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Gabe Speier to Make First Career Start as Royals Face Rangers

The lefty will open for the shorthanded Royals in a likely bullpen game.

If things weren't getting desperate for the Kansas City Royals before their Tuesday night outing, they sure are now.

In what featured a rare bad start from RHP Brad Keller, the Royals lost to the Texas Rangers in game one of their three-game set by a final score of 6-4. Kansas City's bats woke up a bit as the game progressed, but not enough to overcome Keller's mistakes with his fastball and slider. In the end, Texas took the win at home and dropped the Royals to 9-18 on the season. 

May 10, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Brad Keller (56) delivers a pitch to the Texas Rangers during the first inning of a baseball game at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday night, both clubs are back at Globe Life Field for game two. On Thursday, the Royals will be in Colorado for the opener of a three-game series against the Rockies before heading home to square off against some American League Central foes. Getting out of Texas with a series win would be a major boost for a squad that is struggling immensely. 

Here's how the Royals will line up in this evening's game:

Starting Pitchers

Kansas City: LHP Gabe Speier (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Texas: RHP Matt Bush (1-1, 4.09 ERA)

Kansas City Royals Starting Lineup

  1. Bobby Witt Jr. (R) - 3B
  2. Andrew Benintendi (L) - LF
  3. Salvador Perez (R) - C
  4. Ryan O'Hearn (L) - DH
  5. Hunter Dozier (R) - 1B
  6. Kyle Isbel (L) - RF
  7. Michael A. Taylor (R) - CF
  8. Whit Merrifield (R) - 2B
  9. Nicky Lopez (L) - SS
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Gabe Speier set to make first career start

May 3, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Gabe Speier (67) pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals during the eighth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Because Kris Bubic has been demoted to the bullpen, the Royals went into Wednesday's game needing someone to spot-start until someone like Brady Singer could rejoin the rotation (Singer had a start in Triple-A on Wednesday and isn't eligible to return just yet). In Bubic's place, temporarily, will be LHP Gabe Speier. Speier has pitched only in relief to this point in his big-league career, and he has yet to allow a run in 9-1/3 innings this season. 

He also hasn't issued a walk in 2022, cementing his status as one of the Royals' most successful bullpen arms of the year thus far. Kansas City will almost surely utilize that bullpen pretty heavily against Texas, as Speier projects to be used in more of an opener's role. This could be the only start he gets this year, yet the club is hoping he can eat up a few innings and remain effective in a unique situation. 

Heasley to get nod in home state on Thursday

Sep 25, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Kansas City Royals pitcher Jon Heasley throws against the Detroit Tigers in the third inning in at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of pitchers who could soon return to the MLB level, Singer will be beat out by Jonathan Heasley at least a day or two in advance. The Royals announced on Wednesday afternoon that Heasley, a Texas native, would be promoted in time to be the club's starter for Thursday night's game. 

The Royals' No. 10 prospect made three MLB-level starts at the end of last season, recording a 1-1 record with a 4.91 ERA in 14-2/3 innings of work. Heasley has appeared in six contests in Triple-A Omaha in 2022 (all starts), posting a 4.44 ERA with a K/9 of 10.25. He'll look to build on the success he found last September as the Royals try to sort out what the next version of their starting rotation will turn out to be. 

Follow Along

First Pitch: 7:05 p.m. CST
TV: Bally Sports Kansas City
Radio: KCSP 610 AM

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