KC Royals: Notes and thoughts after another defeat

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The KC Royals couldn’t hit, couldn’t score, and wasted some pretty good pitching in a 2-0 loss Monday night.

Some assorted notes and thoughts after watching the KC Royals lose again Monday night:

Rain delay.  A surprise rain preceded the Royals’ 2-0 loss to the Cubs and delayed the scheduled 7:15 p.m. start by 16 minutes. Perhaps a rainout-triggering deluge would have been better–Kansas City has now lost four in a row and eight of their first 11 games.

The hole the Royals have dug for themselves isn’t too deep yet, but it’s getting bigger, especially considering that this 60-game season will be 20 percent complete after Tuesday’s contest.

Get this guy some runs.  Starter Danny Duffy became the first KC hurler to pitch into the sixth inning this season and was superb, even after loading the bases to start the fifth. Although he walked four (two of them in that shaky fifth), he struck out six and surrendered only a run.

Unfortunately, that run was the only one the Cubs needed because the Royals failed yet again to break out of their season-long offensive slump. And, once again, Duffy suffered for it–the 2-0 shutout matched the 2-0 loss he took in the season opener against Cleveland. (KC managed four runs in Duffy’s other start; he surrendered four and didn’t get a decision in a 5-4 loss to Detroit).

The veteran left-hander impressed in the fifth when, with no outs, he loaded the bases on a single and two walks. Determined to escape without any damage being done, Duffy retired Anthony Rizzo on a pop fly and Willson Contreras on another fly, but sandwiched in between those outs was an RBI sacrifice fly to Javier Baez. That work earned Duffy another inning, but the Baez sac fly turned out to be the difference in the game.

Duffy’s pitched well in each of his three starts. Hopefully, he’ll get some run support the next time he takes the mound.

Early sign of what was to come.  Ryan O’Hearn doubled and Salvador Perez singled with two out to put runners in scoring position in the first inning, but Franchy Cordero grounded out to end the threat; in the second, Alex Gordon walked with one out and Adalberto Mondesi moved him into scoring position with a single before Brett Phillips popped out and Whit Merrifield flied out to retire the side.

The four runners left on base in the first two frames (three in scoring position) foretold the KC Royals’ night–they left seven on base and were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position. They’ve now stranded 68 runners in 11 games.

The offense (or lack thereof).  The Royals are leaving too much to be desired at the plate this season and Monday night was no exception. The lineup’s 5-for-31 performance dropped the team’s average seven points to .234. Ryan O’Hearn, batting .318 since his return from a COVID-19-forced absence, had the club’s only extra-base hit, his double in the first. Jorge Soler, Perez, Cordero, and Mondesi all singled. Cordero stole his first base of the season.

Whit Merrifield, Maikel Franco, Gordon, and Phillips all went hitless and were a combined 0-for-14.

The Royals worked Chicago starter, Alec Mills, for three walks but he fanned six of them in his seven scoreless, three-hit innings.

Ian Kennedy and the home run.  Ian Kennedy gave up the second key home run of his young season, surrendering a two-out solo shot to Kris Bryant in the seventh. The previous run Duffy gave up was actually the difference in the contest, but Kennedy’s mistake made things that much harder for a KC team displaying an alarming inability to score.

Kennedy gave up the game-winning homer and was the losing pitcher in Duffy’s last start before Monday.

A rut the KC Royals need to get out of.  For the most part, the Royals have been blessed by decent pitching this season but plagued by an unreliable, inefficient, and inconsistent offense. If the plate work doesn’t improve soon, this short season could be lost before mid-August.

Next. Inevitable bullpen trouble finally strikes. dark

The KC Royals opened their four-game, home-and-home series with the Chicago Cubs with a 2-0 loss Monday night. Their lack of offense is becoming all too familiar.