You know, it’s weird. The Royals continue to be bad, but at least with only three players in the lineup over 30, it doesn’t bother me as much. There’s hope that Bobby Witt Jr., Kyle Isbel, and MJ Melendez can learn to hit better in the clutch. More of a chance than Michael A. Taylor and Carlos Santana, anyway.
Santana can still take some walks - he took another tonight - but watching him swing is painful. Gone is the fast, violent stroke that terrorized Royals fans when he played with Cleveland. Now he seems to be flailing helplessly and making terrible contact at bad pitches to hit. The youngsters have faster, meaner-looking swings and it feels like only a matter of time until they start putting fear into the hearts of Royals opponents.
Brad Keller was thoroughly mediocre, tonight. Which is fine; no pitcher is nails every time. He allowed four runs in seven innings with not-good, not-terrible numbers all around. Unfortunately, the Royals have been disinclined to provide him - or any other Royals pitcher - appropriate run support. The Royals used Gabe Speier and Foster Griffin in relief and both struggled, but realistically the game was decided before they were ever announced. The Royals had plenty of runners on base; the broadcast actually noted that the Royals have had more plate appearances with runners on than any other American League team - but couldn’t find ways to bring them home consistently.
There were some signs of life. Andrew Benintendi had three hits, including an RBI and a double. Emmanuel Rivera homered to left-center for the second night in a row. Kyle Isbel demolished a double in the second inning. MJ Melendez crushed a ball to right that ended up being a flyout to the track. As previously mentioned, runners get on base. They do just enough to make the overly optimistic or hopeful among us believe that this time might be different. But it never is.
The Royals will play again tomorrow afternoon and attempt to avoid the sweep. According to the broadcast, KC has not yet announced a starter but the Royals’ website lists Brady Singer. Foster Griffin pitched for the second consecutive night tonight and seems likely to be the odd man out to get Brady back on the big league roster. The Twins will counter with Bailey Ober; the right-hander was mediocre in his rookie season last year but has looked good in four starts so far this year. Kind of like tonight’s starter, Joe Ryan.