For those just tuning in, the Royals have been playing their way out of the playoff picture for the past few weeks, giving a meek wave as they step back through the hedges and out of view.
Implosion artist Ian Kennedy took to the mound tonight and did what he’s best at: letting dudes hang dong like it was the shower scene in the “YMCA” sequence in Can’t Stop the Music. For dong aficionados, he served up two in an interminable third inning from which he was unable to escape without getting the hook.
It should probably be noted that the Royals entered the top of the third down 1-0. Given their streak of futility in which they failed to plate a single run in a three-game series in Cleveland, one could easily have argued that the Royals had all but lost in the top of the first inning. Any argument waged against this point of view was rendered moot as Kennedy yielded a pair of demoralizing dong hangings in a six-run third that would have felt like the symbolic end of the Royals’ season and micro-dynasty had that dumpster fire of a series at the Jake—yes, it’s still the Jake—not preceded it.
Instead, the two-dong frame—Lucas Duda and Wilson Ramos were the hangers of dong in this instance—that plated six runs merely served as the final period in the ellipsis that closed the RIP to the Royals’ 2017.
For Kennedy, he managed to add nearly four-tenths of a run to his ERA, a feat that takes some special effort when the calendar is about to turn over into the final month of the regular season. With his ERA sitting at an already gross 5.09, the seven earned runs ceded in his 2.2 innings of work sent his ERA rocketing up to 5.47, thanks largely to the six extra-base hits he yielded in the 16 batters he faced. His FIP is an even more repulsive 5.54. His 28 home runs allowed move him into the top ten, a particularly ignominious feat when taking into account the fact that he doesn’t have the innings to qualify for the ERA title—a title which he’ll likely fall well short of regardless of innings amassed.
Some dude named Austin Pruitt pitched for Putin’s Army. That no one outside of Russia has heard of him can only mean one thing when it comes to the Royals. Cy Pruitt, who entered tonight’s tilt with a marvelous 5.76 ERA in 65.2 innings spread between the rotation and the pen, didn’t need to pitch that well for the St. Petersburg Devil Rays to win, but the Russian oligarchs in Putin’s luxury box all looked on salivating at the sight of blood.
Brian Flynn, making his first appearance of the season after falling through the roof of his barn in February, entered in relief of Kennedy. Flynn yielded another Russian run in the top of the fourth after giving up a lead-off triple to Adeiny Hechevarría. He gave up one run in 2.1 innings but exited the game after warming up to pitch in the top of the sixth only to get a visit from the trainer with a groin injury. Whether this was related to the kick to the onions that this entire game was for the Royals is unclear.
Pruitt faced the minimum through three, thanks in part to Brandon Moss getting thrown out trying to advance on a passed ball. Lorenzo Cain broke up the no-hitter in the fourth with a one-out double. Melky Cabrera and Eric Hosmer didn’t plate him, though, because Pruitt was Cying up the joint.
That Lorenzo Cain double was the sole Royal hit until the bottom of the ninth, when Cain matched his fourth-inning feat with his second double of the night. Shockingly he did not score. The Devil Rays added some more runs, but there isn’t much point in describing how they happened.
When all was said and done, the St. Petersburg nine had scored a dozen runs. The stern oligarchs collectively sat in their box, content to not send any Devil Rays to the gulag for at least another day. Playing to stroke Putin’s ego, he was observed to elicit a faint smirk as Melky Cabrera grounded out to end the game.
The scoreless outing marked 43 consecutive scoreless innings, tying the 1913 St. Louis Browns for the American League “record” for offensive futility. That a Royals team can aspire to lows that the franchise has never seen before is really quite something considering the slew of 100-loss seasons that preceded Dayton Moore’s reign.
12-0. A pitcher named Cy Pruitt went six, facing one over the minimum, allowing a double and a walk. Matt Andriese threw three innings of ball matching Pruitt’s allowances.
The Royals’ futility seems to know no bounds.