In a game delayed for two hours by inclement weather, the KC Royals failed to establish their longest winning "streak" of the season Tuesday night. After beating Oakland Sunday to escape the embarrassment of replacing the A's as baseball's worst team, then crushing the White Sox 12-4 Monday night—a pair of nice wins that matched their previous high of two straight victories—the Royals lost to Chicago 4-2 at Kauffman Stadium.
The defeat, Kansas City's 27th in 37 contests, kept the club in the American League Central basement. three games behind the fourth-place Sox and 9.5 games out of first.
Unlike so many other games this season, the Royals were never really out of this one. Vinnie Pasquantino staked them to a fragile 1-0 lead with a homer in the first, and they came right back with a run in the sixth after Chicago scored twice in their half of the inning to make it 3-1. And starter Jordan Lyles kept them in the game with his best performance since signing a two-year, $17 million deal to become a Royal over the winter: he went the distance, striking out six and walking no one; it was his second-highest strikeout total of the year, and the second time he hasn't issued at least one walk.
But there were also grim aspects of the second of this four-game series with the White Sox.
Jordan Lyles was good for the KC Royals, but made some of his numbers worse
Despite performing well, Lyles took the loss; the Royals haven't won any of his eight starts this year. Only Kris Bubic, who started three times before recent Tommy John Surgery ended his season, and Taylor Clarke, who "opened" and threw two innings against the Angels April 21, find themselves in the same boat.
And the homers he gave up to Luis Robert Jr. in the fourth and Andrew Vaughn in the sixth accounted for three of Chicago's four runs and drove his home run and runs yielded totals to 13 and 38, both the most of any pitcher in the majors.
Nate Eaton continued to struggle at the plate for the KC Royals
Eaton went 0-for-3 Tuesday night and is now 1-for-32 (.038) for the season. His lone hit, a single against Texas April 10, is all he has to show after enjoying a decent .264 44-game introduction to the big leagues last year. He also slashed .285/.358/.522 with 13 home runs across stints at Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha.
For whatever reason, though, Eaton can't escape the slump that started when he failed to hit safely in three at-bats April 1, then caused the Royals to dispatch him back to the minors 16 days ago. His subsequent .304 average at Omaha was encouraging and likely played a part in his recall when Kyle Isbel went on the Injured List last week.
Unfortunately, Eaton is 0-for-7 since returning. A trip back to the minors may be imminent.
Hunter Dozier got a hit, but little hope remains for a major turnaround
Speaking of slumps, Dozier's three-plus season war with his bat continues. Yes, he managed a single in three Tuesday at-bats against the Sox, but his .183 average is still far below the Mendoza Line and his .256 OBP proves he's not finding many other ways to get on.
And no strong evidence suggests he'll break out enough offensively to make himself attractive enough for the Royals to move him, and the contract he hasn't justified, this season.