I refuse to get too down in the dumps after this third-straight Kansas City Royals loss. It shouldn’t be so easy to forget the awesome two weeks that lifted KC to relevance, but it also won’t be easy to shake off yet another painful loss. Last night’s disappointing defeat magnifies this one, as does the polarity between this jarring failure and the recently felt exhilaration of success. That still doesn’t mean fans need to go far to find plenty of positives.
Despite a frustrating ninth inning that yielded the game-winning run to the Seattle Mariners, Jason Vargas improved his already-remarkable numbers this season. With less than 10 games between now and the halfway point, his effectiveness as a Royal is impossible to deny. Vargas lowered his season ERA to 3.16 with 8 2-3 excellent innings pitched and only two runs allowed in this start. If the offense could muster more than one productive swing off Seattle’s soft-tossing starter Chris Young, KC might have momentarily reclaimed first place with this game.
Much like Friday night’s loss, this defeat came with its fair share of at ’em balls and tough breaks that could have changed everything. For the third-straight game, KC’s starters were barely outperformed by opposing pitching staffs. Danny Duffy threw seven and allowed only two on Thursday, while Detroit Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez went seven and allowed just one. James Shields battled through a five-run outburst from Seattle on Friday, outlasting Hisashi Iwakuma by two full innings that day, but Iwakuma was virtually untouchable for the first four innings.
This won’t be the first time I declare that KC’s offense will decide the team’s fate, but this short losing streak makes it only more evident. After scoring at least three runs in nine different innings over a five-game stretch, the Royals have now scored less than three runs in three of their last four games. Now is officially gut-check time for an offense that can’t decide whether they’re incredible or inept.