KANSAS CITY -- The familiar storyline continues to afflict the 2018 Royals: The starting pitching is plenty good enough, but the offense is not.Right-hander Jason Hammel provided another quality start -- the team's 10th this season -- as he gave up four runs (three earned) over 6 2/3 innings. But
KANSAS CITY -- The familiar storyline continues to afflict the 2018 Royals: The starting pitching is plenty good enough, but the offense is not.
Right-hander Jason Hammel provided another quality start -- the team's 10th this season -- as he gave up four runs (three earned) over 6 2/3 innings. But the Royals' offense, which came into the game next to last in the American League in runs per game (3.33), fizzled again in a 6-2 loss to the Brewers on Wednesday.
The Royals, who entered the game 27th in the Majors in average (.197) with runners in scoring position, were 1-for-10 in RISP on Wednesday. And that one hit didn't drive home a run.
Kansas City had runners at first and third and no out in the eighth and came up empty against the Brewers' bullpen. A leadoff double in the ninth also was wasted.
"Their bullpen has been good," Royals manager Ned Yost said of the Brewers, who have ranked third in the Majors with a 2.63 ERA from their bullpen. "Talking to their coaches over there, their bullpen has been really, really good. And it wasn't just tonight. They've been doing it for the better part of the year."
Mike Moustakas got the Royals' first hit off Brewers starter Jhoulys Chacin in the fourth inning when he hammered a 386-foot shot into the right-field seats. Moustakas now has seven home runs through 22 games, the same pace he was on in 2017 when set a club record with 38 home runs.
Kansas City's trouble began when the Brewers pushed across four runs in the fourth inning, aided by a leadoff walk to Christian Yelich, an RBI double to Travis Shaw and a dropped fly ball by Royals outfielder Jorge Soler.
"There were only two at-bats I'd want back," Hammel said. "The leadoff walk to Yelich in the fourth and the 0-2 slider to Shaw. The 0-2 pitch was down and in, but it should have been in the dirt. When you got someone 0-2, you got options, so if you go down, get it all the way down"
The inning before, Hammel was hit in the right calf by a line drive off the bat off Lorenzo Cain. Hammel said he was fine and showed off a welt afterward.
"Hey, I now have a calf. That's nice," Hammel jokingly said. "It's all good. I don't have much meat. I'm skinny, but I always seem to get hit in a good spot."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Royals, trailing 4-1, had an excellent chance for a big inning in the sixth when Jonathan Jay led off with an infield single and scooted to third on a single to right by Whit Merrifield. But the rally fizzled when Moustakas flied out to short right field, Salvador Perez grounded into a fielder's choice (which scored one run) and Lucas Duda grounded out to first.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Royals left-hander Eric Stout, called up on Tuesday, made his Major League debut in the seventh inning. Stout, 25, faced Christian Yelich with a runner on second and two outs and struck him out on three pitches.
"It was exhilarating," said Stout, a 13th-round pick in the 2014 Draft. "That's what you dream of. I was pretty nervous down there in the bullpen. Every time the phone rang, your heart is beating a million times a second. It was great to get my feet wet.
"I told [Brad] Keller after he came out that the last pitch I threw to Yelich was about as hard as I can throw a pitch."
Right-hander Jakob Junis (3-1, 2.03 ERA) takes the mound for the Royals as they open a five-game set with the White Sox at Kauffman Stadium starting Thursday at 7:15 p.m. CT. Junis tossed eight strong innings last Friday against Detroit, allowing four hits and two runs while striking out four in a 3-2 victory.
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.