The KC Royals saw their share of struggles during the first series of the season, but young pitchers were a highlight, providing some future confidence.
Issues among the pitching staff is nothing new for fans of the KC Royals. Year after year, it seems that what is supposed to work out doesn’t. While the 2020 season so far is a small sample, there have luckily been a number of positives seen amongst some pitchers.
Josh Staumont and Kyle Zimmer provided good outings in Sunday’s game, Scott Barlow managed to put his first game struggles behind him, Ian Kennedy, Trevor Rosenthal, and Greg Holland are all doing what veterans are supposed to, and Tyler Zuber, who made his debut, saw a great deal of success over 2 innings.
Unfortunately with the good, comes the bad. Jorge Lopez is still seeing struggles and gave up a few runs in Sunday’s contest, along with Gabe Speier. Kevin McCarthy, Richard Lovelady, and Glenn Sparkman also gave up some runs to allow the Indians to add to the 9-2 win.
Luckily for the Royals, the day might be drawing close when a large haul of prospects find their way to Kauffman. Brady Singer managed a good debut in Saturday’s game, and on Sunday, fans got to see another young pitcher, new to the Royals.
When fans saw Ronald Bolanos listed as the starting pitcher for Sunday’s game, many may have wondered who he was. Bolanos is a new face in Kansas City, as he was recently acquired from the Padres in the Tim Hill trade.
Bolanos is young but does have minimal major league starting experience from 2019 (19.2 innings). While he may not have been seen as an option for a starting role, his history of starting games in the minors may have led Mike Matheny to pick him for the opener roll in Sunday’s game.
Bolanos only pitched 2.0 innings and threw 32 pitches, but he managed to impress Matheny. He gave up 3 hits, 1 walk, and had 1 strikeout while allowing no earned runs, though 2 runs scored during his time on the mound.
It is, of course, a small sample size, but one that caught the coaching staff’s attention and that might allow him some more opportunities, as Jeffrey Flanagan writes.
"“He was throwing with confidence,” Matheny said. “His stuff was right. He’s got Major League weapons. I see him being a part of what we’re doing moving forward.”"
Once Bolanos was off the mound, instead of going to rest, he went back to the bullpen and continued to pitch.
Much of the Royals rotation is up in the air, and it’s likely that Matheny has no problem switching players out for someone who will get the job done. Whether or not Bolanos will get more chances in the rotation, or just as a long reliever are unknown, but as of now he looks to set for more opportunity.
The Royals dropped their first series of 2020 but did have some positive moments come out of it. The highlights greatly surround young pitchers who are trying to make their way, providing some hope for the future pitching staff.