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Royals’ Brady Singer seeks more K’s vs. Rays

Jul 23, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA;  Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Brady Singer (51) delivers against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Amid another tough week across a trying season, the Kansas City Royals could use an encore performance of pitcher Brady Singer’s earlier outing against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Royals, who fell 7-1 to the Rays on Thursday in St. Petersburg, Fla., in the opener of a four-game series, will turn to Singer (6-4, 3.29 ERA) on Friday night.

When the two squads met for three games right after the All-Star break, the 26-year-old right-hander authored one of his most overpowering efforts of the season.

On July 23 in the middle game of the series, Singer dominated over five hitless innings. With the visitors trailing 3-0, Tampa Bay’s Roman Quinn broke up the no-hit bid with a drag bunt leading off the sixth. It was his first start for the team.

Over six-plus innings, Singer established a career high with 12 strikeouts while showcasing an overwhelming slider that had Rays batters flailing. He gave up two runs (one earned) on three hits and two walks in a no-decision.

“He threw some really good changeups, but the slider was wipeout today,” Kansas City manager Mike Matheny said after the game. “To get 12 strikeouts, it had to be one of those disappearing sliders and throwing it in the right part of the zone and strikes when we wanted to. One of the best we’ve seen from him.”

Including that start and his four since, Singer holds a pedestrian 2-1 mark over 32 1/3 innings, but his ERA over that span dazzles at 1.67 — lowering his season number from 4.02 to 3.29. In two of the five outings, he allowed no runs in a combined 13 innings.

Despite the strong showing last month, Singer is 0-1 with a 7.27 ERA in two career starts against the Rays. On May 27, 2021, Tampa Bay lit him up for six runs on four hits in 2 2/3 innings, handing Singer a 7-2 loss in St. Petersburg.

The Rays, coming off a troubling 8-7, 10-inning loss in the Bronx on Wednesday that prevented them from sweeping the New York Yankees, rebounded with the big victory in the series opener against the Royals. Tampa Bay blew the game open with a five-run seventh inning.

Leadoff hitter Yandy Diaz was the focal point for the Rays during the game and after it.

The 31-year-old third baseman slugged a leadoff homer in the first inning, then added a two-run single in the seventh. However, he left the game as the teams changed sides, with the Rays announcing he was removed because of left knee soreness.

“He’s totally fine,” manager Kevin Cash said postgame. “We took him out precautionary. We expect to bring him off the bench (on Friday). He will hit off the bench (if we need him).”

Added Brandon Lowe of Diaz: “He’s Mr. Consistent for us. … Honestly, he’s probably the only bat that’s been in the lineup for us the whole year.”

Cash will send out staff ace Shane McClanahan (11-5, 2.28 ERA) for his 23rd start on Friday. The left-hander has lost two of his past three starts and has watched his ERA grow from 1.71 to 2.28 since the All-Star Break.

In his one career start against the Royals — against Singer on May 27, 2021 — McClanahan fired five scoreless innings for the win. He struck out six without a walk and scattered three hits.

–Field Level Media