The Kansas City Royals were able to take two of three against their division rivals in the Detroit Tigers. Here were the three takeaways from the series.
The Kansas City Royals have been playing better baseball as of late splitting their last 10 games right down the middle. While it hasn’t always shown in the runs column, the return of Adalberto Mondesi has changed the dynamic of this lineup with some key hits in timely situations.
The Royals were able to take a 3-1 lead in the first game off the bat of Jorge Soler in what ended up being a milestone home run for the 27-year old. The Tigers tied the game up in the top half of the 9th inning, but Ryan O’Hearn provided the fireworks in the bottom half of the inning with a walk-off solo shot into the left-field seats to send the fans home happy.
In game two, Jakob Junis went 7.0 innings, allowing 4 earned runs while striking out 4 batters. That was more than enough as the Royals offense was able to claw back, again off the bat of Jorge Soler. Hunter Dozier also hit his 9th triple of the year, which tied Whit Merrifield and Adalberto Mondesi for the American League lead. Ian Kennedy locked down his 26th save of the season in a drama-free inning.
Game three, Glenn Sparkman was pretty lousy, allowing back-to-back home runs in the top half of the 4th inning and only lasted 4.0 innings. Merrifield went 4-for-5 on the day, raising his batting average to 0.306 on the season but the Tigers offense was too much as they took the series finale.
Let’s look at the three takeaways from the series:
1. Jorge Soler is becoming a star
Soler smashed his franchise-record 39th home run of the season on Tuesday evening and followed that with his 40th on Wednesday night, with an exit velocity of 115.7 mph off the bat. The 27-year old smacked 23 home runs and 43 RBI’s while batting 0.240 in the first half of the season.
He has nearly replicated his first half, smacking 17 home runs with 35 RBI’s but has batted 0.286. The difference? Soler is striking out at just a 21.0 percent clip versus 29 percent in the first half.
2. Mike Montgomery is showing consistency
In 4 of his last 5 starts, Mongomery has allowed 1 earned run or less. He was really good for the Royals on Tuesday evening tossing 5.2 innings allowing 6 hits, while walking just 1 and striking out 5. Montgomery has had a lot of success recently because he’s been able to get batters to ground out more often.
On Tuesday, he forced 11 ground balls and has forced at least 9 in his last 4 starts. Look for Montgomery to finish the season on a strong note.
3. Glenn Sparkman cannot be in this rotation any longer
The last time Sparkman got a win? July 16 when he tossed a complete game against the Chicago White Sox but has lost his last 9 starts. On Wednesday, he allowed 7 hits and 4 earned runs in 4.0 innings of work. It’s hard to even give your offense a chance when you’re getting knocked around like that.
New Royals owner John Sherman and General Manager Dayton Moore will need to get a couple of starters in free agency this offseason.
Now they will travel to Miami for a three-game series and then to Chicago for three more. The Royals entered Thursday evening just 0.5 game back of the Marlins for the third overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft.