The Royals drop the final game of the four game series to the Cleveland Indians and are swept in the four game series.
Big Picture: The Royals have now lost five games in a row. They have fallen out of first place and are now a game behind a Cleveland and a 1/2 game behind Chicago. They are 3-7 in their last ten games. And now the Royals are just two games over .500. It’s gut-check time.
Duffy Check-In… After every game this season, we will likely discuss the current thoughts on trading Danny Duffy. Duffy pitched fine Wednesday against Cleveland, but it wasn’t anything special. It was easily his worst start of the season. And with the Royals falling out of first place and in the middle of a five game losing streak, the trade meter is rising. Is it time to trade Duffy? If the Royals get a good offer, I would say yes. I think this series shows that the Royals are not yet ready to win the division.
We don’t want to overreact to any small stretch of games. The Royals are not as bad as they have looked on this homestand. But you can definitely see how they have to play extremely well to beat some of the other teams in the division. And I don’t think they can keep it up all season and win the division. And if the Royals cannot win the division, I would lean towards trading Duffy rather than keep him for a push for a wild card spot.
Indians Are Just Better Right Now… Sometimes one team is just better than their opponent. That’s the case with the Cleveland Indians and the Kansas City Royals. The Indians are better at the plate. Their bullpen is better. And the starting pitching is better. That doesn’t mean the Indians will finish ahead of the Royals this season. It’s a long season. This is the first stretch of baseball this season in which the Royals have been dominated.
What Are We Doing Here?… The Royals were upset after Wednesday’s game because they blew their third consecutive game to the Indians. They took their frustration out on umpire Angel Hernandez who, let’s face it, is an easy lightning rod. So you thought they might come out Thursday looking to do some damage on offense.
Well, baseball doesn’t work that way. And sometimes, when you try harder, you perform worse. And that’s what Thursday’s game looked like. The Royals were able to get just four hits and not a single run against Triston McKenzie. Mackenzie entered the day with an ERA over 6.00, but the Royals made him look like Cy Young.
Did We Overrate The Bullpen?… The old saying goes that you are never as good as you appear, and you are never as bad as you appear. The Royals bullpen has been really good for the most part early in 2021. They have had games where they have been excellent. No bullpen can keep that up.
Similarly, the bullpen has been awful during the five-game losing streak. They blew the first two games of the series against Cleveland.
The truth is that the bullpen is between these two extremes. With the arms the Royals have, I lean towards them being closer to the top end of what they have done rather than what we have seen recently.
Next Up: The Chicago White Sox come to town today for a three-game series. The Royals desperately need a win tonight and two out of three this weekend.
Thanks for reading…