Royals – 50 Worst Moments – #39 – The Almonte Game

The next 10 moments on our tour through the suck-fest of Royals worst moments is sponsored! That’s right. Grant Richter of Richter Legal Services does estate planning, business and tax law, and is an all around awesome dude. He is on the Twitter @g_richter. Give him some business. Great dude.

The 2018 season isn’t even 25% over, yet it is giving Royals fans enough reason to put Tums on their subscription list at Amazon, and maybe set a recurring appointment with a therapist. Friday night’s game is the perfect example of why fans share concern about the 2003 2003 2007 2018 Kansas City Royals.

The Bullpen – The second game of a four game series with the Angels was set against a backdrop where the Royals bullpen had been sloppier than the first time you got lucky. Brandon Maurer was sent down to Omaha earlier in the morning, and the rest of the bullpen had contributed to a league worst ERA to date. A stark contrast to teams of the mid-2010’s where games were literally shortened to six-inning contests due to the lock down firemen.

How will YOU remember the Abraham Almonte era?

The Offense – You know about power outages in the lineup simply through attrition. Names like Hosmer, Cain, and Cabrera are wearing new uniforms this year. Names like Bonifacio and Perez were not in the lineup. Alex Gordon continues his multi-year slump, and only one Royal, Mike Moustakas was hitting over .300 (.333). And Moose was a last minute pickup because he was the only one without a chair when the music stopped.

The Rotation – It actually has been pretty decent. Ian Kennedy, for all the guff he got last year, has pitched really well. Danny Duffy, Jake Junis, and Jason Hammel have really looked like a decent starting four. Kennedy has an ERA of 1.00 and Junis hasn’t allowed a run in two of the three Royals wins. Three wins have all been by shutouts. **UPDATE: Nevermind about Junis.

But, just like prom night, you have to score in order to win in baseball, and the Royals are only averaging 1.3 runs per game. That’s… well, that’s pretty bad.

So that brings us to April 13, 2018. Our 39th worst moment in Royals history and one that certainly has set a cadence for the way the season will go.

Ned Yost has been rewarded time and time again for his steady hand at the wheel. He is glacially slow to make changes and will hold on desperately to unconventional methods. Insisting on batting Alcides Escobar in the leadoff position for years is one such example. So it was rather noteworthy that Yost made a change at leadoff for Friday’s game. The Royals finally went out and got a legitimate leadoff guy in John Jay, but he’s been relatively ineffective so far setting the table for another pickup, Lucas Duda and Moustakas. But for Yost to pull the rip cord 11 games in and to replace Jay with Abraham Almonte, a fifth year outfielder with a career slash line of .244/.297/377 in un-Yostian. Almonte was added to the team from Omaha on Tuesday after Alex Gordon was sent to the 10-day DL with a case of the sucks. Almonte is not a big on-base guy which might be an important trait in an leadoff guy.

But give Yost some credit, he’s trying anything to not throw the truck in the ditch early at this early stage. The move did not work out. Royals Review said, “Ned Yost picked a bad time for one of the worst decisions of his career; leading off with his worst player.”

Almonte did manage to make a pretty nifty grab out in center field, so at least that’s something? [MLB.com]

Even before Almonte could let us down, the game was playing out consistent with the suck-o-meter 2018 Royals template. Royals get the lead. Solid starting pitching. Bullpen fucks the cat. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

This version featured a 367 foot Pujols 2-run homer in the third. But the Royals took the lead in the fourth thanks to <insert catcher name here> single that turned into a two-run little league play while the Angels threw the ball around.

Jason Hammel left with the lead and turned the game over to Jason Grimm. His appearance was not a fairy tale. (Get it? Grimm’s Fairy Ta… nevermind.) He gave up three straight singles in the eighth with the go ahead RBI by Ian Kinsler. Here’s a fun fact, Kinsler is the biological father of the Kansas City Royals. He continually works us over like we dinged the back bumper with the bicycle.

But the Royals were still within spitting distance and baseball is baseball. John Jay reached on a pinch-hit single in the bottom of the ninth and Almonte grounded into a gonad-sinking double-play. Almonte, in the leadoff spot, didn’t bunt or try to fly out. Rather, he splattered a double play like a stink bug versus a semi on I-70.

We’ll let Royals Review writer Ryan Landreth tell you his thoughts about why this shall be called “The Almonte Game.”

“[Almonte] somehow made 7 of his team’s 27 outs. That seems absolutely impossible, but whoever said “never say never” never met Abraham Almonte. He hit into two double plays, struck out in a five-pitch at bat in which he never swung once, and grounded out twice. 0-for-5. He’s hitting .091 on the year. Ned Yost batted him leadoff. Possibly the worst hitter on the roster batted first. What good was ever going to come from Abraham Almonte leading off? Ned couldn’t have thought it was an actual good idea, right? Was he distracted from the heavy rain that was pouring down on the field when he was filling out his lineup card? There must be an excuse. There just simply must be a reason.”

As if there wasn’t a complete shaker of salt on the gaping wound of this game, Whit Merrifield was caught stealing for the final out of the ninth with the only batter worth a shit, Mike Moustakas, standing impotent at home plate. This really was a team clusterfuck. We’ll just still blame it all on Almonte because bloggers love narrative.

The loss cemented a losing series against the Angels with The Shohei Ohtani Experience pitching Sunday, and signals another milestone in the deconstruction of the championship years of the Royals.

We weren’t going to get through our list of 50 worst moments without one (or more-stay tuned) moments from the current squad. It’s going to be a long year. These Royals simply never decided whether they were going to go “process” or go for one more ride. So they landed their balls squarely on the top of the fence like one of those skater kids trying to do a hippedy crunk 360 frompy cut on the X Game Insta. Fam.

Buckle in, folks. The Almonte Game won’t be the only named game this season but it certainly has earned its place on the Royals worst moments list.

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