There isn’t a lot the Royals can do about their bullpen situation but that doesn’t mean they should continue to lose games because of it. They need to do what they can and so far they haven’t been willing to do enough. Dayton Moore talks about the importance of learning to win. That’s why he brought up Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and others together through the minor leagues with the goal on winning at the major league level. Unfortunately for those players on the major league team right now, Dayton does not have the same view about learning to win. There is no way he can value winning right now and at the same time fail to address the miserable performances in the bullpen.
Friday night was just another example of the bullpen failing miserably. Jakob Junis allowed three runs, two earned, in six innings. That’s a fine start that a lot of teams will accept in 2019. Scott Barlow allowed two runs on three hits and was pulled from the game without retiring a single batter. Wily Peralta came on in relief of Barlow and pitched a perfect inning with one strikeout. The came Diekman. Diekman apparently said to Barlow, “Hold my beer” and went out and allowed three runs on three hits and a walk without retiring a single batter.
The bright spot in the bullpen Friday night was Jorge Lopez. Lopez did not allow a run, and just one hit, in two innings of work. While that’s longer than I would like right now he was effective so maybe he can occasionally go longer than an inning. I just wouldn’t make a habit of it while he builds his confidence.
The offense did well putting up seven runs on seven hits while drawing three walks and most importantly only striking out four times. They put up three runs in the first inning for the second consecutive game. They tacked on three more in the fifth and one in the eighth. When your offense scores seven runs you should win. Period.
Cheslor Cuthbert went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and four runs batted in. Cuthbert had a double and a three-run home run. The home run gave the Royals a 6-3 lead in the fifth right after the Twins tied the game in the top of the inning. Cuthbert has been terrific since being recalled from Omaha this season. He’s now batting .307 with an .853 OPS.
Jakob Junis pitched pretty well in this game. His slider was really good at times making right-handed batters lunge and miss at pitches low and away. The slider had left-handed batters swinging over the ball as Junis buried it at their back foot. Another nice sign for Junis was his eight strikeouts in his six innings. This is a start to build on for him.
Scott Barlow is not the pitcher he was early in the season. Ned Yost refuses to acknowledge that. While Ned was quick to send Kyle Zimmer to Triple-A Omaha and claim that he had mechanical issues, Barlow has been allowed to take what was a terrific ERA in the early part of the season and have it balloon to 5.82 after this game. That’s way worse than Zimmer. This isn’t a call for Zimmer as much as it is a call for Ned to stop making up things and deal with the reality in front of him.
Jake Diekman can be so good at times but he can be so bad at other times. His 0-5 record with two blown saves shows how he’s failing in the close games a lot. His 5.23 ERA backs up that view. I wouldn’t give up on Diekman just yet. I would continue with him for the foreseeable future. I just don’t think he’s a piece for the Royals to bring back next season unless we see improvement this year.