The Royals lost their fifth straight game as their bullpen collapsed yet again in September. This time, Kelvin Herrera gave up a three-run blast that keyed a four-run eighth inning in a 7-4 loss Friday night to the Chicago White Sox.
The Kansas City Royals fell to 74-73 with Friday night’s 7-4 loss to the White Sox. KC now finds itself 7.0 games behind wild card leaders Baltimore and Toronto with 15 games to play. Their playoff hopes are all but dead.
The pathetic KC Royals entered the eighth inning with a 4-2 lead against Chicago ace Chris Sale. They appeared poised to break their four game losing streak behind another excellent outing from starter Ian Kennedy. Kennedy lasted 6.0 innings, allowing 5 hits, 3 walks, and 2 earned runs with 6 strikeouts. He left the game with the Royals holding a 4-2 lead.
Of course, Kansas City choked away yet another game it appeared they should win. This time it was the normally reliable Kelvin Herrera who allowed a three-run bomb to second baseman Carlos Sanchez. The home run was the first for Sanchez in the 2016 season in 106 at bats. It’s pretty sad when you can’t even retire a .189/.225/.292 hitter. That blast capped a four-run eighth inning for Herrera, who struggled with his command.
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At least this time, it wasn’t Joakim Soria that failed in the late-innings.
Friday’s game marked the sixth time the Kansas City Royals blew a seventh inning or later lead since August 31. This horrendous string comes after the team had not lost one such lead in 54 games in the 2016 season. After becoming the greatest comeback team in playoff history in 2015, the KC bullpen can’t hold a lead.
Perhaps it’s payback from the Baseball Gods.
Ian Kennedy definitely pitched well enough to win. Instead, Sale notched his 16th victory of the season against eight losses by pitching a complete game. At this point, I’m wondering if the Royals will even finish with an above .500 record.
Though it is vaguely possible that Kansas City could still make the playoffs, it would take both a crazy late run combined with the simultaneous collapse from the five teams ahead of them in the AL wild card race. At this point, it’s just one miracle too many—especially with the Royals seemingly intent on demonstrating one thousand different ways to lose a baseball game.
I know that we Royals fans should be happy with two AL pennants and one World Series title in the last two seasons. But, this September meltdown is hard to watch.