The Royals snapped their most recent losing streak last night, but given that their stretch of poor play extends beyond just the six-game losing streak it would behoove them to string a few wins in a row before losing another. They face the Red Sox again today. The Red Sox are a tough opponent, but the Royals beat them last night, so who knows.
You’ll note when you get to the bottom of this gamethread preview that Adalberto Mondesi is not in the starting lineup again. As of this writing, I have been able to find no announcement has been provided by the team directly or through the beat writers. My hope is merely that Manager Mike Matheny is playing things cautiously in a day game after a night game with his oft-injured but most dynamic player.
Anyway, let’s talk about the pitchers.
I don’t know what’s left to say about Keller at this point. Coming into this season he was the brightest among the Royals starting rotation stars. He had been incredibly consistent and seemed to keep improving. This year he has fought his command but he has also allowed far more home runs than ever before. He has now made nearly half a season’s worth of starts and it may just be that this is who he is, at least for 2021. It’s entirely unclear why he’s suddenly lost so much effectiveness so he could gain it back in 2022 and we’d all just keep nodding along.
There was some hope Keller had hit a turning point when he pitched seven innings against the Rays and allowed only a single run. In the next two starts he only pitched five innings each and allowed two runs and three runs but the thinking went that maybe this was back to being his floor instead of his ceiling. However in each of his last two starts he has allowed five runs or more in fewer than six innings. Just one more mystery underperformance for the Royals to overcome.
The Red Sox are sending out Martín Pérez. Only 30, it feels like he’s been pitching for forever because he made his Major League debut in 2012 at age 21. He continues to be a consistent, mid-back of the rotation starter. Pérez is 1-1 with a 5.28 ERA in eight starts against the Royals in his career. He has more earned runs allowed than strikeouts against them, which seems promising. The last time he faced them was with Minnesota in 2019. He had back to back starts against the Royals to close out the year, in the first he allowed five runs in two and one-third innings including a home run to catch Nick Dini. In the final start he was a bit better allowing only three runs in five and two-thirds innings; he gave up a dinger to Jorge Soler in that contest.