Before the game if asked what the Royals’ most pressing issue on offense was, you might have said an inability to bring runners home from scoring position. If asked about Daniel Lynch pitching, you’d probably have mentioned his inability to finish hitters off. Naturally, both of those things played into tonight’s loss.
You’d be forgiven if you thought the Royals were in for a fun night based on what happened in the first inning. Bobby Witt Jr. took one-out a walk, Salvador Perez hit a single, Ryan O’Hearn was hit by a pitch, and Hunter Dozier gave the Royals an early lead with an RBI single.
Nick Pratto watched two hanging sliders but didn’t miss the fastball that ended the at-bat; the Royals took a three-run lead on his double.
That, sadly, was the end of the Royals’ scoring. Daniel Lynch had a kind of weird night. Six strikeouts in five innings and only one walk sounds like a pretty good night. He even had a whiff rate of 12% and a called strike + whiff rate of 29%, solid if not spectacular numbers. But he failed to secure the shutdown inning in the second and gave up Wil Myers’ second dinger of the series with a runner on. Then he found himself completely unable to finish anyone off in the third. He allowed four hits and a walk in the inning, despite getting to two strikes on four of those batters. After the walk he buckled down and stopped the bleeding before the game got out of hand. He even ended up pitching five total innings. But it’s impossible to call this a good start based on the results.
Yu Darvish had thrown nearly 60 pitches after the second inning and it seemed like KC might at least get into the Padres’ shaky bullpen. Somehow things turned around from that point and Darvish ended up pitching seven innings, allowing only a single baserunner over his final five frames when Michael Massey bunted for a single in the sixth.
This loss wasn’t all on Lynch, though. The offense still had runners at second and third with only one out in the first and failed to score any after Pratto’s double. In the second inning, they had runners at first and third with one out and second and third with two out but failed to score any additional runs.
For once, the bullpen looked really good, though. Collin Snider pitched the sixth inning and struck out one in a scoreless inning. Carlos Hernández pitched the seventh and eighth and lit up the radar gun; he also struck out one in his pair of scoreless innings. Scott Barlow finished the night on the pitching side with a scoreless inning and strikeout of his own. The pitching didn’t do what needed to be done, but they did enough to give the hitters a chance and the hitters declined.
- Wil Myers has two home runs in this series and just three all year long in part due to injury and in part due to ineffectiveness.
- Carlos Hernández still isn’t striking out as many as you’d like, but he now has three straight scoreless appearances out of the bullpen. Collin Snider has four.
- Kyle Isbel made multiple diving catches in the outfield and just missed a home run in the second inning.
- Drew Waters is still struggling in his transition to the big leagues. The good news is that it isn’t due to an unreasonable number of strikeouts.
The Royals will attempt to avoid the sweep, tomorrow at 1:10 pm CDT. Jonathan Heasley will take the mound for Kansas City, and hopefully be a little less hyped about it. Sean Manaea will make his fourth career starts against the team that drafted him. His teams have yet to lose in such matchups.