KC Royals: 4 positive takeaways from taking a series

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

The White Sox, by far the best team in the American League Central, arrived at Kauffman Stadium Friday hoping to extend an already-comfortable 9.5 game lead over second place Cleveland. The fourth-place KC Royals seemed a convenient mechanism via which to accomplish that goal.

The Royals, however, weren’t accommodating. Although they lost to the Sox Saturday night, they dominated them Friday and Sunday to win a three-game series 2-1. Chicago left town with that same 9.5 game lead.

Their two victories in the last meetings between these teams until 2022 gave Kansas City a winning record (10-9) against the Sox this season and a nice way to close out a disappointing 2-4 homestand.

And despite losing the middle game to the Sox, plenty of positive permeated the weekend.

Salvador Perez just keeps on being Salvador Perez for the KC Royals.

Catcher Salvador Perez already has Kansas City’s team MVP award, and probably a fourth Silver Slugger, in his back pocket, both warranted by the spectacular season he’s having. He’s a one-man Royal wrecking ball, the backbone of a team fighting to regain relevance.

Even Chicago couldn’t throttle him back this weekend. Perez went 5-for-10, with two hits in each of the first two games and one Sunday. He clubbed two home runs Saturday night and another Sunday afternoon, and now has 41, only seven shy of the club’s single-season record of 48 Jorge Soler set two seasons ago.

His eight weekend RBIs—five Saturday and three Sunday—boosted him to 102 for the year to mark the first time in his career Perez has exceed 100 in a season.

The three-day effort has Perez slashing .277/.317/.550 as Kansas City embarks on a road trip to Baltimore and Minnesota. He’s hitting .400 with three RBIs in three games against the Orioles this season, and .280 with five homers and 13 RBIs in 13 contests with the Twins, so chances are good Perez’s hot bat won’t cool down over the next week.

Adalberto Mondesi returned to the KC Royals and is looking good so far.

Adalberto Mondesi, sidelined three times this season by injuries, made his way back to Kansas City Wednesday to appear in his first game since June 20. The Royals gave him Thursday off; he played Friday, sat out Saturday, and was back in the lineup Sunday.

The franchise’s plans for Mondesi seem clear for the moment, and probably for the rest of the season—he’ll split time between DH and third base, with plenty of rest to facilitate a full healing of his oblique (both sides) and hamstring issues.

Manager Mike Matheny penciled him in as the club’s designated hitter Wednesday, and Mondesi went 2-for-five with his fifth homer of the year and a single. He also scored two runs and stole a base.

He played third base Friday night, handled three routine chances without incident, and added another stolen base and a single.

Sunday found him back at third. He momentarily bobbled a grounder but recovered to throw out the runner, was otherwise flawless in the field, stole two more bases, and finished the day 1-for-4. He’s slashing .348/.362/.783 with 12 RBIs in 13 games.

For Mondesi, then, his return is presently a case of so far, so good.

Wade Davis just might be turning the corner in the KC Royals’ bullpen.

Kansas City reliever Wade Davis didn’t seem to have much, if anything, left when he went on the Injured List June 29. His ERA (8.06) was up, his strikeouts down, his effectiveness more than just questionable.

But that was then, and this is now. Davis closed a game for the Royals for the second straight time Sunday—he struck out the side against Chicago Saturday night and then, despite giving up a walk and a single, struck out two to end the series Sunday. Those two scoreless innings gave Davis a 3.37 ERA in 16 games since being reactivated, and he’s struck out 15 in 15 innings.

Is Davis returning to good form? His performance against the White Sox, and since returning from the IL, suggest he might be. More pitching down the stretch will tell.

Starter Brady Singer looks like he’s settling into the KC Royals’ rotation.

Second-year pitcher Brady Singer, Kansas City’s top draft choice just three years ago, ruled Chicago Sunday afternoon. He utilized his primary pitches superbly, having little need for the changeup he’s so often criticized for not throwing, and shut out the Sox on four singles. He also struck out six and didn’t issue a walk in improving his record to 4-9.

Singer’s latest good work comes on the heels of three straight excellent starts. After Sunday, he’s 1-1 in his last four starts, surrendering only four earned runs in 24.2 innings—a 1.46 ERA—and fanning 23.

Sunday’s outing reflected just how good Singer can be. His well-documented struggles with command, control, and consistency this season notwithstanding, he’s showing signs of finally getting comfortable in his role as a KC starter.

Next. 4 KC weekend questions and answers. dark

The KC Royals begin a seven-game, seven-day road trip tomorrow in Baltimore. They’ll face the Orioles Labor Day afternoon, then play three night games before moving to Minnesota for two evening games and a Sunday afternoon contest.