• PITCHERS DESERVE SOME BLAME — While it’s easy to put all the blame on the Kansas City hitters for the Royals’ ignominious and historic 43-inning scoreless drought, the pitchers have to shoulder some of the burden.
The Royals are the biggest story in baseball right now and for all the wrong reasons as they have gone from robust to bust at the plate.
In this era of skyrocketing home run totals, it’s practically inconceivable they could go nearly five games without a run. They were scoreless the final seven innings in their final game against Colorado, suffered three blankings at the hands of Cleveland and then returning home where they hoped the familiar surroundings would jump-start the attack, they were held to just two hits by a combination of Tampa Bay pitchers on Monday.
This has been the Royals’ season in a nutshell. They get hot at the same time, then they all go cold. But this streak is mindboggling, even by Royals standards.
I think the paucity of the Royals’ offense can be traced in part to the pressure the hitters are feeling. KC’s starting rotation is in shambles as the starters for the most part aren’t even getting through five innings. The bullpen is carrying nine — count ‘em nine — relievers because manager Ned Yost is employing three or four relievers a game.
What’s even more strenuous is that Royals starters are giving up a passel of runs early in games. They were down 12-0 after two innings on Sunday and 8-0 after three on Monday. Hitters are trying to hit eight-run homers and they’re swinging at pitches well off the strike zone, in essence getting themselves out.
There’s not much else Yost can do. His lineup is restricted because he’s carrying so many pitchers. Heck, Alcides Escobar is playing every inning of every game because there’s no backup. If anything happens to him, Cheslor Cuthbert would have to play there in an emergency before help comes from the minors.
Yost is running out of explanations on his postgame show. All he can do is wait it out and hope his team gets collectively hot again.
What’s amazing about all this is that Kansas City is still just 3 games back in the wild-card race. So you’re saying there’s a chance...
• KU LOSES PROMISING BACK — One of the Kansas Jayhawks’ expected key offensive contributors, transfer running back Octavius Matthews, will never play a down for KU.
It was announced on Monday that Matthews’ career is over due to a heart condition. It’s a blow for a KU team that desperately needs all the playmakers it can get.
According to The Lawrence Journal World, Matthews’ mother died in May due to heart complications, so there’s history in the family.
Matthews, a 3-star recruit, came to KU from Itawamba Community College, where he played with probable KU starting quarterback Peyton Bender. Matthews was thought to be an extremely versatile back, with the ability to catch the ball consistently.
Let’s hope Matthews can earn his degree and become a success in life.
Also on Monday, KU announced that former Derby star Kenyon Tabor is out for the year with an unspecified injury. Tabor played for the Derby basketball team against McPherson High this past season and appeared to be a solid athlete.
• SPECIAL STARTING TIME — McPherson College football fans should take note of Saturday’s special starting time for the season opener at McPherson Stadium.
The Bulldogs will be hosting Texas Wesleyan at 3:00. It will be the Rams’ first game in 75 years as the program has been dormant. Not much is known about them, other than they have more than 100 players on their roster.