If this was it Monday night for Jonathan Sánchez in the Royals rotation and sweet Molly, how can it not be? he saved the worst for last in a 9-4 loss to the Seattle Mariners at Kauffman Stadium.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Which is saying something.
Trust me, Sánchez said, if I knew (what was wrong), it would be fixed already. Im just not pitching well. My last start was better, but today, I just got hit around. They hit good pitches and scored first.
The Mariners hit everything.
Sánchez allowed a season-high seven runs in a season-low 1 1/3 innings while extending his winless streak to 99 days over 11 starts. His ERA jumped to 7.76, which includes 23 earned runs over 17 innings in his last four starts.
If youre wondering, no, that 7.76 isnt the worst club history for a Royals pitcher with at least 50 innings (Sánchez has 53 1/3). It ranks second to Chad Durbin, who hemorrhaged out an 8.21 mark over 72 1/3 innings in 16 starts in 2000.
Even so, the only question by nights end, really, is whether Sánchez will get the chance to run down Durbin. And if so, why?
Were going to figure out (tonight) first, manager Ned Yost said. Weve got to figure out who is going to come up and start and go from there. We might need two pitchers. Well just have to wait and see.
Yost used Everett Teaford, who had been scheduled to start tonight, for five innings in Mondays loss. That was after Louis Coleman went 2 2/3 innings, which effectively leaves the team without a starter or a long reliever for tonights game.
We were either going to blow the bullpen out or blow (tonights) starting pitcher out, Yost said. We took the second route and knew we would find a way to get somebody else up here to start (tonight).
General manager Dayton Moore said no moves would be made until today.
The best bet for a starter tonight is veteran lefty Doug Davis, who is scheduled to pitch today for Class AAA Omaha. Davis, 36, is 5-1 with 3.48 ERA in 10 games, including six starts, for the Storm Chasers.
Other possibilities are lefty Ryan Verdugo and right-hander Vin Mazzaro. Summoning Davis would require a corresponding move to clear space on the 40-man roster; Verdugo and Mazzaro are already on the roster.
Sánchez, 1-6, allowed five runs in the first inning and two more in the second before exiting to Cano-like boos from the crowd of 16,697. Casper Wells drove in a career-high five runs with a three-run homer in the first and a two-run triple in the second.
That triple finished Sánchez for the night and maybe more.
When you work four days in a row to make a start, Sánchez said, and it doesnt work, its pretty frustrating. What can I say? Ive just got to move forward and keep working and see what happens.
Sánchez insisted he is healthy but dodged the question of whether he expects to remain in the rotation by saying: Youve got to go ask the manager.
The Royals made some noise; they finished with 11 hits. They stung Seattle starter Jason Vargas, 9-7, for three runs in the third inning on homers by Salvy Perez and Billy Butler and both were impressive drives.
Perez opened the inning with a 412-foot shot to center, and Butler crushed a two-run bomb that carried 422 feet to left.
And, still, the Mariners led by four runs, which became five on Ichiro Suzukis line-painting RBI triple in the fourth against Coleman. Seattle added another run, for a 9-3 lead, on Dustin Ackleys two-out homer in the sixth against Teaford.
Vargas gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings before the Mariners went to the bullpen. The Royals nicked Shawn Kelley and Oliver Perez for one run in the seventh on successive two-out singles by Alex Gordon, Alcides Escobar and Eric Hosmer.
But Brandon League struck out Butler with runners at first and second. League worked a scoreless eighth before Josh Kinney and Lucas Luetge closed out the victory.
What made Mondays outing so remarkably telling is Sanchez absorbed this pounding from a punchless Mariners collection that entered the night ranked last among American League teams in runs per game, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
They got five runs before he could get an out, Yost said. They were on him pretty good tonight. They jumped a couple of high fastballs for homers in the first inning There was really not much we could do.
Sánchez opened the game by walking Ackley, and Suzuki followed with a bloop single that just eluded a diving Lorenzo Cain in short center.
Wells then jacked a first-pitch something Changeup? Fastball? It was 86 mph and straight into the center-field seats for a three-run homer.
Jesus Montero pulled a single between short and third before Justin Smoak yanked a first-pitch fastball (91 mph) over the left-field wall for a 5-0 lead.
Sánchez retired the next three hitters, two on strikeouts, but Seattle opened the second inning with singles by Brendan Ryan (a .183-hitting Brendan Ryan) and Ackley. That prompted a call for Coleman to start warming up.
Suzuki popped to center, but Wells pumped a two-run triple into the right-center gap for a 7-0 lead that finished Sánchez. In came Coleman, who stranded Wells at third.
Seven runs turned out to be plenty.