Royals Grades: Cleveland – 7/24-7/26

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The first Royals series is in the books and it’s time to give out grades to the players and manager for their performances during the series. It was a tough series in several ways, but the Royals pulled out a gutsy win in the middle game. Any division wins are valuable this season, as teams forge ahead, vying for a spot in MLB’s expanded playoff field.

Series Recap

7/24: Indians 2, Royals 0
7/25: Royals 3, Indians 2 (10)
7/26: Indians 9, Royals 2

Royals Lineup Grades

Whit Merrifield looks to lead the American League in hits for the third straight year.

Here are the grades for the Royals lineup.

Whit Merrifield: B+
Collected a hit in each game from the leadoff spot. Also had a stolen base.

Adalberto Mondesi: C+
Picked up a couple of hits, including a double, but struck out five times.

Jorge Soler: B-
Hit his first homer of the season and two walks, but struck out six times in the series.

Salvador Perez: A-
Had a good series, racking up three hits, including his first homer of 2020. He also got caught stealing on Bradley Zimmer

Ryan McBroom: C-
Went 1-for-9 with 3 K’s. This was a good opportunity for him to get more playing time, but now Ryan O’Hearn is back. So, he’ll now likely be platooning with O’Hearn.

Alex Gordon: C
Went 1 for 10. Not much to say. Meh. 

Maikel Franco: C
Struggled at the plate until the end of Game-2 by hitting the game-winning sacrifice fly, and then picked up two hits in Game-3. While it wasn’t scored an error, Franco missed catching a ball from right field that could’ve been an out at third base.  

Nicky Lopez: C+
Got a hit and a couple walks, but did get caught stealing with a power hitter (Starling) at the plate.

Bubba Starling: C
Got his first hit of the year, but struck out four times, three of them looking.

Royals Bench Grades

Here are the grades for the Royals bench.

Brett Phillips: B
Scored the winning run in Game-2. He also had a great outfield assist in Game-3. Took a couple of walks in limited plate appearances.  

Erick Mejia: D
Went 0-for-5 with five strikeouts and a crucial throwing error, which led to two unearned runs. Woof. However, he did lay down the bunt to get Phillips to third in the middle game.

Franchy Cordero: C- 
He committed a crucial error in the third inning, which led to two unearned runs. He was unable to do much at the plate besides a couple of hard hit outs. 

Royals Rotation Grades

Brady Singer made his long anticipated debut on Saturday

With Brad Keller and Jakob Junis unable to play in this this series, it was on Danny Duffy and Brady Singer to keep the pen fresh enough for a bullpen game for Game-3. They pitched decently, but not impressively. Here are the grades for the Royals rotation.

Danny Duffy: B-
Kept Cleveland’s hitters off balance, forcing six infield pop-outs. Hit Jordan Luplow in the fifth inning, and a ground ball got through the shift, putting runners on the corners. Mike Matheny went to Scott Barlow who also had a ground ball get through the shift. Both runners would score and that was all Cleveland needed.

Brady Singer: B
Made his anticipated MLB debut in Game-2. The offense gave him a 2-run lead to work with and he pitched well, racking up 7 strikeouts, just one shy of the Royals record of strikeouts in a debut. But, he also gave up a walk and a couple of wild pitches, including one that allowed the tying run to score. 

Ronald Bolaños: C
Started game 3 as the Opener. He pitched okay, but his defense did not help him. An error by Mejia led to two unearned runs in the 1st inning. Pitched a scoreless 2nd inning, though he hit a batter and gave up 3 hits total.

Royals Bullpen Grades

Greg Holland scored his first Royals save since 2015, which was also at Progressive Field.

Here are the grades for the Royals bullpen.

Scott Barlow: B-
Was unable to put out the fire in game-1, allowing the game’s only two runs to score. Got himself in quite a jam in game-2, but got two huge strikeouts with the bases loaded.

Greg Holland: A-
Appeared in the opening game, and despite giving up two walks, got out of the inning with no runs scored. In the second game, with runners on first and second, nobody out, and protecting a one-run lead, Holland struck out the side, giving him his first save in five years.

Tyler Zuber: A-
Impressive in his Major League debut, tossing two scoreless innings.

Ian Kennedy: A
Threw two perfect innings in a tied game.

Trevor Rosenthal: A
Threw a clean inning with two strikeouts in his Royals debut.

Jorge Lopez: D
Struggled in his season debut, giving up hits to the first three batters he faced, but came back and got two outs.

Gabe Speier: C-
Speier put two runners on that scored on a home run given up by Kevin McCarthy.

Kevin McCarthy: C-
Got two outs, but gave up a three-run homer, which put the game out of reach.

Josh Staumont: B
Made his season debut with a scoreless inning, issuing a with a walk and striking out one.

Richard Lovelady: C-
Made his season debut and pitched one inning, but gave up a home run to Jose Ramirez and a walk.

Glenn Sparkman: C
Made his season debut, appearing in the 7th inning of game-3, but gave up a run and a walk.

Kyle Zimmer: A-
Made his season debut, appearing in the 8th inning of game-3, giving up one hit, but struck out the side.


Mike Matheny: B+
Matheny started his managerial career with the Royals by making some good moves. One that I loved, was that he went to Kennedy in the 6th inning of a tie game, rather than to stick to his role. No official roles have been announced, so it appears that Matheny will go with the best pitchers when they’re needed, a welcome change from the Ned Yost era.

I’m not going to blame him for utilizing the bullpen game in the rubber match. Bad timing with not having Keller and Junis. Matheny was able to get a look at nearly everyone in a game the Royals were probably going to lose anyway. Now he knows who his dependable relievers are.

I thought he did a good job of substitutions, both on offense and defense, to keep his team fresh and to give players a chance to prove themselves.

That’s it for the first series! Hopefully, there’s a lot of opportunity for improvement in Detroit. See you then!

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