This is getting a bit silly.
Jonathan Sanchez took the loss after giving up four runs in 4.2 innings as the Royals lost 4-3 in Cleveland, their 12th straight loss. All four runners who scored against Sanchez reached by a hit by pitch (Jason Kipnis) or by walking. Sanchez was wild all night and seemed averse to throwing his fastball. That he only gave up four runs is fortunate, as he stranded runners all night.
In the first, he stranded two. In the second, he walked the bases loaded but a shallow fly out and a double play got him out of it. In the third, he left two more on before walking the bases loaded in the fifth, then seeing three runs score before being lifted for Tim Collins. The bullpen didn’t surrender a run.
The Royals had a chance in the fourth inning to get a big inning when Mitch Maier lined a single up the middle to score Mike Moustakas, then made it to third after a bunt single by Alcides Escobar and a swinging bunt single by Chris Getz. Alex Gordon hit a shot to the right of Casey Kotchman, but he got to it and tossed to Derek Lowe to stop the threat.
Another opportunity presented itself in the eighth, when Eric Hosmer walked and moved to second on a chopper to second by Jeff Francoeur. Mike Moustakas singled next to move Hosmer to third. A two out line drive from Maier went into the right field corner to score Hosmer. Shin-Soo Choo didn’t hustle for the ball and turned away from the play but Moustakas didn’t score. Alcides Escobar hit a hard grounder but it went right to the pitcher to end the inning.
That run would have been big, because the Royals put together a run with a double and two ground outs off Indians closer Chris Perez. Chris Getz, who led off with the double, would have been the tying run if Moose would have been sent.
Instead, the Royals lost. Again.
I don’t get how a team that has run like crazy in the first few weeks of the season suddenly gets cautious when a two-out run scoring opportunity presents itself like the Maier double in the eighth. They’ll try to steal in ridiculous situations, but not send a runner on what should have been an obvious scoring play.
The Royals left 11 runners on base but they went 4-11 with runners in scoring position, at least. They’re showing signs of possibly getting things to fall in place, but tonight wasn’t the night.
Jeff Francoeur needs a day off. He swung at multiple pitches that were way out of the strike zone in grounding out five times. He didn’t hit anything hard, and he hasn’t looked at all like the player that the Royals had last year. Lorenzo Cain has a chance to return from the disabled list on Friday. Perhaps a platoon of Maier and Francoeur in right – if only temporary – would benefit the team. Frenchy hits lefties well historically, so better matchups might jolt him back into productivity.
I’m not sure what else to do. The Royals keep coming up a run short. They miss out on the one play that would put them in front. Tonight it was the Maier double. Monday night they had the tying run at the plate but hit into a double play. On Sunday, the Royals had the tying run on first and winning run at the plate, but again, a double play ended the rally.
They’ll win another game at some point.