By Max Lowson, Sports Radio 810
The Kansas City Royals completed their series victory against the Red Sox on Sunday evening. After dropping 11 of their last 12 games, the Royals have built some momentum going into their road series with the NY Yankees.
Kansas City’s performance over the past three games can be largely attributed to the timely hitting of their lineup. The even-keeled nature and persistent efforts of Whit Merrifield, Salvador Perez and the rest of the Royals lineup through the losing streak has started to pay dividends. They did not waver emotionally or lose any confidence in their ability to win ball games despite the losing streak.
Manager Mike Matheny’s optimism in his team’s ability to turn things around and his communication to his team is another integral factor in winning two of the last three games against a very quality opponent.
Maintaining an aggressive approach and sticking to the gameplan at the plate are things that can become difficult to maintain when a team cannot find a way to manufacture runs with runners on base and with runners in scoring position. Matheny has not allowed his ball club to fall into this trap.
This mentality, trickling down to the entire Royals roster, has paid off as Perez and Dyson both had big hits with men on base in the third inning to put the Royals up, 4-2. Dyson’s double was particularly important as a turning point in the game, as Kansas City faced the bases loaded with two outs and a 2-1 ball game.
This at-bat was emblematic of the Royals overcoming their struggles in clutch situations. Dyson refused to go down on strikes, fouling off five pitches on a 2-2 count. He then knocked a double to left center field, clearing the bases and changing the entire outlook of the game and the series.
Matheny called this at-bat “one of the best at-bats of the year.” The Royals manager elaborated on the at-bat, stating that Red Sox pitcher, Nathan Eovaldi, has “four swing-and-miss pitches.” Matheny was so pleased with the fight that Dyson showed at the plate that he went as far as to say “Even if he goes down after an at-bat like that, it’s one your probably going out of your way to celebrate with him.”
Mike Minor’s timely pitching was also critical in holding the lead for the Royals. While Minor did give up 9 hits through 6.2 innings, he allowed just two runs, working himself out of two men on base in both the 4th and 5th innings.
The Royals have the day off Monday as they travel to New York and prepare for the third place Yankees. The Royals will face off against a formidable pitcher in Gerritt Cole who is 8-3 on the year with a 2.31 ERA.
Brad Singer will take the mound for Kansas City. Singer last pitched on Wednesday where he exited after just three innings with “tightness in his pitching shoulder.”
The Royals will look to win their third in the last four games. If they get the victory Tuesday night, they will set themselves to win a second consecutive series as they will face Michael King on Wednesday and James Taillon on Thursday – two pitchers that have been less effective thus far this season. King and Taillon have a combined 1-7 record with a combined ERA of 4.84.