Kansas City at Toronto, September 8-10
Friday, September 08 2023 @ 01:04 PM EDT
Contributed by: Magpie
A 10 game homestand begins with a visit from the Kansas City Royals, who do not have the worst record in the major leagues.
Oh, they did. Just last week, the Blue Jays were visiting Oakland, and I was surprised to discover that Oakland didn't have the worst record in the majors. That dubious distinction was held, for the moment, by the Royals. But the A's lost two of three to the Blue Jays while the Royals took two of three from the White Sox and here we are. Now Oakland has the worst record in the majors.
The Royals are still pretty bad - they're sure to lose 100 games this season, for the seventh time since the 2000s began. The Colorado Rockies have never lost 100 games. Neither have the Angels of Anaheim, who started playing in 1961. The New York Yankees weren't even the Yankees the last time they lost 100 games. It was 1912, and they were still known as the New York Highlanders. The Dodgers and the Cardinals? Last time for both franchises was in 1908.
The Royals were once the model for every expansion franchise. They were smart (GM Cedric Tallis pulled off a series of clever trades that brought the team Amos Otis, Hal McRae, Freddie Patek), they were innovative (the Royals Baseball Academy, which graduated Frank White and U.L. Washington), they were lucky (in their third year, they drafted George Brett). But they have been bad for a long time - they've had five winning seasons since Brett retired thirty years ago. Don't the people of Kansas City deserve better?
Besides, the football team is pretty good.
The Blue Jays visited Kansas City way back in early April - after dropping two of their first three to St. Louis, they needed to get the season turned around. Which they did, although not right away.
The Story So Far
Monday 3 April: Toronto 5 Kansas City 9 - Jose Berrios picked up right where he'd left off in 2022, allowing four hits and three runs in his very first inning of the season. The Royals tacked on five more hits, and four more runs, in the fourth. They only had two other hits all day, but what they packed into those two innings was quite enough.
Tuesday 4 April: Toronto 4 Kansas City 1 - It was Yusei Kikuchi to the rescue, allowing a single run in his five innings. At which point, John Schneider, remembering the Kikuchi of 2022, thought it prudent to count his blessings and go to the bullpen although Kikuchi had thrown just 69 pitches.
Wednesday 5 April: Toronto 3 Kansas City 0 - Hey, remember when Alek Manoah was good? The big fellow worked seven shutout innings, allowing just a fifth inning single to Jackie Bradley (along with four bases on balls.) It did take the Jays six innings before they could push a run across the plate against Zack Greinke (Guerrero single, Varsho single, Chapman groundout) and they added a couple more against the bullpen.
Thursday 6 April: Toronto 6 Kansas City 3 - The Jays jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead (Guerrero single, Varsho double, Chapman double) which was all Kevin Gausman would need, as he worked six scoreless innings. Biggio and Guerrero added solo homers.
Fri 8 September - Snider (0-0, 4.22) vs Kikuchi (9-5, 3.63)
Sat 9 September - Greinke (1-14, 5.34) vs Gausman (10-8, 3.39)
Sun 10 September - Ragans (4-1, 1.51) vs Berrios (9-10, 3.68)
That's not a misprint. Zack Greinke, who was pitching just like the Greinke of old as recently as this May (when he posted a 2.31 ERA in six starts) has been on the losing end of 10 consecutive decisions, enough to drop his career winning percentage below .600 - he's still going to Cooperstown, but he may have to wait an extra year or two to give people enough time to forget all this. Also not a misprint is what the young southpaw Cole Ragans has done for the Royals since they picked him up in exchange for Aroldis Chapman. Ragans hasn't allowed a run in his last three starts, and brings a streak of 21 consecutive scoreless innings to town.