The 2021 KC Royals played two seven-inning games Saturday afternoon to make up for the rainout Friday as the Blue Jays visited Kauffman Stadium for games two and three of a four-game set. During game one, Toronto got the best of the Royals when Steven Matz threw five-hitless innings in a Blue Jay win. As for game two, KC got the win by a walk-off home run by Salvador Perez.
On an overcast day, Kansas City did not look sharp throughout the entirety of the day. However, heading into Sunday, Kansas City has a record of 8-5 on the season and currently leads the American League Central. In the 14 innings that were played on Saturday, there were a few things that stood out.
2021 KC Royals: Hanser Alberto Continues to Impress
KC nabbed Hanser Alberto on a minor-league deal late into the offseason and they have loved everything they have seen from him. Alberto has the ability to play all four infield positions. During Saturday’s doubleheader, Alberto saw time at third base and shortstop. During the second game, Alberto made a tremendous play at short when Toronto slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a hot shot straight at him.
Minor Struggles With Jays
Mike Minor made his third start of the 2021 season on Saturday and did not find much success. During this outing, Minor pitched 5.2 innings, gave up seven hits, and four earned runs. Minor now has an ERA of 5.17 on the season. Minor signed earlier in the offseason after struggling in Oakland and Texas in prior years and is looking to show he still has something left in the tank. However, Minor has struggled the most out of all the starters for the 2021 KC Royals. He will look to bounce back in his next outing which is scheduled to be next Friday against Detriot.
Chasing in the Dirt
Steven Matz pitched an outstanding game for Toronto in game one of the doubleheader. KC made solid contact, but would always find one of the Blue Jay fielders gloves. During game two, Kansas City did not have the best plate discipline. After about a two-hour pause between games, the Royals as a whole looked impatient at the dish. Tommy Milone pitched for the Jays and he is not someone who will light up the radar gun. Early in the game, Milone got Andrew Benintendi, Salvador Perez, and Jorge Soler all reaching in the dirt with Whit Merrifield waiting on second base.
Letting a pitcher off the hook like that causes wasted opportunities and can be a momentum killer in the long run. As the season progresses, expect better at-bats from all three of these players.
Salvy Called Game
As the second game of the doubleheader went into the bottom of the seventh, Salvador Perez was due up with two outs. Perez took a pitch from Joel Payamps and took it over the fence for a walk-off solo shot. Perez hit the ball an estimated 459 feet into the fountains of Kauffman. The final game of the four-game series is tomorrow afternoon with the first pitch scheduled for 1:10 pm CT.
Robbie Ray will pitch for the Blue Jays on Sunday. Ray comes into the game with a 0-1 record with a 3.60 ERA. As for the Royals, they will go with Brady Singer, who also has struggled this year. Singer is 0-2 with a 6.48 ERA. Kansas City will either split or take three of four from Toronto, as the 2021 KC Royals have yet to lose a series on the season.
Will this trend continue as the Royals sit atop the AL Central? Who knows because it is still very early in the season. Despite this, the club has put together a group of guys who have given them a chance to compete and win ball games.
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