Look. I can deal with bad teams. I’ve seen plenty of them. When the team isn’t any good, you can’t really get mad at them for losing games.
But this team. This freaking team. This is the most agonizing, frustrating, irritating baseball team I can remember rooting for. They should be better than they are. There are some valuable pieces on this roster. They are, on paper, significantly better than they were in 2018. But yet somehow, now 19-42 through 61 games - two games worse than they were last year - the Royals are on pace for 111 losses, which would set a new club record.
Wednesday night’s shutout loss against Chris Sale and the Red Sox - in which the Royals managed only three singles - was painful in a couple of different ways. The Royals are clearly the inferior team. The Red Sox are the defending World Series champions, and they looked like it tonight. But the Royals did many, many things tonight that made your stomach churn, and they were things that you’d expect a team of third graders to be able to do.
Whit Merrifield got picked off. Billy Hamilton put forth three of the worst at-bats I’ve ever seen. Terrance Gore is still taking up a roster spot. Cheslor Cuthbert made an error in the first inning and it wasn’t even his worst defensive play of the night. Later on, he didn’t cover first base on a bouncing ball back to the pitcher when he was playing first base, and a three-run double was smashed in the next at-bat. Ryan O’Hearn was put in the game in left field and attempted to make a catch in foul territory, but he whiffed on it by awkwardly hopping way too early. Lucas Duda is on his way back. I’m going to scream.
Let’s talk about Hamilton. Here’s a career .244 hitter who everyone knew exactly what he was when he hit the free agent market. 29 teams looked at him and were all “nah, he can’t really do anything but run.” Dayton Moore saw him and screamed “FIVE MILLION DOLLARS!” Bubba Starling is still tearing up AAA, but he’s forbidden from playing in Kansas City because we have to watch Billy Hamilton and his 6-extra-base-hits-in-163-at-bats play every day. This organization exhausts me.
As for Sale, he threw a shutout, but what was wild was how he got so much better as the night went on. His first fastball of the night was 90 mph. His last pitch of the eighth inning was 98 mph. He threw an immaculate inning in the eighth against Kelvin Gutierrez, Nicky Lopez, and Martin Maldonado, who all struck out on three pitches. This is great and all, but it really should come with an asterisk against this pathetic lineup.
He was absolutely amazing tonight. 9.0 innings, three hits allowed, 12 batters K’d, and barely 100 pitches needed to do it. Personally, it’s the most dominant pitching performance I’ve seen anyone put forth against the Royals since Jon Lester threw that no-hitter a few years ago. They were totally, completely dominated.
And Sale is awesome and all, but he entered this game with a 1-7 record and an ERA of 4.35. Other teams have gotten him this year. The Royals didn’t even come close.
I have no desire to tell you how the Red Sox got their eight runs. Go read the ESPN article if you want to know that. Jake Junis gave up six runs (five earned) in 4.2 innings. His ERA is 5.63. Jorge Lopez, who is the greatest pitcher in the world at giving up runs, gave up a couple in relief. His ERA went to 6.75. He’s allowed 44 runs in 58 innings this year. I’m legitimately convinced a fan in the stands could do that.
It is time for some major, major changes to take place in this organization. The offense is bad. The defense is bad. The baserunning is bad. The pitching is bad. The front office and team management is bad. Steve Physioc is bad. They all deserve to be boo’d.
Ian Kennedy was stellar in his inning of work with the team down 8-0. When the game is close, he’s a gas can. 8-0 blowout? Bring on the nastiness!
The Royals are 19-42. They are 22 games out of first place. They have not won a single series since before Easter.
They’re also 0-5 since they released Chris Owings. Maybe that’s it.
Tomorrow: this series will come to a merciful ending with a 12:15 pm CDT afternoon tilt. Danny Duffy will get the ball for the Royals. They’ll look to avoid a sweep. Somehow, despite being 0-14-2 in their last 16 series, they’ve only been swept once.