Everything was going so well. The Royals staged a comeback, Whit Merrifield set a record, and an eight-game losing streak was all set to end. Of course, it was far too good to be true. Because then the bullpen happened.
As Kyle Zimmer sits in Omaha because there is no room in this bullpen for him, Brad Boxberger went out there and did his thing, surrendering a game-deciding homer in the ninth inning. I mean, you can’t really blame Ned for not trusting Boxberger here. After all, his ERA entering the night was only 8.32! Surely he could handle the top of the best offense in baseball’s order!
Richard Lovelady should be the closer. He is already the best reliever in this bullpen. And Kyle Zimmer needs to be here as of yesterday. But we all know that in mid-June, Boxberger will have six losses and an ERA in the 6.50-range, and Zimmer will still be sitting in Omaha.
The Royals lost to the Mariners, 6-5. They have lost nine games in a row. It’s absolutely impossible, but the Royals have either led or been tied in the 7th inning or later seven times in 11 games this year. Somehow, they’re 2-9. That’s special, even for this collection of gas can relievers.
Boxberger’s implosion came after Ian Kennedy and Jake Diekman miraculously worked three combined scoreless innings. Do you have any idea how rare that is? I figured that black hole going around the internet would suck us all into oblivion before I’d witness Kennedy and Diekman get nine outs without allowing a run. They managed to tiptoe around the fire, but Boxberger came in and poured gasoline on it.
Kansas City had a 2-1 lead after two innings, but Heath Fillmyer didn’t have it tonight. He only lasted three innings, leaving with the bases loaded in the fourth. His line: 3.0 innings, six hits, and five runs. Steve Physioc called him “Fillmore” on the radio twice.
Here’s a question: who is worse at their job - Steve Physioc or Brad Boxberger?
Anyway, the Mariners scored several runs to take a 5-3 lead, but the Royals came back in the seventh when Chris Owings hit a double to lead off. It was like seeing bigfoot! After two outs were made, Terrance Gore, who was a total badass in his first career start, hit an RBI triple to make it 5-4. Gore had three hits on the night; he finished a homer shy of the cycle. He also made two spectacular defensive plays.
With a man on third and two outs, trailing by one run, Whit Merrifield stepped up and dropped down a bunt, extending his hitting streak to a club-record 31 games. It also tied the score. He stands alone as the team’s all-time hit streak leader. He was also intentionally walked in the ninth inning because the Mariners are a bunch of cowards. Can you imagine if he had needed a hit in that plate appearance to extend the record?
Chris Owings had a chance in the eighth inning to give Kansas City the lead; he dug in there with two on and two out. Of course, he struck out. Alex Gordon sat on the bench because Ned Yost refuses to use his bench.
The existence of Chris Owings exhausts me, by the way. Here we have a guy who forces multiple players like Merrifield and Jorge Soler to play out of their natural positions. Which would be fine if he was, you know, good. Hell, even if he was just ok, there’d be an argument. But we’re talking about a guy who is worse than Alcides Escobar ever was. Ned shuffles everyone around just to get him in the game, and he’s absolutely atrocious. Ryan O’Hearn sits 40% of the games because lefties, but Owings has been out there 10 times in 11 contests. If you’re going to move Whit and Soler and everyone around, call up Nicky Lopez to play second. Because I’d rather stick my foot in a rotating lawn mower blade than watch Chris Owings flail like a dying bird at those two-strike, low-and-outside pitches.
Then in the ninth inning, the Royals loaded the bases with two outs, but Adalberto Mondesi hit a pop-up to end it.
Nine in a row.
Tomorrow: day baseball in Kansas City. They’ll try to avoid losing 10 in a row, I guess. It’s Jorge Lopez’ day to pitch.