Before tonight Griffin Jax’s best start was his third; he pitched 5.1 innings and allowed only one run to the Cardinals. Beyond that, he had made a total of ONE quality start in his major league career. He pitched six innings and allowed four runs (two earned) against Cleveland on August 16. He had allowed at least one home run in every start except one, including ten straight. He had given up two home runs in each of his last two starts. He hadn’t even been good against KC, allowing 10 runs in 11 innings across two starts.
So, of course, he shut out Kansas City for five innings, allowing only one hit and one walk. It was easily the best he’s looked all year.
Kris Bubic, unfortunately, could not match him. Bubic had one of those nights where he was mostly nailing his spots but when he missed it was punished. Josh Donaldson belted a home run with two outs in the first which proved to be plenty to win the game against the Royals, who must have accidentally scored all of tonight’s runs last night. Bubic gave up an unearned run in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly to Luis Arraez. The final run was scored in the fifth off of a Mitch Garver single, scoring Byron Buxton.
In all, it wasn’t a bad night for Bubic who finishes the season with a 4.43 ERA. He gave up seven hits in allowing the three runs, two earned. He struck out five in the first three innings and recorded the remainder of his outs on batted balls. He did not issue any free passes; it was his first start of the year without a walk. There are reasons to be impressed and also disappointed by Bubic’s sophomore campaign but definitely enough good to justify positivity for what he might be able to do in 2022.
The Royals’ best scoring opportunity came in the sixth inning, once Jax had left the game. Cam Gallagher led off with a double down the third-base line and advanced to third on a fly ball by Whit Merrifield. Nicky Lopez had a chance to drive him in but hit a groundball that neatly led first-baseman Willians Astudillo to first base.
- The gamethread indicated that Jax had allowed two home runs to Benintendi; this was incorrect, he only allowed one of the two home runs Benny hit that day. It also omitted one inning pitched from Jax’s record against the Royals prior to tonight.
- Nicky Lopez’s franchise-record-tying 22 steals without being caught came to an end tonight. He was thrown out trying to steal second in the fourth inning. Alcides Escobar set the record when he went 22-for-22 in 2013.
- Before the ninth inning, Cam Gallagher was the only Royal to earn a hit.
- Salvy went oh-fer tonight, including hitting into a game-ending double play. He is now one-for-thirteen since tying the Royals’ franchise record of 48 home runs in a season. He still has one more game to take the lead for himself.
The Royals will finish the season tomorrow afternoon against the Twins. Jackson Kowar (0-5, 11.28 ERA) gets the final start of the year in the rubber match of the series. He will attempt to either get his ERA back into the single digits or set a new record for the highest ERA for a pitcher with as many starts as he has made. Kowar has had an awful rookie campaign but there’s still plenty to dream on with him, so don’t give up on him just yet. The Twins will counter with left-handed rookie Charlie Barnes (0-3, 5.86 ERA.)