KC Royals: 3 big positives from a winning road trip

(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /
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KC Royals, Scott Barlow
(Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports) /

Scott Barlow has definitely established himself as the KC Royals’ closer.

In his first taste of the big leagues in 2018, reliever Scott Barlow pitched just six times for Kansas City. With 15 strikeouts and a 3.60 ERA in 15 innings, he wasn’t spectacular, but also wasn’t bad for a rookie.

Barlow became a steady bullpen piece for the Royals in 2019 with a 3-3 record in 61 appearances. He earned his first save and fanned almost 12 batters every nine innings.

He was the workhorse of the KC pen last season, leading the majors with 32 appearances, and again struck out nearly 12 batters per nine frames. Barlow showed closer stuff and a closer approach, but with Trevor Rosenthal and Greg Holland in the same bullpen, never became the closer.

And although Manager Mike Matheny typically doesn’t publicly proclaim any one of his hurlers as “closer,” that’s precisely what Barlow has become this season. It’s a status well-earned and well-deserved, and this seven-game road trip exemplifies it.

Barlow appeared in four of the Royals’ seven games. He didn’t give up a run in any of the five innings he pitched. He struck out seven, walked only one, and gave up just three hits. The two saves he earned gave him a club-leading 12 for the season, and he lowered his ERA to 2.37.

The one-week performance mirrors how well Barlow has been in the season’s second half. He’s surrendered only four runs in his 24 appearances since the All-Star Break, and is 3-0 with eight saves and a 1.42 ERA during that period.

Barlow is the KC Royals’ undisputed closer, and this week helped prove it.

Next. Keeping Holland was correct move. dark

The Royals had a decent road trip. They resume play at home Tuesday night against Oakland, play the A’s again Wednesday and Thursday, then host the Mariners for three before embarking on their last road trip of the season, a seven-day journey that will take them to Cleveland for four games (including a doubleheader) and Detroit for three.