One take you’re going to hear a lot of in other places is that Jakob Junis pitched better than his line. Part of the reason you’ll hear that is because two of his three runs allowed scored on an infield single by Mets first baseman Pete Alonso. And, yeah, it was a pretty fluky play. But to say Junis pitched better than that is to ignore his entire night.
Before we get too deep into this I want to make one thing clear: Jakob Junis pitched 6.1 innings and allowed three runs. That’s not a bad night at all. But he allowed seven hits, one walk, and beaned two batters. That, again, is not bad, but it’s not good either. He didn’t have a single 1-2-3 inning the entire night. His slider was working well enough to let him escape most of his trouble but poorly enough to bean two hitters. And he was having difficulty locating his fastball, too.
Jakob Junis didn’t have a bad game. He didn’t have a great game. He had a mediocre game. And if he was the third or fourth man on the rotation and the Royals could provide him with any real run support or a stronger bullpen that would be perfectly cromulent. He isn’t and they don’t, so it led to another loss for Kansas City.
Jacob deGrom had three perfect innings before he walked Alex Gordon with one out in the fourth. Moments later Hunter Dozier had hit a single and Jorge Soler had convinced Pete Alonso to clank one off of his glove and the Royals had the lead. That was the only run the Royals would score all night.
If you discount the offense’s struggles, which you shouldn’t, then you are probably inclined to blame the bullpen for this loss. After Junis plunked his second batter to put runners at first and second, Ned Yost went to the bullpen. Jake Newberry walked the only batter he was allowed to face. Tim Hill struck out pinch hitter J.D. Davis but gave up the aforementioned infield hit to Pete Alonso to give the Mets the lead. The newest Royal, Jacob Barnes, gave up another run in the eighth inning when Hunter Dozier misjudged a Juan Lagares flyball into an RBI-triple.
Lagares was a problem for the Royals all night. Despite batting eighth, he was three for four, starting the first two scoring opportunities for the Mets and finishing the last one. If you’re looking for his polar opposite, then look no further than Cheslor Cuthbert. Cuthbert had an awful night at the plate. He struck out to end the second inning and killed incipient Royals rallies in both the fourth and seventh innings by hitting into double plays both times. He popped out to end the game. He has five hits in his last 45 plate appearances. Do you still think he’s the answer at third base for the Royals?
The stadium was full of pro-Mets chanting all night long. That probably shouldn’t come as a surprise because the Royals remain in third-place overall for 2020 draft position only because the Orioles and Tigers are ridiculously bad. The Royals and Mets will play the rubber match of the series tomorrow. Glenn Sparkman will face off against Zack Wheeler.