The Royals promoted a young starter in early May. The results weren’t good.
Kansas City drafted lefthanded starter Daniel Lynch with the 34th pick of the 2018 amateur draft, 16 picks behind Brady Singer, one behind Jackson Kowar, six ahead of Kris Bubic, and 258 before Jon Heasley.
All have now made their major league debuts. Lynch became the third of the group (Singer and Bubic broke through last season) when he started May 3 against Cleveland, losing (as mentioned before) when the Indians rattled the Kansas City bullpen. His first big league game passed with a no-decision.
Lynch looked like a different pitcher when Manager Mike Matheny gave him the ball five days later against the White Sox. The rookie didn’t survive the first inning—Chicago punished him with eight runs on a homer, triple, double, and five singles before Matheny pulled him for Tyler Zuber with two outs.
Lynch wasn’t much better May 13 in Detroit. Although he retired the Tigers in order in the first, they scored four in the second, and Lynch left in the third after giving up a pair of two-out singles. The Royals lost 4-3, giving Lynch two of their 11-game losing streak losses.
Not surprisingly, the Royals returned him to the minors the next day.
Kansas City recalled Lynch in late July; fortunately, his second trip to the big leagues was better than his first. He went 4-4 with a 4.35 ERA the rest of the way and should be a lock to start 2022 in the Royals’ rotation.
The Royals’ long losing skid ended the same day they optioned Lynch to Omaha. They won 10 of May’s last 16 games, including a walk-off against Detroit May 23, and began a five-game win streak—their second longest of the year—by beating Minnesota and Pittsburgh in the last two games of the month.
But the late May turnaround did little to erase the sting of losing 11 straight.
And the worst was yet to come.
The Royals enjoyed a stellar April. But a long, unsightly May losing streak made April seem like a distant memory.