Coming off of what amounted to a four game sweep of Milwaukee, expectations where high coming in to the weekend series against the Red Sox. After all, Boston had once again assumed the title of Team Turmoil. Languishing in last in the AL East, they were another team ripe for destruction in a three-game set at The K.
Sometimes baseball doesn’t work the way you think it should.
After a 13-2 drubbing on Sunday, the Red Sox hung 24 runs on the Royals in the three games. The Royals could plate only half that number, scoring just 12.
Still getting used to this “favorite” business, I won’t say individual wins and losses aren’t important. We’ve discussed this before. Games in April (and June) count just as much as the games in September. Winning is great and losing sucks. Having said that, I’ve been attempting to look at the larger picture more frequently. Clark touched on it in a post back in April. He pointed out that thanks to the Royals hot start, should they manage only to play .500 ball the rest of the way, Kansas City should still be in position to nab a playoff spot. It thought that was a great point.
So instead of looking at Sunday’s blowout individually, or the series as a loss for the Royals, I’ll look at either the homestand, where the team won three and lost two, or I’ll look at the entire week, which ended with a 5-2 record.
That doesn’t mean I will ignore the alarm bells. (Cough, cough… starting pitching.) That means I’ll try to maintain a healthy perspective. All good teams have bad losses. All good teams go through rough patches. (Maybe I should just amend that to most. Most good teams. In baseball in 2015, without a dominant team, avoiding four game losing streaks isn’t mandatory.)
Yesterday’s game underscored the fragility of the Royals rotation. Readers of this site will know my opinion of Chris Young and how his success has been a product of both smoke and mirrors in copious amounts. Sunday’s game was going to happen to him at some point. If I had to guess, the longer he’s in the rotation, the more likely we will see a few more starts like his most recent one. At 7-0 and with the Royals bats crawling back into their bed after some sort of wild night out on Saturday, this one was over by the fifth. I can’t get too bent about the performances of Jason Frasor and Aaron Brooks. Brooks is a non-factor on this team. He will be returned to Triple-A as soon as I-29 is ready for his car. He was brought up for exactly the kind of game he was thrown into on Sunday. While it would have been nice had he been able to resemble a major league pitcher, it wasn’t a huge deal when he pitched like Aaron Brooks.
Frasor is cut from better quality, but he’s very much your average major league reliever. We’ve been spoiled in Kansas City. Bullpens through baseball are loaded with Frasor types. He’s the guy for whom my “Bullpen Roulette” term was coined. That’s where you bring in relievers any given night and you have no clue how it’s going to turn out for your team. Aside from most closers, bullpens across baseball are filled with uncertainty. Except in Kansas City.
While the loss on Sunday was not fun, it doesn’t have to serve as the start of a losing streak or raise alarm bells that weren’t already there. The good news is with nine games in the next 10 days, the key arms in the bullpen got a day off. So did Sal Perez. Those are both good things.
Wednesday in Seattle, Danny Duffy will make his return to the rotation. Obviously, this is a key moment. The Royals cannot survive on Young, Pino and Blanton as three-fifths of this rotation. Duffy is just one arm, but right now, he’s the most important arm.
In the meantime, it’s good to note last Monday, the Royals entered the week with a two game lead in the Central. They enter this week with a 3.5 game lead.