Streaking Royals pull off most lopsided win since 2007

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Could things be any better for the Royals right now?

– Their 13-0 win over the Twins on Monday was their most lopsided victory since they beat the Mariners 17-3 on July 3, 2007.  It was the first time since May 16, 1987 that they scored at least 13 runs and shut out the opposition (they beat the Brewers 13-0 that day).

– Jeremy Guthrie pitched his second career shutout in the game. He went his first 187 career starts without ever pitching a shutout. Now he has two after picking up his first May 5 against the White Sox.

– The victory was the career-high 12th of Guthrie’s career. Pitching for poor Orioles teams, he never won more than 11 games previously.

– Eric Hosmer homered and drove in a career-high five runs in the game. He hadn’t even driven in four runs in the same game since July 2011. He hit one homer in his first 61 games of the season, and he’s hit 11 in 46 games since.

– Mike Moustakas collected four hits for just the second time in his career. He’s batting .322 with four homers and 11 RBI in 59 at-bats since the break, compared to .215 with six homers and 17 RBI in his 275 previous at-bats.

But to answer that original question, yes, things could be going better for the Royals right now, because while they’ve won 12 of their last 13 games, the first-place Tigers have won 13 of their last 14. The Royals are currently 7 1/2 games back of Detroit in the AL Central and four games behind the Rangers for the second wild card, with the Indians and Orioles also ahead of them.

Starters? Openers? Who cares? It’s the lack of offense killing the Brewers

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The talk of Game 5 of the NLCS — and, indeed, the talk of the postseason so far — has been the Brewers’ creative use of their pitching staff. Indeed, Craig Counsell calling for Brandon Woodruff, and removing Miley from the game after just one batter and five pitches, stands as one of the more audacious acts of bullpenning in recent memory.

In light of that strategy, it was tempting to compare and contrast the Brewers’ approach to that of the Dodgers. Clayton Kershaw gave up an early run and, as has so often been the case lately, didn’t look super sharp early. But as the game wore on he got stronger, his curve got more devastating and he turned in an ace-like performance, leaving after seven innings of work, retiring the final 13 batters he faced. The Brewers may have an army of pitchers they throw at you, but the Dodgers, on this night, had a Hulk.

That’s all a lot of fun, and it was a tempting narrative to grab a hold of, but you know what? It doesn’t matter a bit. The fact of the matter is that the Brewers have scored two runs in the last 17 innings between Games 4 and 5. Two runs, with one of them being an oh-by-the-way run with out in the ninth tonight. They’ve only scored three runs in their last 24 innings. They could have a college of coaches using a murder of pitchers and they’d still be staring at being down 3-2 like they are right now because the bats have gone cold.

The presumptive NL MVP, Christian Yelich, was 0-for-4 in Game 5 and is only 3-for-20 with three singles in the entire NLCS. Ryan Braun is 5-for-21. Lorenzo Cain is 6-for-24. Games 3 and 4 have, obviously, been the big problems for the Brewers. In those games the entire team is batting .168 with 26 strikeouts and they are 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

Craig Counsell could go back in time, bring back Pete Vukovich, Rollie Fingers, Teddy Higuera, Moose Haas and Jim Slaton, use them all for an inning and two-thirds each and it wouldn’t matter if the Brewers can’t score. That’s the story of the series so far. No matter how much we might want to talk about the pitching shenanigans, that’s the only thing that really matters.