What we learned after Ian Kennedy opened for the Kansas City Royals

Ian Kennedy #31 of the Kansas City Royals (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Ian Kennedy #31 of the Kansas City Royals (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

The Kansas City Royals lost Game 1 of their Saturday doubleheader against the Twins. What did we learn in the loss?

After their Friday night game was rained out, the Kansas City Royals had a doubleheader to play on Saturday against the Twins.

The first game was initially supposed to be opened by Ian Kennedy (his first start since September 2018) and then he’d be followed by Jakob Junis. The broadcasters announced, however, that Junis wasn’t feeling right during his warmup, so after Kennedy threw two scoreless innings, it was time to shift to the bullpen.

What did we learn in the loss from Game 1 of the doubleheader?

Ian Kennedy did well and hopefully this boosts his confidence a bit. The original starter turned closer now turned opener threw two scoreless innings and got his ERA down to 6.30. Kennedy allowed one hit, walked one batter, and struck out three in his first ever “opening” appearance.

This was a risky move for Mike Matheny because it could have easily blown up in his face, but Kennedy looked sharp. If this turns things around for Kennedy, then Matheny deserves a huge round of applause for taking a risk that Ned Yost never would have.

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After Kennedy exited, it was the bullpen’s turn to step up.

Unfortunately, it was a rough outing for the bullpen, as they gave up four runs on the afternoon. Gabe Speier pitched 0.2 innings and surrendered one run and now has an ERA over seven. Tyler Zuber hasn’t been able to get back to the dominant pitcher we saw earlier on this season, as he gave up two runs and has an ERA of 5.59.

Greg Holland allowed a run, but he’s still having a respectable season (much better than what most of us were expecting). His ERA sits at 2.61. Scott Barlow came in last and was the only Royals reliever to not allow a run. His shiny 2.08 ERA is a sight to behold.

The Kansas City Royals offense wasn’t great, but they did get on the board.

The Royals scored two runs in the first game of the doubleheader and both came on a Maikel Franco home run in the fifth inning. Meanwhile, Jorge Soler struck out three times and Adalberto Mondesi struck out twice.

The offense could have probably gotten another run on the board had this game been the traditional nine innings, but due to the COVID-19 protocols, doubleheaders are only seven innings per game, so the Royals had two less innings to try and win the ball game.

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Game 1 didn’t go great, but it could have been worse.

The biggest takeaway from this game is that Ian Kennedy can be an effective opener for the Kansas City Royals and that’s good to know moving forward.