Brady Singer had the best start of any Royals pitcher this season, and the Royals won a quick game 2-1.
Big Picture: The win gives the Royals a two-game lead until the White Sox play Saturday night. They clinched at least a tie in this four-game series.
Notes: The Royals activated RHP Greg Holland from the injured list after being placed on it yesterday. So that tells us it was covid related. The club designated RHP Brad Brach for assignment.
Beautiful Benintendi Baserunning: After the Royals finally got a hit in the fifth inning of Saturday’s game, Andrew Benintendi knocked in the first run on a fielder’s choice. Then Michael Taylor singled to right with Benintendi going to third and forcing Detroit to make a throw. The throw hit Benintendi in the helmet as he slid. With all kinds of foul territory at Comerica Park, Benintendi easily scored on the mistake.
Pitching Wins Do Mean Something: Analytics ignores pitcher wins these days. Those are considered meaningless. To some extent, that view is understandable. There are a lot of cases where it seems crazy that a pitcher was credited with a win. For example, a pitcher who allows seven runs and gets a win for his team winning the game 8-7 seems silly.
But why are pitcher wins discounted when the whole point of the game is to win? It doesn’t matter if a team wins 1-0 or 20-19. They both count as one win. All that matters for a pitcher is whether they lead their team win or lose.
I bring all of this up because of the Royals game on Saturday. Ryan Lefebvre and Rex Hudler talked about the lack of run support Brady Singer had received in his first three starts. The Royals didn’t score a single run for him. And when they finally gave him a run, and the lead, in the fifth inning Saturday, Singer immediately allowed a home run to the first batter he faced when he retook the mound.
The home run cut the Royals lead to 2-1, but it means so much more. Yes, Singer had a two-run lead, so the solo shot still kept the Royals in front, but Singer was just given his first runs of the year! You want Singer to attack the batter and not walk him, but at the same time, you would think Singer wouldn’t want to give back any of the first lead he has had this season. Now, I understand. He didn’t mean to give up the home run. But maybe he let down just a little because he had a two-run lead.
My point is that the situation matters. Pitchers pitch differently depending on the situation. With a lead, they will attack the strike zone more. You don’t want to give batters a free pass to first base. In a tie game, the approach is different because a home run puts your team behind. So, even though the analytics people don’t care about pitcher wins, they most definitely indicate how a pitcher does in-game situations.
Matheny’s Pitching Decisions: Mike Matheny has done a pretty good job since joining the Royals. Today, however, was a big mistake with handling the pitching.
Brady Singer was cruising through the Detroit lineup. He averaged just over 13 pitches per inning. He wasn’t having any long, stressful innings. Overall pitch count means almost nothing. It’s all about pitches per inning and stressful innings. Singer didn’t stress all day.
Nevertheless, Matheny removed Singer from the game after seven excellent innings. He used Scott Barlow and Josh Staumont for an inning each. The problem with this is that both pitchers might be needed on Sunday. Why use them Saturday when you don’t have to? I better not hear Mike Matheny talking about the bullpen being tired at any point this season if he isn’t going to save them in a game like this.
Now Staumont has been used in back-to-back games. If he is not available on Sunday, Matheny has some explaining to do.
Next Up: Danny Duffy starts on the mound on Sunday as the Royals go for the series win. Michael Fulmer gets the start for Detroit.
Thanks for reading…
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