The stars seemed aligned for the Royals to call up another of their touted 2018 pitching prospects, today, but it won’t happen. Jackson Kowar has a 1.01 ERA and has struck out 36 of the 104 batters he has faced in five starts for AAA Omaha. Still, it was time to call up Daniel Lynch a few weeks ago with a fatal flaw in his mechanics but still too early to call Kowar up today. Instead, the Royals will have 38-year-old swingman Ervin Santana start the game for them, today.
The biggest problem with starting Santana would seem to be the fact that he isn’t really very stretched out. He’s unlikely to be able to pitch deeply into the game and the Royals bullpen is somewhat depleted with Josh Staumont on the IL and somewhat overworked with all the short outings the Royals have gotten even from starters who are stretched out. Santana also simply isn’t the pitcher he once was; even pitching in a relief role he has only managed to strike out 10 in 16.1 innings. He’s had some success, but there are plenty of reasons to worry that it might not last for long.
Perhaps the Royals were just trying to keep things fair, though; the Twins will counter with a 38-year-old starter who isn’t who he used to be as well in J.A. Happ. The left-hander carries a 5.44 ERA into today’s contest which would be by far the largest of his career. His strikeouts are down and his WHIP is as high as it has been in a full season since 2014. Hopefully the Royals can get to him early and for a bunch of runs and keep things relatively stress-free for their makeshift approach to today’s game.
Soler and Hunter Dozier both snapped long oh-fer streaks last night and it resulted in a lineup promotion for both. Soler moves all the way back up to fourth today against the lefty and Dozier moved up to sixth. Hopefully, they’re both just about to get hot. Otherwise, we’ll all be making the same gesture Soler is.