KC Royals: When will this club be fun again?
Two days ago, in a story celebrating Arizona's Tuesday come-from-behind victory over San Diego, our sister FanSided site Venom Strikes' headline posed this question: Are the Diamondbacks the most fun team in baseball? Sadly, no one is making that query about the KC Royals.
Unlike Arizona, and with the exceptions of their lone win of the season, a happy 9-5 home effort against Toronto Monday, and one nice inning during their 6-3 loss to the Blue Jays Thursday afternoon, the Royals haven't been fun to watch.
Instead, they've induced pain. The offense is ugly: Kansas City ranked at or near the bottom of baseball in several important offensive categories heading into Wednesday's games and, a day and another two losses later, nothing had changed before Thursday night's big league games began. KC still had the worst batting average, the fewest number of hits, and second-worst OBP in the majors, and ranked last in the American League in slugging percentage (it really is .278), and total bases.
And no AL club has scored less frequently than the Royals, who average 2.42 runs per game and have been shut out three times in seven games.
Fun? Hardly. Thursday wasn't appreciably different.
Little went right for the KC Royals against Toronto Thursday afternoon
Remember Monday evening's game? That was fun. After Minnesota swept three from them over the weekend and whitewashed them twice, the Royals scored three in the first inning and four in the fourth en route to that 9-5 victory over the Blue Jays.
But Toronto won the next three by a 13-4 cumulative score made more painful a stagnant KC offense that Wednesday deprived Zack Greinke of what easily could have been his second win of the year: while he's surrendered only three runs in 11.1 innings, his teammates haven't scored a single time in either game he's started.
And Thursday, the Royals seemed destined to give starter Jordan Lyles the same treatment. They didn't score in the contest Lyles lost 2-0 to Minnesota Saturday, and failed Thursday to push across any runs until plating three in the eighth, an ultimately inconsequential spurt featuring Bobby Witt Jr.'s leadoff home run (his first homer of the season), Vinnie Pasquantino's run-scoring single, and an RBI double by Edward Olivares.
As a club, Kansas City went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left eight on base. Nate Eaton's 0-for-4 day left him still hunting his first hit of the season, MJ Melendez's 0-for-3 dropped his average to .095, and Hunter Dozier is hitting .059 after going hitless in three at-bats.
Don't, however, make the mistake of casting all blame for Thursday's loss on the offense. Yes, some will contend Lyles pitched well and looked good—after all, he struck out nine and walked no one in his 5.2 innings. But the hard truth is he also gave up five runs on eight hits, including two home runs, hardly the stuff of which wins are made.
No, this one wasn't fun. Kansas City now heads to San Francisco for Friday night's start of the club's first road trip of the year.
When will the fun begin? Perhaps on the road. We shall see.