grounded into a fielder’s choice to break the combo. But then Wood leaked a sacrifice fly to Dixon Machado and two consecutive hits to Ian Kinsler and Nick Castellanos. After the whirlwind of scoring, Detroit had taken a 5-3 lead. Castellanos crushed a solo homer in the fifth inning to increase the lead to 6-3, and that score only held thanks to Peter Moylan, who cleaned up Wood’s mess without further damage.
Wood’s final line: nine hits, no walks, one strikeout, six runs given up in 4.1 innings. His ERA increased to 6.81.
There were some additional things that happened during the rest of the game, but this contest traversed the sad, snaking journey from ‘close game’ to ‘almost out of hand’ to ‘moderate blowout.’ The Royals offense couldn’t get a foothold after their explosive first inning, even against the cavalcade of awful Detroit bullpen arms. Rather, it was the Royals bullpen that kept nonchalantly bleeding runs. In the seventh inning, Castellanos smacked his second home run of the game against Mike Minor, and then a double by Justin Upton turned into another run thanks to a stolen base and an error on Perez. And in the eighth, Al Alburquerque gave up a run somehow to somebody. It was that kind of game.
The Royals are now 45-47. They play two more games against the Tigers before hosting the Chicago White Sox on Friday.