It is no longer a case of if the KC Royals will part ways with Wade Davis. Now, it’s a case of when the tie with their once-dominant reliever will be severed.
Or at least it should be. Davis proved that Saturday afternoon in Texas, turning in another poor performance in the Royals’ 8-0 loss to the Rangers.
Kansas City has now lost 16 of its last 20 and four of the first five of this road trip’s 10 contests. The defeat gave Texas a series win; whether the Rangers will sweep KC will be determined Sunday afternoon before the Royals head back East for three with Boston.
This game was, of course, over for all practical purposes when Davis took over to begin the seventh inning. The Royals trailed 6-0, and Manager Mike Matheny pulled Whit Merrifield and Carlos Santana, two of his most reliable bats, from the game at the same time Davis entered it. And to that point, only Zimmer (a scoreless “opening” inning) and Josh Staumont (three strikeouts in a scoreless inning) had pitched decently; Kris Bubic (three runs, three hits, and two walks in two-thirds of an inning) had not, and Ervin Santana (three runs in 3.1 frames) struggled.
That Kansas City was losing, and other pitchers hadn’t performed, shouldn’t, and doesn’t, matter. Davis’ showing must stand on its own merit, and there wasn’t much of it.
Yes, he held the Rangers scoreless in the seventh, but not without difficulty and a little help from his defense. Davis appeared headed for another unsightly appearance when he immediately surrendered singles to Andy Ibanez and Nick Solak; luckily, Nicky Lopez knocked down Brock Holt’s grounder, a sharply hit ball with its eyes focused on left field, and threw out Solak at second. Davis struck out Jose Trevino and retired Isiah Kiner-Falefa to escape the frame unscathed.
That, or Matheny’s desire to spare another of his recently-taxed relievers, earned Davis the eighth. He started well, getting Nate Lowe to fly out, but a second scoreless inning wasn’t to be—Davis walked Adolis Garcia, and Joey Gallo hit his second home run of the game (and 15th of the season), a bomb to center that extended Texas’ lead to 8-0.
Singles by Eli White and Ibanez followed, and an error moved them to second and third. Mercifully, the damage ended there when Holt flied out and Trevino lined out.
Davis isn’t to blame for the loss, but the KC Royals must move on from him.
This isn’t a loss to pin on Davis—the KC Royals’ maddeningly inept offense struck again, managing only three singles, killing its own bases loaded, no-out threat in the fifth, and walking away with nothing from a two-out, runners on second and third threat in the eighth.
But although Davis’ performance made no real difference, it should seal his Kansas City fate. He gave up two runs on five hits in two innings; his ERA is 8.06, the product of the 23 earned runs he’s surrendered in 25.2 innings. He’s been scored upon in 12 of his 22 appearances, only three of which have exceeded an inning. As his .307 BAA attests, opponents feast on his pitches.
And the fact Davis might have been rusty after seeing the mound only twice in the 12 days preceding Saturday’s contest (he gave up five runs in an inning at Oakland June 12 and managed a scoreless inning against the Yankees Thursday) doesn’t matter: the fact Matheny didn’t see fit to use him more speaks volumes.
Sadly, Wade Davis’ time has come and gone. Kansas City is no longer a viable option for him or the Royals; the chance they took on him hasn’t panned out. The club needs to move on and make room for relievers having solid seasons at Triple-A Omaha. Gabe Speier (2-0, 1.80, five saves), Grant Gavin (2-0, 2.67, two saves), and Richard Lovelady (0-0, 1.08) deserve shots at the KC bullpen.
The KC Royals and Texas finish up their three-game series Sunday afternoon at Globe Life Field. Brady Singer starts for Kansas City, Jordan Lyles for the Rangers. First pitch is set for 1:35 p.m. CT.