Starter Bannister struggles after dark again as Royals fall to the White Sox.
Whatever hobgoblins populate Brian Bannister’s night struck again Tuesday when he lasted just four innings in the Royals’ 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium.
“I know about the whole dayBanny, night-Banny thing,” Bannister said. “Night-Banny plus the White Sox is not a good combination. It never has been and, unfortunately, the schedule always seems to line up that way.” No, not a good combination. Bannister’s career ERA against the White Sox, in 15 starts, is now 7.97. That’s seven point nine seven. Whoever those hobgoblins are, they’re probably wearing white sox.
“I’ve pitched a different way to them15 different times now,” he said, “and still have not come up with a solution for them. And I know I have them in 10 days again (in Chicago).
“It always seems like I’m pitching against them, and it always seems like they’re getting to me.”
Bannister surrendered all four Chicago runs, which dug a 4-0 hole, before making an early exit. He gave up eight hits, none of which was particularly rocked.
“They weren’t bombs away on him by any stretch of the imagination,” manager Ned Yost said. “The balls they hit off Banny were wellplaced bloop doubles. We live by those, so I’m not taking anything away from them.
“They put the ball in play and found spots. But they didn’t really crush the ball on him.”
The Royals never quite recovered.
They slapped Chicago starter Gavin Floyd for three runs in the fifth inning and mounted a few threats thereafter, but the White Sox held on and squared the threegame series at one victory apiece.
Bannister’s day/night splits have always been an issue but never as much as this season. He is 4-0 with a 2.37 ERA in six daylight starts but now 3-6 with a 7.76 ERA in10 starts under the lights.
“I don’t scratch my head,” Yost said, “and I’m not going to just start pitching him in day games. He pitched well in night games when I first came here. It was just one of those nights when they found some holes.”
Catcher Jason Kendall said much the same thing.
“I don’t pay attention to that,” he said. “He’s thrown some good night games, too. He just left some balls up, and they took advantage of it.” You figure it out. Floyd exited with a 4-3 lead and a runner at second with two outs in the seventh inning. The White Sox called on Matt Thornton for a lefty-lefty matchup against former teammate Scott Podsednik.
The strategy worked when Podsednik flied out to center.
The Royals then got a leadoff single from Jason Kendall against Thornton in the eighth before David DeJesus’ bunt turned into a force at second. José Guillen’s two-out single moved DeJesus to second.
That brought J.J. Putz into the game, which shifted Alberto Callaspo to the left side — an odd move since Callaspo is hitting more than 40 points higher from the left side. Callaspo drew a walk that loaded the bases.
The Royals left the loaded when third baseman Omar Vizquel, just inserted for defensive purposes, made a deft snag on Mike Aviles’ sharp grounder and turned it into an inning-ending force at second base.
“That was a bullet,” Vizquel said. “I got lucky.”
A career with 11 Gold Gloves for defensive excellence suggest more than luck. Still, the Royals kept coming. Wilson Betemit opened the ninth with a single against Putz, but pinch runner Willie Bloomquist had to hold first when Yuniesky Betancourt flied out to right. Bloomquist tried to steal second but only ran into the second out.
“I got a good jump,” Bloomquist said, “but I knew it was going to be tough because (Putz) was pretty quick to the plate. But I’ve got to take a chance.”
Bannister, 7-6, regressed from his last start, a splendid afternoon outing in which he pitched six shutout innings in outdueling Washington wonderkid Stephen Strasburg. This time, he needed 90 pitches just to get through four innings.
The bullpen rang up five scoreless innings. It wasn’t enough. “It just seems that every time I play against them,” Bannister said, “they come up with a creative way to beat me.” To reach Bob Dutton, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow
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Willie Bloomquist (right) was tagged out by Chicago’s Alexei Ramirez in the ninth while attempting to steal second in the Royals’ 4-3 loss to the White Sox.