In pioneer days, travelers went West for a chance at the "American Dream." For the Kansas City Royals, last week's trip out West was more of an American (League) nightmare, filled with monsters (Matt Olson), tricksters (instant replay), and demons (Shohei Ohtani).
The 1-6 week saw various types of disheartening performances from the boys in blue, including the disastrous debut of a promising prospect (Jackson Kowar) and the continued mediocrity of a sputtering offense.
For many Royals fans, Kowar's Monday debut represented a chance to reboot after a couple of tough losses to finish the Twins series. But if anyone showed up to Kauffman a little late, they probably missed Kowar's debut entirely. He earned all of two outs while giving up four earned runs on three hits and two walks. It was brutal to watch, as Kowar left his command and seemingly his nerve back in Omaha. His second outing wasn't much better, and Kowar finished his first week in the majors with two innings pitched and eight earned runs.
On the bright side, Kowar's struggles provided an opportunity for another young Royals pitching prospect to shine, Ronald Bolaños. In two appearances this week, Bolaños threw 5 2/3 innings allowing one earned run on two hits and two walks with nine strikeouts. His heavy sinker generated swings and misses, and his command looked much improved from past major league stints.
Of course, pitching doesn't do much if the team can't score any runs, and once again, the Royals showed the hot-and-cold nature of their offense. In three favorable pitching matchups against the Angels, Kansas City managed a total of five runs. Against Oakland, they scored three or fewer runs in three of the four games, all losses.
On the Farm
The big news on the farm this week came from an old hand, as Ryan O'Hearn put up one of the most impressive weeks from a minor leaguer all season. In a three-game stretch from Wednesday through Friday, O'Hearn had eight hits, five of which were home runs. He collected nine RBIs in those three games. Of course, O'Hearn is no stranger to Triple-A pitching, and dominating at that level is a familiar story for him.