A lot of things went right in the Royals 8-3 win over Minnesota Friday night.
The Royals got good starting pitching and good offense. The bullpen was a little shaky but found its way through to a victory.
BIG PICTURE: The Royals’ 8-3 win in Minnesota improves their record to 24-25 on the season. They pulled to within five games of first place. The win also evens their road trip at 2-2 with two more games to play. The Royals are staying within striking distance of a playoff spot. They are currently four games out of a Wild Card spot. Did you think the Royals could have a double-digit game losing streak already and still have something to play for? They do, and winning this series in Minnesota would be huge.
NOTES: 3B/RF Hunter Dozier was activated from the injured list. RHP Carlos Hernandez was recalled from Triple-A Omaha. 1B Ryan O’Hearn was optioned to Triple-A Omaha. RHP Josh Staumont was placed on the 10-day injured list because of a left knee sprain. The move is retroactive to May 27.
BUBIC ROLLS… Kris Bubic struggled to get strike calls in the first inning, and it led to a lot of pitches, but he settled down and gave the club six innings of one-run ball. He allowed four hits and two walks in his six innings and struck out five.
Bubic has now allowed just four runs and 15 hits in 23 2/3 innings. He has walked 12 and struck out 17.
Bubic has not had it easy all season. He has had struggles. Up the impressive thing about Bubic is that he has overcome his struggles most of the time. He has earned the right to stay in the rotation.
OFFENSIVE EXPLOSION… Where did this offense come from? Maybe it’s Minnesota? Whatever it is, let’s hope the Royals can keep scoring runs like they did Friday night.
Adalberto Mondesi has definitely improved the offense since arriving on Tuesday. Mondesi is hitting the ball hard even when he makes an out. Friday, he hit two balls to the warning track that were caught. He also hit a double and singled through a shift because of how hard he hit the ball. Mike Matheny has already moved him up to the fifth spot in the lineup, which is probably a good spot for him right now.
Whit Merrifield has had a rough year at the plate so far, especially for him. But, like so many others in this game, Whit came through with the big hit that has eluded him most of the year.
Jorge Soler even had a multi-hit game. Soler cut down on his swing and looked pretty good in the process. Soler doesn’t have to swing for the fences to hit home runs. The shorter swing can be just as effective for him. He won’t hit it as far, but you don’t get extra runs for longer home runs. And he makes contact more often with the shorter swing, as you would expect.
BULLPEN MANAGEMENT NEEDS IMPROVEMENT… Mike Matheny is not the best at managing the bullpen. He has always had issues with it going back to when he was in St. Louis. In the seventh inning Friday, Matheny had Kyle Zimmer warming up to enter what he expected would be a 3-1 Royals lead. The Royals then scored five runs in the top of the seventh, and Tyler Zuber was told to warm up quickly.
Matheny apparently didn’t want Zimmer to be wasted in a game with such a big lead. So, he warmed up Zimmer without bringing him in the game and rushed Zuber to enter the game quickly. That’s not good for either pitcher.
You don’t want to warm pitchers up too often and not bring them in the game. You have effectively used the pitcher without getting anything real out of him. Zuber got into trouble, and Zimmer warmed up again and eventually got in the game, but Zimmer never would have entered the game if things had gone as planned. That’s asking for trouble,
LIGHT SHINE BRIGHT… Kelvin Gutierrez was a bright spot defensively for Kansas City. He made three sparkling plays Friday. He had two diving stops, one of which started a double play. Then he had a hard line drive hit at home and jumped to snag it for the third out of the eighth. He was simply outstanding defensively.
NEXT UP: The Royals will look to clinch the series against the Twins on Saturday. It’s a 1:10 pm start. Ervin Santana will start for the Royals. J.A. Happ gets the start for the Twins.
Thanks for reading…