Alex Gordon's Extended Slump Doing No Favors For Kansas City Royals' Dwindling Playoff Hopes

By Thom Tsang
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Oh, you mean the way to spark a slumping leadoff batter isn’t to move him to the cleanup spot?

Maybe someone should have passed that down on to the Kansas City Royals. Now, in their defense, Gordon does have hits in 11 of 18 games played in August hitting in the no. 4 spot (and is in fact on a modest five-game hitting streak with his latest outing being back atop the lineup) , but the problem? Well … only one of his last seven hits from there has been of the extra-base variety.

Which, of course, would be great if he were a batting at leadoff … but I digress.

Regardless of where the Royals are batting their left fielder, the only thing for certain right now is that he’s still unable to shake a prolonged slump after a few promising games in the middle of the lineup; and while the rest of the team’s bats had been able to make up for his offensive deficiencies since June and still manage to bring themselves within striking distance of the Wild Card race, that hope is now essentially all but dashed over the month.

After all, the team can only take so many unproductive players, and the pitching can only do so much, yes?

Just ask James Shields, who was unable to stop the Royals’ now five-game skid despite putting together his third straight quality start with seven innings of three-run ball. He wound up taking a no-decision after Royals were unable to generate enough offense against the lowly Chicago White Sox, who wound up playing the role of spoiler to perfection by sweeping the three-game series against their divisional rivals.

And though Gordon is by no means the sole player to wear the goat horns (here’s looking at you, Salvador Perez), he did only produce a run through the 12 at-bats, notching four singles and generally unable to generate any kind of counting numbers via his power … or get on base enough so that someone else can.

The latter is something of a sticking point, because even if you were to look beyond the point that he’s hitting below .250 for the third straight month (.225 through 89 at-bats in August), the most notable result of him mostly hitting fourth for KC is that his walk rate has all but collapsed.

With just a pair of walks in this month, Gordon is sitting at a brutal 2.1 percent rate; compared to the 11.5 and 12.0 percent rates he posted in June and July respectively. In short, on top of not really hitting consistently, he’s no longer getting on base period.

So yeah, I guess you could reasonably say that the Royals, losers of eight out of their last 10 with a 27th-ranked offense over the last two weeks with 43 runs, are probably starting to feel the effects of having that kind of offensive hole in the middle of the lineup.

Thom is an MLB writer for Follow him on Twitter @BlueJaysRant, or add him to your network on Google

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