Royals still can’t find their spark, lose 11-2
The good news: Jackson Kowar survived his second start twice as long as his first. He also got his first strikeout of his career in the big leagues!
The bad news: he only doubled his outings on Monday night and still allowed four points; Track and Field had more than enough points to win this game before Kansas City got its first runner.
I think I want to talk about that later, but this team looks a lot like the 2013/2014 Royals. In my opinion, the biggest difference between these two teams was that the 2014 Royals found a spark to spark some serious wins and the 2013 Royals just couldn’t get things done. Until today’s game, I waited for the 2021 Royals to find a similar spark. After today’s game, I’m pretty sure they’re unlikely to do so this year.
There were a few real good news in this game for these Royals, however. The bullpen made great progress after Kowar’s departure in disaster. Ronald Bolaños pitched 3.1 innings and allowed just one run while striking out four. He ran out of gas in the fifth inning and gave up his two hits, one of his two walks and the aforementioned run. Carlos Hernández came in and struck out a pair – one on a 100 MPH fastball and the other on a big curve – in 1.1 inning of work while still allowing for a solo home run. Extend one for a rotating spot and let the other challenge Greg Holland for the role of fifth man out of the pen.
Wade Davis probably eventually retired from work. As a Royals fan since before the Wade Davis trade, it doesn’t make me happy to see him go, but it’s been clear for some time that he’s no longer a big-caliber pitcher. He came on late in the eighth and allowed the top six riders to reach him, including a pair of home runs. The next two hitters hit long flyball outs to push a second-house runner to score Oakland’s fifth point of the inning before he fortunately escaped with the first weakly-touched ball of the inning.
- I know it won’t shock you, but Ted Barrett’s strike zone wasn’t particularly consistent. In fairness to old Ted, it was inconsistent for the two teams. In… injustice?… For Mr. Barrett, it’s like a Royals pitcher or hitter gets a ball or a hit in their favor, that’s where it can’t hurt the other team. Most of the extra strikes Barrett called for for the Royals’ pitching were for Kowar as he kept away from the area. However, when he called his most egregious extra strikes against the Royals’ hitters, it was inevitably during what seemed like a budding rally. You can point to the scoreboard and say it doesn’t matter, but the Royals wouldn’t have used Wade Davis if the game hadn’t already been lost late in the eighth inning.
- When Kowar struggled in the first inning, pitching coach Cal Eldred wasn’t the man who went to try to help, manager Mike Matheny stepped onto the pitch instead. That probably doesn’t mean anything, but in the context where Eldred takes a lot of Heat around the the Internet, lately, it seemed strange to me.
The Royals have now lost seven of their last eight games after a five-game winning streak at home. The Royals have a chance to split the series tomorrow. Kris Bubic (1-1 3.32 ERA), after two bad starts in a row, will take the mound for the Royals. Athletics will counter with Chris Bassit (6-2 3.44 ERA.)