KANSAS CITY — The Royals continue to find positive developments as they evaluate their active roster in preparation for next season.
On Wednesday night, they witnessed a solid outing from left-hander Eric Skoglund, who will be a candidate for the rotation in 2019. Skoglund, who was making his first start since May 25 after recovering from a left UCL sprain, offered five innings of two-run ball in the Royals’ 4-2 loss to the White Sox in 12 innings in the series finale at Kauffman Stadium.
Right-hander Burch Smith gave up a two-out, two-run home run to White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson in the 12th.
Skoglund, on a 70-pitch limit, threw 67 pitches — 39 for strikes. He gave up only two hits and struck out three. One of the hits was a two-run home run by Jose Rondon on a hanging curveball on a 3-2 pitch — Skoglund’s only serious mistake of the night.
“Just one pitch, man,” Skoglund said. “It was exciting to be back out there with the guys. Great plays behind me with [Adalberto Mondesi] and [Whit Merrifield]. They also had great ABs to keep us in the game. It felt good. It’s something I can take into the next start and continue to work.”
Skoglund admitted he got a little fatigued at the end.
“The last inning I had good rhythm,” Skoglund said. “But I was getting a little tired. I did everything I could to get through that fifth.”
“Hung a curveball,” manager Ned Yost said. “But threw the ball really, really well. Our pitching did a great job.”
The other bright spot continues to be Mondesi, who tied a career high with four hits and now is hitting .392 over his last 13 games with 10 RBIs. He raised his overall average to .284, and he got his 22nd steal in just 58 games.
Mondesi logged a clutch two-out RBI single in the third, driving in Merrifield. Mondesi got another big two-out RBI single in the fifth off White Sox starter Carlos Rodon, also driving in Merrifield, to make it 2-2.
“I’m really proud,” Yost said. “The kid was out at 3 o’clock today working on two-strike approach. We had the machine set up and he was working on two strikes. Shortening up, punching the ball the other way. He’s working really, really hard, and it’s just paying off for him.”
Merrifield, the reigning American League stolen bases champ, got two more steals to push his AL-leading and career-high total to 35.