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Bubic, Matheny All Smiles After Royals’ Win on Monday

Bubic's impressive start was appreciated not only by himself, but also his skipper.

The Kansas City Royals are 5-5 in their last 10 games, and their west coast road trip continued to hum along on Monday with another victory.

In a late-night game against the Los Angeles Angels, a trio of home runs paved the way for Kansas City's 6-2 victory at Angel Stadium. The club's power display from Andrew Benintendi, Salvador Perez and Hunter Dozier was helpful, but it was Kris Bubic's start that set the tone for the evening. 

Jun 14, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Kris Bubic (50) throws against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Across six innings of work, the Angels collected six hits off Bubic as he surrendered just a pair of runs and a pair of walks in the process. While he did allow a home run, it was a solo shot that didn't ultimately doom what was otherwise an inspiring outing. In addition to striking out seven Los Angeles hitters, Bubic induced a total of 14 swings and misses. Monday night's game marked back-to-back good outings from the lefty, and he knows he's on a roll.

"I think it was pretty close," Bubic said when asked how his stuff fared on Monday as opposed to his last time out. "I'll still give the nod to the previous outing. I thought tonight, I executed real well. The curveball was in the zone a lot, so it really helped the other two pitches as well. I thought overall, we executed a pretty good game plan and I think everybody was happy with tonight."

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Of Bubic's 95 pitches thrown against Los Angeles, 60 of them landed for strikes. 52 of his offerings were fastballs (55%), 27 were changeups (28%) and 16 were curveballs (17%). The curveball generated just two of his 14 whiffs, whereas the four-seamer and changeup each led to six. His stuff was working all night long, and Royals manager Mike Matheny took notice and said that Bubic securing his first win of the 2022 season was a big deal at an individual level.

"I'm sure it means more to him," Matheny said. "We go off him having good starts. He's had some good starts without the results, as far as the win would go. To say it doesn't matter is just not realistic, because it does. [To] every one of these guys, their stats matter. It's how they're compensated in this game. He needed to have that to get that off his mind."

Dating back to May 11 against the Texas Rangers, Bubic has seen his ERA decrease by at least a bit in every start. It still sits at an alarming level (7.41) but if he continues to settle in, that figure should keep dropping. Command is ever-important for the 24-year-old, as his fastball velocity is nothing special and he's a three-pitch operator. 

As he's shown in his last couple of outings, however, perhaps there's a future for him in the Royals' rotation now that he's flashing quality performances. This year has been a rollercoaster for Bubic on the mound, and Monday's start was one of the highest points on the ride thus far. He'll look to keep that momentum going his next time out.