It was another so-so week of baseball for the Kansas City Royals. To begin it, they lost a makeup game in St. Louis before splitting a two-game home series with the Cardinals.
Then it was an off day before starting a set in Baltimore where weather once again stalled the series. The Royals did manage to split a Sunday doubleheader with the Orioles to wrap up the week, however. Let’s take a look at some of the big stories from the past seven days of Kansas City baseball.
At the beginning of every week, 'Mondays with Mark' will dive into the latest developments with the Royals. Have something you want to be discussed? Let Mark know on Twitter @MarkTheOverseer or find Inside the Royals @InsideRoyals.
Bobby Witt Jr.'s first home run
It was a long wait, but Bobby Witt Jr. finally hit his first major league home run in a win at Kauffman Stadium against the St. Louis Cardinals. The fan who tried to catch it ended up dropping it back onto the field and outfielder Harrison Bader picked up the ball to throw back into the stands and ended up tossing it all the way into the fountains. Thanks to quick thinking from Royals security, they fished the ball out and were able to give Witt his prized possession without any difficulty. It’s a day Witt will never forget.
MJ Melendez makes MLB debut
On the same night Witt hit his first major-league home run, MJ Melendez was making his debut. The young catcher was serving as the Royals' designated hitter after Carlos Santana was sent to the injured list. Melendez collected his first major league hit and walk in the outing, which ended up being a 7-1 win for the Royals. Melendez made his first start at catcher the following afternoon at home against the Cardinals in what ended up being a 10-0 loss. Melendez did record a hit in the game.
He also started the second game of a doubleheader against the Orioles on Sunday and collected yet another hit. Melendez has a three-game hitting streak to start his career with the Royals and is batting .333 for the team. He could see some more time at catcher this week with the potential for Salvador Perez to stay at designated hitter for a few games.
Injuries continue to pile up
Last week, it was Adalberto Mondesi and Cam Gallagher. This past week, it was Santana and Edward Olivares. The Royals have had a rough stretch to start the season both on the field and in the injury department. Hopefully the Olivares injury isn’t significant, as he was looking like one of the better hitters for the club and had a career-high four hits in the win against the Cardinals this past week. He's making a trip to the 10-day Injured List for the time being.
The pitching rollercoaster takes off for another ride
Zack Greinke and Brad Keller seem to be the consistent performers to this point in the season. After a solid back-to-back starts, Daniel Lynch was all over the place in his start in Game 2 of the doubleheader against the Orioles. The bullpen continues to be mostly reliable, though.
The biggest move of the week came after Kris Bubic got blown up again early in the first inning of his start. The disastrous first month of a season meant a demotion for Bubic, who will now be sent to the bullpen for the time being. It will be interesting to see who takes over that position in the starting rotation. Many think Brady Singer will be the man to get the nod sometime later this month.
Weather won't stop wreaking havoc
The weather has been an ongoing story early in this Major League Baseball season. Since the season started late due to the lockout, many were wondering if the league would be able to fit in a full slate of 162 games. The Royals had to make their quick trip to St. Louis last Monday before coming right back to Kansas City for a two-game set with the Cardinals due to a weather postponement from earlier in the season.
The first two games in the Baltimore series were postponed due to bad weather in the Northeast. Both sides made up one game on Sunday with a doubleheader and will make up the other game that was missed in the series on Monday.
One has to wonder if the delays and schedule shifting are having an impact on the players. It isn’t just the Royals that this is happening to, but baseball players are creatures of habit and love the routine of the game. The weather delays certainly don’t help with that at all.
Let’s hope that the weather clears up, the players stay healthy, and everyone involved can get back on track this week. The Royals wrap up their series against the Orioles with an 11:05 a.m. (CT) first pitch on Monday before the road trip continues in Texas against the Rangers and then an interleague matchup in Colorado against the Rockies arrives to wrap up the week.