In what was supposed to be the finishing flourish to the defining month of the Dayton Moore regime (okay, there’s some hyperbole there) the Royals lost both games of the doubleheader against the Twins Saturday, 7-2 and 5-1. And neither game was really all that close.
Any time Jonathan Sanchez has taken the mound this year it has been a guaranteed frustrating outing, and today was no different.
Sanchez walked six batters in just 4 1/3 innings of work while allowing 10 hits and 6 runs today, all earned. In a month that set up prime for the Royals to make a run at the AL Central lead, Sanchez has thrown 21 innings and given up 27 hits, 18 walks, 16 earned runs, and struck out just 14. Ouch.
A stretch of stats that’s normally reserved for the Mac Suzuki’s or, gulp, Luke Hochevar’s* of the world, Sanchez’s lack of production and perceived lack of desire or care has turned him into public enemy No. 1. With good reason. Each passing day that Melky Cabrera continues to perform above expectations, the once-justifiable trade turns more and more into a disappointing laugher. A laugher, in which the only real “win” for the Royals at this point, would appear to be a release of the left-hander.
*I know, he’s pitched better of late. His career numbers are still pretty ugly.
But that can’t quite happen, really.
One glaring weakness of the Royals roster is the starting rotation, and while a replacement in Everett Teaford, Nate Adcock, Vin Mazzaro, or others, might seem to be a viable alternative to the struggling Sanchez at this point, all of those arms will be needed to help out a struggling bullpen that’s being asked to take on a load that no other bullpen in baseball is being asked to do. For the time being, the best option for the Royals may be to wait and hope that Sanchez can turn things around.
Of course, that sentence changes, if they announce a move of Sanchez sometime soon.
Tomorrow the Royals send Bruce Chen to the mound in hopes of splitting the series against the Twins. The bright side after the doubleheader loss is that the Royals have still guaranteed themselves a winning month of at least no worse that 14-12. Rad flags still surround this team, like being outscored this month despite a favorable win-loss record, but back-to-back winning months is something to be proud of.
Also tomorrow the All Star Game rosters will be announced. Alcides Escobar, Billy Butler, and Mike Moustakas all have the numbers to justify their selection at their positions, so it’ll be fun to see if more than the requisite bullpen arm, charity selection, is taken from the Royals.