Brady Singer is starting his second season in the major leagues, and he just had his first game with fans in the stadium.
Result: Poor starting pitching finally caught up with the Royals. In the first two games of the season, the Royals’ incredible offensive output overcame bad starts by Brad Keller and Mike Minor. Brady Singer took the mound in game three but was not able to do any better. But this time, the offense was limited to three runs. The loss means the Royals failed to sweep their opening series. But they won the series. You do that every time out, and you are looking at a 100-win season.
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Sad Songs Say So Much: Brady Singer made just four appearances in spring training games. He pitched 17 innings, allowed 12 hits and five walks. He ended the spring with a 2.65 ERA.
Now spring stats mean very little. Often, they mean nothing. But if anything were to carry over from spring training into the regular season, we were hoping that Brady Singer would continue to pitch well. That didn’t happen.
Singer threw 77 pitches in just 3 1/3 innings, allowing six runs on five hits and three walks. It’s a long season. In the grand scheme of things, this outing means almost nothing. He will get a lot more starts.
The concern early on as a club is that the Royals have now had three consecutive poor outings from their starting pitchers. Is it possible that the unseasonably nice April weather is a factor?
We often hear that batters struggle early in the season because of the cold, wet weather they are playing in after hitting in Arizona or Florida weather for six weeks. It’s too early to say that scoring is up. It just feels like it. And you cannot argue that hitting in nice weather is much easier than hitting in cold, wet weather.
Let’s Talk Bullpen: So we can all see how bad the starting pitchers have been in the first three games. But what about the bullpen?
In game one, the bullpen combined for 7 2/3 innings. They allowed four runs on six hits and seven walks.
In game two, the bullpen allowed no runs on two hits and one walk in three innings. Much improved from the first game.
And then, on Sunday, the bullpen allowed one run on three hits and one walk in 5 2/3 innings.
I would say that the bullpen’s results have been mixed to this point. The talent is absolutely there. And although the starting pitching needs to go six or seven innings most nights, the Royals might have to lean heavily on the bullpen at times this season. This bullpen can handle that.
Offensive Offense: Three runs. That’s not awful. Three runs won’t win a lot of games, but it will win some. The ugly part of the offense today was that it did not draw a single walk and had 14 strikeouts. Ouch!
You expect Jorge Soler to have some three-strikeout games. It’s not that those games are ok. They’re not. But you expect those games.
What you don’t expect is Carlos Santana striking out twice and not getting a single walk. In his defense, he did get two hits. Santana has been terrific offensively so far. But two strikeouts is not common for him.
Andrew Benintendi struck out twice. One of those looked like what you would see a youth baseball player do trying to catch up to a pitcher with more velocity than he can handle. I don’t believe that is the case with Benintendi, but it certainly looked like it in one of his at-bats.
The most concerning player might be Kyle Isbel. Isbel struck out three times Sunday. He has now struck out five times in 13 at-bats in three games. He struck out in 23% of his minor league at-bats. While that’s not great, it does give me hope that maybe this is an initial adjustment to the major leagues.
How The Series Was Won: This series was won because of the offense. There is no doubt about that. The bullpen played a role in helping stop the Rangers’ offense in the second game of the series, allowing the Royals’ offense to take over. But the Rangers averaged seven runs per game in the series. The fact that the Royals even won one game is surprising with that average. When you allow 10, 4, and 7 runs in a three-game series, you expect to maybe win the middle game. The Royals were fortunate their offense started even hotter than Texas’.
Defense Matters: With Brady Singer struggling in the fourth inning, after he loaded the bases with walks, Singer allowed a base hit to left. Andrew Benintendi fielded the ball and made a completely offline throw, getting past Hanser Alberto and Salvador Perez and allowing runners to move up to second and third. We’ll keep an eye on this. We are used to Alex Gordon’s arm being excellent in left field. Throws were rarely offline from Gordon. Benintendi’s throw on Sunday was terrible, and it cost the Royals a run.
Where Do We Go From Here? The Royals have to start getting quality starts from their pitchers. Danny Duffy in Cleveland makes me nervous.
Next Up: The Royals go on the road to participate in the home opener for the Cleveland Indians on Monday. Danny Duffy gets the start for the Royals in the 3:10 pm game. There is currently a 50% chance of rain in Cleveland on Monday afternoon, so there is a chance that game could get pushed to Tuesday.
The Royals now go on the road for five games within the division. They play two in Cleveland, followed by three in Chicago. The idea is to win each series. It would be asking a lot to take both games in Cleveland, but three out of the five on the road trip would be terrific. Two out of five brains the club home at .500. Anything less than two wins concerns you that things are spiraling out of control already.
Thanks for reading…