In a season that has seen extremely high highs (remember the best record in baseball?) and low lows, the Royals seem cursed to the pattern of one step forward and two steps back. This week contained moments of joy and sorrow, as the boys in blue were swept by the lowly Tigers before taking a series from the AL East-leading Red Sox.
But the greatest points of sadness were reserved for injury troubles. The Royals started the week by placing offensive stalwart Andrew Benintendi on the 10-day injured list with a right rib fracture. Because there was no indication that he was hurt during Sunday's game, this came as a bit of a surprise to many.
What is less surprising, though probably more disappointing, is the continued injury struggles of Adalberto Mondesi who was removed from Sunday's game after feeling something in his side. Mondesi was reinstated on Tuesday after an injured list stint for a hamstring injury and had gone 4-for-11 with two home runs, two doubles, four RBIs, and only one strikeout. While he was in the lineup for three games, Mondesi was clearly not 100 percent. He routinely failed to dial up his elite speed, seemingly in an effort to protect his hamstring. Mondesi's struggle to stay on the field will open questions about whether the Royals should consider signing him long-term or not.
Mondesi's continued health issues will place even more pressure on Nicky Lopez to continue his recent resurgence. In four games this week, Lopez went nine-for-14 and played stellar defensively, including a few spectacular defensive plays in the opening series win against the Red Sox.
While the week ended with a winning series, it started with what is one of the low points of the Royals' season so far, a second series sweep at the hands of the Tigers. Royals hitters continually stranded runners in what has been a theme for most of the season.
On the Farm
The Omaha Storm Chasers cannot be stopped. Last week it was Ryan O'Hearn. This week it's Emmanuel Rivera, an under-the-radar third base prospect who hit five home runs this week and raised his season-long slash line to .303/.347/.632. With the lack of consistency at the hot corner for the Royals, it wouldn't be surprising to see Rivera get a chance sometime in the next month or so if he continues to hit.