The 2022 KC Royals are playing like the box of chocolates Forrest Gump’s mama told him about— you never know what you’re going to get.
Applied to these Royals, however, the flaw in Mama Gump’s theory is that when you get the better chocolates, there’s a map that shows you what you’re going to get.
In spring training, the Royals thought they had the good chocolates. Unfortunately, someone turned the lid around or shuffled the candies’ positions; now, instead of that orange cream you thought you were getting, you end up with coconut instead.
Sometimes it’s a single Royal who disappoints. Sometimes it’s the whole team.
The KC Royals had a dynamic weekend in Denver, then a slow series in Chicago.
From May 13-15, Kansas City put on an offensive show in Colorado against the Rockies. A 14-run Friday night win was followed by another 12 runs in splitting the Saturday and Sunday games.
Kansas City clubbed seven home runs in those three games, and the signs were there that maybe the squad was putting its hitting struggles behind it.
However, despite the 26 runs the Royals scored in the series win, the pitching staff coughed up 27 to the Rockies—10 in each of the first two games and seven in the finale.
Then came the very next series, May 16-19 against the White Sox. The five-game set included a doubleheader.
Offensively, the bats went back in hiding with 15 runs scored in the five games, but only five in the first three. The Royals were able to win two of the five games because their pitchers allowed just 18 runs in the series.
May 18 left the Royals with a 14-22 record. Through Saturday’s 6-0 win against Houston, the club is 3-12 since.
The KC Royals’ players have been difficult to figure out from day to day.
Speaking of Saturday’s 6-0 win, there’s a perfect example of the ups and downs of an individual player.
There was hope Kris Bubic would take the next step as a starter this season, but he scuffled his way to a 12.83 ERA in 13.1 innings before being demoted to Triple-A Omaha in May. In five starts, Bubic allowed at least four runs without getting more than six outs three times, and twice didn’t survive the first inning.
Then came Saturday and Bubic’s return to the major leagues. Despite allowing eight baserunners in five innings, Bubic didn’t allow a run and lowered his ERA to a still scary 9.33.
Erratic or non-existent hitting has plagued some KC Royals hitters.
Carlos Santana’s struggles are well documented. Although he’s in today’s lineup, he last played June 1 and collected two hits, which gave him only 20 in 36 games. He’s had at least two hits in a game three times and has just two home runs and 10 RBIs. His longest hitting streak is a five-game stretch when he went 7-for-20 to get his average up to .167 (his peak so far this season). That streak immediately followed a six-game hitless skid during which he went 0-for-19
Ryan O’Hearn experienced a hitless April and hasn’t had more than one hit in any game this season. Granted, many of his appearances are as a pinch hitter, but that’s actually where he’s excelled. O’Hearn is 5-for-8, including a 4-for-4 run at one point, and his only home run of the season came as a pinch hitter.
There is plenty of season left for the Royals and for individuals to get back on track, but consistency goes a long way in this game. By getting the chocolates put in the right places and following the map, improvement is possible.