Thursday was a busy day for the Royals. First, they traded Alberto Callaspo to the Angels. Then they had game one of a four game series at New York, and, one batter into the bottom of the third, their best trading chip was headed to the DL.
Then the bullpen fell apart.
It’s hard out there for Royals fans.
The Royals jumped out to a 2-0 lead against C.C. Sabathia after Jose Guillen‘s double drove in Jason Kendall and a Wilson Betemit single scored Billy Butler. But Bruce Chen gave the runs right back in the bottom of the inning after an Alex Rodriguez double scored Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter.
Three singles put the Royals back in front in the second, but that was the last time they held the lead, as Jeter’s inside-the-park homer both tied the game in the bottom of the third and put David DeJesus out of the game with a thumb injury.
Going into the eighth, it was 6-4 New York and a pair of infield singles by Scott Podsednik and Jason Kendall and a walk to Billy Butler loaded the bases for Jose Guillen with two outs against Joba Chamberlain. Guillen didn’t take advantage of the opportunity and grounded out to short to end the inning and kill the rally.
The Yankees responded by slamming the door, scoring four times in the bottom of the inning. Blake Wood and Dusty Hughes gave up two runs each in the inning and both pitchers’ ERAs stand above 5.00 on the year after the game.
Bruce Chen took the loss after giving up five runs in six innings. He struck out six, but gave up nine hits and walked two.
The Royals had their chances up until that four run eighth inning. As a team, they got 14 hits. They walked five times. They even stole four bases. And still, the Royals only scored two runs.
One reason for that is timely hitting. The Royals were 4-17 with runners in scoring position. They left 14 runners on base. Six players in the lineup had multiple hits, but none when it counted most. They missed out on two runs on the basepaths. First, Wilson Betemit tried to stretch a single into a double in the first inning and was thrown out just before Jose Guillen crossed the plate. Then, in the fifth, Betemit singled again but Billy Butler was thrown out at home. Maybe those two runs would have made a difference, or maybe the bullpen still would have blown it up.
With the departure of Alberto Callaspo, Wilson Betemit is the new starting third baseman. The lineup should have an new look to it, as David DeJesus going on the DL means the return of Alex Gordon. Rick Ankiel replaced DeJesus in center last night in his first action since a quad strain in May, so it will be interesting to see Ned Yost‘s lineup tonight.