There were two things on everyone’s mind entering tonight. First, would the Kansas City Royals avoid their eighth—yes, eighth—consecutive loss? All before tax day, I might add. Second, would Whit Merrifield tie George Brett’s franchise record streak of 30 consecutive games with a hit?
The second question, at least, was answered quickly. Merrifield immediately cracked a beautiful Billy Butler-esque smash line drive to the right-enter gap leading off the bottom of the first. Unlike Butler, however, Merrifield used his speed to stretch the double into a triple. Regardless, Merrifield nabbed his 30th consecutive game with a hit, a streak stretching to last season.
Alright. Can we call the recap over now? No? Aw, shucks. Well, technically, I do have power to do that. However, that is not particular satisfying, especially as this losing streak (and season) enters farce territory.
So, ah, here we go. The culprit of tonight’s game was: not the bullpen. Let’s specify: not entirely the bullpen. Mainly, the sad state of affairs for tonight’s game rested on the shoulders of Jake Junis. Junis isn’t the most exciting pitcher, and his ceiling is probably just “cromulent” if we’re being honest. Yet, Junis has been a perfectly cromulent starter for two seasons now.
Not tonight. With two outs, Jay Bruce blasted an opposite-field home run to left field, quickly giving Seattle the lead. Junis allowed another run in the third inning on a Bruce ground out, which nevertheless notched him another RBI because Dee Gordon and Domingo Santana lined clean singles to the outfield. Junis barely got through the fourth inning, allowing two more runs off the bat of another Dee Gordon single. It was the third of four hits by the Mariners in the fourth, and Junis only extricated himself from a worse mess because he struck out the side.
It was a shame that Junis was so shaky, because the Royals were scrappy. After Bruce’s home run in the first, Adalberto Mondesi tied the game by bringing home Merrifield on an infield single. Then, the Royals tied it again in the third, as Mondesi again brought home the tying run. Only, that tying run was Billy Hamilton, and the hit was a deep sac fly, and Hamilton scored from second base. No, seriously:
It just wasn’t enough against the onslaught of Mariners hitters. Seattle gathered 15 hits and, well, it’s hard to compete against that. The bullpen was fine. Seattle is just hot as heck right now.
The third thing of interest was the debut of one Richard Lovelady and he did not disappoint. Lovelady struck out the first two batters he faced—one lefty and one righty—and induced a harmless fly ball from Bruce to end the inning. His slider was positively nasty, and outside of his first pitch his control was immaculate. Who would have thought that the 23-year-old destroying minor leaguers would be a good big leaguer? No one. Apparently.
Ultimately, the Royals didn’t scrounge enough runs together, especially in the later innings. They did find one in the seventh inning, but that was it.
The Royals are 2-8. That’s...bad. Tomorrow there’s more baseball. I think. I don’t know. I’m in a haze, and it’s April. Lord, have mercy.