KC Royals rookie Daniel Lynch must learn from the beating he took Saturday.
Daniel Lynch, bludgeoned by Chicago in the first inning of the KC Royals’ 9-1 loss to the White Sox Saturday evening, can take some comfort knowing his wasn’t the only horrendous major league pitching performance of the night.
The Royals’ rookie began his second career start shortly after 6 p.m. in Kansas City. After what must have felt like hours to him, manager Mike Matheny mercifully extricated Lynch from the storm swirling around him—10 Sox hitters blistered him for seven runs on seven hits. Charged moments later with an eighth run when Tyler Zuber allowed his inherited runner to score, Lynch left beaten, a far cry from the decent pitching he’d done against Cleveland in his Monday debut.
Around three hours later and some 1,600 miles away in Los Angeles, the Dodgers administered a similar thrashing to the Angels, sending 14 men to the plate to demolish a scoreless fourth-inning tie with eight runs on eight hits and three walks. Inspired, the Dodgers followed up with five more runs the very next inning. Angel veterans Dylan Bundy, Steve Cishek and Felix Pena were the victims of the two-frame barrage.
And from them, Lynch, who before Monday hadn’t pitched in a regular season game above High-A ball, can learn and take solace.
Bundy, in his seventh major league season, took the brunt of the Dodger attack. Driven from the game before the fourth inning ended, he finished charged with six Dodger runs, and Cishek, in his 12th season, allowed four to score, including two runners Bundy left him with. Pena, in his sixth campaign, gave up all five runs in the fifth. (The Angels went on to score 11 runs but still lost).
Bundy, Cishek and Pena have been around, know these things happen, and will bounce back. Like them, Lynch, whose return to the minors some may demand after one poor performance in two games, must ignore the detractors and temptation to doubt himself. Yes, his pitches lacked their best movement and he left too many of them up in the zone, but those things can happen on any given night to the best in the business.
Toward that end, Lynch must heed his own advice: according to mlb.com’s Bill Ladson, the young hurler acknowledged not relying on his fastball enough and added:
"“I didn’t put a lot of pressure on them with the fastball. I may have [gone] with some breaking stuff and some changeups too early. Like I said, it’s a learning experience and I’m going to be better for it.”"
Like the seasoned Angels’ hurlers know they have to do, Lynch must bounce back. Unless the KC Royals detected something more drastic than a rookie pitcher having “one of those nights,” or Kris Bubic’s stellar relief appearance (more on that later) earns him a start in Lynch’s place, Lynch should get his chance to rebound against the White Sox in Chicago late this week.
And for anyone concerned about Lynch’s maturity and baseball presence, this from The Athletic’s KC beat writer Alex Lewis should help:
His acceptance of accountability suggests Saturday’s ugly outing will help make him better.
Two good things: Kris Bubic pitched well, and the KC Royals finally scored.
Although Kansas City lost its seventh straight game and fell 2.5 games behind front-running Chicago in the American League Central (Cleveland is in second two games ahead of the Royals), a couple of things can provide hope.
The first is Kris Bubic’s excellent 5.2 innings work in relief. Making his third appearance since being recalled May 1, the former rotation member started the second inning and, before giving way to Wade Davis with two outs in the seventh, held Chicago scoreless on just one hit and lowered his ERA to 2.35.
And the seventh inning run the Royals scored snapped a string of 28 scoreless frames. Kansas City had last scored in the fifth inning of Wednesday’s loss to Cleveland.
The Royals and White Sox do battle again this afternoon at Kauffman Stadium. Kansas City must win to avoid a second consecutive series sweep. Game time is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. CDT.