On Tuesday at the Trop, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays beat the Kansas City Royals 5-2 in a score that belied how cleanly the home team beat the visiting team. The Royals were never ahead and felt significantly underpowered replacing the one-man wrecking crew that has been Hunter Dozier this season with the one-man wrecked crew that has been Chris Owings for his career.
Royals starter Homer Bailey was really good for the Cincinnati Reds a bit over a half decade ago. But really not that good—at least for very long—and so when he totally fell apart after signing a huge deal, it was sad but not totally out of nowhere. The Royals were able to pick him up for the league minimum this year because no one really wanted him.
After a few nice starts, some people began to rumble that, hey, maybe Bailey reclaimed something of himself! Maybe he, like Alex Gordon, had turned back time!
Narrator: he had not.
Bailey, who had brought a 4.30 ERA into the game, managed one inning. One! Bailey was struggling so hard that, after loading the bases with no one out in the second inning, Ned Yost mercifully pulled the plug. Bailey faced nine batters in that inning plus, walking four and allowing another three hits. While Jake Newberry managed to limit the damage to two runs, but by the end of the inning the Royals were down 4-0 and, well, why continue watching at this point?
Some of you did! If you did, you did manage to watch a few fun things. Richard Lovelady pitched a scoreless eighth inning, looking sharp. Martin Maldonado hit his first home run as a Royal, a no-doubter to center field. And Ryan O’Hearn pummeled two separate balls for extra bases, one he legged out for a triple and one he legged out for a double. Other than that, the Royals lineup was largely nonexistent. Jorge Soler, Lucas Duda, Chris Owings, and Billy Hamilton went a combined 0 for 14 with six strikeouts against two walks.
But, otherwise, this was a case of a good team (the Rays) beating up on a team zooming towards a second consecutive 100-loss season (the Royals) despite blocking their best prospect with bad vets.
If you’re looking for good news, top prospect Jackson Kowar had a pretty nice start. Over seven innings, Kowar struck out five and only allowed two runs. His ERA is now 2.03.
If you’re looking for bad news, the Royals have nonchalantly lost five games in a row, which in any other year would feel painful but now just goes unnoticed. Never say it can’t get worse.