Two things were immediately obvious after the first couple of innings, today. The first was that Daniel Lynch had his slider and changeup working. The second was that no one wanted to help him out. His final line was 4.2 innings pitched with seven hits, three walks, and one run scored. However, he could easily have allowed one fewer walk with better strike calls in the first inning and two fewer hits with better defense in the second inning. Edward Olivares made a bad break on a Cal Raleigh flyball to allow a one-out single and then Jarred Kelenic popped up on the infield but no one caught it. The worst part, however, was that after fielding the dropped popup Hanser Alberto stood there staring at people instead of throwing to second to get Raleigh even as Nicky Lopez screamed for him to do so.
The additional pitches Lynch had to throw in those two innings seemed to have an effect on him as his pitches became more erratic and easier to hit which led to him allowing the large number of pitches and baserunners in the other innings he pitched. Still, on a day in which no one was helping him, Lynch did pretty good to hold the Mariners to just one run.
Both teams were perfectly happy to put runners on base but neither team seemed particularly interested in driving those runners in. The Royals left six on base while the Mariners left thirteen. Among those the Royals left on base, however, was a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the third inning. Salvador Perez, Hunter Dozier, and Michael A. Taylor seemed to be trying far too hard to get that fourth team grand slam in a row and allowed Mariners’ starter Tyler Anderson to escape the jam unscathed.
There’s no reason to dwell overmuch on the bad, though. The Royals did win, after all. Whit Merrifield ensured that the Royals would lead for the entire game minus two pitches.
Salvador Perez wouldn’t see another bases-loaded opportunity after the third but he did see another opportunity with a runner on in the fifth.
The Royals’ relief corp - led by Joel Payamps 2.2 innings - was effective. Domingo Tapia earned the win by virtue of being the first reliever out of the bullpen when Lynch failed to make it through the fifth inning. Scott Barlow recorded his tenth save of the season while allowing a run in the ninth.
- The Mariners have an interesting camera rig over the stands behind both first and third base. It seems to run a lot like the Skycam in the NFL and when used judiciously gives the game a more cinematic feel as they zip around on the wires providing camera angles you won’t see in any other stadium.
- Dayton Moore continues to be among the best in baseball at finding relievers for his team. Seattle and Toronto gave up on Domingo Tapia and Payamps respectively but they are both rocking ERAs under 3 while reinforcing a very worn-out and injured bullpen.
- Carlos Santana was a late scratch before the game. It’s curious at this point why the Royals won’t just put him on the IL and let him heal. Maybe they’re afraid it will provide too many opportunities for Edward Olivares to play
- For some reason, Santana being scratched from the lineup led Dozier and Olivares to swap positions in the outfield. It also caused Emmanuel Rivera to make his first major league start at first base. He had played the position fewer than 10 times in the minors.
- The Royals scored their final run when Rivera ran out a routine popup to centerfield that landed between the outfielders and ended up at second in front of a Cam Gallagher RBI-single.
- The Royals are now 11 games below .500, a new high-water mark for August 2021. They have gone 23-17 since the All-Star Break.
This was a frustrating game to watch as a Royals fan; I can only imagine how much more frustrating it was for Mariners fans. There might have only been one error recorded in the box score but the game was chock full of mental errors by both teams that helped extend what could have been a tight 120-150 minute game into one that stretched past three hours.
Still, the Royals did walk away with a win. That means they have won the series and have a chance to go for the sweep tomorrow. Brady Singer (3-9, 5.07 ERA) will go for the Royals. It will be interesting to see if he builds on the number of changeups he threw in his last start against the Astros or if he goes back to pretending it doesn’t exist and doesn’t matter. The Mariners will counter with Marco Gonzales (5-5 4.13 ERA.) He’s another lefty, so expect to see Dozier, Olivares, and Hanser Alberto instead of O’Hearn or Andrew Benintendi.