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The Royals Ran Business as Usual Against the Rangers

KC's first 29 games have revealed some unpleasant truths.

Through the first 29 games of this regular season, something has become very apparent about the Kansas City Royals organization: they are either completely daft or they are insulting their fanbase's intelligence with the moves they make (or don't make). This team, as constructed right now, is completely hopeless and has no future. Back-to-back series losses to the Texas Rangers and the Baltimore Orioles will back that up.

The Rangers, unlike the Orioles, aren’t actively trying to lose but have constructed such a top-heavy team with too many holes to compete with a juggernaut like the Houston Astros. The Royals, on the other hand, did nothing to address their issues from last season and are now standing around acting surprised about a lack of success. 

Apr 12, 2022; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Royals manager Mike Matheny (22) looks on from the dugout before a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

One organization saw the problem with its offense and actively tried to fix it, while the other counted on its prized rookie becoming Mike Trout right from the start. Was there some good in this series? Sure, but for the most part, it was business as usual for the boys in blue.

'Good, Meh, Bad' is a series highlighting the best and worst points of each Royals series, as well as whatever middle ground can be found. If there's a topic you'd like to see discussed, reach out to Jeremiah or Inside the Royals on Twitter.

The Good

May 8, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Kansas City Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield (15) hits a sacrifice fly ball to score a run against the Baltimore Orioles during the second inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Whit Merrifield recorded a hit in every single game of this series, so it’s time to give him his flowers for this massive accomplishment. The flowers might be a bit wilted and decrepit, but they are flowers nonetheless. It’s quite obvious that his ironman streak means too much to the Royals for the organization to bench him so if he is going to be in the lineup this year, the least he could do is hit. If he can replicate this success in Colorado over the weekend, then we can have a serious conversation about him being “back."

Joel Payamps was 'the man' on Wednesday, going three innings in relief for the Royals' bullpen effort while striking out five batters and only allowing a pair of hits. As I predicted, the bullpen as a whole has taken a step back, but Payamps has been a good addition after starting the year in Omaha. The Royals desperately need someone to be capable of going three-plus innings out of the pen after both Kris Bubic and Brady Singer have been sent to the shadow realm of Triple-A.

The Meh

May 12, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Jonathan Heasley (49) reacts after leaving the game during the fourth inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

What, you’re shocked that the Royals' offensive explosion on Wednesday wasn’t in the good section?

That’s because the Rangers did most of the work, committing three errors and even then, the Royals couldn’t make them pay as they went 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position until Emmanuel Rivera cleared the bases with a triple. Take away that two-out fluke, and the Royals win an unimpressive 4-2 game and no one would be pretending that the offense all of a sudden took a step in the right direction. But the mere fact that it managed to get a bases-clearing triple with two outs is enough to solidify the performance in this tier.

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As far as Jonathan Heasley’s performance is concerned, the struggles were predictable enough to be placed in 'bad,' but it was intriguing enough to claim a spot in 'meh.' Not getting out of the fourth inning while walking more than a batter per frame and only striking out one is nothing to write home about, but only allowing one run at least makes me want to see if he can achieve something more than bloated long-reliever status.

The Bad

Apr 28, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Brad Keller (56) delivers against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t even that Brad Keller was that bad, but the predictability of consistently collapsing with two outs is far from surprising as it’s been a common trait shared by the entire Royals pitching staff this year. When five of the six runs allowed on Tuesday come with two outs, it’s just frustrating to watch. 

It’s unfair to expect Keller to be an ace-caliber pitcher that consistently wiggles his way off the hook because he’s never been that in his career. The Royals, however, are in desperate need of an ace that can hold down the rotation and consistently give the team quality starts. They’re going to have to spend some coins to do it, because it’s clear that the solution doesn’t exist in the minors.

What about Asa Lacy, you might ask? Go check his stats and get back to me because as of right now, his current performances against Single-A and Double-A competition are more indicative of him being the future ace of the Kansas City Monarchs instead of the Kansas City Royals.

Another burning question: what’s the point of MJ Melendez being on this roster?

May 9, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Kansas City Royals catcher MJ Melendez (1) singles during the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Getting benched so that ABs can be forced down the throats of Ryan O’Hearn and Sebastian Rivero just speaks to how the Royals handle top prospects and clearly shows that they didn’t want to have to bring up Melendez. Don’t be surprised when either Nick Pratto or Vinnie Pasquantino gets called up that they’ll be benched for O’Hearn or Carlos Santana.

It's clear that this team is not going to make the playoffs so after the trade deadline in July when the Royals are 20-plus games out of the Wild Card race, there is no logical reason why they should be starting anybody over the age of 30 except for Salvador Perez. If the Royals are going to be bad, they might as well commit to youth and find out what they have instead of pretending that keeping the current, dilapidated core around is going to win anything.

Series Grade: D

It was business as usual for the Royals, as the unexpected (but predictable) tank job continues to roll on. It's fueled by the always-reliable and reusable fuel source that is moral victories, which the team leads the league in by miles.