Kansas City Royals Betrayed by Sloppy Defense in Ugly Loss


Sep 11, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals second baseman

Omar Infante

(14) can’t make the play as Boston Red Sox catcher

Christian Vazquez

(55) reaches second safely on an errant throw in the fourth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The day after the Kansas City Royals gutted out a key win in Detroit with a brillant performance by James Shields, they frittered away Thursday’s game against the Red Sox by giving up 3 errors, 2 unearned runs, and 5 walks.

Every run that Boston scored came via help from Kansas City.

The loss drops the Royals to 80-65. Kansas City’s lead over the idle Tigers dwindled to a 1/2 game.

The Indians also gained 1.5 games on the Royals by sweeping a double header vs. Minnesota to pull within 4 games of the A.L Central lead.

On the Mound

Liam Hendriks struggled with his command and lasted only 2.1 innings, allowing 4 hits, 2 walks, and 3 runs (2 earned) with 1 strikeout. Hendricks left the game trailing 3-2.

Casey Coleman entered in the 3rd and escaped a bases-loaded situation with 1 out by getting Jackie Bradley Jr. to ground into a double play. Coleman went 2.2 innings, allowing 2 hits, 0 walks, and 1 run (0 earned) with 2 strikeouts. The unearned run came in the 4th inning in which Alcides Escobar and Mike Moustakas made errors that extended the inning.

Louis Coleman entered in the 6th, pitching a clean 1.1 innings.

Rookie Brandon Finnegan came on as a LOOGY to face lefty David Ortiz and retired him on a grounder, then struck out Yoenis Cespedes.

Of the 8 hitters Finnegan has faced in his brief MLB stint, 7 have been named All-Stars in their career. Not bad young man.

Aaron Crow entered in the 8th, and then issued 2 walks in an inning before Jemile Weeks smashed a lined down the first base line that bounced off the end of Eric Hosmer‘s glove. The ball squirted behind the tarp along the right field line, which allowed 2 runs to score.

Francisley Bueno pitched a scoreless 9th despite allowing 2 hits, including a triple to Yoenis Cespedes.

At the Plate

Overall, the Royals managed only 6 hits and 3 walks with 2 exta base hits (2 doubles).

Kansas City did manufacture a run based on aggressive baserunning in the 2nd inning. After Lorenzo Cain scored Kansas City’s 1st run the 2nd to tie the game at 1-1, Alcides Escobar stole second. When Nori Aoki reached on an infield single, Escobar advanced to third, drawing a throw from Red Sox 1st baseman Mike Napoli. The throw went wild, allowing Escobar to score for  2-1 KC lead.

The Royals managed to draw within 1-run in the 6th on Lorenzo Cain‘s RBI single, but the Royals failed to score in the final 3 innings.

Lorenzo Cain and Nori Aoki were the only Royals to get more than 1 hit. Aoki went 2 for 4 with a single, double, and 1 walk. Meanwhile, Cain also went 2 for 4 with a single,  double, 1 run scored, and 1 RBI.

This and That

The Royals played nothing short of horrible against the last-place Red Sox.

The parade of mistakes started in the first inning when Ned Yost small-balled himself out of a rally by asking Omar Infante to bunt after Nori Aoki’s double to open the game. Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer struck out to end the inning, sandwiched round a walk to Josh Willingham.

Eric Hosmer’s error in the 2nd inning allowed Carlos Vasquez to reach 1st base and Willie Middlebrooks to score from 3rd.

Mike Moustakas‘ throwing error in the 4th inning came as he made a diving stop at 3rd base, but then decided to throw to 2nd to turn the double play. His throw to 2nd went wild.

Next, Moose went to home on the very next play on a grounder that might have been a double play had he decided to try to turn two. The problem, however, was that Moustakas had just made a mistake by not taking the sure out—so was probably reluctant to repeat the “mistake”. However, the next batter was David Ortiz who managed a single.

The irony is that had Moustakas stuck with either one of these tactics, the Royals would have likely escaped the inning without damage. By switching “gears” he probably ended up allowing a preventable run. His reaction, however, makes perfect sense—especially within the narrow time frame in which an infielder has to make a decision.

KC Kingdom Player of the Game

 My nod goes to reliever Casey Coleman, who pitched 2.2 innings without allowing an earned run while escaping a bases-loaded jam in the 3rd that he inherited from Liam Hendriks, and limited the damage in a 4th inning in which his defense betrayed him with 2 errors. Coleman’s performance kept the game within reach until Aaron Crow‘s disasterous 8th.

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Jemile Weeks struck the death blow to the Royals hopes in the 8th with his clutch double with 2 men on base. Weeks went 1 for 4 with the double, and 2 RBI’s.

Up Next

The Royals play the 2nd game of their 4-game series against the Red Sox on Friday night. Yordano Ventura (12-9, 3.25 ERA) is scheduled to start for Kansas City, against Allen Webster (3-3, 6.47 ERA) for the Red Sox. Game time is 7:10 PM CST at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.