3 KC Royals starters have things to prove this weekend

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Former KC Royals star Mike Moustakas, now with Colorado, returns to Kauffman Stadium this weekend for what may well be his last appearance there as a player. That alone should spark Royals fans' interest, but they'll have more than just Moose to watch closely during three games against the Rockies.

How Kansas City's three scheduled starters—Jordan Lyles, Daniel Lynch, and Brady Singer—perform will also be a main focus.

Each hurler has something to prove.

FRIDAY: Winless KC Royals starter Jordan Lyles must avoid too many runs

That's true about any pitcher, but especially so when it comes to Lyles. Already too generous to opponents throughout his career—he arrived in Kansas City lugging an unsightly 5.10 career ERA—he's been even more benevolent this season. His present ERA is, at 7.30, the product of surrendering 50 earned runs in 61.2 innings, and the worst of any qualifying big league starter.

Also disturbing, even to those who eschew pitching wins as a viable indicator of pitching prowess, is that Lyles, brought aboard with a two-year, $17 million contract and a spot in one of the shakiest starting rotations in the game, has yet to post a win. He's 0-9 in 11 starts.

Lyles' Friday night mission, then, is simply to be much better and prove he can hold the score down.

SATURDAY: Daniel Lynch must offer more evidence that he's healthy again

Despite his 4-13, 5.13 ERA record of a year ago, Lynch's spot in Kansas City's 2023 rotation was never really in doubt.

Until spring training, that is. That's when the third-year lefthander suffered the injury, later determined to be a rotator cuff strain that, aside from a five-start minor league rehab assignment, kept him out of major league action until Sunday, when he returned and limited Washington to two runs in 5.1 innings.

The Royals won that game 3-2; Lynch pitched well enough to earn his first win of the season, but hiis club scored all its runs after he gave way to the bullpen with one out in the sixth. He scattered five hits and held the Nationals scoreless in four of the five frames he completed.

Fortunately, no signs of rotator cuff problems seemed to surface during Lynch's time on the mound. A good performance against Colorado Saturday afternoon will go far to prove he's fully recovered and healthy again.

SUNDAY: Brady Singer must continue his improving trend for the KC Royals

Eleven starts into the season, Brady Singer is still searching for the consistency that, following a somewhat surprising but necessary stint at Triple-A Omaha last year, propelled him to what became his finest major league campaign yet. Taking whatever he found in the minors back to Kansas City, Singer closed the season 10-5, 3.23, and was 6-2, 2.53 after the All-Star Break.

That, though, was 2022, this is 2023, and things are quite different for the righthander who entered this season considered by many to be the Royals' presumptive ace. He's been battered for eight runs twice, the first time in eight innings and the second in 2.2, and given up five runs four times.

But he's trending in the right direction—three of his last four starts have been better. Saturday, he yielded two runs and struck out six in five innings against Washington, a performance that came just three starts after he earned a victory over the White Sox by giving them only a run in six innings, and two games after holding San Diego to two earned runs and striking out six Padres on the way to a 5-4 win. And although Detroit struck him for five runs in 3.2 innings after that contest, three good games out of four is encouraging.

Singer needs to keep trending upward when he faces the Rockies Sunday afternoon. Doing so will do much to prove he could be on the way back to last season's form.

Game times against Colorado (all CDT) are 7:10 p.m. tonight, 3:10 p.m. Saturday, and 1:10 p.m. Sunday.

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