KC Royals: 2 losing skids doomed playoff chances

(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /
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KC Royals
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

The KC Royals’ worst losing streak of the year scuttled their playoff hopes.

As September dawned with a home game against Cleveland, Kansas City was still reeling from three heart-breaking walk-off losses in its last five games. The Royals’ victory over the Indians in the previous evening’s series opener proved to be the slightest of respites.

The Indians struck early and attacked Matt Harvey, making his third start of the season after becoming the latest Royal pitching reclamation project, for five runs on three homers in the first two innings. Harvey lasted only an out into the second and left with a 15.43 ERA (he’d also lose the sixth of the seven-game skid). KC’s only run came on Hunter Dozier’s sixth-inning homer. Cleveland won 10-1.

Sept. 2: Indians 5, Royals 0.  That Kansas City left only one on base and went 0-for-1 with runners in scoring position had nothing to do with efficiency and everything to do with lack of opportunity. Proving yet again they need better bats, the Royals managed only three hits off starter Triston McKenzie and none off the Tribe’s bullpen.

Sept. 3: White Sox 11, Royals 6.  The Royals scored six, but their inability to drive runners in was fatal. They left nine on base and hit 3-for-13 with RISP. Duffy suffered his worst start, giving up six runs and walking five in six innings and the Sox slammed Jake Newberry for five runs in a third of an inning. Nicky Lopez, hitting just .200 coming into the game, drove in three runs.

Sept. 4: White Sox 7, Royals 4. Despite their nine hits, the KC Royals still lost, an understandable result considering all the hits were singles. That fact accounted as much as anything for the 12 runners the Royals left on and their 3-for-11 RISP.

Starter Brady Singer put the club in a hole by giving up five runs on 10 hits before manager Mike Matheny pulled him with two outs in the sixth.

Sept. 5:  White Sox 5, Royals 3.  Kansas City’s downfall came in the fifth inning. James McCann led off by reaching on Maikel Franco’s error; Bubic retired the next two batters but a single and a two-run homer accounted for three unearned runs. The Royals couldn’t overcome the resulting 5-1 lead and lost their fifth in a row.

Sept. 6: White Sox 8, Royals 2.  The White Sox finished their season’s dominance over Kansas City with their ninth win in the teams’ 10 games. Clinging to a slim 2-0 lead, Chicago broke this one open with three runs in the seventh and another three in the eighth. The Royals’ typically reliable bullpen was the culprit: Josh Staumont gave up three runs in just a third of an inning and Chance Adams, pitching in his fourth game of the year, surrendered three runs for the third time.

Notable were the six runners the Royals left on base and their 0-for-7 RISP.

Sept. 7: Indians 5, Royals 2.  Credit Cleveland’s pitching with the last loss in the KC Royals’ longest losing streak of the season. Starter Zach Plesac gave up a run (Adalberto Mondesi’s first home run of the year) in his seven innings and the Tribe bullpen allowed a run in the eighth. The Royals managed nine hits but only two—Mondesi’s homer and Dozier’s first triple—were for extra bases.

The Royals beat the Indians 8-6 the next night to end the streak at seven.