CHICAGO -- It goes to show what kind of slump the Royals are in right now when struggling first baseman Eric Hosmer rips a line drive at 112.9 mph -- the second-hardest ball he has hit this season, according to Statcast™ -- and it's an out.Not only an out, but
CHICAGO -- It goes to show what kind of slump the Royals are in right now when struggling first baseman Eric Hosmer rips a line drive at 112.9 mph -- the second-hardest ball he has hit this season, according to Statcast™ -- and it's an out.
Not only an out, but a game-changing out: Hosmer's lineout to left in the fifth inning came with the Royals down, 2-1, with two out and two on. The Royals eventually lost, 5-2, to the White Sox, their seventh straight defeat.
"It's frustrating, but we have to continue to stick with it," Hosmer said. "It seems every time Gordo [Royals outfielder Alex Gordon] rips a ball, it's right into the shift. Esky [Escobar] had a couple of balls today that could have been hits. I know we keep saying it, but that's all part of the game."
Actually, as trying as this 0-7 road trip was, Hosmer provided some encouraging signs Wednesday, going 3-for-5. He tripled, singled and reached on a bunt single that beat the shift, lifting his average to .220.
"It has started to feel better the last couple of days," Hosmer said. "I've been seeing the ball well, but have just been pulling off the ball a little. At least that's what I feel. I tried to concentrate on going the other way today and staying through it."
Hosmer's hardest-hit ball of the day, the lineout to left, was his hardest-hit ball since a 118-mph shot against Minnesota on April 5 -- that also was an out.
Royals manager Ned Yost, too, was encouraged by "better swings" from his group, especially Hosmer.
"We hit some balls right on the nose," Yost said. "We just couldn't find holes with them. ... [Hosmer's lineout] just was hit so hard it carried all the way to [White Sox left fielder Melky Cabrera]."
One of Hosmer's favorite moments of the day came when he put down a perfect bunt to beat the shift against left-hander Dan Jennings. That put two on and two out for Salvador Perez, with the Royals trailing 4-2 in the seventh. Perez struck out, though.
"When [Jennings] came in, I started thinking about [bunting]," Hosmer said. "He's got a pretty good slider and it's hard to hit. I told myself I'd give it one good shot and then put it in Salvy's hands -- a lot better matchup.
"It's frustrating to lose. I don't think we've gone a whole road trip without a win since I've been here. Couldn't be a better day for an off-day [Thursday] and then a homestand. We always play better at home."
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.