Another weekend, another three losses for the Royals, who just keep bottoming out further and further in the standings. They’re more than 40 games under .500 and it’s still the first week of August. It really makes you wonder how low the bar is going to go.
The Twins beat the Royals, 6-5, to complete a three-game sweep at Target Field.
Opening Day starter Danny Duffy got blitzed by a terrible offense, but it wasn’t all his fault. With two outs and the bases loaded in the second inning, he threw a series of borderline pitches that were all ruled balls to nine-hitter Jake Cave. Cave took the pitches, worked the count full, and then hit a grand slam after he should have struck out multiple times throughout the at bat.
The Royals got two runs for Duffy in the top of the first thanks to a Lucas Duda two-run homer. The two-run lead was flipped to a two-run deficit following the grand slam, and Minnesota added two more runs in the fourth inning to stretch the score out to 6-2. Duffy managed to work through six innings in all, but it was far from a quality start.
Duffy’s final line: 6.0 innings, eight hits, six runs, and six strikeouts. His impressive run of quality starts on the road came to a crashing end. He is 7-10.
The Royals did make it a game late, as Alex Gordon continued his scorching August by knocking in a run on an RBI single in the fifth. Whit Merrifield got the team within one in the seventh with a blast of a two-run homer that went 419 feet. His home run numbers are down compared to last year, but Merrifield has been on a bit of a power surge recently, and he’s putting together a fabulous all-around season.
They had a great chance to tie the game in the eighth inning when none other than Outcedies Outscobarf came up with two men in scoring position. He struck out, because of course he did. People may point out that Escobar did have two hits today, but he’s still on pace to have the worst season of any hitter, from an OPS perspective, since 1994. He is atrocious and should not be on a major league roster, let alone starting 96% of a team’s games.
The eighth inning had some great defense, though. Minnesota loaded the bases with nobody out, but Escobar started a fabulous double play, and then Sal Perez pounced on a bunt and fired to first base to help Kansas City escape unscathed.
A positive is that Alex Gordon has had a fabulous start to August. He hit well over .400 this week to get his average on the season back over .250. He had 21 RBI entering August, and he’s driven in eight runs in the first five days of the month alone. It will never get old watching Alex play like vintage Alex, and this week has been a nice blast from the past.
In the ninth, Whit Merrifield led off with a single, his fourth hit of the day, but was gunned down trying to steal. They may not be very good, but they’re still the annoying, pesky, fluky Twins. Fernando Rodney finished it off for the save. I feel like the Royals have had 86 chances to make up a one-run deficit against Fernando Rodney, and he’s converted every save by the slimmest margin.
Oh and Adalberto Mondesi came into run with two outs in the last inning. START HIM, NED.
The Royals are 34-77 to mark a season-worst 43 games under .500. The NL’s best Chicago Cubs come into Kauffman Stadium tomorrow. God help us all. At least Ben Zobrist will get a nice ovation or two.
The Cubs series starts at 7:15 tomorrow. It is Jake Junis against Cole Hamels.