The Royals lost 13-4 on Sunday and with it lost the series two games to one.
Big Picture: The loss dropped the Royals to 16-10, but they remained 1 1/2 games ahead of the Chicago White Sox with their loss to Cleveland.
Keller Struggles Continue: There will be a lot of talk about how Brad Keller had bad luck Sunday because of the defense behind him. But that’s not how the thinking fan looks at it. We don’t let pitchers off the hook when an error is made. No, we expect a pitcher to pick up his fielders just like we expect fielders to pick up their pitchers. Keller’s disaster inning this time was the third inning. Let’s break it down.
Max Kepler lined out sharply to Jorge Soler in right field. So, a hard-hit ball was caught for an out. Keller then hit Jake Cave with one out. Andrelton Simmons then hit a two-run home run. So, Keller had allowed two runs before there was any blame to try to put on the fielders.
With two runs in and one out, Luis Arraez hit a solid line drive to right for a single. Now comes the blame. Josh Donaldson hit a hard ground ball to Hunter Dozier at third base that Dozier normally fields, but it came out of his glove. Byron Buxton then hit a slow grounder to third that Dozier charged and threw offline to first for an error. Dozier maybe should have held the ball, but he looked like he was trying to make up for the previous play. Eventually, Keller gave up a home run to Alex Kirilloff.
So let’s get things straight. Keller allowed seven runs in the third inning. People will want to tell you that he gave up two earned runs. That’s true. But people make mistakes. The pitcher gets the glory when a great defensive play is made, so he has to deal with it when mistakes are made.
Bullpen Thoughts: It’s easy to overreact to one game. And recency bias plays a big role in what we think of relief pitchers. But the bullpen for the Royals was terrible Sunday.
Kris Bubic made his first appearance of the season after being recalled from the alternate training site. He allowed three hits and two runs in one inning.
Scott Barlow didn’t fare much better. two hits and a run ended his day.
Greg Holland walked one but otherwise had a clean inning. That’s nice to see, but it was in a meaningless situation which is what Holland is getting these days.
Jake Newberry. What do you do with Jake Newberry? If we hear that he is designated for assignment sometime this season, I would not be at all surprised.
Next Up: The Royals open a critical seven game homestand Monday against divisional opponents. The Cleveland Indians come to town for four games, and then the Chicago White Sox come in for three.
Thanks for reading…
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