The true hallmark of a terrible team is, in my opinion, the cabal of completely random pitchers who start a baseball game for a Major League Baseball team.
In the mid-to-late 2000s, the hardcore Kansas City Royals fans remember the names of Lenny DiNardo, Brandon Duckworth, Dusty Hughes, Anthony Lerew, Bobby Keppel, Billy Buckner. The list goes on. These pitchers started games because they were, more or less, merely warm bodies who were trained to throw a baseball in a way that the Mitch Maiers and Drew Buteras of the world just simply weren’t.
In another decade or so, we’ll look back on 2018 and cringe because the exact same things are happening. Burch Smith started today’s game for the Royals against the Minnesota Twins. It was eighth career start for the 28-year-old with a career ERA approaching 6. It, predictably, did not go so well. After he pitched, the next guy on the Kansas City mound was Glenn Sparkman, who I only somewhat knew existed, and Enny Romero, who was just picked off the scrap heap from some team that I vaguely remember having red as a team color.
The sixth inning truly doomed the Royals, however. With the bases loaded and no outs, Adalberto Mondesi, Drew Butera, and Whit Merrifield produced three successive outs and the Royals did not score. That is their lot in life this season.
Elsewhere, Jason Adam came back from the dead (and/or Omaha, where he had just been sent) to record three outs. All-Star Salvador Perez hit a home run. Mike Moustakas added not one but two home runs.
This Royals team is bad because its offense is bad, but sometimes its pitching is bad, too. Today the offense was fine—good, actually, despite striking out 12 times—but if your pitching gives up eight runs there’s not so much you can do.
But mostly, today’s game was decided by guys that had no business being on a playing field for a competitive MLB team. Get used to that, though. Rebuilding teams are fun!