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Royals lose 4-1 to the Twins in Curveball: The Ride

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Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Hello, Royals fans! Welcome to the recap for Monday night’s Major League Baseball game between your Kansas City Royals and the Minnesota Twins, played at beautiful Target Field in Minneapolis. Alternatively, you may call this experience Curveball: The Ride, an experience specifically designed for you to forget what it’s like to see fastballs thrown to Royals hitters. The Royals lost this experience 4-1, their sole run coming as a smashing hot home run off the bat of Hunter Dozier.

To recap: First, Matt Wisler came to the mound. The 27-year-old with a career ERA of 5.20 entering this season landed on something with the Twins this year, and thing was “I Only Throw Curveballs Now.” This was a completely foreign concept to the Royals, who managed one for realsies baserunner against Wisler in two innings—a Hunter Dozier walk. Wisler threw 90% of his pitches as curveballs, a fitting opener for Curveball: The Ride.

Second, the Royals faced Devin Smeltzer, the 24-year-old who looks like a 34-year-old who, nevertheless, shares Wisler’s disdain for fastballs. Smeltzer has only been throwing fastballs at a 35% clip this year, but threw only 20% fastballs against the Royals, mainly leaning on a changeup that he threw for 45% of all pitches. He, too, stymied the Royals, allowing one single to Nicky Lopez and one walk to Alex Gordon.

The Royals then faced Tyler Clippard, the third pitcher in Curveball: The Ride. Kansas City mounted the closest thing to an attack against the Twins in in the fifth inning when, after Gordon’s walk, Whit Merrifield almost crushed a game-tying home run. But it did not leave the yard, and Merrifield was thrown out at second base, thus ending the inning. Like Wisler, Clippard only threw 10% fastballs.

On the Royals’ pitching side, Kris Bubic was unimpressive for the second consecutive start. Nelson Cruz hit a booming shot at roughly a billion miles an hour for a solo home run in the fourth inning, and the Twins tacked on another run via two walks and a Byron Buxton single. Bubic only tossed 4.1 innings, allowing eight baserunners—including four walks—while only striking out four. His command was not there, and Bubic was unable to put away a majority of the Twins lineup and required 96 pitches to labor through his start.

The Royals once again mounted an offensive against the Twins in the top of the seventh inning. Against new pitcher Tyler Duffey, Maikel Franco doubled down the left field line. Gordon then lifted a curveball (what else, lol) into shallow right field for a single, sending Franco to third base. But it fizzled, as Adalberto Mondesi struck out, and Merrifield hit a grounder up the middle into a smart shift.

At this point, I would like to quote J. R. R. Tolkien: “Not all who wander are lost.” It’s a great quote. An inspiring one. Unfortunately, it has no bearing on Mondesi, who is lost as shit right now. He has an OPS—an OPS—of .389 over his last ten games, and he went 0 for 3 tonight.

Anyway, the Twins added another two runs, one in the sixth and another in the seventh. The one in the seventh was yet another home run off the bat of Cruz, who is hitting something to the tune of .598/.897/1.598 or something against the Royals this year (I didn’t look it up). The Royals added their sole run from Hunter Dozier, who obliterated yet another non-fastball to center field. Here it is. It was nice!

The ball went an estimated 441 feet and came off the bat at 105.4 MPH.

Overall, the Royals had 35 plate appearances in Curveball: The Ride and only saw 28 fastballs, which, as you can see, is less than one per plate appearance. The Royals did not pass or collect $200, and struck out nine times against two walks.

Next, the Royals are scheduled to play the Cincinnati Reds in Kansas City. However, the Reds are in our favorite kind of situation, Covid limbo, and it might not happen. Should the games be postponed, the Royals’ next series is...against the Twins, on Friday. Wheeee!

The Royals are 9-14 and are losers of three of their last four games.