Kansas City Royals: What we learned after Royals pitchers struck out 12

DETROIT, MI - JULY 29: Scott Barlow #58 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the sixth inning at Comerica Park on July 29, 2020, in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Royals 5-4. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - JULY 29: Scott Barlow #58 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the sixth inning at Comerica Park on July 29, 2020, in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Royals 5-4. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /

The Kansas City Royals lost another close game, but their pitchers struck out 12 batters. What else did we learn about the boys in blue in game six of the 2020 season?

We’re six games into the 2020 season and the Kansas City Royals are 2-4 and can’t win their second series of the season (though they can tie the series with a win on Thursday). It was a frustrating loss on Wednesday night in Detroit, as the Royals started off strong offensively and then disappeared after the third inning.

The Royals scored at least one run in each of the first three innings, but after that the offense was shut out and made the Tigers bullpen look good. Detroit’s bullpen has actually now pitched nine scoreless innings against the Royals and that’s pretty embarrassing.

Kansas City’s bullpen did well on Wednesday night, pitching four scoreless innings themselves, but unfortunately Danny Duffy couldn’t get through the fifth inning without allowing the Tigers to tie the game up at four runs a piece.

It might have been a sour ending for Duffy, but he and the Royals pitchers combined for 12 strikeouts.

Duffy was cruising in the first two innings, but showed signs of slowing down in the third inning when the Tigers were able to get a run across the plate. The fifth inning was where it fell apart for Duffman, as he allowed a run and then later a two-run bomb to tie things up. He was pulled after the fifth inning and now his ERA sits at 5.79.

Where Duffy shone, however, was with his strikeouts, as he made eight Tiger batters whiff on the night. That was good to see from Duffy, but it was unfortunate that he couldn’t get through that fifth inning without allowing Detroit to tie things up.

Scott Barlow, Ian Kennedy, and Tyler Zuber were the three relievers we got to see on Wednesday night. Barlow and Kennedy each had two strikeouts a piece, bringing the team total to 12.

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Barlow threw a scoreless sixth inning and still has a 0.00 ERA. Kennedy pitched the seventh inning and served up what turned out to the game winning home run to JaCoby Jones, who destroyed the Royals at the plate in this game.

Lastly, Zuber was able to redeem himself after a rough outing earlier in the series, pitching a clean eighth inning and lowering his ERA to 6.75. Kennedy has a 3.00 ERA after this appearance.

The offense looked good in the first three innings, but then disappeared for the rest of the night.

That’s not an exaggeration either. After recording nine hits – all against Tigers starter Matt Boyd – in the first five innings, the Royals didn’t notch a single hit in the final four innings. They made that Detroit bullpen look like the Royals bullpen from the 2014 and 2015 World Series runs and that shouldn’t be happening.

Some notes concerning the offense:

  • Maikel Franco continued to rake at Comerica Park, going 3-for-4 with two RBI and currently posting a batting average of .348. He probably wishes he could play every game in Detroit because he’s been on fire in this series.
  • Whit Merrifield has also been on a roll, but that’s not surprising at all. He went 2-for-4 on Wednesday night, scoring two runs in the process. He has a .391 batting average.
  • After a bad game on Tuesday night, Adalberto Mondesi was moved to the six spot in the lineup and started his game off with a hit that led to a run later in the inning. He’s now hitting .120.
  • It seemed odd to take Brett Phillips out of the lineup when he had actually been hitting quite well as of late. Bubba Starling went 1-for-2 while Franchy Cordero went 0-for-4, both of those guys were playing in the outfield on Wednesday over Phillips.

It was frustrating watching the Kansas City Royals offense disappear after Boyd was pulled, but that’s been the storyline with this team. There was a graphic on the Fox Sports Kansas City broadcast that mentioned the team had scored 23 runs in the first six innings while allowing 26 runs and had scored three runs in the final three innings while allowing just one run in that same timeframe.

This is proof that the Royals offense is at its best early in the game and that the bullpen has been quite good! No one was really expecting the latter to be the case, but it’s been fun to watch this bullpen wheel and deal through the first six games .

It’s disappointing that the Royals can now only tie the series against a team that’s supposed to be worse than them this season. Kansas City drops to 2-4 while Detroit moves to 4-2, which is not what anyone expected to be the case, even this early on in the season.

Royals pitching has been promising and were it not for a rough inning from Danny Duffy in the fifth, this likely would have been a victory for the Kansas City Royals. Those 12 strikeouts pop off the stat sheet though for sure.

Six games down, 54 to go!