With Danny Duffy and Brady Singer landing on the injured list Tuesday with a left flexor strain and right shoulder fatigue, respectively, the KC Royals’ starting rotation was short a couple of pitchers heading into the club’s three-game home series with Detroit this weekend. The shortage paved the way for Daniel Lynch’s return to the majors for a second chance.
The big question before his start against the Tigers Sunday was whether Lynch could rebound from his earlier short visit to the big leagues in May when he posted a poor 15.75 ERA and allowed 14 earned runs in only eight innings. The answer came in the form of a spectacular outing that helped the Royals to a 6-1 win to finish a sweep of Detroit. The win marks the club’s fifth in a row and equaled its longest winning streak of 2021.
After lasting only 2.2 innings and allowing four runs (three earned) against the Tigers May 13, Lynch erased that poor outing from his mind by blanking them through eight innings Sunday afternoon. He struck out four and allowed no walks. Although he got in a jam in the top of the second inning by allowing a couple of hits to Robbie Grossman and Willi Castro, Lynch buckled down and got Zack Short to ground out to end the threat.
From there, it was mainly smooth sailing for the rookie, who retired 10 straight batters up until the sixth inning. In shutting down the Tigers until giving way to the bullpen to start the ninth, Lynch not only dropped his ERA to 7.88, but most importantly gained his first major league win and plenty of confidence going forward.
The KC Royals showed off their power in their weekend sweep of the Tigers.
Lynch didn’t clinch the KC Royals’ victory single-handedly, for he had offensive support. Kansas City tagged Detroit starter Tarik Skubal for four runs in the first inning alone. Though Salvador Perez blasted a three-run shot to give the Royals the early lead, it was struggling Jorge Soler who proved to be a major contributor, too.
After Perez’s homer, Soler blasted one of his own, a three-run version to give KC a 4-0 lead. He then smashed another homer to make it 5-0 in the bottom of the third. Soler’s two homers gave him four in his past five games, and he now has 11 on the year with five of them coming in July.
Soler was not the only Royal who shared in the power hitting wealth this weekend. Carlos Santana hit two home runs in the three-game series, including a three-run blast that helped fuel the Royals’ 9-8 comeback victory Saturday. And Ryan O’Hearn’s three-run shot Friday broke an early tie to help give Kansas City an eventual 5-3 win.
What is next for the KC Royals ahead of the trade deadline this week?
The KC Royals’ sudden show of power, though unexpected, has provided them with a surging offense that has aided the short-handed pitching staff win the last five games, including sweeps of the Tigers and Brewers, two hot teams coming into their matchups against Kansas City.
These five straight victories have pushed the Royals into fourth place in the American League Central over the Twins (they’re 1.5 games ahead of Minnesota and their .433 win percentage is better than the Twins’ .420). And it seems like the team is finally clicking together.
Fans can only continue to speculate what the Royals will do with a few key players like Whit Merrifield before the trade deadline rolls around Friday. For now, however, they should enjoy their winning streak—the Royals go into a four-game home series against the division-leading White Sox starting Monday at 7:10 p.m. CDT.
After a rough start to begin his big league career, Daniel Lynch rebounded and pitched a great game, steering the Royals to a 6-1 victory over the Tigers Sunday afternoon.