The Kansas City Royals did not hit a home run again on Tuesday — heck, they only managed two hits against the Cardinals, a hard double and soft single by Billy Butler — (update: they failed again on Wednesday) and so that means they have two home runs since May 15, both by 439-year-old Miguel Tejada. How bad is this power outage? Well, I’ve been keeping up with this a bit on my personal blog but just as a quick point of reference:
— No Royals regular has hit a home run in 14 straight games (though Miggy Tejada is looking more and more like a regular with the astounding struggles of Mike Moustakas, who is now hitting .178 on the season). The last Royals regular to hit a home run was Billy Butler on May 14.
— The Royals have not had a left-handed batter hit a home run since the aforementioned Mike Moustakas on May 10. To give you an idea how long ago that was, the hockey playoffs were still in the first round, the Heat was playing at Chicago having just lost to the Bulls, and the IRS story had only just broken.
— The Chicago Cubs have outhomered the Royals since May 15 and, no, wait, that’s not it. Oh yeah, The Chicago Cubs PITCHING STAFF has outhomered the Royals since May 15.
— The St. Louis Cardinals hit three homers more home runs against the Royals Tuesday night, which is more than the Royals have hit since May 15.
Actually, this is a point worth expanding upon: The wind was blowing out at Kauffman Stadium Tuesday for the Royals-Cardinals game. The Cardinals sent rookie lefty Tyler Lyons to the mound. Lyons is a promising prospect but he’s still a rookie, and he’s a lefty, and the wind was blowing out. The Royals still didn’t even come close to homering. They never really do.
And this gets to the heart of something else. The Royals have not exactly been facing the 1965 Dodgers pitching staff during this absurd power outage. A look at the starting pitchers the Royals have faced during this streak makes the thing even more impossible:
5/29: Lance Lynn
5/28: Tyler Lyons (rookie making his second big-league start)
5/27: Adam Wainwright
5/26: Jerome Williams
5/25: Billy Buckner (former Royal, making his first big league start in three years)
5/24: Jason Vargas (30-year-old who was second in homers allowed last year, giving up 35)
5/23: Joe Blanton (who came into game 0-7, 6.62 ERA, with league slugging .562 against him)
5/22: Jordan Lyles (22-year-old who came into game with 6.63 ERA with league slugging .524 against him)
5/21: Bud Norris
5/20: Dallas Keuchel (who came in having given up 19 homers in 113 career innings)
5/19: A.J. Griffin (who had allowed eight homers in 51 innings, he gave up three more in his next start)
5/18: Tommy Malone (31 homers in his previous 241 innings)
5/17: Jarrod Parker (nine homers in 40 innings coming — also a 6.64 ERA)
5/15: Barry Enright (second start in more than two years)
You know who is not on that list? Justin Verlander. And CC Sabathia. And Felix Hernandez. And really any of the, say, 40 best pitchers in the American League. Other than Wainwright, you would have thought the Royals would hit home runs BY ACCDIDENT.
By the way, the Royals loss was their 18th in 22 games, and their 10th straight home defeat, tying a club record. The other day, I predicted that the Royals and their connections would spend a lot of time talking about the little things — which they seem to be doing — but I did not make the equally obvious prediction that soon Royals manager Ned Yost would make a bizarre and hilarious statement that would show him beginning to lose his mind. Hey, it happens to all of them. The Royals drove Tony Muser to his make his locally famous quote about how the Royals needed to pray less and drink more tequila. The Royals drove Tony Pena to guarantee a pennant and jump in the shower with his clothes on. The Royals drove Trey Hillman to all sorts of craziness. You can’t blame them — they’re only human.
And so is Ned Yost, only human:
“What are you asking me to do?” he told reporters after Tuesday’s game. “Take my belt off and spank them? Yell at them? Scream at them? What do you want?”
Yep, Ned Yost is out of ideas. Every Royals manager gets there sooner or later.