Brad Keller, the 22-year old rookie acquired in the Rule 5 draft last December for basically nothing, has emerged as the best Royals starter this summer. He continued his streak of fantastic starts with perhaps the best outing of his career, an eight-inning complete game in which he allowed just one run on six hits and no walks while striking out three. However, the Royals offense was completely shutdown in a 1-0 loss to Seattle, giving the Mariners the sweep.
The only blemish on Keller’s day was a trio of singles in the second that led to a run, and even then the balls were not hit particularly hard. A pair of singles by Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager put runners on the corners, and Ben Gamel golfed a ball into shallow centerfield for an RBI single to make it 1-0.
That was it. The whole game. And it was a quick one (exactly two hours). The Royals offense could muster nothing against James Paxton, with just two hits and two walks over eight shutout innings before Edwin Diaz struck out the side in the ninth. The Royals have scored just 58 runs over their last 27 games since June 1, just 2.14 per game. They are hitting just .189 since the start of June. The offense is bad, terrible, horrible, awful.
But let’s be honest, how many of the players in the starting lineup will be in Kansas City for the next good Royals team? Probably Adalberto Mondesi, maybe Rosell Herrera, possibly Salvy or Whit? But Brad Keller seems like a good bet to stick around, and he now has a 2.14 ERA through six starts. Are there concerns he can’t strike out hitters? Sure. Is he going to have to keep up a groundball rate that seems hard to sustain? Of course.
But Brad Keller is giving us a small ray of hope in an otherwise stinker of a season. And I’ll grab onto that for dear life right now.