Early Hole Too Steep to Climb for Royals

It turned out to be a bad day from the start for the Royals on Saturday night as they were thumped by the White Sox, 9-1, at Kauffman Stadium.

Royals left-hander Daniel Lynch, making his second Major League start, didn’t make it out of the first inning. He allowed eight runs on seven hits, while 13 hitters came to the plate in an inning that began with Lynch and ended with reliever Tyler Zuber.

Lynch has a blazing fastball, but relied on his secondary pitches during his brief outing. Yoán Moncada and Danny Mendick took advantage of the situation and drove in two runs apiece in the first inning with a double and home run, respectively. Lynch acknowledged that he put the bullpen in a terrible spot.

“If I look back, I would agree [that I threw too many breaking pitches],” Lynch said. “I didn’t put a lot of pressure on them with the fastball. I may have [gone] with some breaking stuff and some changeups too early. Like I said, it’s a learning experience and I’m going to be better for it.”

To make matters worse, the Royals’ offense continues to sputter. Yes, they managed to break their scoreless streak at 28 innings, but they collected six hits in the game.

The scoreless streak came to an end in the seventh inning against right-hander Michael Kopech. Royals center fielder Jarrod Dyson tripled to start the inning and scored on Whit Merrifield’s groundout.

One thing you can say about the Royals: Energy is not the issue. They are playing hard every night, but they need to take the offense to another level.

“I would be lying if I [told] you it didn’t matter,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said after the game. “I wanted to see a run come across the board. Break that ice and let’s go. … We had some opportunities that we weren’t able to capitalize on. Credit good pitching, credit whatever you want. We are a team that can’t score runs. Obviously, we are going to need to.”

If there was a bright spot for the Royals on this day, it was reliever Kris Bubic, who pitched 5 2/3 innings without allowing a run. He also struck out two in the game. The White Sox never had a runner in scoring position while he was on the mound.

Bubic became the first member of the Royals to record at least 17 outs in relief since Onelki García on Aug. 27, 2017, in Cleveland. Bubic also became the first Royal to throw at least 5 2/3 scoreless innings in relief since Jimmy Gobble on April 23, 2004, vs. Minnesota (six innings pitched).

“It was an incredible [outing] by Kris Bubic,” Matheny said. “He saved our ‘pen and threw incredibly well. It was probably the best we have seen him. He had great rhythm, probably had the best breaking ball we have seen from him. The changeup has always been there.

“We needed it worse than he even knew, and he did a great job of giving us a chance and not [using] up the entire ‘pen. It was a one-inning game. It was just hard to recover.”

One could say that Saturday’s outing was Bubic’s best as a member of the Royals. It was better than any start he has made in the big leagues. He said that the big thing for him was putting the team first.

“I was in a spot where I really didn’t want to think too much about what I was doing,” Bubic said. “I wanted to give as much length as possible because as a bullpen we’ve been somewhat taxed the last week or so after the long road trip and this homestand. … I was mixing it up as much as I [could]. I was in a good spot where I had all three pitches working tonight.”