Wow. This was the stinker that hopefully the Royals can flush from their memory rather quickly. Really quickly.
After playing a month of pretty good baseball, the Royals turned in their worst game in several weeks during a 10-2 loss Tuesday to the Twins.
The Royals faced the worst pitcher in all of baseball — at least, statistically — in Ricky Nolasco, and they could do no damage. And starter James Shields continued his month-slide while the defense didn’t show up, either.
The result was a dismal loss to the struggling and last-place Twins, who had lost four of fives and were hearing boos from the locals.
The problem is, of course, while the Royals fumble around poor teams like the Twins, the Tigers — the team the Royals are trying to chase — have taken two straight from the first-place A’s and extended their lead in the AL Central to 4 1/2 games.
Manager Ned Yost again said that he has no concerns about Shields, who didn’t make it to the sixth inning.
"No level of concern at all," Yost said on the FSKC post-game show. "He’s just not sharp right now."
— Small rewards. OK, this is rather meaningless in the big picture, but newcomer Raul Ibanez did get a single in his first at-bat with one out in the second. But he was thrown out trying to get to third on a single to right from Omar Infante, a stupid move considering the pitcher the Royals were facing. You don’t hand Nolasco free outs.
— Is Moose getting it? There weren’t many offensive highlights, and that’s a shame. But Mike Moustakas, buried below .200 all year, did rifle a run-scoring single to right in the second after a 10-pitch at-bat. Very good concentration by Moose against an awful pitcher — too bad his teammates didn’t show the same effort.
— Nothing. There really was nothing else that was good coming out of this dreadful loss. The Royals came out flat, hoping the Twins would just lay down. But that is not how baseball works — the Tigers never expect teams to lay down. This is something the Royals have to learn.
— Where do we start? The Royals could do nothing significant against Nolasco, who came in with a 5.74 ERA and leading the major leagues in number of extra-base hits given — 50. You guessed it — the Royals’ offense didn’t come up with one, even though Nolasco was throwing batting practice.
Billy Butler and Alex Gordon, the Royals’ 3-4 hitters, went one for six against baseball’s worst pitcher.
— Bad defense. We know the Royals are built on pitching and defense, so when their defense is bad and their pitching is bad, there is literally no chance to win. The Royals muffed up two plays that cost them early. In the third with two outs and a runner on first, Chris Parmalee hit an innocent pop fly to left. But Moustakas, at third, and left fielder Gordon got their signals crossed and the routine third out turned into an error when Gordo dropped the ball. That led to the winning run. In the next inning, a broken-bat blooper on the infield fell in front of first baseman Eric Hosmer, who didn’t exactly race after it. He had no play after grabbing the nubber and another run scored.
— The Gordo slump.Man, when Gordon goes into a slump, he is of no help to the team. We mentioned the error. But he also came up with runners on in every inning from the first, third and fifth inning on and he had the same at bat each time — useless.