Kansas City Royals: What a beautiful mess Royals fans are in

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 17: Danny Duffy (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 17: Danny Duffy (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

Kansas City Royals fans knew it was going to be bad, but it didn’t seem like it was supposed to be this bad.

The Royals extended their losing streak to eight on Wednesday afternoon, in a 15-5 walloping at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays. The loss put a cap on a three-game sweep in Toronto, one that saw the Royals hammered twice and walked off in between, the Jays outscoring the Royals 31-12 in 28 innings.

That leaves the Royals sitting at 3-13, a record only bested (or worsted) by the Cincinnati Reds who sit at 3-15. Expanded statistics and peripherals don’t make them look any better. Currently, the Royals sit in 29th out of 30 teams in in runs scored (46), 28th in home runs (9) and 23rd in OPS (.656). On the other side of the ball it doesn’t look any better, with the team ranking 25th in team ERA (4.65) and 27th in strikeouts (113).

And what’s more? The team still has not won a game when the other team scores a run. That’s right. The only three wins the Royals have managed to scrape together have all been shutouts. There’s no way to check if that’s happened before, but I have to imagine that as far as futility goes, this run has to rank near the top (or again, the bottom).

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A's slug their way past Kansas City, wins 6-4
A's slug their way past Kansas City, wins 6-4 /

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  • The bigger issue at hand is the simple fact that the issues facing this team aren’t ones that hadn’t been forecasted. We knew the offense was going to be largely inconsistent, but knew there would be a few solid bats too.

    Mike Moustakas is red hot, driving in runs and collecting hits at a blistering pace, but Jon Jay, Lucas Duda, Whit Merrifield and even Jorge Soler have been perfectly adequate at the plate. After that, the Royals aren’t getting much.

    Outside of those five bats, the Royals team average falls to a paltry .185. And while it’s still early, the bats making up that average don’t show much promise or upside to change that.

    We also knew the starting pitchers would likely make up a solid, if not above average staff. That’s been true, for the most part. Ian Kennedy (2.35 ERA), Jakob Junis (1.93), Danny Duffy (3.86) and Jason Hammel (3.86) have all done their part.

    Eric Skoglund has been less than inspiring in his two starts, but that spot in the rotation was never supposed to be his in the first place. Assuming Nate Karns continued his ascent, this starting rotation would presumably be looking like one of the better staffs in the American League.

    The bullpen? Woof. It was never supposed to be good, and boy has it lived up to that reputation. Four (4) pitchers currently sit at a >9.00 ERA. Of course, that includes Brandon Mauer (18.90) who has been demoted to Omaha, but you get the idea. The way we currently sit, unless the starter hands the ball to the pen with a ten-run lead, you might as well chalk up an L.

    And if they do have a ten-run lead? You might just want to keep that chalk handy. It’s not safe.

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    This is all to say that, there really isn’t much reason to expect much to change. The players expected to perform are performing well, and those expected to stink have stunk. And there don’t appear to be reinforcements on the way outside of big Sal Perez, and he’s only one man.

    With so much pessimism, let’s try to find a sliver of optimism. For the sake of 2018, the Royals do have a chance to make up some ground over the next few weeks. 16 of their next 21 games are against teams below .500, and only three against the Red Sox really feel out of reach.

    The aforementioned all-Pro Salvador Perez should return in a week or two as well. There’s certainly a limit to how much Sal can do in terms of production, but just by being in the clubhouse and out on the diamond, Sal’s presence should have a positive effect on the team.

    The biggest sources of optimism though, rely in future considerations. Virtually every trade chip the Royals currently possess is playing well. Jay and Duda could offer a team much needed flexibility going into the offseason at the deadline. Moustakas could offer that and much more at his current pace, and could fetch a nice haul of prospects.

    Kelvin Herrera has returned to his pre-2017 form, and lock-down relievers are always of value at the trade deadline. Nobody wants to think about trading Danny Duffy or Sal Perez, but they’re proven assets on wallet-friendly deals with club control; likely the Royals most valuable pieces.

    So sure, through sixteen games, the latest rebuilding iteration of the Royals has proven difficult to stomach. Losing always is – especially after you’ve experienced the thrill ride and highest heights possible in the sport. But with an eye toward the future, the Royals appear to be right on track.