What's causing the Royals' struggles at Kauffman?

April 16th, 2023

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals continue to search for a remedy that will help them cure their home-field blues.

A team that entered the season with a new manager, a new coaching staff and new ideas had hopes of building goodwill equity with its home fans by capitalizing on a schedule that included 13 of the first 19 games at Kauffman Stadium. But those plans haven’t materialized, and Kansas City fell to 1-8 at home on Saturday after the Braves flashed their formidable offense for the second straight game and rolled to a 9-3 victory.

The Royals only have four more opportunities in April to do something with the heavy-loaded home schedule they had once looked forward to after leaving Spring Training in March. 

The Royals went 3-3 during the lone road trip of the season, but the win-loss results at The K have put manager Matt Quatraro’s team in a 4-11 hole heading into Sunday’s series finale against the Braves.

Kansas City’s 1-8 home record has come against three teams -- Minnesota, Toronto and Atlanta -- that have been playing extremely well against all opponents, not just the Royals. The combined record for the Twins, Blue Jays and Braves is 31-14.

“Those are good teams,” Quatraro said. “But that being said, we have to be better. We have to compete with these teams.”

Coming off one of the best starts of his career at San Francisco, Royals left-hander allowed 10 hits and five earned runs over five innings. A two-hour, 35-minute rain delay and cold, windy conditions were obstacles that Bubic had to deal with in addition to the potent Atlanta lineup.

Asked if the cold conditions had an impact on his pitches, Bubic said: “Maybe a little bit. To be honest, my forearm tightened up fairly early today. But we’ll take a look at it tomorrow and go from there.”

Bubic allowed seven hits over the first three innings, and the Braves took a quick 4-1 lead after three innings. Atlanta managed to keep Kansas City at arm’s length the rest of the way.

“I just felt like I couldn’t execute pitches when I got ahead,” Bubic said. “There was harder contact today. I didn’t really have a great feel of putting guys away with any pitches, as I had in previous outings. I wanted to keep battling, keep grinding and give us a chance.”

Quatraro said Bubic indeed kept battling, but the Royals’ offense couldn’t overcome the early deficit.

“His stuff was a little down,” Quatraro said. “Movement was a little down, velocity was a little down. But I thought he did a pretty good job of competing, mixing what he had.”

The Royals put some pressure on Braves starter Bryce Elder at times, but couldn’t come up with the big hit. had his third consecutive three-hit game, but the Royals could only manage one run in each of the first, fifth and sixth innings. Kansas City finished 1-of-13 with runners in scoring position, which has been a trend for much of the season.

The Royals are off to their worst home start since 2018, but they’re hopeful there will be a course correction soon. 

“As a team, we’re learning more about ourselves every day,” Bubic said. “It’s the Major Leagues. Everybody is pretty good. But if you want to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best.”