Missing in action: Royals' bats disappear yet again in shutout loss to O's
MAY 16, 2014 11:22p ET
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Oh, my. A barely awake offense now officially has gone into a deep slumber.
The Royals were blanked 4-0 by the O's on Friday night, allowing right-hander Chris Tillman to throw his first career shutout, scattering four singles and a ground-ball double.
Here's more distressing news: Since Mike Moustakas' three-run double on Wednesday, the Royals have scored just one run in 24 innings.
Skipper Ned Yost shook up the lineup a little, dropping the slumping Billy Butler two slots to No. 5, and moving Sal Perez to third and Alex Gordon to cleanup. That trio promptly went 0 for 12.
"You try not to get frustrated because you know eventually some day we're going to snap out of this," Yost said. "But right now, no one is swinging what I would call a hot bat."
-- Guthrie actually pitched well. It's likely that Yost, who was trying to rest a tired bullpen, went with Jeremy Guthrie an inning too long, though this game wasn't about preventing runs. Guthrie gave up three extremely soft runs before surrendering the Chris Davis bomb in the eighth, after he was well over 100 pitches.
The O's got their 2-0 lead on a bunt single, an error by Guthrie, a wild pitch, a walk, a one-hopper over first baseman Eric Hosmer's head and a failed double play. That walk, by the way, came on a 3-2 pitch to Davis -- a two-seamer that appeared to nick the inside corner. Guthrie didn't get the call.
"It would have been nice to get that call," Guthrie said. "It was a pitcher's pitch. It was definitely borderline. You get them sometimes."
For the most part, Guthrie threw strikes, got ahead of hitters and let his defense play. It wasn't his fault the offense took yet another night off. "I thought I threw pretty well," Guthrie said. "My changeup was hitting the spots."
-- Moose actually looked good again. Coming off his two-double game against the Rockies on Wednesday, Moustakas belted a line shot to fairly deep center that was caught, then patiently drew a walk in his next at-bat.
-- Esky's defense. This obviously was a thin night for positives. But shortstop Alcides Escobar did make yet another highlight-reel play on Manny Machado's bid for a ground-ball single to center in the eighth. Escobar fielded it in short center field, spun 180 and fired a strike to Hosmer for the out.
-- Situational hitting anyone? The Royals' offense got off to a bad start after Nori Aoki led off with a ground-ball double. Hosmer was next but went after the very first pitch and flied out to left, meaning Aoki couldn't advance to third. It was a totally wasted at-bat from Hoz, on the same day we ran a story on hitting coach Pedro Grifol imploring his troops to get better at situational hitting. Guess what: You have to try first.
"You have to go up there with a plan depending on the situation," Yost said. "That's a situation where we needed to get the runner over."
-- Bad decision. Guthrie, normally an excellent defender, made another error on a poor decision. Machado pushed a bunt past him in the fourth and Guthrie slipped trying to stop it. Guthrie should have just held the ball, but he threw wildly to first, allowing Machado to second and jump-starting the Orioles' two-run inning.
"First thing, I should have fielded it better," Guthrie said. "I didn't need to smother it like a landmine, like I was trying to protect my teammates. But I'll probably make that throw again, just try to make a better throw. It's what you do -- try to get better."
It was Guthrie's third error already this season. Last season he had none.
-- Not the guy for the situation. Aoki is OK as a leadoff hitter, but he's not the guy you want up there with runners in scoring position -- he's hitting .212 in those situations. The Royals had a chance to crawl back in the game with two on and two out in the fifth, but Aoki tapped back to the pitcher. With a runner on and one out in the eighth, he rolled into a double play.
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email him at email@example.com.