The clouds gathering above Whit Merrifield’s head became a little darker Sunday in Seattle. Merrifield, who lugged a dismal .136 average to Seattle Friday for the start of a three game series between the Mariners and his KC Royals, struck out four times Sunday afternoon in the club’s 12 inning, 5-4 loss to the Mariners. Coupled with the double he managed Saturday, a fifth-inning single allowed Merrifield to escape T-Mobile Park with that same .136 average.
Merrifield also uncorked a horrible off-line throw from right field in the bottom of the 12th inning Sunday—although a good peg might not have prevented Adam Frazier from scoring the winning run, Merrifield’s throw took away any chance of nailing him.
For the Royals’ most versatile player, Sunday’s was another in the long line of bad performances he’s had this season. Nothing seems to help—manager Mike Matheny dropped him to second in the order for Friday and Saturday’s games before restoring him to the leadoff spot Sunday, and he moved him from right to DH Friday, from DH to center Saturday, and from center to second base (and right field late in the contest) Sunday.
Perhaps Merrifield could use the time off we recently suggested Matheny should give him.
Merrifield’s struggles at the plate mirror the problems many of his teammates share. The club is hitting .215 and Sunday’s loss, the Royals’ fourth in a row, left them alone in the American League Central at 5-9.
So, did Kansas City seek out any offensive help after the game?
No, but they found another pitcher.
The KC Royals acquired righthanded hurler Matt Peacock from Arizona Sunday.
The Royals announced via Twitter Sunday evening their purchase of Matt Peacock from the Diamondbacks. Peacock (the second Peacock Kansas City has added recently—the club signed righty pitcher Brad Peacock last month) had pitched twice and given up two runs in 2.2 innings for Arizona at the time of Sunday’s deal. He also was 1-1 with a 9.00 ERA in three games at Triple-A Reno.
He started eight games and relieved 27 times for the D-back last year, his first in the majors, and went 5-7, 4.90.
The Royals immediately assigned Peacock, owner of a 17-14, 3.65 minor league record and a three-pitch slider, sinker, changeup pitch selection, to Triple-A Omaha.
To create space for him on its 40-man roster, Kansas City DFA’d reliever Domingo Tapia, who’d been working at Omaha.
The Royals are off today before beginning a three-game series in Chicago.
The Royals departed the Northwest for the Midwest after Sunday’s game and, after resting up today from their three-loss weekend in Seattle, open another three-gamer with the White Sox in Chicago Tuesday evening. The two AL Central rivals square off in 6:10 p.m. CDT contests Tuesday and Wednesday, then finish up with a 1:10 p.m. CDT game Thursday before Kansas City heads home for a weekend series against the Yankees.
Awaiting the Royals in Chicago is a team caught in a worst skid than theirs. Expected to pace the Central this season, the Sox are losers of seven straight and eight of their last 10, and are 6-9.
But Tony La Russa’s defending Central champs (they won the division by 13 games) still have shortstop Tim Anderson and first baseman-DH José Abreu, both of whom relish punishing the Royals. Anderson, who’s hitting .313 this season, is slashing .310/.343/.469 with 10 homers lifetime against Kansas City, and although Abreu is slumping at .216, he’s clubbed 24 career homers and has a .288/.350/.491 line against KC.
Kansas City must also be wary of outfielder Andrew Vaughn’s three homers, .300 average and .939 OPS.
Scheduled to pitch in the Chicago series are Daniel Lynch (1-1) and Dallas Keuchel (1-1) Tuesday, Zack Greinke (0-1) and Dylan Cease (2-1) Wednesday, and Brad Keller (0-2) and Michael Kopech (0-0) Thursday.