The KC Royals choked away yet another late inning lead when manager Ned Yost went to Joakim Soria in the eighth inning holding a precarious 3-2 lead. Of course, Soria failed again to send Kansas City to a 5-4 loss.
The Kansas City Royals fell to 74-70 with their 5-4 loss on Tuesday. KC dropped 10.0 games behind the Indians, but remained 3.0 games behind second place Detroit in the AL Central. Baltimore won which puts the Orioles 5.0 games ahead of Kansas City for the AL’s second wild card.
Danny Duffy did what an ace is supposed to do: restore order after a tough loss. Duffy went 7.1 innings, allowing 3 hits, 2 walks, 3 earned runs and 6 strikeouts.
Duffy left the game ahead 3-2 in the eighth and one out after walking Brett Eibner. Matt Strahm relieved Duffy and retired his first hitter on a pop out to third. Chad Pinder grounded to short, but earned an infield hit when Alcides Escobar double pumped and threw just late to first base. That mistake blew up into a full-fledged disaster.
Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost then made a critical mistake: he brought Joakim Soria in to face right-handed center fielder Jake Smolinski. A’s manager Bob Melvin inserted lefty pinch hitter Yonder Alonso who doubled to center to drive in two runs. To make sure everyone knew just how bad of a decision it was to put Soria into the the game, he also gave up an RBI single to shortstop Marcus Semien to put the Royals down 5-3.
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At this point, I can’t even begin to explain Ned Yost‘s thinking here. Just how many times does Soria have to fail before he tries something else? Was Ned Yost trying to stick it to critics of his continued faith in Joakim Soria despite blowing FIVE late leads in the last two weeks?
Frankly, trying to understand Ned Yost’s reasoning isn’t really possible. Just what made Joakim Soria preferable to Matt Strahm here? Was it Strahm’s .091/.211/.121 slash line against right handed batters this season? Or did he just want to go with a veteran?
I really don’t know, and I don’t care. The bottom line is Ned Yost’s continued faith in Joakim Soria has likely ended the Kansas City Royals hopes for a playoff berth.
At this point, there isn’t really any point in getting angry at Yost for this kind of decision-making. He is what he is. Yost is a terrific clubhouse manager who makes terrible tactical decisions. On balance, he helps his team. But, his weaknesses have sunk the Royals over the last two weeks.
Matt Strahm got tagged with his first major-league loss, but all of the blame should go to his manager.