KC Royals: Observations on another close contest

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

What happened in the KC Royals’ extra-inning loss Tuesday night? Some observations about another close Kansas City game.

Notes and thoughts from the KC Royals’ 6-5 loss to Cincinnati Tuesday evening, their 11th game decided by two or fewer runs this season:

Game winner.  As will be the case in all extra-inning games this unique season, both halves of the 10th frame began with a runner on second, and this temporary (at least for now) rule figured in the outcome.

Placed runner Nicholas Castellanos scored the winning run when Joey Votto’s fly to deep center bounced off the wall for a double. Center fielder Brett Phillips seemed to have trouble gauging where the wall was and the result was a Reds’ walk-off.

Missed chances.  Much of the story of this game is all the opportunities the KC Royals had but didn’t take advantage of. Yes, they came back from 5-1 to force the game into extra innings, but they left 10 runners on base and hit .200 (3-for-15) with runners in scoring position.

Bubic showed toughness.  The Reds punished rookie KC starter Kris Bubic early by scoring five runs in the first three innings. Two home runs, back-to-back shots by Matt Davidson and Jesse Winker in the third, accounted for three of those runs, and Cincinnati touched Bubic for five other hits.

Bubic didn’t back down, though–he struck out Curt Casali to end the third, then retired the Reds in order in the fourth and fifth (including three more strikeouts) before calling it a night. He fanned six in all.

Maybe Davidson should be a Royal…  Speaking of Matt Davidson, he continued to batter the Royals. He came into the game with a 1.070 OPS against them; his homer was the 12th he’s hit against KC in 28 career games and he’s now batting .310 against the club.

Maybe a deal to make Davidson a Royal is in order? If you can’t beat ’em, have them join you…

Sal Perez just keeps on ticking.  Who really saw all this coming from Salvador Perez? The KC Royals’ All-Star, Gold Glove catcher, who missed all of last season recovering from a UCL injury and Tommy John surgery, extended his hitting streak to nine games and leads the club with a .311 average. He’s started every game and his defense doesn’t seem to have missed a beat.

Perez is having quite a season.

Gordon’s season-long funk continues.  Unlike Perez, Alex Gordon, playing on a one-year contract after choosing to play at least another season in Kansas City, can’t get anything going. He began Tuesday night’s game slashing an ugly .185/.254/.278; his 0-for-2 night dropped him to .179.

Manager Mike Matheny lifted his veteran left fielder for pinch-hitter Ryan McBroom in the eighth inning; McBroom came through with a two-run homer to tie the game.

How long Matheny will stick with the slumping Gordon is anybody’s guess, although the Royals will probably do everything they reasonably can to avoid making a season without fans his last.

Good relief work.  Kansas City’s improved bullpen had another decent night. Before Josh Staumont, stellar coming into the game, surrendered Votto’s walk-off double, the Reds managed only two hits off Tyler Zuber, Ian Kennedy, Scott Barlow and Trevor Rosenthal after Zuber took over in the sixth for Bubic.

The numbers.  The Royals banged out 11 hits. Whit Merrifield and Ryan O’Hearn each had two; Gordon and Brett Phillips were the only KC players who failed to get at least one.

O’Hearn’s two-hit night raised his average to .300. He’s played 13 games since returning from his COVID-19-forced absence.

Nicky Lopez’s 1-for-4 night dropped his average a point to .256, but he continues to look better at the plate. He doubled and scored a run.

The Royals didn’t have a stolen base. Adalberto Mondesi appeared to have swiped second in the fifth but was called out on review after the Reds challenged the call. It would have been Mondesi’s fifth theft of the season.

One old friend played, one didn’t.  Former Royal Mike Moustakas was spotted on camera chatting up his old teammates before the game but, because he’s on the Injured List with a left quad bruise, didn’t play. Christian Colon, Moose’s former Kansas City teammate, started in his place at second base, where Moustakas has played each of his seven games. Colon went hitless in four at-bats and is batting .136 in 10 games.

Moustakas has two home runs, seven RBIs, and a .238 average.

dark. Next. KC deserving of better power rankings

The KC Royals played, but lost, another close and tough game Tuesday. They’re back in action against the Reds tonight.