KANSAS CITY — It’s been an interesting season for Jakob Junis. After starting off in the Royals’ bullpen, he found success in April after a quick transition to the rotation. Unfortunately, the script quickly flipped, as a rocky May and early June resulted in him being optioned to Triple-A Omaha.
Now, nearly three months later, Junis is back in the Majors looking like the type of pitcher he was at the beginning of the year.
Junis tossed 4 2/3 solid innings in the Royals’ 7-2 loss to Cleveland on Tuesday night to open a three-game set at Kauffman Stadium, allowing three runs on four hits and a walk to go with six strikeouts. It’s a line that doesn’t exactly jump out of the box score, but it was a performance that would’ve been more impressive statistically if not for a few unlucky breaks.
During the second at-bat of the game, Junis got Amed Rosario to drive a deep fly ball to right field. Edward Olivares, whose defense has been noted to be a work-in-progress, ranged over and crashed into the wall trying to make the catch. The ball rolled away from Olivares and Rosario raced around the bases for an inside-the-park home run, tagging Junis with a run on a ball that was potentially catchable if not playable off the wall.
Junis mostly handled Cleveland’s lineup with ease over the next few frames. But in the fifth, Daniel Johnson reached on a fielder’s choice, and then Junis watched a towering bloop single float just barely into fair territory as Johnson dashed to third. Junis was pulled, and Joel Payamps yielded a two-run single to Rosario in the next at-bat to complete Junis’ line.