The Royals continued their trend of alternating wins and losses, as their third chance to climb above .500 ended just like the first two did with a loss.
Ultimately, it was the third inning that sunk Kansas City against the Detroit Tigers, 4-3, on Tuesday night.
Whit Merrifield continued his tear by roping a three-run homer in the top of the third, scoring Oscar Hernandez and Brett Phillips, who singled and reached on an error before the blast. It was the second home run of the year for Merrifield, who now leads the team with seven RBI.
Kyle Zimmer, who started and worked through the first two innings without incident, opened the third by hitting nine hitter Jacoby Jones. Zimmer was pulled for Tyler Zuber, who gave up a pair of two-run homers to Jonathan Schoop and Christin Stewart. Neither team scored the rest of the game.
The rest of the Royals’ bullpen was fantastic, as Jake Newberry, Josh Staumont, Scott Barlow, Greg Holland, and Trevor Rosenthal all threw a scoreless inning to keep the contest within a run. For Staumont and Barlow, whom had each had rough outings in the last few days, it was good to see them get back on track. The duo of Holland and Rosenthal continue to look like they could form a good back-end combination for the Royals to have throughout the summer.
As for Zimmer, he made his first career start and threw a total of 35 pitches. The thought before was that he would go around 50 pitches, so it was a little bit of a quick hook when he was yanked just one batter into the third. He struck out one and allowed one hit. I’m not sure if he’s being stretched out to be a starter or if Mike Matheny just plans to use him as an opener, but his velocity was good. I’d like to see him get the ball again in five days.
I also want to touch on Adalberto Mondesi, who hasn’t looked impressive at all in any way so far. His biggest blunder yet came when he hit a popup in the ninth and it was dropped by the first baseman, but he wasn’t running (or really even jogging) out of the box and got thrown out between first and second after a nice recovery by the Tigers. He’s now just 2 for 21 on the year, he leads the AL in errors, and he’s getting thrown out on the bases when he actually does get gifted with fortune. The opportunity to make a playoff run is there with this abbreviated season, but in order for the Royals to get there, they absolutely need more from Mondesi.
The Royals are 2-3 on the year. Danny Duffy and Matthew Boyd will go tomorrow at 6:10.