Instant Rationalization – The Royal pain continues in 7-5 loss to Cain, Royals

Instant Rationalization – The Royal pain continues in 7-5 loss to Cain, Royals
The lucky green of the Irish still couldn't beat Royal blue. (Chris Sweda/Tribune photo / September 7, 2012)

Ideally, this weekend would seem like a prime opportunity to gain on the Tigers, with Detroit playing in Anaheim and the Sox hosting the Royals.   But then again, when the Sox play the Royals, the Royals play like the best team in baseball.  But even when they don’t play that well, like tonight, they still find a way to beat the Sox.

Even keeping Billy Butler in check wasn’t enough to stop the Royals, as Lorenzo Cain provided the power for Kansas City, hitting two home runs, including the game-winner in the ninth inning off of Addison Reed.

The Sox had plenty of opportunities to score, especially off of Royals starter Luis Mendoza.  Jose Lopez, playing for Kevin Youkilis, who is on paternity leave, went 0-5 for the game, including 0-3 with runners in scoring position.

Francisco Liriano was not sharp, allowing five runs in just five innings of work.  Liriano gave up runs in every inning after the Sox scored themselves and once again struggled with his control, walking four Royals.

Key Performers

Lorenzo Cain – 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI - Cain’s homer in the ninth off of Reed, his second of the game, proved to be the game-winner.

DeWayne Wise – 2-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB - The Sox’s number three hitter (Adam Dunn was nursing his sore oblique) looked very much like Dunn, hitting a homer, drawing a walk and striking out.

Salvador Perez – 2-3, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI – Perez got the Royals on the board in the second inning with a two-run line drive of a home run over the left field wall.

A.J. Pierzynski – 2-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI – Pierzynski, fresh off of the false PED accusation, tied the game at two with his homer in the fourth inning.

Turning Point

With the score tied at five in the eighth inning, the Sox had runners at second and third base with only one out.  But Gordon Beckham struck out on a fastball that approached 100 miles/hour from Kelvin Herrera.  After Alejandro De Aza was intentionally walked, Jose Lopez popped out to third base and spoiled a golden opportunity for the Sox to take the lead.

Addison Reed came into the game for the Sox in the ninth inning because he was already warmed up in case the Sox took the lead.  Bringing in closers to pitch in a non-save situation is a risky decision, but Ventura did just that and Reed promptly gave up a hit and then Cain’s two-run homer.

Things Would Be Different If…

…the Sox hit at all with runners in scoring position.  What has become the Achilles heel for the Sox as of late was the case in this game, as the Sox went 2-12 in RISP situations.  The Sox had many times to blow the game open off of Ramiro Mendoza, but never cashed in, allowing the Royals to stay in the game.

Takeaway

The Royals, along with the Orioles, are clearly this year’s thorn in the side of the Sox.  Tonight’s win by Kansas City marked the Royals’ sixth straight win over the Sox, dropping the Sox to a pathetic 4-9 against the Royals in 2012.

The Sox need to start winning the type of games that playoff teams win, such as home games against sub-.500 opponents.  The Sox are battered and bruised (Dunn’s oblique, Youkilis’ knee and back, Ramirez’s finger) and it’s not difficult to pessimistically see dark clouds approaching fast over the South Side.

Overall Record: 74-63, 0.5 games up on Detroit (currently playing vs. Angels)

Filed under: Game Wraps

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