Let’s get the important bit out of the way, first. The Royals won! That’s a good thing! They’re still more or less on pace to win 90 games per Stephen Suffron. Any good team is going to have to win some ugly games along the way. But if you were hoping to see a clean and easy win, this wasn’t it.
Let’s start with the pitching. Kris Bubic made his second start of the year and this time he only allowed a single run in 4.1 innings. That’s a drastic improvement! He also walked a career-high six. That’s not great, Bob. He was regularly missing very badly and very high. Credit to Bubic for getting as far as he did with the stuff he has and the command he completely lacked, today, but he’s going to need to be better if he hopes to keep his spot in the rotation.
The bullpen was better, fortunately. Colin Snider, Dylan Coleman, Scott Barlow, and Josh Staumont combined for 4.2 scoreless innings. Coleman struggled with control against the first two hitters he faced. Scott Barlow allowed a two-out double in the bottom of the eighth that would have been a home run in multiple other parks.
As for the offense, there were definite highlights. Bobby Witt Jr. and Andrew Benintendi each had a pair of singles but none of them were particularly well-hit. In the sixth inning, Hunter Dozier took a hanging curve deep for the game-winning, two-run home run. He also singled earlier in the game to raise his batting average up to .296.
That’s about the limit of the good news for the offense. While Dozier had those two hits, he was also hung out to dry by third base coach Vance Wilson as he rounded third on a single. Wilson opted to give no sign to the chugging Dozier who chose to continue home and was thrown out easily.
Whit Merrifield, Salvador Perez, and Carlos Santana all went hitless again. Merrifield’s average is now under .150. Santana’s is under .100. Early in the season and small sample sizes, but there were reasons to think those two, in particular, might not be capable of putting up positive numbers this season. Meanwhile, Kyle Isbel and Edward Olivares have both played very well in AAA last season and earlier this year in Spring Training and cannot get on the field at all. They’re both significantly younger and more likely to be part of the next good Royals team but find themselves glued to the bench.
- Hunter Dozier’s home run became the first Sonic Slam of the season, winning $800 for a lucky contestant.
- The home run was also his first on an 0-2 count and his first against the Tigers in Kansas City; he had hit eight more in Detroit.
- Nicky Lopez did have a single in this game, meaning he has a hit in all but one game so far this season, continuing right where he left off last season.
- Staumont seems to be back to his 2020 self. He hit 101 MPH multiple times with his fastball and struck out two while earning his first save of the season.
- The Royals are now 2-0 in Saturday games. If they could go ahead and win every Saturday game this season, I wouldn’t complain.
We are still waiting to see our first comfortable Royals’ win of the season, much less their first blowout of another team. But sometimes the result is more valuable than the process. Escaping that losing streak was probably more important than having a bunch of eye-popping numbers.
The Royals will go for the series split, tomorrow. The Royals will send Carlos Hernández (0-0, 8.31 ERA) to the mound. The Tigers will counter with left-hander Tyler Alexander (0-0, 5.06 ERA.)