It's another heart-breaking loss for a team that's getting a bit too used to losing in dramatic ways. The first of a three game set against the Chicago Cubs in interleague play went to the visitors on Friday night as Aaron Crow took the 6-4 loss for the Royals -- giving up two runs in the top of the ninth inning to seal the deal.
The Royals have now lost six in a row and eight of their last nine, reaching last place in the AL Central in the process. Ned Yost tinkered with the line-up tonight, and the results were decent with 9 hits and 4 runs. Melky Cabrera had a nice night in the leadoff spot, going 2 for 4 with an RBI and stolen base. Too bad the pitching couldn't hold up -- and it was some decision-making by Yost that raises some eyebrows here.
Heading into the ninth, Yost had a decision to make -- one that mirrors the greater decision he has to consider for the season as well. How much should he tax the bullpen? In this instance, Crow had previously mowed through the eighth inning on 8 total pitches. You could make a case he was still fresh and cruising, so if you're possibly headed into extra innings, you should at least get one more inning out of your young arm. But the Royals have been using up their bullpen at an alarming rate this season, and it was pushing Crow for that extra inning that cost the Royals the game.
Of course, Yost didn't throw those pitches. Crow did and he simply fell apart in the ninth. His 30 pitches thrown were the second highest total of the season and Crow has been steadily worked every other day for the last week. It's easy to second guess at this point, but it should be noted that perhaps Yost should have brought in a fresh pitcher and given Crow his manageable inning.
In the end, the Royals only continue the streak. The team will preach patience, as it should, but it's frustrating along the way to lose close games like this one again and again.