KC Royals turn a little promise into a disaster

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Tuesday evening began with promise for the KC Royals, a 4-13 team hoping to snare just their second home win of the season. Brad Keller, a much better pitcher so far than he was last year, walked Texas' Marcus Semien to open the game, but then retired the rest of the side in order. Bobby Witt Jr. rewarded Keller with a leadoff triple, MJ Melendez promptly brought him home with a sacrifice fly, and Kansas City had an early 1-0 lead.

But promise can be fleeting, especially for a Kansas City club whose leads usually don't last and losing is rapidly becoming expected. That one-run lead to which Witt and Melendez staked the Royals was gone by the fourth, and the lone run they scored the rest of the way was lost in the debacle of the sad 12-2 loss they suffered.

The defeat means Kansas City is now 10 games below .500 without playing even 20 games. The Royals are an unbelievable (for most clubs) 1-11 at home and will be swept for the second series in a row—and for this six-game homestand—unless they somehow scrape together a win against the Rangers in Wednesday's 1:10 p.m. CT matinee at Kauffman Stadium.

If KC performs like it did Tuesday, count on the sweep.

The KC Royals did almost nothing well against Texas Tuesday night.

How bad were the Royals?

Keller fought the strike zone throughout his four innings (he walked five Rangers), never looked particularly comfortable, and couldn't conjure up much of the efficiency that gave him wins in his last two starts.

But, unlike Carlos Hernández, Keller wasn't bad. After José Cuas held Texas scoreless in the fifth, KC manager Matt Quatraro chose Hernández to keep the Royals within one (3-2) in the sixth. The choice immediately backfired—Hernández loaded the bases with successive singles to Robbie Grossman, Ezequiel Durán, and Brad Miller, then gave up a two-run single to Sandy León and, a moment later, a three-run homer to Semien. Quatraro wisely pulled Hernández for Amir Garrett, but the damage was done and the Royals' one-run deficit was suddenly six.

That's the way this game stayed until the Rangers removed any doubt in the eighth. After a quick three-up, three-down seventh, Josh Staumont returned for the eighth, but didn't last long. He hit
León and walked Semien, a start to the frame Quatraro disliked enough to replace Staumont with Josh Taylor. But Taylor, pitching for only the second time since being recalled from Triple-A Omaha, handed Texas four more runs, including three on Adolis García's fourth home run of the season. The Ranger lead grew to 10.

Not surprisingly, the Royals went quietly in the eighth and ninth—Vinnie Pasquantino's double was the only hit they managed.

Of the half-dozen pitchers Quatraro used, only Cuas and Garrett weren't charged with runs. At the plate, the Royals were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position (Melendez's sac fly didn't count as an official at-bat) and they left six on base.

So, can these struggling Royals avoid their sixth straight loss Wednesday afternoon? We shall see; Brady Singer is slated to start for Kansas City, but has been battered for 13 runs in his last 11 innings, including eight in five frames against Atlanta last Friday.

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