The Royals busted out offensively with a grand slam from Andrew Benintendi and two home runs from Salvador Perez in a 10-5 win over Pittsburgh.
BIG PICTURE: The win moves the Royals over .500 at 27-26. It pulls them to within five games of first place in the division.
NOTES: DH Jorge Soler was expected to be available Tuesday if needed… LHP Danny Duffy is now throwing up to 90 feet. He won’t be up for a start next week but is reportedly making progress… LHP Kris Bubic is scheduled to start Thursday’s game, but the rest of the weekend series is TBD right now.
SINGER’S TUNE IS FLAT… Brady Singer was the first of the young pitching prospects to reach the major leagues. He has shown some talent at times. He has, in fact, been terrific at times. But far too often, he has looked like a pitcher who hasn’t figured out anything 1 1/3 years into his six years of club control.
Singer has had three nice outings this year. He has had six awful appearances. He has had two outings that were ok. He had a 4.06 ERA in 12 starts last year. So far this year, he has a 5.19 ERA in 11 starts.
Let’s compare this start to other top young pitchers around baseball. Jack Flaherty of the St. Louis Cardinals made five starts in six appearances in his first season. He struggled to a 6.33 ERA. In his second season, he made 28 starts and finished with a 3.34 ERA. Flaherty is one of the best young pitchers in baseball now. Singer has not made the adjustment so far that Flaherty made in his second season.
Sean Manea used to be in the Royals organization before he was traded to Oakland. He had 24 starts in 25 appearances in his first year with a 3.86 ERA. In his second season, he had a 4.37 ERA in 29 starts. Manea is a decent pitcher. Springer is not doing what Manea did in his second year.
Tyler Glasnow is our best hope for what Singer might be at this point. Glasnow had a 4.24 ERA in four starts and seven appearances in his first season. His second season was a miserable 7.69 ERA in 13 starts in 15 appearances. Two years later, he became one of the best pitchers in baseball.
It’s too soon to say Singer is a bust. But it’s not too soon to say he has bust potential. He needs to figure things out this year and show improvement next year. Singer should not be a lock to break camp with the Royals next spring if he continues to struggle this year.
SALVY SLAMS A TWO-RUN SHOT… Salvador Perez hit a two-run home run in the fourth to cut the Royals’ deficit to 4-3. Salvy was supposed to be a terrific defensive catcher when he came to the big leagues. The question was whether he could hit enough to stay in the big leagues. Well, he certainly has hit well enough. He has been the most reliable offensive player for the Royals since he made his major league debut.
Salvy hit another solo home run in the seventh inning that would stretch the Royals lead to 9-5.
BENINTENDI SLAM GIVES ROYALS 8-4 LEAD… Andrew Benintendi has been terrific since getting off to a slow start in April. We thought he would be in the number two or three spot in the lineup leaving Arizona this spring. A rough April dropped him to the bottom third of the lineup. But man, he got hot in May and has been on fire since. With the Royals tied 4-4 in the fifth, Benintendi crushed the first pitch he saw for a grand slam, and the Royals went from down 4-1 to up 8-4 in two innings.
ZIMMER SHUTS DOWN PIRATES THREAT… Brady Singer didn’t seem to appreciate being given the four-run lead Andrew Benintendi gave him with his grand slam to put the Royals up 8-4. Singer immediately got into trouble in the sixth, including an error trying to throw a come-backer to second to start a double play. Mike Matheny brought in Kyle Zimmer to get the final out of the inning. Zimmer walked the first batter he faced but got the second on batter interference, and the Royals led 8-5 after the top of the sixth.
NEXT UP: The Royals have Wednesday off before starting a four-game weekend series against the Minnesota Twins at Kauffman.
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