After going up 3-0 and 4-1, the Royals gave up six unanswered runs to the White Sox in a 7-4 afternoon loss. The loss gave Chicago a rare five-game series win and dropped Kansas City to 14-23, just a loss away from being 10-games under .500 for the first time all season.
The Royals quickly jumped on White Sox starter Vince Velasquez in the 1st, but only after some help from replay. With Andrew Benintendi on 1st, Bobby Witt Jr hustled down the line into what was called a double play, but after review, was changed to a fielder’s choice and extended the inning. Hunter Dozier responded with a two-run laser beam to left to give the Royals a 2-0 early lead.
For all of Dozier’s 2021 struggles,he appears to be the best option to bat cleanup among the eligible candidates. Dozier has been far from a world beater, but he currently has the highest OPS on the Royals and Kansas City cleanup hitters have posted a paltry .565 OPS this season. Ironically, spots 1, 5, 2, and 4 have been the four weakest spots in the order. A little baseball 101 for our readers today, but usually, the leadoff hitter, two-hole hitter, and cleanup hitter are some of, if not the best hitters on the team!
Kansas City added another run in the 2nd after Kyle Isbel singled and then stole second before Nicky Lopez drove him in on an RBI double, giving the Royals a 3-0 lead.
Despite the early cushion, however, Carlos Hernandez’s struggles on the mound continued. After working around two walks in the 1st and giving Kansas City a clean 2nd, he walked Tim Anderson for the 2nd time in three innings to start the 3rd. After stealing 2nd and 3rd, Anderson scored on a Luis Robert single, cutting the Royals lead to two.
Another Dozier RBI hit put that lead back to three, but Hernandez immediately found himself in more trouble to start the 4th. The first four White Sox singled off Hernandez, including an Anderson two-RBI single to cut the lead to one. Ronald Bolanos did a good job escaping further damage in relief of Hernandez, escaping a bases loaded jam to keep Kansas City up 4-3.
For Hernandez, his struggles to throw strikes continued into this afternoon’s game. He walked five White Sox, along with giving up five singles and three runs in just 3.0 innings of work. His ERA has balooned up to 9.10 after seven starts, along with what we could call a disconcerting among of walks.
Carlos Hernandez has now walked 20 in 29.2 innings this season.— Sam McDowell (@SamMcDowell11) May 19, 2022
After escaping trouble in place of Hernandez, Bolanos and then Gabe Spier allowed a run in each of the 6th and 7th innings to give Chicago its first lead of the day, 5-4.
The Royals threatened in the 7th, with a two-out Andrew Benintendi double putting the tying run on for Witt Jr, but Bobby stranded him with a groundout to 3rd.
A two-run homer in the bottom half of that inning from Luis Robert put the White Sox up 7-4 and all but iced the game. Our pinch hit king Ryan O’Hearn got a PH at-bat in the 9th, but his powers were vanquished. Two singles allowed Benintendi to bat as the tying run against old friend Liam Hendriks but he grounded out to end the game.
Kansas City plays host to the first-place Twins next, a three-game set this weekend.
Up Next: Royals v. Twins, Friday, May 20, 7:10 PM CDT, Kauffman Stadium. LHP Daniel Lynch (2-2, 3.30 ERA) v. LHP Devin Smeltzer (0-0, 1.80 ERA)