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White Sox 6, RoyaLLLLLs 3

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Another winnable game - gone.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Chicago White Sox Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Fourteen days ago, the Royals won their ninth straight game. They climbed eight games over .500. They were within three games of the division, and they safely held a playoff spot.

That feels like fourteen years ago. Because ever since that ninth straight victory, the Royals have lost 10 of 12, including Friday night’s 6-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox.

I’m going to start with Danny Duffy, who struggled for the second straight start. It’s the second game in a row that the Royals have sent their ace to the hill to oppose a spot-starter and lost due to a poor outing from Duffy. Unlike on Sunday against the Mariners, Duffy’s offense didn’t do much to back him, but he absolutely must be better if the Royals want to turn it around and sneak into the postseason.

Duffy’s first pitch was smacked into right field for a hit off the bat of Tim Anderson, and he came around the score on a double by Kevin Smith. Prior to tonight, you didn’t know who the hell Kevin Smith was, did you? Neither did I.

The White Sox doubled their lead in the next inning on an RBI groundout by Yolmer Sanchez. After that, Duffy settled into a bit of a groove, putting together four straight scoreless innings thanks to having nasty movement on his breaking pitches. Command wise, Duffy was very good, as he struck out eight Chicago hitters and walked none.

Over the course of the middle innings, the Royals eventually tied the game on two Mike Moustakas solo homers. They were #33 and #34 for Moustakas on the year. He is just the sixth player in team history to hit 34 home runs in a single season, and just two (Gary Gaetti and Steve Balboni) have hit 35. We’ve reached the point in the season when every Moustakas at-bat is a must-watch. Let’s just hope he can wait until he gets back to Kauffman Stadium next Friday to hit #37.

Right after his offense (or third baseman, really) tied the night up at 2-2, Duffy unraveled in the seventh inning. Single, RBI triple, suicide squeeze, passed ball, groundout was how Duffy’s night concluded, with the Royals suddenly trailing 4-2. Then entered Peter Moylan, who has had a banner couple of nights, and he surrendered a two-run homer to Tim Anderson. It was then 6-2, and things were essentially over.

The Royals scored a meaningless run with two outs in the ninth on a wild pitch. That made the final score 6-3.

The win: somebody named Aaron Bummer. Who cares. The loss: Danny Duffy, who is 7-8. The Royals are 57-58 just two weeks after they were 55-48.

I mean like... good lord. The Royals got four hits against Reynaldo Lopez, who was making his season debut. That’s beyond embarrassing. Eric Hosmer is now 8-for-43 (.186) in August. The 1-2-3 spots in the Royals order were 0-for-11 with four strikeouts.

Alex Gordon was 1-for-4 with a single, which pathetically raised his average and slugging percentage, but what happened to his “benching”? I thought Ned said he was going to give Gordon “awhile” to “re-find his swing” or something like that. That was Tuesday, so three days ago, when that story broke. Gordon pinch-hit on Wednesday and started on Thursday and Friday. It just doesn’t make any sense.

44% of the Royals’ batting order tonight, the 6-7-8-9 hitters (Cuthbert, Escobar, Gordon, and Butera)... well, here are some notes about that quartet of garbage. None of them are slugging higher than .350. None of them have on-base percentages that begin with a “3.” If they don’t figure that out soon...well, goodnight.

This streak has simply confirmed something we all knew was true for years: the Royals can’t win without Salvador Perez. And if he’s not back sooner than expected, I fear that this may be all she wrote for the 2017 Kansas City Royals.

Tomorrow: Old friend James Shields gets the ball for the White Sox. He will be opposed by Ian Kennedy in a battle of the gas cans. Bet the over.