Pitching staff leads Royals to end of shortened season

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Brady Singer, pitcher, throws a pitch during a game in Detroit. Singer was great in his first season, posting an ERA under 3.00 with a 3-2 record in the last month of the season.

Alex Burbidge , Editor-in-Chief

When Major League Baseball announced that they would be playing a 60-game season with an expanded postseason, many fans of the Kansas City Royals were optimistic that they could compete for a playoff spot. However, the team was officially eliminated from postseason play with a week remaining in the season.

With a record of 26-34, the team was firmly in fourth place in the American League Central, 10 games back of the division-winning Minnesota Twins. However, this is their best 60-game start to a season since 2017, and puts them on pace for a 70-92 season, which would be their best record since that same 2017 season.

Not much has gone right for the Royals; however, they revitalized their bullpen, finding a solid combination of Scott Barlow, Greg Holland, Trevor Rosenthal, and Josh Staumont. Though Rosenthal was traded to the San Diego Padres for Edward Olivares, outfielder, he had a solid earned run average of 3.29 (though his ERA sat at 1.46 before his final appearance with the club). The Lee’s Summit West graduate looks likely to sign back with the Royals during the offseason, along with Holland, who resurrected his career and has taken over the spot as closer. With a sparkling 1.91 ERA, Holland was a workhorse, pitching in 28 games, which led the team along with Barlow, who pitched in 32 .

Barlow showed flashes of greatness last season, having two separate two-month stretches with an ERA under 2.00. He looked like he was going to be much more consistent this year, carrying a 1.37 ERA into September and hoped to establish himself as one of baseball’s elite pitchers. He was absolutely dreadful in September, however, sporting an ERA at 9.58, which may be due to his overuse by Mike Matheny, manager. Lastly, Staumont has shown to be the elite pitcher that Barlow has tried to be, complimenting his 102 mph fastball with a devastating curveball that absolutely carved up hitters and has put him in good position to be the Royals’ setup man next season.

Young Brady Singer, pitcher, also lived up to the hype surrounding his Major League debut, nearly throwing the first no-hitter by a Royals pitcher in almost 30 years. He threw seven and two-thirds innings of no-hit ball, and finished the outing with a career-high 120 pitches thrown. He then followed up that act by coming one pitch shy of throwing an immaculate inning, which would have been the first by a Royal since 1994. 

The 2020 season was one where much progress was made, but at some point an improvement in record should be expected to happen. The pitching staff will be what carries this team in the future, and what they’ve shown this season is nothing short of promising.