How Daniel Lynch gave the KC Royals hope on tough night

(Photo by Joe Puetz/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Puetz/Getty Images) /

The hope that KC Royals starter Daniel Lynch would somehow dampen some of the furor hovering over the club’s heralded 2018 draft class was only partially fulfilled Tuesday night.

But some hope is better than none, and that’s what Lynch gave the Royals in St. Louis.

At first glance, Lynch’s outing wasn’t much better than the collective disaster that befell fellow 2018 draft mates Kris Bubic, Jackson Kowar and Brad Singer Sunday when they combined to give Cleveland 16 runs on 20 hits. Lynch surrendered six runs and three homers in five innings Tuesday—Nolan Arenado and Albert Pujols homered in the first to give St. Louis a 3-0 lead and Andrew Knizner followed with a three-run shot in the fourth. Pujols’ blast was his first since returning to the Cardinals late last month.

Unfortunately, those six runs outnumbered the Royals’ five and settled this game. But Lynch provided some hope.

How can Daniel Lynch giving up six runs be a good thing for the KC Royals?

At first glance and without more, it can’t. After all, the lefthander’s performance bore some resemblance to his struggles last May when, after his decent big league debut, the White Sox shelled him in his second start and he found himself and his 15.75 ERA dispatched back to the minors when he lost to Detroit in his third.

But considering the whole of his Tuesday night work, Lynch’s good moments can help console the Royals after their third straight loss. He was at his best in the second, third and fifth innings when he picked up three of his seven strikeouts and held St. Louis scoreless and limited them to just two hits.

Lynch also successfully managed two tough situations. Unshaken after Arenado and Pujols hit their back-to-back first inning homers, he quicky got ahead of Tommy Edman 0-2 before retiring him on a pop-up to finish the frame. Then, with two outs in the fifth, he allowed a single to Pujols and a double to Edman before retiring Harrison Bader on two pitches to end the threat and the inning.

He mixed his pitches well, fanning three Cardinals on fastballs, three on sliders, and one on a changeup. He walked only one and threw 57 of his pitches for strikes.

Lynch, then, was arguably better Tuesday night than Bubic, Kowar and Singer were Sunday. Bubic didn’t survive the first inning against Cleveland and was charged with five runs. Kowar gave up seven runs and 11 hits. Singer surrendered four runs in three innings.

The fact remains, however, that Lynch allowed six runs, something he can’t afford to do regularly if he wants to avoid a return to Triple-A Omaha. But if he continues to pitch as well as he did for three innings Tuesday night, and after the Royals recalled him last July (4-4 with a 4.35 ERA in 12 starts, including a 3-0, 2.39 August with two victories over American League champion Houston and one against AL Central cham Chicago), he should be fine, and give the Royals even more hope.

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Although he and Kansas City lost Tuesday, Daniel Lynch had his moments.