The fact that you’re reading this is probably more a testament to the Kansas City Royals‘ preseason projections than their recent performance on the field. With a winning record once again within reach, K.C. faced off against the Minnesota Twins and an unproven starter with limited MLB experience. Fans in K.C. are lucky to have already witnessed their team playing their best this year, but tonight was a glaring example of the club at its worst.
Twins starter Kyle Gibson began the day throwing 29 pitches in the first inning and allowing a run. After that, the promising Twins righty settled down. After just two innings, K.C. was already 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. Gibson wound up pitching into the seventh inning without allowing another run to score. The Royals’ man on the mound to start today’s game never got into his groove like Gibson did.
Despite raving success against the Twins in the past, Chen struggled today and allowed six without getting through the fourth. Chen recorded a 0.71 ERA in four starts against Minnesota last year, but spotty command today permitted the heart of the Twins’ lineup to go to town and ultimately put this one out of reach.
Here you can see the problems with this Royals club without their usual safety net of excellent starting pitching. Bruce and fellow trickster Jason Vargas will have games like this on occasion, in which they struggle to miss bats and keep things competitive. This makes winning tight ball games all-the-more important for a team that’s 2-4 this year in games decided by two runs or less.