KC Royals: Merrifield extends hit streak to MLB-best 17 games
By Mike Courson
All those eggs are paying off. With a double Friday night’s KC Royals game, Whit Merrifield advanced his hit streak to 17 games. That ties the major league lead this season. Los Angeles’ Mike Trout and Seattle’s Jean Segura have also had 17-game hit streaks this year.
Of course, there’s far more to Merrifield’s streak than just the protein he eats for breakfast. According to the second baseman at the 2017 KC Royals Fan Fest, there is also lots of chicken breasts and whole-grain rice in the afternoons and evenings. Perhaps more importantly are the workouts between each of those meals.
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But all of that work in the offseason did not necessarily pay off for the 28-year-old Merrifield, who was not on Kansas City’s 25-man Opening Day roster. The Royals had played 12 games before Merrifield was called back to the bigs on April 18. He homered in his first game back with the Royals. Heading into Friday’s game, had six home runs in 126 at bats. Compare that to just two home runs in 311 at bats last season. All those eggs and chicken suddenly make sense.
Merrifield opened Friday’s game with a pair of outs against Cleveland’s Josh Tomlin, who has struggled this year against everyone but Kansas City. Merrifield’s seventh-inning double to the wall in left field bumped his streak up another game. Trout lost his 17-game hit streak on May 11 and has since gone on the DL for an expected 6-8 weeks. Segura lost his streak on May 19. Three players have had streaks of 15 games this season.
Merrifield has been a big addition to the Kansas City lineup. Entering Friday’s game, he was second only to Eric Hosmer on the team with a .294 average. His six homers rank fifth on the team, and his 12 RBIs are sixth on a team still trying to find its offensive identity.
Not that the 2017 has been all gems for the second baseman. He ended his first month in Kansas City batting a paltry .229. That average dipped all the way to .193 by May 7, and was sitting at .211 when his current streak began with a double against Baltimore on May 13. Merrifield has had two or more hits in five of the 16 games of the streak prior to Friday night.
Who knows how far Merrifield will take his streak. The 2017 season has been an odd one for sure. Why not throw in some crazy hit streak to spice things up? Even at 23-30 before Friday’s outcome, the Royals were just 5.5 came behind division-leading Minnesota.
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Merrifield has been a crucial piece in Kansas City’s recent offensive surge. When the other Royals begin reaching on a consistent basis, the KC Royals could put a screw in those AL Central standings.