Jorge Soler has been one of the few bright spots for the Kansas City Royals this season and collected his 89th RBI on Saturday evening’s loss.
Another game, another Kansas City Royals starter not being able to finish 5.0 innings. Glenn Sparkman was the latest to complete that feat, as the right-hander fell to 3-9 on the season. Sparkman, 27, went just 4.1 innings and needed 24 pitches to get through the first inning in which he loaded the bases but managed to escape unscathed.
He allowed 6 hits, 4 earned runs, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts, and 1 home run. The former Padre Franmil Reyes launched a 3-run homer in the bottom of the 3rd inning that essentially put the game out of reach despite it being so early in the game. But that’s just the way it’s been going lately for the Royals.
Sparkman has not been good in his first full season as a starter as he has struggled to consistently to find the command of his pitches. On the season, he’s got a 5.40 ERA in 16 starts while allowing 22 home runs, 30 walks and 63 earned runs. He, like Jakob Junis, is likely just a placeholder until Dayton Moore feels that one or more his pitching prospects are ready for the big legues.
One of the few bright spots in this season has been Jorge Soler. The former Chicago Cub has had a breakout season and is just 3 home runs shy of tying Mike Moustakas‘ single season record of 38 home runs set in 2017.
"“It’s just fun to watch him right now,” Royals third baseman Hunter Dozier said. “We were talking. It’s like watching a video game with him right now.” – MLB"
Soler collected his 89th RBI on the season on a forced ground out in the top of the 7th inning. Over his last 30 games, Soler is batting 0.276 with 9 home runs and 20 RBI’s. He’s also had a much better approach at the plate during that time period.
In the first half of the season, Soler struck out in nearly 29 percent of his at-bats while taking walks at less than 8 percent of the time. However, in the second half of the season, his strike out rate is below 21 percent and he’s walking close to a 19 percent clip.
He went 0-4 on Saturday evening, but still tallied one of the two runs the Royals were able to scratch across the plate. They’ll get a chance to salvage a game in the series on Sunday afternoon with Eric Skoglund on the bump, who will be making his first start of the season.
Last year, Skoglund had a 1-6 record in 13 starts (14 appearances) and struck out 49 batters in 70.0 innings of work while walking just 19 batters. He’s been susceptible to the long ball, so the Royals offense will need to show up.