The KC Royals reacquired an old friend at the midsummer trade deadline and immediately made him part of the starting rotation. On August 10, he spearheaded a shutout win and earned his first victory as a Royal.
Before July 15, 2019, Mike Montgomery was perhaps best known to KC Royals’ fans as one of the club’s prospects traded to Tampa Bay in the winter of 2012 for James Shields and Wade Davis. A Royals’ first-round draft pick in 2008, Montgomery put together a nondescript 25-33 five-season minor league record before he caught Tampa’s eye.
Montgomery never made it to the majors with the Rays but found himself with a 21-27 major league record and pitching for the Cubs last July. The Cubs needed a catcher for the stretch run and KC apparently saw something they still liked in Montgomery. The Royals shipped Martin Maldonado to Chicago to get Montgomery back.
Montgomery, however, lost three of his first KC starts, posting a 6.70 ERA in 16.1 innings; a no-decision was his best effort.
Then, on August 10, with Kansas City facing the Tigers in Detroit’s annual Negro Leagues commemorative game, Montgomery displayed what the Royals liked about him. In seven innings, he struck out 12 Tigers without walking any to lead KC’s 7-0 shutout. It was his first win as a Royal and the first of two consecutive excellent starts for Montgomery–he notched another win six days later by shutting out the Mets for six innings in a 4-1 KC win.
Although Montgomery wouldn’t win another game after his victory over the Mets, his 12-strikeout performance against Detroit suggested what the Royals still saw in him was good. The performance provided promise for 2020 and a top Royal moment for August.