The success of the Royals offense will get most of the digital ink after this one and rightly so. But there are a couple other things worth talking about from this one, too.
First let’s talk about the not-so-fun thing. White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease walked six batters in five innings - and the strike zone was such an enigma that he easily could have walked several more on a different day. However, the Royals did not score any of them. That’s decidedly not good. They eventually got it together against the bullpen but they do more with more of their opportunities. They won today because the White Sox gave them a lot of opportunities. You can’t count on that happening every time.
Now we can talk about the fun thing. That was easily the best game I’ve seen Brady Singer pitch. That comes with the caveat that I’ve only seen him pitch for the big league team and I haven’t been able to even watch all of his start this season. But his fastball location was pretty good and his slider was deadly. He got them to swing at half of them (16 swings at 31 sliders) and they missed six times. Including when he made Jose Abreu whiff at it twice to escape a jam in the third inning while only allowing one run.
Yes, Singer did leave a slider in a hittable spot to Edwin Encarnacion. But it still wasn’t quite a hanger and sometimes you just have to give credit to the hitter. Encarnacion may not be who he once was but he’s still occasionally dangerous and he just happened to get Singer on that one. And, of course, Nick Madrigal’s RBI single was not due to any failing on Singer’s part. I mean, look at this:
Anyway, Singer was good today. Without some really awful luck in the third inning his long would look significantly better, too. Don’t give up on that kid, just yet.
On the reliever front the Royals are in search of a new closer. Trevor Rosenthal was traded to the Padres and last year’s closer, Ian Kennedy, has been ineffective and is now hurt in a non-contact injury that seems likely to end his season. Candidates include, but are not limited to, Jesse Hahn, Matt Harvey, Josh Staumont, and Greg Holland. Holland pitched the eighth today, Hahn came in and earned the save after Kennedy hurt himself giving up the final three runs of the game, and Matt Harvey was warming up behind Hahn. Staumont has been far and away the Royals’ most effective reliever but manager Mike Matheny may not want to put that much pressure on him, just yet.
Once the Royals got the White Sox bullpen they feasted. Alex Gordon hit another solo home run today, Ryan O’Hearn hit just about the loudest home run I’ve ever heard, and Ryan McBroom is now the Royals all-time leader with three pinch hit home runs in his career. Maikel Franco gave the Royals some breathing room with a home run to left-centerfield that seemed to just deflect off the tip of Luis Robert’s glove. O’Hearn, Hunter Dozier, and Jorge Soler all added RBI hits that didn’t clear the bases to finish things off. Everybody loves a good home run parade, right?
Dayton Moore may have hoisted the white flag with the Rosenthal trade but the Royals still have games to play including the rubber match against the White Sox, tomorrow. Kris Bubic will take the mound for the Royals and try to make some of the same strides that Brady Singer made today.