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Royals Losing Streak: Reasons for the Early May Slump

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The Kansas City Royals losing streak continues after losing all seven games during their homestand. The club lost all four games against the Cleveland Indians earlier in the week, along with this weekend’s three-game set against the Chicago White Sox. The team had leads late throughout the homestand, but could not hold on as the bullpen collapsed. The bats were silent all week as KC did not score for over 20 innings of play during the week.

Royals Losing Streak: Main Reasons

There are several reasons the Royals losing streak at the beginning of May. Just one week ago, the team saw themselves sitting atop of the American League Central and looking to continue the success they saw after the first month of the 2021 season.

Bats Ice Cold

During this seven-game homestand, Kansas City was outscored by over 25 runs. In seven games, Chicago and Cleveland outscored the Royals by a score of 45-17. Throughout the two series, KC struggled with runners on base and they scrambled to put together any runs at times. At one point in the Royals losing streak, Kansas City did not score a run for 28-straight innings.

Bullpen Struggles, Holding Leads

The Kansas City Royals bullpen over the first month of the season held their own, however, this last week the bullpen struggled. In three of the four games against Cleveland, the Kansas City bullpen blew a lead. With Jesse Hahn and Kyle Zimmer on the IL, KC is already desperate for arms as is.

One of the most concerning arms out of the bullpen right now is Jakob Junis. Junis was in the starting rotation for a while and found some success in this spot, however, the club decided they needed help in the bullpen and moved Junis to the role he started the 2021 season with. Since then, Junis has been able to find that same success he did as a starter.

One of the only bright spots out of the bullpen this week was Kris Bubic on Saturday. Bubic pitched five-scoreless innings out of the bullpen when the White Sox jumped on rookie pitcher Daniel Lynch. Since recalling Kris Bubic, he has had a couple of good outings out of the pen which may give him a shot at entering the rotation.

Facing Better Competition

This week, KC welcomed the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago White Sox to Kauffman Stadium for a seven-game homestand. Last year in a shortened season, Kansas City struggled against the White Sox over the course of the season. Now, the Royals are seeing similar trends in 2021. In 14 games against Minnesota, Cleveland, and Chicago, the Royals have a record of 3-11 this year.

During the Royals’ losing streak, they matched up against some of the best pitchers in MLB this season. For example, just during this homestand, Kansas City faced off against the likes of Shane Bieber, Lucas Giolito, and Carlos Rodon. Kansas City is now 13-6 against teams not named Minnesota, Chicago, or Cleveland.

If KC wants to make a run for a playoff spot in 2021, Mike Matheny and the coaching staff will have to make some adjustments the rest of the season.

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Nick Whyman is an editor at Overtime Heroics and has been writing for OTH since January of 2020. Whyman is also a Senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln majoring in Broadcasting.