3 quick takes from Wednesday's fourth straight KC Royals loss

Kansas City lost to the Yankees again.
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After getting back to the majors for the first time since 2021 earlier in the day, Dan Altavilla presented the KC Royals with a nice scoreless, two-strikeout inning against the Yankees Monday night. The performance gave fans hope that he'd be just as good Wednesday evening when, as manager Matt Quatraro's choice to open for Daniel Lynch IV, he faced New York again.

He wasn't. Altavilla retired only one of the seven batters he faced, allowed three hits, and handed Lynch, who Quatraro was forced to bring in earlier than planned, a 2-0 deficit and bases-loaded jam in the first inning.

Lynch wasn't any better — he gave up a run-scoring sacrifice fly to Anthony Rizzo and, just moments later, a three-run homer to Jose Trevino. When the half-inning ended, New York had six runs, five of which were charged to Atavilla, but four of which scored via Lynch's pitching. The Royals lost 11-5.

What can KC fans take away from this, the Royals' fourth straight loss and 11th in their last 16 games?

Daniel Lynch IV isn't getting it done for Kansas City

What Lynch did in the first inning certainly wasn't good. And despite retiring 10 straight at one point, he gave the Yanks five more runs and two additional homers, hit a batter, and allowed seven hits in the 6.2 innings he worked before giving way to Ángel Zerpa to begin the eighth.

Don't consider Lynch's Wednesday performance too surprising. Getting 10 straight outs against the powerful Yankees proves he can be good at times, but his first-inning troubles mirrored the ongoing battle he's been waging with first frames. His first-inning ERA is now 19.64.

In 22.2 total innings this season, he's given up 17 runs, six homers, and hit four batters. And he's pitching in the majors on a pass of sorts — the Royals sent him back to the minors at the end of May, but recalled him two days later when a foot fracture forced Michael Wacha to the Injured List; but for Wacha's injury, it's a good bet Lynch would still be pitching at Omaha.

And that's where the Royals probably need to send him. In two appearances since Wacha went down, opponents have battered Lynch for 14 runs and four homers in 10.2 innings. He just isn't doing the job Kansas City needs him to do.

Despite his club's recent slump, Bobby Witt Jr. stays hot

The Royals' current problems aren't slowing Witt down. Probably the Royals' best hope in fan voting for the MLB All-Star Game, Witt went 3-for-5 and drove in two runs Wednesday night. He's 6-for-13 through the first three games of this four-contest series with New York, and is slashing .386/.413/.636 for June.

In 69 games, Witt's batting .326 with a .375 OBP. He's homered 11 times, driven in 50 runs, and stolen 19 bases.

The Royals might be digging themselves a hole

Kansas City is 39-30 after Wednesday's loss, a mark many observers wouldn't have thought achievable after the club lost 106 games last season. These new Royals boast a resiliency not seen at Kauffman Stadium for years, and their brand of baseball has fans excited again.

But are they beginning to dig a bit of a hole? One that isn't deep yet, but could become so?

Perhaps. The Royals have, as said, dropped 11 of their last 16 games, and Wednesday's loss gave them four straight for the first time this season. Their rotation, one of the majors' best until recently, is shaky; so is their bullpen.

The club remains in second place in the American League Central, a spot it's occupied most of the season, but it's dropped 5.5 games behind first-place Cleveland. And Kansas City's once-firm hold on the position is slipping — third-place Minnesota now trails KC by only 2.5 games.

The Royals' rugged, nearly two-week stretch facing first-place teams only continues today when they finish this series, and homestand, with a 1:10 p.m. CDT Kauffman Stadium matinee. Then it's on to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers in a three-game weekend series.

Today would be a great day for Kansas City to get back on track.

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