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KC swept away by Atlanta and Albies, 5-4

Is Barlow done as an effective reliever?

Scott Barlow throws a pitch William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

I’m in Atlanta on vacation and so I was required to watch the away broadcast for today’s game. Fortunately there was a familiar voice; former relief pitcher Peter Moylan is the color man on Atlanta’s broadcast and he was quite entertaining.

In the top of the ninth immediately after Scott Barlow entered the game and gave up the lead for the final time Moylan had this to say, “I’ve been on some teams where the moment you give up the lead it feels like the game is over.” He went on to describe how that doesn’t describe Atlanta’s baseball team at all but I couldn’t help but feel like he was also remembering his time in Kansas City and how poorly it went and how bad they look now.

Looking at the box score you’d be forgiven for thinking that Zack Greinke had a rare off day. And, to be fair, he wasn’t at his absolute sharpest. That said, the stats don’t tell the whole story. In the top of the third inning he gave up a hot line drive to Matt Olson but what could and should have been a single, perhaps with an RBI attached instead turned into a two-run triple when Edward Olivares over-pursued the ball and then whiffed on the short hop. Olson would then score on a sacrifice fly from Austin Riley. It could have been one or two runs but instead, it was three.

Some will want to argue that poor defense bit the Royals in the ninth as well; Ozzie Albies - who had already crushed a home run in the game - hit a deep but very high flyball with one out in the inning but Kyle Isbel and Olivares were both unable to wrangle it in right-center field. However, that ball did bounce off the wall and the wind was roaring out to right so it would have been a miraculous play for either player to have made.

The Royals, as has been their modus operandi this year, had opportunities to do damage but frequently failed to capitalize. In the bottom of the third, Bobby Witt Jr. came up with the bases loaded and grounded into a run-scoring double play. MJ Melendez and Vinnie Pasquantino both walked to re-load the bases but then Salvador Perez grounded out to end the threat. If you’re counting at home, that’s seven batters to the plate in one inning but only a single run scored.

The Pasquatch tried to do his best to help the team find their way in the bottom of the seventh when he walloped his team-leading third home run of the season into right, a two-run shot that tied the game.

One of the few good things you could say about this game was that at least it came in under three hours. The pitch clock is really doing great work limiting the amount of losing Royals fans have to watch this season. Unfortunately, it was one of those games that felt like it was dragging on and on even if the runtime was not that bad.

Normally, even a bad Royals team takes a bit of time to establish their stinktitude until a month or more into the season. They’ll have some ups to go with the early downs that will make you think things could turn around. I don’t know about y’all, but this game has already got me in the August doldrums. And there won’t be a miraculous infusion of youth right before the All-Star Break to get us out of it this time. I sure hope the Royals come up with something interesting to do or else it’s going to be a long, painful season.