The KC Royals lost their 100th game of the season Sept. 10, a 5-2 road defeat in Toronto that, with 18 games left on the schedule, made the prospects of the club breaking the franchise record of 106 probable and not merely possible.
The Royals drew even closer to snapping that ugly mark when, after taking the next day off, they dropped the first game of a doubleheader to the White Sox.
That's when everything changed. The club outslugged the Sox 11-10 in the nightcap, beat them the next evening to win the three-game series, then returned home and took a series against Houston two games to one and swept three from Cleveland before heading back to the road to face Houston for three games and Detroit for another three.
The Royals, winners of seven of their last eight, weren't intimidated by the then-American League West-leading and revenge-seeking Astros and swept them at Minute Maid Park. That KC would break the team loss record suddenly seemed far less likely — the Royals would have to lose five of their final six games to surpass the 2005 team's mark.
But as they say, anything is possible.
Setting a new single-season loss record is back in the mix for the KC Royals
Unfortunately, and once again, the indignity of becoming the worst team in club history is well within the 2023 Royals' grasp. That's because the Tigers, hosting Kansas City for its last three road games of the campaign, won them all and sent the Royals home for their final homestand of 2023. They'll close out the season with a trio of games against the Yankees this weekend; with a 54-105 record; one loss to New York will tie the 2005 club, while two means these Royals will have the record all to themselves.
In a dark way, breaking the record would befit this club. The Royals have occupied the American League Central cellar since April 30, have one of the worst pitching staffs in the big leagues, and will finish the season with only one winning month (this one). And only because Oakland has lost six more games than the Royals will Kansas City avoid having the sorriest record in the majors.
Will Kansas City implode and lose two of three, or all three, games against the Yankees this weekend? New York has better bats, and the two announced probable pitching matchups favor the Yankees — New York's Carlos Rodón (3-7, 5.74 ERA) faces Jordan Lyles (5-17, 6.24), who the Royals should, but probably won't, part ways with, tonight, and Michael King (4-7, 2.66) squares off against KC's Zack Greinke (1-15, 5.37) in Sunday afternoon's finale. (Clarke Schmidt, who's 9-9, 4.65, is expected to go for New York Saturday, but at this writing KC hadn't announced its starter).