Pen Flounders, Detroit Sweeps KC

Pen Flounders, Detroit Sweeps KC

By Max Lowson, Sports Radio 810

Despite a valiant effort in the bottom of the 9th inning by the Royals, the Detroit Tigers were able to prevail in Wednesday’s afternoon contest and complete their sweep of Kansas City. Kansas City has now dropped six straight games and 11 of their last 12.

The story for the Royals in recent games has been their inability to convert in clutch situations at the plate. Entering today’s matchup, Kansas City was 3-for-43 with runners in scoring position dating back to their game against Oakland last Thursday.

The loss today, however, was in large part due to the bullpen’s futility in allowing five runs over the last 6 innings of the ball game. This followed an early exit from starter Brady Singer who pitched just three innings due to tightness in his pitching shoulder.

Royals manager Mike Matheny made the decision to pull Singer primarily out of precaution. Singer’s shoulder “It popped up after his last start,” and Matheny “We knew going into today that we were going to see how he was feeling and try to limit the work. We’ll see how he responds from here, but we were just being cautious.”

The Royals hit well enough to win the contest, but the bullpen could not hold the lead. Alberto Mondesi kicked off the game’s scoring with a deep solo homer to left-center field off of a fastball from Tarik Skubal. Salvador Perez followed with a soaring two-run homer in the third to left field.

Detroit’s offense was ignited in the 7th inning when Willi Castro crushed a breaking ball over the heart of the plate from Kansas City reliever Greg Holland to deep right-center field for a long two-run homer. This pitch was clearly mislocated, evidenced by the frustration of Holland’s body language. Lack of accuracy from Royals pitchers from this point forward would ultimately cost Kansas City the game.

Immediately following Castro’s moonshot, Scott Barlow threw a wild pitch that traveled only 58 feet before hitting the dirt and going all the way to the backstop. This put the Tigers up 4-3 after back-to-back singles from Robbie Grossman and Akil Baddoo.

Royals reliever Jake Brentz then threw another untimely wild pitch with men on 1st and 3rd, allowing Niko Goodrum to put Detroit up 5-3 in the 8th.

The Royals refused to go down without a fight in the 9th. Whit Merrifield delivered a 2-out double down the third base line on a full count with men on 1st and 2nd. Carlos Santana drove in Merrifield with an RBI single to cut the deficit to just one. Perez would go on to strike out, however, handing the Royals another heartbreaking 6-5 defeat.

While Detroit did outhit the Royals 13-10, Kansas City was finally able to grab an early 3-1 lead and did enough offensively to beat a Detroit team that sits at 29-39, 4th in the AL Central. The Royals escaped an early predicament as Detroit stranded men on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out in the 1st inning; in the previous two matchups against the Tigers, Kansas City surrendered 4 runs and 1 run in each respective 1st inning.

While Mike Matheny remains confident in the ability of his club to be successful, the Royals have not found a way to turn things around. One reason for optimism is the terrific return of Adalberto Mondesi to the Royals lineup. Matheny stated that “(Mondesi) is unbelievable…the first time he steps in the box, he blasts it.”

Kansas City now sits at 30-37, 3rd in the AL Central. They sit just 1.5 games ahead of Detroit in the division.

The Royals have an off-day on Thursday before facing off against Boston on Friday. It is critical for Kansas City to use this time to regroup and turn it around against a quality Red Sox team that is fighting for an AL East Division Title this season.