First off, thanks to @BHIndepMO for the headline idea. I did my best to predict what the Royals’ Facebook recap title would be.
The Royals were completely shut down by the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night in front of a crowd that was 75% red. It was one of those games where the worst players were all guys that have no business being on this roster. Funny how that works!
First, some stats: that is 9 straight losses for the Royals against the Cardinals at Kauffman Stadium when there are fans in the stands. They have not beaten the Cardinals at home with fans in the stands since 2016. Hell, they haven’t even scored a RUN against the Cardinals at home with fans in the stands since 2018! They’re riding a 33-inning scoreless streak in this situation. Whew!
Mike Minor rolled through the first three innings and then gave up back-to-back home runs to Nolan Arenado and Tyler O’Neill. The Cardinals got a third run in the fifth. He did strike out seven in 6.0 innings pitched. I’m sure Joel Goldberg and Jeff Montgomery will tell you all about how Mike Minor got a “quality” start, but when /this/ is the high water mark for a guy you paid $18 million to in the offseason, he’s not good in the slightest.
Minor has given up less than three runs exactly twice since Father’s Day. He’s pitched into the seventh inning once since June 10. His ERA/WHIP are closing in on 2012 Luke Hochevar numbers. Don’t be fooled into the “well he just needed some run support tonight, he wasn’t too bad!” mindset, because if you have that mindset, it shows just how little you expect of a guy that was signed to be the team’s No. 2 starter. The Rays gave Rich Hill $2.5 million. The Royals gave Mike Minor $18 million. If you’re getting the pom-poms out for a 6 innings, 3 run performance, your bar is set too low.
With that said, though, Minor could have twirled a shutout and it wouldn’t have been enough on this night. The Royals’ offense was completely, totally helpless against Jack Flahrety. This was Flahrety’s first start in three full months and he looked like he was going against grade schoolers. Salvador Perez had a first-inning, broken-bat single, and Emmanuel Rivera beat out a bang-bang infield single in the sixth. Those were the only baserunners he gave up. Kansas City threatened a little bit in the eighth by loading the bases with two outs, but it didn’t go anywhere, and by that point, they were already down 5-0, so were they even “threatening?”
Let’s talk about Jarrod Dyson, who is probably the most head-scratching player on this roster. As Edward Olivares and his batting average over 100 points higher in AAA rakes in Omaha, Dyson continues to get regular starts for this team, and he was especially terrible tonight. He struck out looking twice, the latter of which coming with two on and one out, and he was gunned down on the bases by Yadier Molina in between the Ks. I’m aware that my writing style is very hyperbolic sometimes, but it legitimately blows my mind that they refuse to give Olivares a real chance up here while trotting out two of Dozier/O’Hearn/Dyson in the outfield every single day. I wonder what Olivares thinks as he watches Dyson and his 218/250/318 slash be good enough for a roster spot.
Now at this point, you’re probably thinking “he said all of the pieces that have no business being on this roster were bad tonight, but he’s yet to mention Ervin Santana!” LOOK NO FURTHER! Ervin Santana, ERA now steamrolling towards 6.00 (and over 9.00 in the last couple of months), gave up a fountain-splashing homer to some scrub named Lars Nootblaar. That made it 6-0. It’s pretty amazing how like, a quarter of the players on this roster have no business being on a big-league roster.
DFA Santana and get Jackson Kowar up here. At the very least, let him get his feet wet by having him pitch Santana’s mop-up innings. When he’s comfortable, insert him in the rotation by either sending Brady Singer down to actually work on a third pitch or locking Mike Minor in a closet until his contract ends. They could have a rotation of Keller/Lynch/Kowar/Bubic/Hernandez, which wouldn’t set any records, but at least it’d be a set of guys all 26 and younger. See, that would make SENSE for a team that’s out of it - focus on the future! Nah, not in Dayton Moore land. You get the corpse of Mike Minor every sixth day and two-pitch Brady Singer every week on the day before Minor day. And you will like it.
DFA Greg Holland and Wade Davis (he gave up two runs tonight, because of course) and call up two young arms - Tyler Zuber feels like the best call, but literally anybody else - to pitch relief innings. This season is over and Davis and Holland are never pitching for a competitive Royals team. Let a couple of young relievers who actually have a prayer of helping this team when they do compete get comfortable.
DFA Ryan O’Hearn (or send him down just so you can call him back up when he starts mashing Omaha pitching again) and bring up Nick Pratto. Why not? Seriously, WHY NOT? If you want to wait a few more games for the service time rule, that’s fine too.
I would have sent Hunter Dozier down and still would definitely be ok with that. But at this point, you may as well see if he can find anything in these last few weeks of the season, because he’s going to be playing every day again next year. He doesn’t deserve to play, but there are 25 million reasons why he will. As for Carlos Santana, he’s on an 0-for-17 and he’s hitting under .100 since the trade deadline. Remember when the Red Sox wanted him and Dayton Moore hung up the phone because he “didn’t want to trade Carlos Santana”? What a dunce.
Nobody hitting 4-9 in the Royals’ lineup tonight has a batting average higher than .250. Nicky Lopez has been really bad in the last couple of weeks, too. He’s 7-for-42 (.167) in the last two weeks, but you probably haven’t noticed because most of those hits have driven in runs. Whit Merrifield is also under .250 since July started. This team is Salvador Perez and eight scrubs right now on offense, and the pitching rotation boasts two of the four worst qualified starters in the American League. And the bullpen has Ervin Santana and Wade Davis, combined 73 years of age, giving up moonshots in relief. THIS is the team Dayton Moore builds in year FIFTEEN? I for one am not impressed.
Remember when that “hot start” out of the break made Moore freeze any talk of selling? Well, they were 17 games under .500 at the break, and after tonight’s loss, they’re 16 under. The “hot start,” which was really just one good week, has been completely washed out. They’re steamrolling towards yet another 90-loss season. 49-65.
Tomorrow: ugh, there are still 48 more of these. They play the Cardinals at home again. Brad Keller starts, so the Royals will almost definitely lose. Maybe they’ll score a run, though! THE SUSPENSE. First pitch is at 6:10 pm.