Tonight, the Kansas City Royals continued their September skid in a 5-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. Marcus Stroman predictably out-dueled Ian Kennedy, and the taxed Kansas City bullpen couldn’t dig them out of it.
The biggest, and really the only, story in these waning days is Mike Moustakas’ Quest for the Elusive 37th Home Run. He did not get it.
Other than Moose’s Quest, this game didn’t have much interest. The Royals have been effectively knocked out of playoff contention, with too many games to make up and too much traffic in their way, and the Blue Jays occupy the American League East’s cellar.
Kansas City’s offense continues to falter, their highly-stratified lineup puncturing holes in the team’s ability to score. Lorenzo Cain, Melky Cabrera, Brandon Moss, and Alcides Escobar went a combined 0-14, while Whit Merrifield, Eric Hosmer, Salvador Perez, Mike Moustakas, and Alex Gordon went 6-16 and a pair of walks.
Gordon smacked a solo home run in the eighth inning, which was of note. It was the 5,659th home run hit in the Major Leagues this season, setting the all-time single season record. In his last 14 games coming into tonight, Gordon has hit .300/.327/.500, and his walk and homer will send that number north. It is the very definition of ‘too little, too late’ for the veteran Royal, whose OPS after tonight is above .600 for the first time since July 31.
Kennedy gave up two runs in five innings, both coming on a home run by the ironically-named Darwin Barney. Scott Alexander and Brandon Maurer combined to cough up an additional three runs on four hits, and for a struggling Royals offense the four-run deficit was too much to overcome.
Other things happened, too. Hosmer got a hit in his quest for 200 hits in a season. Escobar started another game, increasing his ironman streak. Mike Morin pitched.
But the Royals stand at 73-77 with 14 games to go. They are out of the running for the American League Central and stand five games back from Minnesota for the second Wild Card spot.