This bullpen! Am I right? That’s how the kids would say it these days. What do you do? What can you do? Does this cause problems in the clubhouse? How could it not? This team has been good enough to be 5-2 but instead is 2-5 because of the terrible pitching from the bullpen. This is something we will be dealing with again all season just like last year.
The pitching started off good for both Jorge Lopez and Tigers’ starter Matt Moore. Moore had a nine pitch top of the first. Lopez was even better with a seven pitch bottom of the first.
In the bottom of the second Lopez struggled but limited the damage to just one run. A couple of walks, a base hit and and bases loaded error on first baseman Frank Schwindel led to the run. Lopez got out of the inning with a Josh Harrison groundout to Mondesi.
Daniel Norris entered the game for the Tigers in the top of the fourth. Matt Moore left the game with a right knee sprain caused when fielding a Billy Hamilton bunt in the third. Daniel Norris is the Kyle Zimmer of the Tigers. He has had surgery to repair different parts of his body during or after every season since 2014.
Whit Merrifield extended his hitting streak to 27 games in the top of the sixth inning with a solo home run to left field off of Norris.
Jorge Soler tied the game in the sixth with a lead off home run to left off of Daniel Norris. Frank Schwindel followed with his first major league hit. Terrance Gore pinch ran for Schwindel and stole second base on the next pitch. The stolen base ended up not mattering because Hunter Dozier blasted a long home run to left field off of Victor Alcantara who replaced Norris. With the home run the Royals took a 4-2 lead.
Kevin McCarthy started the seventh inning in relief and immediately allowed a single, hit a batter and then two more hits but was saved by a throw home by Alex Gordon to get Josh Harrison at the plate.
Wily Peralta replaced McCarthy and allowed a grand slam. The 4-2 lead quickly became a 7-4 deficit and that’s how it would end.
Whit Merrifield [1-for-4, R, RBI, HR]
Whit extended his hitting streak to 27 games in the sixth with a solo home run off of Daniel Norris.
Alex Gordon [1-for-3, BB]
Gordon made a terrific throw home to get Josh Harrison trying to score in the seventh. The out kept the Royals lead at 4-3.
Jorge Soler [1-for-4, R, RBI, 2 K, HR]
Soler led off the seventh inning with a long home run to left field off of Daniel Norris. Soler has been hitting well early in the season even though he looks just awful on off-speed pitches low and away at times. He got a fastball inside in the sixth and hit it hard.
Frank Schwindel [1-for-3, K]
Schwindel followed Soler’s home run with his first major league hit. He also made a real nice pick on a throw in the dirt from catcher Martin Maldonado.
Hunter Dozier [1-for-4, R, 2 RBI, HR]
Dozier got the Royals out of the third inning with a nice play moving to his left to field a ground ball to throw out Jeimer Candelario at first base. Dozier was in the shift playing just to the right of second base. I continue to be impressed with Dozier’s mobility on defense.
Dozier’s offense appears to be heating up today. He had a long out early in the game and then a long home run to left in the seventh.
Billy Hamilton [1-for-3]
Hamilton used his speed to cause some trouble for the Tigers by laying down a bunt with two outs in the third. Tigers pitcher Matt Moore tried to field the ball but fell and then threw the ball away allowing Hamilton to advance to second base.
Jorge Lopez [56 GS, 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 97 P, 58 S (60%), 1.33 WHIP)]
Lopez pitched well Saturday. He allowed just five hits and three walks in six innings. He had moments where he struggled throwing strikes but overall this was a nice improvement over his first start against the White Sox in Kansas City. This start earned a game score of 56 which is the second best start for a Royals’ pitcher this season.
Kevin McCarthy [L, 0.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 10 P, 7 S (70%), 9.00 WHIP]
McCarthy entered the game to start the seventh inning with the Royals up 4-2. He left after hitting a batter and allowing three hits. He led the game with the only out recorded being an out at the plate on a great throw by Alex Gordon. McCarthy was bad as we have come to expect from the bullpen.
Wily Peralta [0.2 IP, H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, 20 P, 10 S (50%), 2.99 WHIP]
Peralta allowed a grand slam in the seventh. He threw back-to-back changeups with the second one being left in the middle of the strike zone. That second changeup was the one that Christin Stewart hit just inside the right field foul pole for a grand slam.
Kyle Zimmer [IP, H, 2 BB, 19 P, 10 S (53%), 3.00 WHIP]
It wasn’t a perfect inning by any means but Kyle Zimmer pitched a scoreless eighth Saturday. Zimmer walked two and allowed a double. One of the walks was essentially an intentional walk to Miguel Cabrera. He still needs to make progress but this should be a confidence builder for Zimmer who couldn’t throw a strike Thursday.