The KC Royals didn’t win again Friday, but some good things happened.
The KC Royals lost again Friday night. This time, it was a not-so-surprising 7-4 loss to the Chicago White Sox, who Kansas City has beaten only once in eight tries this season, and one that moved the club closer to elimination from postseason eligibility. The Royals are now 7.5 games out of the Wild Card race with 21 contests left.
Fortunately, there were some good things the Royals can take away from Friday’s loss.
Adalberto Mondesi’s bat. The Friday smiles on Adalberto Mondesi’s face finally came from something other than his stellar glove work. Mired in a deep, deep slump and a full month removed from his last multi-hit game, the Royals’ struggling shortstop banged out three solid singles, drove in two runs, and raised his average from .179 to .196. He also stole two bases.
Mondesi looked more confident with each at-bat. His swings weren’t tentative. He looked purposeful, not lost.
Whether the outburst ends his slump remains to be seen. But on this night, Mondesi looked like the Mondesi he can be.
Greg Holland’s 20’s. Greg Holland, the presumptive KC closer now that Trevor Rosenthal is gone, added another solid chapter to his comeback story. With the Royals down 7-3, and no save situation pending, Holland pitched the eighth inning, didn’t allow a run, and struck out two. The appearance was his 20th of the season, the inning his 20th of the campaign, and the two strikeouts gave him 20 for the year.
Gordon continues to hit. Until recently, a slump similar to Mondesi’s plagued Alex Gordon. Gordon, however, broke out of his a week ago with three hits against the White Sox. The veteran left fielder was 9-for-19 in his last six games entering Friday’s contest; his 1-for-2 night gave him a .476 average over the last seven. He also walked three times.
Gordon’s average was a meager .172 before his three-hit breakout last week; after Friday, he’s hitting .231.
Another good night for the new guy. Edward Olivares, playing his second game since the KC Royals acquired him from San Diego in the Trevor Rosenthal trade, had another two-hit night. He repeated his 2-for-5 performance of Thursday and added two RBIs.
Olivares has promise. Expect the club to give him a long look this last month of the season.
Singer wasn’t hit hard. Rookie Brady Singer made his eighth start of the season but suffered his fourth loss. He gave up five runs and 10 hits in his 5.2 innings.
The good? The Sox didn’t hit him hard and he had decent control. All 10 hits Singer allowed were singles, including some bloops; he walked just one and struck out five and also avoided any big innings.
The effort matched his longest of the season and he’s failed to complete five innings only once, a four-inning stint against Minnesota almost two weeks ago. Although his 5.58 ERA is too high, Singer’s poise remains impressive. A talented work in progress, he’s still trying to perfect a changeup and learning the big league ropes.
And, as mlb.com KC beat writer Jeffrey Flanagan reported, manager Mike Matheny liked what he saw:
No quit in the club on this night. The Royals were behind from the start—Chicago scored a run in the first inning, then nicked Singer for single runs in the second, fourth, fifth, and sixth and led 5-3 when he yielded to Jesse Hahn. But KC tied the game on Mondesi’s single in the fourth, loaded the bases in the eighth (they didn’t score), and scored a run in the ninth on Olivares’ two-out single. Ryan McBroom, hitting .385 with three home runs as a pinch hitter, represented the potential tying run when he batted for Nicky Lopez but grounded out to end the game.
A loss is always a loss, but the KC Royals didn’t give in. Simply put, they didn’t look like the Royals who lost over 100 games in each of the last two seasons.
Kansas City lost again Friday night. The good almost outweighed the bad result.