Watching this season’s version of the Kansas City Royals is maddening. Wednesday’s game against the Houston Astros was a prime example. Like many of you I’m sure, I checked-out after the struggling Royals fell behind 4-2 in the 6th inning after Jeremy Guthrie yielded his second home run of the night, a two-run shot to Astros DH Marc Krauss.
I saw no possible way this offensively challenged team could come back and win the game (plus I had some honey-do’s that just couldn’t wait). I just couldn’t handle the frustration and sense of utter failure that comes with losing to the Houston Astros, especially after being swept (scratch that…make it “utterly destroyed”), by the lowly Minnesota Twins earlier in the week.
With this squad, 4 runs has been the magic number. The Royals are just 2W-5L when opposing teams score more than 4 runs against them this season. Conversely, they are 6-0 when scoring more than 4 runs themselves.
Admittedly, the Royals have been offensively challenged this season and everyone has jumped on that fact to attribute blame for their current record. The Royals simply don’t score more than four runs in a game very often. More importantly, they have not shown a penchant for being able to come from behind to win games having done so only twice thus far.
But, a closer look at the numbers reveals the Royals struggles are fueled by more than just a paltry offense. In fact, it truly has been a collaborative effort with key contributions coming from all over the roster.
The trend lately has been for the middle-relief to throw gas on the fire. Remember, this is a team coming into the season with what was generally regarded to be the best bullpen in baseball. Thus far, the Royals celebrated bullpen has been shaky at best.
The Royals pen currently holds down the ninth best ERA in the AL checking in at a disturbing 4.05 and their collective WHIP is even worse, good for eleventh place at 1.42. They have blown three saves and are tied for the second most losses (4) in the AL this season.
In what is emblematic of the way the season has gone thus far, they have shown an inability to pitch of a jam, currently sitting in dead last place in the AL in getting opposing teams to hit into double-plays; they’ve done it ONE time!