Despite another dazzling start for Cole Ragans, the Royals’ bullpen threw up on its self in a 6-3 loss. The defeat pushes Kansas City to 52 games under .500.
In his last outing in Oakland, Ragans was untouchable. Over the course of six shutout innings, he punched out 11 and topped out at 100 on his final pitch of the day. On Tuesday, it was no different.
Through the first four innings, he had the makings of something special. No hits, no walks, no baserunners. All while maintaining his upper-90s velocity.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Royals broke the scoreless tie on a line drive that deflected off Connor Joe’s glove at first base. Unfortunately for the offense, there wasn’t much going after that.
On the bright side, Ragans continued to dominate. In total, he grinded through seven shutout innings with nine strikeouts on a career-high 108 pitches.
Cole Ragans, Shoving.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 30, 2023
If you're not paying attention to Cole Ragans, you should be. pic.twitter.com/nvUFxGFZox
Cole Ragans, 96mph Paint. ️— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 30, 2023
9th K pic.twitter.com/l2mmmis0aZ
However, the bullpen still had to be used. When it was used, it got ugly.
In the top of eighth, Carlos Hernandez entered with two outs and a runner on. Facing Ke’Bryan Hayes, Hernandez hung a slider and it got blasted into the bullpen in left field — giving away Ragans’s chance at the win.
In the ensuing inning, Steven Cruz made his MLB debut and boy was it something. Despite hitting triple digits with regularity, the right-hander was shelled for four runs — including a three-run bomb off the Royals Hall of Fame.
Down to their last out, Freddy Fermin snapped a cold stretch with a two-run single but it wasn’t enough for a comeback.
Kansas City, 41-93, will try and avoid a sweep tomorrow night. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. CT.