Royals’ bats hit the snooze button in blowout loss to Twins
Yep, it would be easy to blame the shabby outing from No. 5 starter Bruce Chen, and the subsequent shaky effort from the Royals’ bullpen.
But the truth is, the Royals’ pitiful offense once again let them down.
The Royals justifiably can point to their early-season offensive struggles after having faced studs such as Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Chris Sale, Matt Moore and so on.
But on this night, in Minnesota, the Royals went up against an extremely beatable pitcher in Minnesota’s Kyle Gibson.
Consider that Gibson had a 6.53 ERA last season and a hideous 1.745 WHIP. This is a pitcher who gave up 69 hits and walked 20 hitters in just 51 innings last season. He also gave up seven homers.
But against the Royals, he looked like Sandy Koufax.
The Royals entered the game as the worst offensive team in the American League and did nothing to dispute the notion Friday night.
The Royals entered the game with just a .327 on-base percentage and just a .656 OPS.
And if you want to know why the Royals are so hideous offensively, look no further than the first two innings.
Kansas City actually had runners on first and second with one out in the first inning. Then Gibson threw a pitch in the dirt, and Omar Infante alertly took third. But Billy Butler, who simply isn’t coming close to driving the ball yet, hit a routine double-play grounder to short. But Pedro Florimon bobbled the ball, and was able to get only one out — Butler at first. That allowed a run to score.
That was the extent of the Royals’ offense — a miscue by the opponent.
The Royals were trailing only 2-1 in the second when Mike Moustakas blasted a drive over the center fielder’s head for a leadoff double.
And this is where the Royals, offensively challenged as they are, needed an intelligent at-bat from Lorenzo Cain, who needed to be unselfish and simply push the ball to the right side to move Moose to third.
Instead, Cain swung wildly at the first two pitches — both of which were out of the zone. To his credit, Cain did battle back to make it a 3-2 count. But then Cain again swung wildly at what would have been ball four and struck out.
Moustakas remained at second base. Naturally, Alcides Escobar, the next hitter, drove a ball to the warning track that would have scored Moose.
And that was it offensively for the Royals.
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email firstname.lastname@example.org.