We need to put (Dayton) Moore’ing in the dictionary. Definition: starting off every single baseball season terribly, thus kicking your fans right in the balls right out of the chute and killing any hope of promise immediately.
The Royals are 3-9. They have played 12 games and they are already 6.5 games out of first place. Wrap your head around that for a second, because that is flat-out embarrassing. Tonight was especially a gut-punch. I know my reputation on this site is the most negative writer/opinion, but there’s just nothing good to say about this team.
And it’s really disappointing, too. Look, none of us were expecting a 40-win team or a World Series contender this year. But considering that the schedule is 60 games, we expected contention. The Royals, by merely going .500 over their first 30 games, would enter September in a playoff race. What a gift for the teams not expected to be contenders when we thought it’d be 162 games! Teams like the Tigers, Orioles, and Padres, all expected to be bottom-dwellers this year, have taken advantage by posting .500 or better records through the first two weeks of the year. They’re at least in it for a little bit. The Royals? Worst record in the American League. They’re 3-9 this year. They started 7-16 in 2017. They started 5-20 in 2018. Last year, they had a 10-game losing streak before the season was two weeks old. It’s a yearly tradition for Dayton Moore-led teams to get off to not just poor but league-worst poor starts season after season. It’s completely unacceptable.
Tonight, the Royals lost their fifth straight game, this one 5-4 to the Chicago Cubs. The offense was silent until it was too late, once again ruining a quality outing from the starting pitcher. The good news is that they didn’t strike out a million times for a change, opting for soft ground outs and lazy flyouts for a change tonight. Also, they did not draw any walks, meaning that through 12 games, the team still has fewer than 20 walks - which has never, ever happened before in baseball history. Ever.
Kansas City did score first today, as Adalberto Mondesi hit an RBI single in the second. Jason Heyward of the Cubs immediately one-upped the hit by hitting a two-run homer off Brady Singer, giving Chicago a 2-1 lead. Later on, Jason Kipnis, who isn’t even good anymore but has always killed the Royals, hit a two-run bomb of his own to make it 4-1. Jorge Soler hit an RBI single to get Kansas City within 4-2, but that was it for awhile.
Singer, who was pitching on his birthday, struck out eight batters, which is the most he’s had in any of his three MLB outings. He lasted five innings, threw 93 pitches, and allowed seven baserunners. He gave up four runs on the two two-run homers, but he did well enough for a guy making his third big league start. The offense let him down, resulting in him taking a loss for his first career decision.
The Royals’ bullpen was, once again, good. Scott Barlow got through the sixth, and Tyler Zuber got out of a first-and-third-with-one-out jam in the seventh. Trevor Rosenthal gave up a homer to Willson Contreras in the eighth in what wound up being the deciding run, but nobody knew that run was going to matter at the time.
Things got a little interesting in the ninth when the corpse of Craig Kimbrel gave up hits to Salvador Perez and Adalberto Mondesi (who did have three hits on the night). Alex Gordon drove in Perez on an RBI groundout. Maikel Franco hit an RBI single. It was 5-4. Nick Heath pinch ran, stole second, and went to third on an error. Bubba Starling came up with a real chance, battled for a pretty long at-bat, and wound up making an out. Game over.
At 3-9, the Royals will return home, but they’ll face the same Cubs team. Two against Chicago precedes a three-game set against first-place Minnesota this weekend. Gross.
Nobody was asking the world from the Royals this year. Nobody expected excellence. They simply asked for mere competence. For the fourth year in a row, the team is completely buried before the season turns one month old. And of all seasons, to do it in a 60-game sprint is a little extra deflating for the fanbase.