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Royals lose again, this time 4-2

Glenn Sparkman was both bad and unlucky.

Kansas City Royals v Baltimore Orioles
O’Hearn did not have a good night. But who did?
Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

Let’s talk about Glenn Sparkman for a minute. I mentioned this in the game thread, but he’s not a good pitcher. He might have a home in a bullpen in the future but he almost certainly won’t be starting regularly for next year’s club. Even if he is he wouldn’t be doing it for many of them.

When you hear people talking about scouting pitchers there are two big things they look for. Stuff - devastating off-speed pitches and/or really fast fastballs - and Command - the ability to hit the spot he’s aiming at. Glenn Sparkman doesn’t have either of those things, so far as I can tell. His pitches are all OK, and if he could consistently hit his spots they might even work. But he can’t.

Tonight Glenn Sparkman pitched 4.1 innings and allowed 4 runs on 3 walks. He allowed at least two hits when he shattered bats - including the first RBI hit he allowed to Mike Freeman. So in that sense, he was pretty unlucky. But he was missing his spots all night long and hung more curveballs than I bothered to count. The last one he hung was launched into left field to give Cleveland all the runs they needed to complete the victory.

Homeplate umpire Ed Hickox did have a remarkably liberal zone which caused Hunter Dozier and Jorge Soler to take issue with him. But he gave the Royals pitchers some strikes they didn’t deserve, too. Ryan O’Hearn took issue with Angel Hernandez calling his attempted check swing a swinging strikeout to the point that almost everyone thought he got tossed for a bit. I am, by no means, an Angel Hernandez defender but I can’t help but think that had more to do with O’Hearn’s frustrations at the plate than it did how egregious that call was.

If you’re looking for positives, there were a few. Tim Hill, Scott Barlow, and Kevin McCarthy combined for 3.2 scoreless innings while striking out four. That’s the second night in a row the bullpen has refrained from giving up any runs. Cheslor Cuthbert broke his 0-for-40 skid with a double off the left-field wall. But, in the end, the Royals struck out as many times as they got on base. That’s not a recipe for winning a game.

The Royals scoring plays included a Meibrys Viloria double off the left-field wall that scored Cheslor Cuthbert who had just walked in the top of the fourth. They also got an RBI fielder’s choice off the bat of Jorge Soler in the seventh. Jorge Soler has now gone 10 games without a home run since he smashed a pair against the Tigers on August 11. He has only four hits over that time though he has walked nine times. It seems no matter who the Royals put around him there is no reason to pitch to him, right now. Jorge Soler is only good when he can find fastballs to hit. Right now they’ll only throw those when he gives up looking for them and it’s making the offense’s slump even worse.

The Royals can try to avoid a sweep tomorrow when Eric Skoglund makes his 2019 major league debut. He’ll be facing off against Shane “Not Justin” Bieber. Given how the rest of this series has gone I expect them to score 10 runs off of him in the second inning and revive the idea that the Royals have three MVPs in their lineup.