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Mike Matheny on Royals’ Sunday Collapse: ‘Indescribable’

The Royals' skipper can't find many words to explain his team's loss.

"Indescribable... I can't think of a worse loss than that one right there."

"It's as frustrating as it could possibly be."

Those quotes are from Kansas City Royals manager Mike Matheny following the club's collapse against the Minnesota Twins. Through seven innings, it appeared that the Royals were well on their way to securing a victory in the last of three games against their American League Central rivals. Starting pitcher Brady Singer was rolling, and Kansas City's bats finally woke up to provide some insurance runs. Minnesota had a 0.5% chance of winning heading into the eighth inning.

Then, the downfall happened.

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May 15, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Taylor Clarke (45) delivers a pitch in the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

First, it was Taylor Clarke surrendering four hits and four runs in the eighth inning without recording a single out. Scott Barlow came in to relieve him and while he induced a pair of outs and even got a strikeout in the process, he walked two batters and gave up a run of his own. In the ninth inning, the Twins poured on another two runs off Josh Staumont (who was charged with the loss and the blown save). Collin Snider got the final out of the game, although the damage was more than done at that point.

With their backs up against the wall in the bottom of the ninth, down one run, the Royals couldn't muster any offense. Whit Merrifield struck out swinging, Andrew Benintendi grounded out and Hunter Dozier struck out swinging. It made for a 7-6 loss, and easily the most embarrassing one of what's been a pitiful 2022 season for the Royals. In fact, it ranks pretty high on the list of the worst losses ever at Kauffman Stadium. 

This isn't the first Sunday game this season in which the Royals have experienced a squandering of epic proportions. It's not even the first time in the month of May that it's happened. Luckily for Kansas City, last Sunday's in-game blown lead to the Colorado Rockies didn't end up in a loss. The offense recovered in time for a critical road win but at home against a divisional opponent, the same fate wasn't in the cards. Matheny knows the Royals let the series finale slip away, and he also knows how embarrassing of a defeat it was. 

"When they're right there in front of you to put away and you've got the back end of your 'pen rested, which we've had to — we've had to rest them," Matheny said. "To lose one of those, I can't even... once again, can't even describe it." 

Following their sweep at the hands of the current best team in the AL Central, the Royals are 14-26 through 40 games. That 40-game mark is viewed by many as the milestone for the Royals to begin considering making tough decisions internally and if anything were to be different moving forward, a loss like this one would be a major starter for it. Hitting coach Terry Bradshaw was fired earlier in the week, so change has already been on the horizon in Kansas City. Could Sunday serve as a tipping point? Time will tell.

Feb 21, 2017; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore during Spring Training Media Day at The Arizona Biltmore. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports