The Royals dropped the first game of their series in Minnesota 9-1.
Big Picture: The bad news in this game was that the Royals lost the opener in an unusually important April series with their best pitcher on the mound. The good news is that the White Sox also lost, meaning the Royals maintained their 1 1/2 game lead in the division.
Notes: Adalberto Mondesi took batting practice at Kauffman Stadium on Friday. He is working his way back from a strained right oblique.
Second Inning Collapse: Brady Singer lost all of his control in the second inning. He walked back-to-back batters and then hit one to force in a run with the bases loaded. Singer was then lucky and unlucky at the same time. He got the double play he needed to get out of the inning, but it came at his expense as he was hit by a line drive. The ball hit Singer in the heel and then popped high into the air for Carlos Santana to catch and then threw to second base to turn a double play.
Pitching Insight: The situation in which Mike Matheny goes to a pitcher tells us what he thinks of the pitcher. Friday night, trailing the Minnesota Twins 4-1 in the fourth, Matheny decided to save the best parts of his bullpen for the weekend and brought in Ervin Santana to try to buy a few innings.
The decision to go with Santana could mean a couple of things. Santana was a starter most of his career, so it might be that Matheny was hoping he could go three innings. The decision might also mean that Matheny, although not conceding the game, might have thought that it would be an uphill struggle for the Royals, given how Michael Pineda was pitching and how the club’s offense has struggled recently. He might rather have his best bullpen pieces available for games two and three of the series.
With each game, we learn more and more about Matheny. Even though managers won’t tell you all of their thoughts, their decisions on the field tell you what they are thinking about players.
Great At-Bat That Didn’t Work Out: Of course, you would expect any section with a great at-bat in the heading to talk about Whit Merrifield. If you thought that you would be right. With the Royals down 4-1 in the fifth, Whit fell behind 0-2 to Michael Pineda. But he fought back, laying off borderline pitches just outside of the strike zone, and eventually forced a full count. After fouling off one full-count pitch, Merrifield grounded out sharply to Andrelton Simmons. The at-bat didn’t end with a positive outcome for the Royals, but it was a terrific plate appearance.
Worst Look: Josh Donaldson. Let’s face it. Royals fans don’t need a reason to dislike Josh Donaldson. He was a jack*** with Toronto when the Royals beat them in the 2015 playoffs. And now he has bleached his hair to apparently look younger and has it sticking out the back of his hat. So there you go—another reason to dislike Josh Donaldson.
Next Up: Danny Duffy will take the mound Saturday to try to even the series and give the Royals a shot at winning the series on Sunday.
Thanks for reading…
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