Twins vs. Royals – Game Preview

Twins vs. Royals – Game Preview

Three straight losses to the Kansas City Royals has left a sour taste in the Minnesota Twins‘ mouths as they prepare to kick off their final road trip of the season, a 10-game, three-city jaunt that will include stops in Detroit and Oakland.

Minnesota has been outscored 24-11 in the three games and its frustrations appeared to boil over Friday night in a 10-3 rout by the Royals at Kauffman Stadium when Twins manager Paul Molitor and third-base coach Gene Glynn were ejected by home plate umpire Ben May during the Royals’ four-run fourth-inning rally.

The Twins, who fell to 4-10 in September, will try to avoid a sweep Sunday when they wrap up their season series with Kansas City behind right-hander Kyle Gibson.

Gibson held the New York Yankees to one run in 5 2/3 innings in his last outing, allowing just a home run to Gary Sanchez while striking out five. The Twins, though, managed just two runs in that game, leaving Gibson on the hook for a fourth consecutive loss and his sixth in his last eight starts.

“Kyle fought; there’s no question about it,” Molitor said. “He had a few situations he had to pitch around, including some free passes, but he did well. I was proud of him for how he hung in there.”

Sunday will mark Gibson’s 30th start of the season and his third against the Royals in 2018. He took the loss in their last meeting after allowing four runs and six hits and striking out five in 5 1/3 innings. Gibson is 6-5 with a 3.40 ERA in 18 career starts against Kansas City.

The Royals have won five of their last six games and 14 of their last 20, They’ll be trying to close out their first four-game sweep since taking four straight from the Twins on Aug. 18-21, 2016.

“We’re feeling like we’re a quality team right now that’s playing well,” said Royals left fielder Alex Gordon, one of the few remaining veteran players on a team in the early phases of a full-scale rebuilding process. “Whether you’re young or old, we’re just playing together and having fun. That’s really all that matters. It doesn’t matter who does it, just as long someone gets it done.”

Gordon had three hits, including two doubles Saturday night, and third baseman Alcides Escobar, another holdover from the Royals’ 2015 World Series run, drove in three while finishing with three hits.

Escobar is batting .319 (29-for-91) with eight doubles and Gordon has 27 RBI in his last 41 games.

“I’m just trying to stay simple,” Gordon said. “I’ve been working with (hitting coach) Terry (Bradshaw) and (quality control coach) Pedro (Grifol) a lot this year and trying to use the opposite way. Obviously, teams are shifting me, so a lot of my hits are going to come the other way and that’s what I’ve been trying to do. Not hitting into the shift but hit it where they aren’t.”

The Royals turn to right-hander Jakob Junis to start the finale. Junis turned in a gem in his last outing, allowing three runs in eight innings of a 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

Junis has a 2.15 ERA in his last seven starts and hasn’t walked a batter in his last four.

“He’s on a roll right now,” Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. “He’s making it easier on himself to go deep (into games).”

Junis is 0-1 with a 3.43 ERA in four starts against the Twins.

Royals go for sweep of slumping Twins

Royals go for sweep of slumping Twins

Three straight losses to the Kansas City Royals has left a sour taste in the Minnesota Twins‘ mouths as they prepare to kick off their final road trip of the season, a 10-game, three-city jaunt that will include stops in Detroit and Oakland.

Minnesota has been outscored 24-11 in the three games and its frustrations appeared to boil over Friday night in a 10-3 rout by the Royals at Kauffman Stadium when Twins manager Paul Molitor and third-base coach Gene Glynn were ejected by home plate umpire Ben May during the Royals’ four-run fourth-inning rally.

The Twins, who fell to 4-10 in September, will try to avoid a sweep Sunday when they wrap up their season series with Kansas City behind right-hander Kyle Gibson.

Gibson held the New York Yankees to one run in 5 2/3 innings in his last outing, allowing just a home run to Gary Sanchez while striking out five. The Twins, though, managed just two runs in that game, leaving Gibson on the hook for a fourth consecutive loss and his sixth in his last eight starts.

“Kyle fought; there’s no question about it,” Molitor said. “He had a few situations he had to pitch around, including some free passes, but he did well. I was proud of him for how he hung in there.”

Sunday will mark Gibson’s 30th start of the season and his third against the Royals in 2018. He took the loss in their last meeting after allowing four runs and six hits and striking out five in 5 1/3 innings. Gibson is 6-5 with a 3.40 ERA in 18 career starts against Kansas City.

The Royals have won five of their last six games and 14 of their last 20, They’ll be trying to close out their first four-game sweep since taking four straight from the Twins on Aug. 18-21, 2016.

“We’re feeling like we’re a quality team right now that’s playing well,” said Royals left fielder Alex Gordon, one of the few remaining veteran players on a team in the early phases of a full-scale rebuilding process. “Whether you’re young or old, we’re just playing together and having fun. That’s really all that matters. It doesn’t matter who does it, just as long someone gets it done.”

Gordon had three hits, including two doubles Saturday night, and third baseman Alcides Escobar, another holdover from the Royals’ 2015 World Series run, drove in three while finishing with three hits.

Escobar is batting .319 (29-for-91) with eight doubles and Gordon has 27 RBIs in his last 41 games.

“I’m just trying to stay simple,” Gordon said. “I’ve been working with (hitting coach) Terry (Bradshaw) and (quality control coach) Pedro (Grifol) a lot this year and trying to use the opposite way. Obviously, teams are shifting me, so a lot of my hits are going to come the other way and that’s what I’ve been trying to do. Not hitting into the shift but hit it where they aren’t.”

The Royals turn to right-hander Jakob Junis to start the finale. Junis turned in a gem in his last outing, allowing three runs in eight innings of a 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

Junis has a 2.15 ERA in his last seven starts and hasn’t walked a batter in his last four.

“He’s on a roll right now,” Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. “He’s making it easier on himself to go deep (into games).”

Junis is 0-1 with a 3.43 ERA in four starts against the Twins.

3 things to know about exciting Royals LHP prospect Daniel Lynch

3 things to know about exciting Royals LHP prospect Daniel Lynch

The Lexington Legends are the 2018 South Atlantic League Champions. The Royals lowest full-season affiliate was one of the more balanced teams for most of the season, and really got some nice pitching help in the second half.

The Kansas City Royals stocked up on some of the more exciting arms in the 2018 MLB Draft. After snagging the Florida Gators dominant top-end pitchers of Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar, the Royals grabbed Daniel Lynch. All three were in the first round.

Not a bad day at the office.

Lynch recently pitched at Rome in the first round of the South Atlantic League playoffs. There was plenty to take away from his brief outing.

The skinny

Lynch is a big lefty, listed at 6’6”, but also weighs just 190, giving him a lankier appearance on the mound. The 21-year-old lefty had a successful career at Virginia where he struck out 105 and walked just 24 in the finals 88.2 innings of his collegiate career.

As previously mentioned, the Royals went pitcher heavy with three first round picks. Lynch was the last of the trio, going 34th overall right after his now-Legends teammate Jackson Kowar. While Singer never threw a pitch in 2018, both Lynch and Kowar played pivotal roles in the Lexington rotation, helping to earn their title.

The stuff

Lynch has a full four-pitch arsenal, but he throws both the two-seamer and four-seamer very well, giving him five pitches to use.

The fastball was reportedly a mid-90s offering, but Lynch was hitting 97 and 98 pretty easily early on in his Rome start. The two-seamer moves, and has some sink, giving him a ground ball inducing pitch. The slider is his best secondary offering, already a plus-pitch in my opinion, that is can be a true wipeout pitch. The change isn’t far behind, with some nice fade/ sink and sitting at 85, it gives him some added deception by taking so much off of his newfound velocity. The curve was a nice weapon, sitting 83-85, but may have been the most seldom used pitch.

He starts on the third base side of the mound, has a little toe tap, but doesn’t seem to have much trouble repeating his fluid delivery. Lynch is a very impressive pitcher and if he bulks up, while maintaining his control of the zone, he’s as exciting a pitching prospect as the Royals have.

Thoughts

Lynch came out on his September 7 start and was very fastball heavy. It seemed that sometimes he will temporarily lose his command, and in doing so, recover by losing some velocity (one fastball was clocked at 89). But, again, they are temporary and he moves on rather quickly.

One thing that was possibly a negative was the way he fielded his position. It was one mere play, and he made a nice stretch to field it, but Lynch turned, double-hopped and under threw first base. Again, one play does not make a pitcher, but it was worth noting.

Lynch didn’t go more than five innings or 81 pitches when he joined the Legends rotation, and that was the case that Friday night in Rome. He went four innings, landed 61 percent of his 67 pitches for strikes, and induced eight ground outs to just one fly out, with very little hard contact in between. He maintained his velocity pretty well, sitting 93-94 in that fourth inning with the fastball, and hitting 87 with a slider.

The lefty can miss bats. He can make hitters look foolish chasing his slider and change up, and he can freeze batters at the plate, simply looking at his stuff fly by. He also doesn’t allow many runs, letting up just three earned since the start of August, including none in the postseason. That speaks a bit to his pitchability, especially that moxie in his first playoffs as a professional just months into his career.

He has all the makings of a middle-of-the-rotation arm, it’s just a matter of showing he can continue the velocity and go longer innings into games. Neither should be an issue based on his history, so Lynch should be on the radar for 2019.

Twins getting healthy as they face Royals

Twins getting healthy as they face Royals

Mitch Garver and Miguel Sano took batting practice Friday afternoon and are inching closer to returning to action, but they are not likely to be in the Minnesota starting lineup Saturday when the Twins continue a four-game series with the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

Garver took a foul ball off his face mask while catching Sunday afternoon and has been out all week. Meanwhile, Sano is into his second week of recovery after bruising his lower left leg last week at Houston.

The Twins are taking a cautious approach with both players, who expect to return before the end of the regular season.

“I want to finish strong,” Sano said. “I’ve had a struggling year. I want to finish strong.”

The Royals will be waiting for an injury report of their own after right-hander Jorge Lopez left Friday’s game in the fifth inning after suffering a left rib contusion.

Lopez fell three outs short of a perfect game in his previous start last Saturday, and he had pitched four scoreless innings Friday before he collided with third baseman Hunter Dozier while chasing a fly ball hit by Willians Astudillo.

“He hit me with his right shoulder by the chest,” Lopez said. “I just reacted to the ball. I didn’t know it was going that far. I should not be there. He hit me pretty well.”

Lopez came back out for the fifth inning but signaled for the trainer after recording one out.

“If I breathe hard, it’s bothering me a little bit,” Lopez said. “It’s not like a pinch. It’s like tightness. Something that’s really tight. Hopefully I can come back in six days. That’s something I care about, my career.”

Lopez will undergo further testing, including an MRI, on Saturday. X-rays taken Friday night showed no fractures.

“They say they didn’t find anything (bad),” Lopez said. “Tomorrow they’ll see if they see something more.”

After taking the first two games of the series with late-inning rallies, the Royals will try to clinch a series victory Saturday behind Ian Kennedy (1-8, 4.92 ERA), who will be facing the Twins for a third consecutive start.

Kennedy gave up two runs over three innings at Minnesota on July 10, but he strained his left oblique in that contest and missed the next two months. He returned from the disabled list on Sunday and allowed just a run over six innings while striking out six. Kennedy did get a decision, though, as the Twins won the game 3-1.

“(Kennedy) threw the ball well,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He really did. Tried to go down, back-foot slider on the one run he gave up and kind of left it middle in a little bit. But outside of that, got to our target zone. We wanted to go somewhere between 80 and 90 pitches. He was around 95 and still strong at that point. So that was good. He looked completely healthy and looked like old Ian.”

Kennedy is 4-4 with a 4.33 ERA in 14 career starts against the Twins.

Twins right-hander Chase De Jong (0-0, 0.00) will make his second straight start against the Royals on Saturday. De Jong held Kansas City scoreless over four innings last Sunday, striking out five batters in his first major-league action of the season.

He will be going against Kennedy for the second straight start.

Fillmyer shoves and the Royals go back-to-back in 6-4 win over Twins

Fillmyer shoves and the Royals go back-to-back in 6-4 win over Twins

Outside of a two-run home run from Jake Cave in the 2nd, Heath Fillmyer cruised.

Through five innings, he had given up just two runs and struck out five but he found himself down two runs and the Royals had yet to get a hit.

He came back out for the 6th, this time down just one run. And the Royals still hadn’t recorded a hit.

The Kansas City run scored in the 5th might be the most bizarre I have ever seen. It started with a two-out walk from Whit Merrifield. Adalberto Mondesi followed by hitting a sharp ground ball at Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco.

Polanco proceeded to boot it into shallow centerfield, but neither he nor second baseman Logan Forsythe went to retrieve the ball.

Meanwhile, Merrifield kept on running and by the time Cave had chased the ball down in cenger and thrown it home, Whit had already scored from first.

But, the Royals still didn’t have their first hit. Gabriel Moya and Stephen Gonsalves split the first five innings and held Kansas City hitless in as many frames. Gonsalves looked especially sharp, striking out four Royals.

The Twins then sent out Alan Busenitz for the 6th, coming off a rough performance against the Yankees where he gave up four runs without recording an out.

He didn’t fare much better tonight, as Hunter Dozier led off the inning with a double to end the no-no and was followed by Salvador Perez’s 25th homer of the season to put the Royals up 3-2.

Jorge Bonifacio responded with a homer of his own, making it a 4-2 ballgame.

Busenitz left the game having faced three batters and giving up three runs. In his last 0.0 innings, he has given up seven runs on five hits, two homers, and two walks.

The Royals weren’t quite done either, as the rallied with two outs and got an RBI single from Mondesi to pad the lead at 5-2.

Meanwhile, Fillmyer continued shoving, retiring 19 of 21 Twins between the Cave home run in the 2nd and Chris Gimenez’s one-out double in the 8th. A Polanco single put runners on first and third, prompting Ned Yost to go to the bullpen in favor of Brian Flynn.

Flynn promptly gave up back-to-back singles to bring the Twins to within two and load up the bases.

Brandon Maurer and Jerry Vasto managed to escape with just one run surrendered on a sac fly to protect the lead.

Merrifield would walk and score on a fielders choice in the 8th for a much needed insurance run before Wily Peralta slammed the door in the 9th to close out the series-opening victory.

With the win, the Royals improved to 50-96 while the Twins fell to 67-79.

Up Next: Minnesota Twins at Kansas City Royals, 7:15 PM CDT, Kauffman Stadium. RHP José Berríos (11-11, 3.83 ERA) v. RHP Jorge López (2-4, 3.72 ERA)

Homers lift Royals past Twins, 6-4

Homers lift Royals past Twins, 6-4

Reuters

Salvador Perez and Jorge Bonifacio hit back-to-back homers to highlight a four-run sixth inning as the Kansas City Royals rallied for a 6-4 victory over the visiting Minnesota Twins on Thursday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Perez also doubled and Rosell Herrera had two hits and scored a run for Kansas City (50-96). Alex Gordon reached base three times, walking twice and also getting hit by a pitch, and also drove in a run for the Royals.

Heath Fillmyer (3-1) gave up four runs on five hits over 7 1/3 innings, walking one and striking out six, to pick up the victory. Wily Peralta pitched a hitless ninth to earn his 11 th save.

Alan Busenitz (4-1) gave up both homers and allowed three runs without retiring a batter to suffer his first loss of the season, and Jake Cave homered and had two hits for Minnesota (67-79) which lost its sixth consecutive game at Kauffman Stadium.

The Twins took a 2-0 lead in the second inning when Robbie Grossman led off with a double to right and then scored on Cave’s 11 th homer of the season, a 424-drive to right-center.

Kansas City cut it to 2-1 in the fifth when Whit Merrifield walked with two outs and then came around to score when shortstop Jorge Polanco muffed Adalberto Mondesi’s grounder for an error.

The Royals received five walks over the first five innings, but didn’t get their first hit until the four-run sixth when Hunter Dozier led off with a double to left off Busenitz.

Perez then hit his 25 th homer to left-center to put Kansas City in front 3-2 and Bonifacio followed eight pitches later with his third home run of the season, smacking a hanging 3-2 curveball over the left field fence to make it 4-2.

Mondesi added an RBI single later in the inning, driving in Whit Merrifield, who had walked, as he Royals sent 10 men to the plate.

The Twins cut it to 5-4 in the eighth with four straight hits, including an RBI single by Eddie Rosario that drove Chris Gimenez, who had doubled. Grossman added a sacrifice fly, driving in Polanco, who had singled.

Kansas City added an insurance run in the eighth when Merrifield singled, stole his 36 th base of the season and advanced to third on a throwing error by Gimenez and scored on a fielder’s choice by Gordon.

–Field Level Media

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