Leftridge: Royals’ Season Sunk, Took Longer Than Usual

fullstadiumWell, that’s your ballgame, folks.

Though it comes as no surprise—we didn’t REALLY think the Royals would contend this year, did we?—it is a bit more melancholy than years past. That’s because, unlike the past 20 years of futility, those magnificent whores teased us all the way into late August. With the cicadas screeching their awful songs of anger and the Chiefs finding their footing on hot Friday and Saturday nights, the Royals—yes THOSE Royals—actually remained relevant. A fistful of games out of a Wildcard spot, a few more than that away from a division lead… foreign territory.

This was a team built off of good-to-occasionally-great starting pitching, a near-perfect bullpen and a ridiculously good defense. Oh man, that defense.

But the inconsistent and often punch-less offense foretold the team’s doom with each at bat. Miserable on base percentage. Unable to take a goddamned pitch. Striking out with the bases loaded. Grounding into inning-ending double plays.

Classic Royaling.

cainIt’s blindingly clear that they need a second baseman, and just as clear that they need another outfielder. Justin Maxwell isn’t an everyday guy, law of averages would say that David Lough will experience some regression next season, and Lorenzo Cain

Cain is the real tragedy.

In a piece near the beginning of the season, I wrote an obscene amount of words stressing the importance of Cain to this lineup. He’s well above-average defensively, his offense is a work-in-progress (with promise, though) and he has all of the makings of being an All Star center fielder, a position that has been filled by absolute embarrassments since the departure of Carlos Beltran and later (and to a lesser extent), David DeJesus.

Cain could be that guy, but his is a career that seems likely to be derailed by injuries.

Some guys get the injury bug and can’t shake it. Mike Sweeney got it late in his career. So did Ken Griffey Jr. Unfortunately for Royals fans—and Cain himself—he’s one of those sad souls who will probably never reach his potential because of his brittle bones and unyielding muscles.

It’s no coincidence that the team’s most recent downward spiral began when Cain strained his oblique.

All this being said, however, there’s another clear issue with this team that must be addressed as soon as the season ends: the manager.

Ned Yost has got to go.

All of the talent in the world can’t make up for a manager who has no idea what he’s doing on a daily basis.

Perhaps nothing is more illustrative of his ineptitude than back-to-back nights in this most recent (and painful) fall from relevance.

On Friday night against the disappointing Washington Nationals, Yost started his lineup with Alex Gordon hitting first and Eric Hosmer hitting second. The pair proceeded to go six-for-seven with three walks, three doubles, a home run and seven runs scored.

And though the Royals lost—of course they did—their 10 run total was the most they’d posted since an August 5th 13-0 thrashing of the hapless Minnesota Twins.

So CLEARLY Yost saw how wonderfully this lineup worked, and he went with the same 1-2 the next day, right? I mean, what kind of idiot WOULDN’T?

ned-yostWell, a Yost-kind-of-idiot wouldn’t, that’s who.

The next evening, he continued to bat Gordon leadoff—duh—but he dropped Hosmer down to the three hole. You know, because EMILIO BONIFACIO HANDLES THE BAT JUST AS WELL AS HOSMER.

And wouldn’t you know it, the Royals lost, scoring a measly two runs in the process.

This isn’t shocking, though, because this is a team that tends to lose more than they win. Always. They’ve lost seven in a row, they’re back to .500, and they’re 11.5 games back in the AL Central.

But hey, it was fun while it lasted, right?

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16 Responses to Leftridge: Royals’ Season Sunk, Took Longer Than Usual

  1. Jess says:

    The fact we are still talking about them in August is freaking crazy. But would you rather they rip your heart out in August? Or be the same old Royals and be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs in May? I will be honest, this year was kind of fun. But, .500 is just not good enough for me now. I want more.

    • Brandon Leftridge says:

      Agreed. Before the season, I predicted an above .500 record w/ no playoffs. I thought I’d be okay with that. It’s funny how winning gets you, though.

  2. Orphan of the Road says:

    Fire Ned, cut Slugggrrrr up and sell his body parts to the Chinese. Until the culture of this ball club is changed the results will be the same.

    The manager is only going to be as good as the players the GM brings to the team. And the GM is just a puppet to the owner. Profit is profit and that sates the Glass palate nicely.

    “The last time the Cubs won the World Series was 1908. The last time they were in one was 1945. Hey, any team can have a bad century.”- Tom Trebelhorn

    • Brandon Leftridge says:

      I know exactly what you’re saying, but the fact of the matter is, this team DOES have some good, young, promising pieces. A few of them, actually. But they’re clearly not playing up to their potential, so at a certain point one must begin to question how all the young dudes are being handled.

      • Orphan of the Road says:

        It is not the players who make the culture, it is management. As an employee you try and fit in to the culture which exists.

        Fire ’em all and all you will get is a new bunch of pegs to fit in pre-determined holes.

        Of course a change in culture means a change in ownership or Glass & Family having an epiphany.

        Those two chances are known as slim and none.

  3. Mysterious J says:

    Even when they were red hot, they had too many red hot teams ahead of them.

    Here is the upside of this swoon that seems likely to have them finish under .500: maybe it helps Yost and Moore get fired.

    • Brandon Leftridge says:

      I really think Yost is gone, regardless. I think Moore runs through the end of next season, at least.

  4. dreamwriter326 says:

    My we’re being fickle, aren’t we? I’m still predicting seven or eight games over .500 (the same prediction as a month ago, in the midst of the winning streak but before the losing one) and no playoffs. They would have had a shot, but like Mysterious said, too many others were hot at the same time and eventually the Royals have lost some of that steam.

    This young team with a lot of potential is playing like a young team with a lot of potential. Their sheer talent and sound pitching helped them win a bunch in a row, but their youth and lack of experience actually winning probably contributed to them losing several in a row, as well. Before you can win consistently you have to have the mindset and confidence of a winner.

    I disagree the team’s losing skid has anything to do with the Royals “culture” of the past few decades, mainly because this is the most solid team, talent-wise, that we’ve had during all of that time. These guys are learning to win this season.

    It seems to me like a lot of fair-weather fans need to spend some time between now and next April learning how to be winners, as well.

    • Jess says:

      Fair weather fans? Are you kidding me? We have not done shit in 25 years, I went the game friday night and it was packed with people that lived every pitch. It pisses me off to be called Fair weather just because I think this town deserves more.

      • dreamwriter326 says:

        I said “some” fair weather fans, Jess. I certainly wasn’t talking about those who actually go to and pay attention to the games. They aren’t the problem.

        Because we’ve been saddled with noncompetitive teams for so long, nothing short of a World Series title or at least a deep playoff run this year was going to convince some folks that this team was the real deal.

        My fair-weather comment was aimed at those who were quick to cheer when we were winning several in a row, but who were the first to confront me with “So how are your Royals doing now” after three or four losses.

        The point of my previous post was there are a lot of positive signs that this team is getting much better, but you wouldn’t know that by the way they are being written off as a bunch of losers whose demise, simply because they wear a Kansas City uniform, was always eminent.

        Ending the season with a .500 record will be a huge milestone. Next year it will be a starting point, not a season-defining goal.

        That’s real progress. That’s my point.

  5. chuck says:

    At this point, the geese are flying upside down over Royals Stadium, there is nothing to shit on there.

  6. CG says:

    KC will we ever see a world title in our lifetimes again? Not likely. Who would have thought that in 70 with the Chiefs or after 85 with the Royals. Nothing. Not even a wiff. Man what a sad state of affairs for the Kansas City faithful. No end in sight. These Royals are far from talented enough to win a title, the Chiefs, well good luck. We do have a losing culture in this town and have for years, decades. God bless KU basketball.

  7. Rick Nichols says:

    It was nice to see the Royals raise a little Cain this year in the AL Central/wild card races, but in the end, unfortunately, they were unable to Getz the job done and took it on the Chen, leaving the vast majority of their fans feeling Lough once again. It’s now been 28 seasons and counting since the Boys in Blue had cause to pop the champagne. Oh, well, like they say in Cubbyland, there’s always next year.

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