KANSAS CITY — Royals rookie left-hander Kris Bubic’s final start of 2020 is one he’ll likely just want to flush from his memory.
Coming off four straight solid starts in which he gave up just five earned runs in 22 2/3 innings, Bubic never found his rhythm or command in the Royals’ 8-7 victory over the Tigers on Thursday night.
Bubic was staked to 3-0 and 4-2 leads but could not survive the fifth inning. He left after 4 2/3 frames, having allowed eight hits, three walks and four runs. He struck out five.
If the old adage is true that strike one is the best pitch in baseball, it’s no secret why Bubic struggled. Falling behind hitters has been an issue for him this season, and of the 23 Detroit hitters he faced, he threw 16 first-pitch balls.
That set up the Tigers in favorable counts.
It helped Willi Castro, who blasted a 1-0 changeup that was down the middle from Bubic for a two-run home run in the third.
In the fifth, Bubic fell behind Miguel Cabrera 3-0, fought back, but then served up a 3-2 four-seam fastball that the slugger belted to dead center for a 450-foot two-run homer.
Bubic finished his rookie season with a respectable 4.32 ERA and an 8.82 K/9 ratio.