Suddenly, they’re back under .500. And they have nobody to blame but their bullpen.
The Royals were swept by the Twins in the brief two-game set this week, falling 7-6 on Wednesday afternoon. The bullpen, once again, was the instigator of the trouble. The Royals handed a 6-3 lead to its bullpen and saw Minnesota score four runs in the last three innings to steal another win at Kauffman Stadium.
Adalberto Mondesi tripled and scored on an RBI single by Alex Gordon in the first inning. Minnesota scored the next three runs on dink and dunk hits, but their 3-1 lead didn’t last. In the fifth inning, the Royals put seven straight men on base when Billy Hamilton walked and stole second, Whit Merrifield singled him in (2-3), Mondesi beat out an infield dribbler, and Alex Gordon crushed a three-run bomb to center field (5-3). Following an error that put Jorge Soler aboard, Ryan O’Hearn and Chris Owings hit singles to make it 6-3.
Chris freaking Owings got an RBI hit and they couldn’t even win the game. Talk about a waste.
Homer Bailey started for the Royals. He worked five quality innings, allowing three runs and striking out eight. He wasn’t great, but he wasn’t terrible, either. The team was behind by a couple of runs when he left, but he was in position to win after the fifth inning was over because of the offensive outburst.
Offensive is just about the only way to describe the bullpen at this point. And unlike last night, they can’t blame an umpiring blunder for the meltdown. Scott Barlow came in and gave up a run in the sixth. Tim Hill and Kevin McCarthy survived the seventh, but Jake Diekman promptly pooped himself in the eighth by allowing three hits, which tied the game for Minnesota. Then in the ninth, Wily Peralta walked the leadoff man and he scored on an RBI single by Eddie Rosario, who has 66 RBIs against the Royals in the last 24 hours.
Here’s the thing, too. We all knew that the bullpen was going to be awful this year. For crying out loud, Ian Kennedy was their Opening Day closer. The fact that they made such little effort to revamp the bullpen (and don’t tell me they did by switching out old crap with new crap) was maddening. We all knew that this was a problem, and they didn’t do anything near what they should have done to fix the problem. The results, through five games, show a 2-3 record when they’d be 4-1 at worst with a competent pen.
It’s hard to find a team more plain, uninteresting, and irrelevant as the Minnesota Twins. You know when you’re trying to name all 30 baseball teams and you’re stuck on 29? That team you can’t remember is the Twins. Bloop hits? That’s so Twins. Changing from one right-handed reliever to another right-handed reliever with two outs and nobody on in the ninth? That’s pretty, pretty Twins. They’re 4-1 on the season, but nobody actually remembers anything they’ve done thus far. So there’s that.
And Chris Owings is now 2 for 18 on the season. Please get him off my team.
The Royals are 2-3. They head to Detroit for the Tigers’ home opener on a three-game losing streak. First pitch tomorrow is at 12:15 pm CDT. Jake Junis will get the ball.