The Royals got back in the win column one day after their winning streak was snapped at five games.
Big Picture: The Royals’ 9-5 win in Pittsburgh Wednesday night improved their record to 15-8. The win increased their lead to 2 1/2 games over second-place Chicago in the American League Central.
Notes: Bobby Witt Jr will start his season at Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
Make Struggling Pitchers Pay: The Royals have been struggling on offense most of the season, and especially in recent games. But Wednesday, they got a chance to face some Pittsburgh pitchers who have also been struggling this season. The Royals took advantage of the opportunity, as they should. There is a lot of good pitching out there. When you get a chance to face struggling pitchers, you need to take advantage of it.
The Royals faced Mitch Keller who had been struggling almost as much as Royals pitcher Brad Keller. The Royals took advantage of it from the beginning. Jorge Soler doubled home Carlos Santana with two outs in the first inning, and then Hunter Dozier tripled home Soler and Andrew Benintendi.
The Royals added a run in the third inning to go up 4-0. And when the Pirates replaced Keller with another struggling pitcher, Sean Poppen, the Royals tacked on two more runs and led 6-0 in the fourth.
A Minor Concern: Mike Minor has started just five games, but he is working his way to the bullpen. Minor has pitched between four and six innings in each of his starts and has allowed at least one run in each. In fact, he allowed just one run in one start and two runs in another. In his other three starts, he has allowed four or more runs.
Minor is owed $7 million in 2021 and $10 million in 2022, so he’s likely to get an opportunity to work through his struggles. The Royals can buy out his 2023 option for $1 million.
But as of now, Jakob Junis can relax. He is pitching better than both Brad Keller and Mike Minor. If the Royals decide to bring up Daniel Lynch or another pitching prospect, Minor should be the starter to get bumped to the bullpen. Who would be dropped? I think it would be Ervin Santana or possibly Greg Holland, but I lean towards Santana.
The unfortunate thing is that the Royals need Minor in the rotation. The bullpen is in pretty good shape with young arms, but they could hide Minor in long relief for a while until he fixes things.
I can’t see anything happening for a few more starts. Dayton Moore is going to give Mike Minor plenty of opportunities to straighten things up. I’m just not sure he’s going to be able to do it.
Hip Hip Jorge: Maybe we can’t expect Jorge Soler to be as productive every game as he was on Wednesday, but Wednesday is what the Royals need from him more often.
Pitchers Hitting Is A Joke: Tyler Zuber’s at-bat in the ninth inning is an argument in favor of adopting the designated hitter in the National League. Zuber wasn’t swinging the bat. He watched five pitches go by before he did swing on a full count, and he had no chance of hitting the ball. We removed the pitches for an intentional walk a few years ago. I think we are watching the last season of pitchers batting in the National League, and it can’t come soon enough. If you are in favor of pitchers batting, you just aren’t paying attention.
Next Up: The Royals get Thursday off and start a three-game series in Minnesota on Friday to end the road trip. Brady Singer gets the start Friday.
Thanks for reading…
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