The Kansas City Royals completed their opening road trip by earning a split on a four-game set against the Detroit Tigers. After a blowout victory on Monday night, the Royals took a couple of tough one-run losses. The Royals responded with a victory on Thursday to finish 2-2 for the series and 3-4 on the road trip. Did players better their performance or take a step back from the Cleveland series? Let’s look at the grades for the Royals-Tigers series.
ROYALS LINEUP GRADES
Here are the grades for the Royals lineup.
Whit Merrifield: A-
Started this series with a three-hit game, and was just a triple shy of a cycle. He collected three more hits in the series, and six RBIs total.
Jorge Soler: A-
Had six hits, including two doubles and a homer.
Salvador Perez: C
Had only two hits in the series, but one was a homer.
Ryan O’Hearn: B+
Returned to the lineup with 2 hits, including a double in his first game back. Had three RBIs in the series.
Maikel Franco: A-
Broke out with the bat in this series. Amassed six hits, including two homers and six RBIs.
Alex Gordon: B
Had four hits in the series, including three on Thursday.
Adalberto Mondesi: C
This was a solid F after the game on Tuesday. He was moved down in the lineup after going 0-fer in the first two games, had a couple of errors, and was thrown out at first on a dropped pop-up in the ninth inning. That move seemed to take some of the pressure off and contributed well in the latter two games. He hit his first triple on Wednesday and had a three-hit game on Thursday.
Franchy Cordero: C+
Got three starts over the course of the series. Two hits and a walk with an RBI.
Brett Phillips: B–
Got three hits over three starts. Hit his first homer and stole his first base of the season.
ROYALS BENCH GRADES
Here are the grades for the Royals bench.
Nicky Lopez: D
Went 0-5 in the series. Will need to improve to stay in the starting lineup.
Bubba Starling: B+
Went 3-10, and had an important two-run double in the 8th inning on Thursday, providing the Royals with insurance runs.
Ryan McBroom: C+
Went 1-4 with an RBI in limited appearances, but also had an error in the game he did start.
Erick Mejia and Nick Heath also appeared in this series, but not enough to warrant a grade. Mejia appeared as a defensive replacement and went 0-1 with a lineout to SS in the blowout win on Monday. Heath appeared as a pinch runner on Thursday for his MLB debut, but did not record any stats.
ROYALS ROTATION GRADES
Mike Montgomery: D
It was rumored he was saved to start against the Tigers, against whom he had his best outing last season. However, he struggled tremendously, giving up 5 runs in the 2nd inning. He came out of the game and is now currently on the IL.
Kyle Zimmer: C+
Made his first career start on a pitch limit and pitched well for two innings, but hit the first batter of the 3rd inning and was relieved. His lone run scored on a homer given up by Tyler Zuber.
Danny Duffy: C
Went five innings and got eight strikeouts, but gave up a 4-0 lead in the process.
Brady Singer: C
Went five innings again like his debut, but struggled a bit more in this one. Gave up two homers, and only three strikeouts.
ROYALS BULLPEN GRADES
Here are the grades for the Royals bullpen.
Foster Griffin: A
Made his major league debut and got the win on his 25th birthday. Pitched very well, but unfortunately had to come out with a strained forearm. This would likely be his only outing as he was placed on the 60-day IL.
Kevin McCarthy: B+
Had a single 4-out outing in the series. Gave up two walks, but no runs.
Josh Staumont: C–
Gave up a home run in garbage time on Monday. On Tuesday, hit two batters, but got bailed out by a TOOTBLAN.
Glenn Sparkman: B+
Pitched a two-inning outing on Monday, giving up just two singles.
Gabe Speier: B
Had a scoreless 9th inning in a blowout win, but did give up two walks.
Tyler Zuber: C-
Gave up a pair of two-run homers in an inning on Tuesday, giving up a 3-0 lead in the process. Came back with a scoreless outing on Wednesday.
Jake Newberry: A–
Had two scoreless outings in high leverage situations. Had two strikeouts and a walk in 1 2/3 innings pitched.
Scott Barlow: B+
Had two scoreless outings, but gave up a walk in each appearance.
Greg Holland: A
Had two scoreless outings with a pair of strikeouts on Thursday. Got his first win as a Royal in five years on Thursday.
Trevor Rosenthal: A
Had two scoreless outings in the series. Got his first save in nearly three years on Thursday.
Ian Kennedy: D+
Gave up two homers in the series, the first one the winning run on Wednesday.
Mike Matheny: A-
Really used his bullpen well. It looks like it’s closer by committee, but it’s worked so far in the Royals’ victories. Moving down Adalberto Mondesi in the lineup seemed to get him going, saving what had been a disastrous series for him up to that point. Using the defensive shift saved a couple runs. I’ve been very impressed with Matheny thus far!
That’s two series in the books! Royals will play their first series at Kauffman Stadium over the weekend against the Chicago White Sox. See you on the other side!
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