The 2013-2015 Kansas City Royals were a blast to watch in part because you know you’d see the best defensive team in baseball every day. They were amazing. One of the underrated reasons why the last five to seven years of Royals baseball has been the disappearance of that defensive prowess. Tonight was one of those nights where Royals fans everywhere yearned for those defensive teams of the mid-2010s, as the Royals committed four errors and multiple other defensive errors on route to a 7-5 loss to the Detroit Tigers.
The big inning—the reason why the Royals lost—was also the inning in which the most egregious defensive plays occurred. In the seventh inning, Javier Baez doubled off Jose Cuas, a legit line drive to right field. Baez went to third on a fly ball from Robbie Grossman. Then, Miguel Cabrera hit a weak chopper to shortstop. Bobby Witt, Jr. attempted to throw Baez out at home but never got the handle on the ball and ended up with nothing but an error.
Following a Cuas wild pitch, Cabrera ended up at second base, when he attempted a steal. Catcher MJ Melendez absolutely yeeted the ball away, thus giving Cabrera a stolen base and allowing the second run of the inning to score—both of which should have been outs. Cuas then walked Willi Castro.
Miggy has us— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) July 13, 2022
All of the above pic.twitter.com/oQbVoXGwdQ
This turn of events prompted Cal Eldred to talk to Cuas, but immediately following this mound visit Jonathan Schoop doubled because Eldred mound visits are about as useful as your appendix—they don’t work and can blow up, causing even more problems. But the inning wasn’t done, as Spencer Torkelson quickly singled off new pitcher Joel Payamps, who committed the third error of the inning before finally and mercifully notching the last out. All told, the Tigers notched four runs in the inning, breaking a 3-3 tie and thereby dooming the Royals, who have yet to come back from a 3-run deficit this year, a loss.
Before the terrible seventh inning, the Royals and the Tigers traded blows throughout a rather pleasant and competitive game. Kris Bubic looked very shaky early on, ending up with a first inning jam of his own making thanks to consecutive two out walks. But Bubic was able to escape and ended up with a solid game, striking out five against said two walks in 5.2 innings pitched.
Meanwhile, the Royals offense was the opposite: sharp early, dull late. MJ Melendez became the third catcher in Major League Baseball’s history to smack a leadoff triple. Andrew Benintendi brought him home.
The Royals scored a pair in the second inning after Edward Olivares was hit by a pitch, Kyle Isbel smacked a double, and Emmanuel Rivera poked his own double, which extended Rivera’s hitting streak to 10 games.
In the eighth inning, the Royals tried very hard to scuttle my recap, all of the above which I had written already. But I had faith, and you know what? They didn’t come through, shocker (although I truly wish they did, of course I do, I’m just what you would call a “game realist” sometimes). The inning led off with a Witt walk, after which Benintendi doubled. Hunter Dozier followed it up with a single, and Benintendi came home on a sac fly by Olivares.
However, Vinnie Pasquantino—who had a pretty awful game—struck out swinging on a middle-middle fastball. And Rivera, who spat on three consecutive pitches outside the zone to kick off a 3-0 count, ended up swinging and missing at the furthest ball in the plate appearance for a strikeout. Two runs is good, but it ain’t four, and the Royals were down four.
Nicky Lopez also attempted to bunt earlier in the game with a man on second base and no outs. He popped out. Never bunt. Never. Never ever.
All told, this game was a microcosm of the Royals’ woes: their offense was good enough to win the game. Everything else was not. The Royals play the Tigers once more before going to Canada to play the Toronto Blue Jays.