Jun 6, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura (30) delivers a pitch against the Texas Rangers in the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
The Royals (30-23) and the Texas Rangers (30-26) locked horns at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City Saturday afternoon in game two of a three game set. The Rangers would prevail in this one 4-2, earning a series win in the process after having won game one Friday night.
The Royals are in a tailspin on offense, matching a less than stellar starting rotation whose up and down (mostly down) struggles continued today. Yordano Ventura ( 3-5 / 4.62 ERA) started on the mound for KC and flopped in front of another packed house. He gave up six hits, two walks, and four runs in only three innings of work on 78 pitches. Yordano struck out three, but was wild and struggled to command his composure and the strike zone, resulting in the quick hook from Royals manager Ned Yost.
KC answered with a run in the sixth when 3B Mike Moustakas singled in RF Jarrod Dyson, who doubled and went 3-4 on the day with a stolen base. And another on a solo shot in the ninth by catcher Salvador Perez.
And that was it. Two runs won’t win you many games in MLB.
Even in defeat, however, the Royals can entertain. Excellent defensive plays by CF Lorenzo Cain and SS Alcides Escobar. A nifty pick-off of Rangers 1B Prince Fielder by lefty Franklin Morales (3.09 ERA). And another sterling bullpen performance including 3.1 scoreless by yet another surprisingly effective GM Dayton-Moore-reclamation-project Joe Blanton (2.19 ERA). Top that with a game-ending blunder by Escobar who foolishly chose to argue for a check swing call rather than run to first base after whiffing on strike three on a ball in the dirt that got well-passed the catcher…well, I won’t say it was fun to watch. But it was occasionally amusing.
KC has lost 9 of 11. They’re not hitting for either power or average, not walking, and of course — perhaps relatedly — not scoring. And what would their starting staff ERA be if their defense was merely average? Scary thought.
This team’s strengths are and have been well-known. The bullpen and defense are superb. Their offense, though prone to slumps, will likely rebound to be at least competent overall by the time it’s all said and done. But the starting rotation is weak. Hopefully, Dayton has some more tricks up his sleeve. Kris Medlen, who is off to extended spring training, perhaps. Or…who knows? Dayton could surprise us all with a big splash.
As always, the Royals have a quick shot at redemption. Tune in at 1:10 PM Sunday as Jeremy Guthrie tries to play slump-buster for his Royals, and shut down the potent Texas attack. Good luck, Jeremy. An angonized Royals nation is counting on you for glory (no pressure).