Game number 19 felt like playoff baseball for the Kansas City Royals, as the bullpen kept us on the edge of our seats.
For most of the 2020 season, the bullpen has been one of the bright spots for the Kansas City Royals, but on Wednesday night, the pen almost coughed one up to the Reds. It was a nail biter in the final two innings, but when push came to shove, the Royals won it 5-4 and moved to 8-11 on the year.
The Royals are just three games under .500 and if this is the team we continue to see down the stretch, they most definitely have a shot to make a go of it late in the season. That’s not something that I thought I’d be saying, especially after the horrid start, but this team has turned things around and are fun to watch!
What did we learn about the Kansas City Royals after their 5-4 win?
Well, first thing’s first, Brad Keller is having an excellent year so far. Yes, it’s just two starts, but how can anyone find fault with a starting pitcher who has a 0.00 ERA through 11 innings of work so far?
Keller threw six scoreless innings on Wednesday night and allowed just two hits while walking three and striking out three batters. Keller started off slow, but that was to expected after there was a 17 minute delay due to one of the umpires having to exit the game due to getting a cut on his hand.
After Keller settled in, he was terrific and not getting the win after this dominant outing would have been unfortunate because the guy earned the win.
Salvy continued his excellent 2020 season.
Salvador Perez missed all of the 2019 season and it’s almost like he hasn’t missed a beat since returning this year and is better than ever! Perez went 3-for-5 with a home run and is batting .329 on the year while riding a ten-game hitting streak. Perez had three total RBI in this game.
Seeing Perez hit so well has been wonderful, but Whit Merrifield, Ryan McBroom, and Ryan O’Hearn are all having impressive seasons as well. O’Hearn came SO CLOSE to hitting a grand slam in the fifth inning, but the outfielder caught it. It scored a run, but the grand slam would have put this game away at that point.
The bullpen did not do their job, but stepped up when it mattered most.
I don’t know what’s going on with Ian Kennedy this year, but he should always be on a short leash when Mike Matheny does give him a chance take the mound. Right away he gave up a home run to make it a 5-1 game and shortly after gave up a two-run homer to make it 5-3 Royals in the blink of an eye.
Fortunately, Matheny took Kennedy out after that and put Scott Barlow in, who promptly allowed yet another home run, making it a one run game. Barlow got through the rest of the inning without any other issues and has an ERA of 2.25 now.
Josh Staumont had his fair share of struggles in the eighth inning, but was able to get out of it and held onto the Royals’ lead.
That paved the way for Trevor Rosenthal to take the mound in the ninth and after allowing two men on base with just one out, former Royals hero Christian Colon put the ball in play. The Royals were able to pull off a gutsy double play to give the boys in blue their eighth win of the year and gift Rosenthal his fourth save of his Royals career.
This game wasn’t perfect, but the Kansas City Royals won it in nail biting fashion.
The Royals we were watching a week ago wouldn’t have won this game so it shows how much this team has grown even just in a few days. The offense is scoring runs, the starting pitching is doing good enough to not put the bullpen in a bad spot, and the bullpen typically is able to do their job and shut things down.
Maybe the Kansas City Royals don’t come anywhere close to making the playoffs, but right now – 19 games into the season – they’ve gotten their fans interested in watching them and that wasn’t something we expected to happen this season.
The Royals have Thursday off and will play against the Twins yet again, this time on the road.
Nineteen games down, 41 to go!