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KC still can’t figure out strike zone, loses 5-2

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Too many walks allowed, not enough walks earned.

Brad Keller Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images

I think most of us knew how this game was going to go after the first inning. The Royals forced Kwang-hyun Kim to throw 21 pitches but only seven were in the strike zone. The Royals got only one walk out of it because they were swinging at everything.

Meanwhile, in the bottom of the inning Brad Keller’s struggles finding the strike zone and keeping the ball low from earlier in the season reappeared. But the Cardinals watched pitches and the first two batters walked and later scored on a Yadier Molina single.

The Royals made it a game in the fourth thanks to a pair of two-out RBI singles by Michael A. Taylor and Hanser Alberto. The Royals got a bit lucky to score the second run. Emmanuel Rivera is not particularly fast and probably should not have been sent but Molina dropped the throw from left field which was otherwise on-target and on-time. Brad Keller ended the threat by striking out swinging.

Then, in the bottom of the inning, another frequent Royal problem reared its head; the inability to collect a so-called “shutdown inning” where, after scoring, a team doesn’t allow their opponent to respond in kind. Keller ended up allowing pinch-hitter Matt Carpenter to hit an RBI double. The Royals managed to pull off a perfect relay from Hunter Dozier to Whit Merrifield to Salvador Perez in order to cut down Tommy Edman attempting to score from first and limit the damage.

Unfortunately, Keller wasn’t done struggling with his command. He allowed a solo home run on a pitch right down the middle to Nolan Arenado in the fifth and then was pulled in the sixth inning after the first two batters reached. Josh Staumont allowed one of them to score. Ervin Santana appeared for the second time this week and pitched two shutout innings to save the bullpen from further overuse.

Notes

  • Royals relievers have now allowed 19 runs in their last 43.1 innings for a 3.97 ERA. After a strong start to the year, they have really fallen off.
  • The Royals only had five hits all night and were not hitting the ball particularly hard. It’s somewhat miraculous they even managed to score two.
  • Edward Olivares had his first full game without a hit in the month of August.

The loss tonight guarantees the Royals will continue their streak of alternating series wins and losses that started with taking three out of four from the White Sox July 26-29. They can attempt to avoid the sweep tomorrow when Kris Bubic (3-5 4.57 ERA) faces off against Jon Lester (3-6 5.38 ERA.) Maybe they can steal a few bases and distract him into letting them steal a win.