Judging the Royals

Will the Royals continue to play this poorly?


On Tuesday night, the Royals lost to the White Sox 6-0 and if you want to know how exciting the game was: in the eighth inning I went online to renew some library books and then went up to the snack bar to make myself some hot cocoa.

If I had my fuzzy slippers with me, I would have put them on.

It was something less than edge-of-your-seat baseball.

The most exciting moment of the evening was when Christian Colon fouled a pitch straight back and the ball came into the press box — six floors above the field — traveling at a high rate of speed.

Laptops and soft drinks went everywhere and 610 Sports Radio’s Jay Binkley wound up with the ball. (Don’t let Jay tell you he “caught” the ball; after it ricocheted around a bit, he picked it up for the floor — which for my money is the smart way to do it.)

After the game, Danny Duffy tried to take all the blame for the loss, saying his slider just wasn’t there and he had a hard time putting batters away.

When pitchers get two strikes on a hitter, they often get the third strike by throwing a chase pitch. That’s a pitch with movement that starts in the zone, triggers the batter’s swing and then moves out of the zone.

Pitchers hope hitters chase it.

By my count — it’s early and I’m still a little bleary — Danny got 14 White Sox batters into a two-strike count, but only got three punchouts.

When Danny threw his slider, it wasn’t sharp enough to get batters to chase it out of the zone.

So the Royals are now 8-17 with a .320 winning percentage and I’ll go back to the opening question: can the Royals continue to play this poorly?

Danny Duffy: 'All we can do is keep going' 

What’s the use in speculating?

When people ask me about the Royals poor start I say it’s nearly impossible for a baseball team to play this poorly over 162 games; but focus on the word “nearly.”

Most of the time, the worst teams in baseball win about four out of 10 games while the best teams win about six out of 10 games and — in in case you hadn’t guessed — average teams win about five out of 10 games.

As of Wednesday morning the Royals winning percentage is .320, so it would seem unlikely that a team with this much talent can keep losing at this rate, but as they say in baseball: “Ya never know.”

The last team to have a worse winning percentage than .320 over a full season was the Houston Astros; in 2013 they went 51-111 and had a winning percentage of .315 and I’m pretty sure they were trying to lose.

But unless you just need something to talk about around the office water cooler (assuming you still have one) why speculate?

Speculation rarely turns out to be accurate.

I’ve always watched the team, but since 2010 I’ve watched pretty much every game the Royals have played. I know the players and coaches and get to talk to them on a regular basis. I know all the people that show up to cover the team and get to talk to them on a regular basis.

But I did not foresee an American League championship in 2014.

I did not foresee another AL championship and a World Series win in 2015.

I did not foresee the Royals playing this poorly in 2017.

And I don’t remember anyone else accurately predicting those things, either.

So in the future I’m going to keep reminding myself that nobody knows what’s going to happen next, including the players and the people who know the team better than anyone else.

Can the Royals keep playing this poorly?

I guess we’ll all have to watch to find out.

How the White Sox pitched Hosmer

Eric Hosmer had four trips to the plate Tuesday night and saw lots of curves and sliders. Watch the Sox to put on a left-handed shift and then try to get Hosmer to hit an off-speed pitch into that shift on the right side.

Pay attention to Willy Garcia’s arm

Baseball skills are rated on a 20-80 scale; 80 being the best. White Sox outfielder Willy Garcia is supposed to have an 80 arm so watch for the Royals to shut it down on the base paths when Garcia has the ball in his hands, or take off and make Garcia prove his arm’s that good.

Bonifacio has struggled with the big-league lights

Ned Yost has said Jorge Bonifacio is a “decent” outfielder, but teams don’t throw their own players under the bus. You could put Stevie Wonder in the outfield and his manager would say he’s showing improvement.

Bonifacio has had some adventures in the outfield and Rusty Kuntz says he’s struggled with the lights.

Big-league parks are bigger and higher than minor league parks and that means more balls stay low enough for the upper deck background crowd and lights to be a problem. So when a guy first comes up to the big leagues he has to make an adjustment and it appears Bonifacio is still making his.

Is the battle over? Let’s shoot the wounded

According to the Internet, Murray Kempton once said critics are the people who come out of the hills after a battle is over and shoot the wounded.

So after Christian Colon tried to get an out at home plate in the sixth inning, there were plenty of people who thought maybe he should have tried to turn a double play instead.

While I was talking to Colon about the play, Drew Butera walked up behind me and said: “It was the right play.” Butera tried to get too quick with the catch and tag and dropped the ball.

OK, that’s it for today.

Tonight I’ll go to the ballpark and if the Royals lose again, I’ll look for more wounded to shoot.

Royals hitter Whit Merrifield discusses White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana and the Royals' optimism for the future after Tuesday's 6-0 loss at Kauffman Stadium.