Once the Royals leave Cleveland, they might have nightmares about Travis Hafner for many days after.
After blasting a game winning home run the game before, Hafner did his damage a little earlier in the game Wednesday. With one out and the bases loaded in the third inning, Hafner drilled the first pitch of the at-bat over the wall in right field. His grand slam gave the Indians all the runs they needed to win 5-0.
Needless to say, Royals starter Jeremy Affeldt never found a groove.
It seemed as though he was trying to pitch into a strike zone the size of a pea. He walked six batters in six innings. Affeldt only threw consecutive strikes eight times. And when he did find the strike zone, the Indians were routinely ready. Affeldt finished with the loss giving up four earned runs on three hits, but walked six and only struck out one in six innings. He fell to 2-3 with a 5.46 ERA.
Just a week ago, the Royals were able to touch up Indians starter Jake Westbrook for eight runs in 5 2/3 innings. But that was at home where the Royals are a .500 team. Wednesday’s game was at Jacobs Field and the Royals look like they forget how to play baseball on the road. This time around, Westbrook shut down the Royals pitching a six hit complete game shutout.
The Royals offense was a bit anemic to say the least.
No Royals player had multiple hits. Only twice did they put a runner in scoring position… Those two runners never reached third. And only twice did they have two runners on at the same time.
After the loss, only one regular starter, Mark Grudzielanek, is hitting over .300. He’s batting .305 for the year. The closest player after him is Kerry Robinson who is hitting .274.
The Royals have now lost their last seven games on the road and five overall. They are 10-27 this season.