If you’re a fan schadenfreude, Saturday’s Kansas City Royals game against the Dodgers was perfect for you.
Where to begin with the latest Kansas City Royals anti-masterpiece?
For as much as we’ve all gotten to enjoy this comeback from the 10-20 start, running into the buzzsaw that is the Los Angeles Dodgers offers a stark reminder that hey, there’s still a lot to work on here.
Like not walking the bases loaded and then walking in the winning run. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Plenty of time for self-flagellation later on.
Between curious coaching decisions, unfortunate ejections and a complete lack of situational awareness, this was not the Kansas City Royals finest hour in a 5-4 extra-inning loss.
The Dodgers got a 3-0 lead thanks to a two-run Joc Pederson homer in the second and a sac fly from Justin Turner in the third. Pretty normal, standard fare for an Ian Kennedy start, right?
Kennedy would settle down, provide a quality start—six innings, seven hits, seven strikeouts, three earned—and generally give the impression that he’s much closer to 3.68 ERA of a year ago than the 5.40 he was toting a month ago.
The fourth inning that could’ve been much better for Kansas City. It yielded at least one run thanks to a Salvador Perez single that scored Lorenzo Cain; however, if Jorge Bonifacio hadn’t gotten faked out on Eric Hosmer’s single, getting a late break at second, and if Mike Jirschele hadn’t unwisely sent him to the plate anyway—which would’ve left the sacks full with no outs for Perez—who knows what might have happened?
After Whit Merrifield doubled in the fifth, he advanced to third on a Brandon McCarthy wild pitch and scored on passed ball by Yasmani Grandal. Whitley would tie it up in the seventh on a ground-ball single, scoring Alcides Escobar.
Post-seventh inning, an angry Lorenzo Cain—incensed at a third strike call by Bill Miller with one out and the bases loaded—let him know about it on his way back out to centerfield. Cain never made it as Miller ejected him.
The Kansas City Royals would get the go-ahead run in the eighth inning on a Perez homer, his season’s 18th—five more than Gary Sanchez, Home Run Derby participant. To not only tie but take a late lead against the class of the National League made it seem like a huge win was in the offing.
In the bottom of the eighth, Cody Bellinger cranked a home run off Joakim Soria. Joakim has now blown five saves. Which is not great, obviously.
In the ninth, the Kansas City Royals had no chance against Kenley Jansen (obviously) but Peter Moylan did an admirable job against the Dodgers to send it to extras.
Against Ross Stripling in the 10th, Hosmer reached second on a Corey Seager error, but Stripling stranded him in scoring position on a strikeout (Perez), a flyout (Mike Moustakas) and a ground out (Escobar).
And then everything went directly to hell.
Instead of going with the patented “best reliever remaining” approach, which would’ve made much better sense, Ned Yost tossed out Scott Alexander.
Who walked Chase Utley.
And then walked Seager.
AND THEN WALKED TURNER.
By the time Ned went to the guy who should have started the inning—Kelvin Herrera—it was too late. Whatever Herrera did almost certainly would’ve resulted in at least one run.
And then he walked Bellinger for the winning run.
No words. I am devoid of words.
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And hey, all the Kansas City Royals have to do to avoid a sweep is beat Clayton Kershaw on Sunday. At least Danny Duffy will be around to help.