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Royals seek an improvement on the mound against Astros

Sportsnaut
Apr 29, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Kris Bubic (50) pitches against the New York Yankees during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe the trip to the minor leagues will make the difference for Kansas City Royals left-hander Kris Bubic.

The Royals will host the Houston Astros for the second game of a three-game series Saturday afternoon, and Bubic is likely to get start. Bubic was in the Royals clubhouse before Friday’s game and is expected to get the official call up from Triple-A Omaha. The Royals sent him there after Bubic started the season at 0-3 with a 12.83 ERA.

The Royals need Bubic to have a good outing after Brady Singer was rocked for seven runs on eight hits — including three two-run home runs — in five innings in Friday’s 10-3 Houston victory.

“Brady’s stuff was really good today,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “I know the numbers didn’t look like it, but he had everything that he needed. He made a mental mistake to (Aledmys) Diaz, but the other two home runs were pretty good pitches. Anything he got anywhere near the plate, they were finding barrel.”

Diaz hit the first of the three home runs in a spot start for Alex Bregman, who was given the night off.

“It’s always great when I get a chance to be in the lineup and contribute to the team,” Diaz said. “I know the role I have on this team. I try to stay sharp in the cage and see a lot of videos.”

Singer, Bubic’s fellow 2018 first-round pick, was sent to the minors earlier this season and seemed to have found what was missing, allowing just three runs on 14 hits in 19 2/3 innings upon his return until the Astros broke his stride.

Bubic is one of the potential cornerstones of the Royals future. One of four first-round draft picks in the 2018 draft, he was part of the starting rotation coming out of spring training. But he took the loss in three of his five starts and allowed five runs in two of them and four in another. That earned him a trip to the bullpen.

“(We) kept telling him how good his breaking ball was,” Matheny said at the time of Bubic’s move to the pen. “(He) didn’t believe it until he came in a big situation. He needed to feel it and see it. That’s where he is. He’s going to get through this, but right now, it’s not fun going through it.”

Bubic gave up one run on one hit (a solo home run by Corey Seager) in one inning of relief against the Texas Rangers and was sent to Triple-A Omaha on May 12. He made three starts in Omaha, going 0-2 with a 6.59 ERA. But he cut down on his walks, yielding just four in 13 2/3 innings.

In 13 1/3 innings with the Royals, he has walked 11 and struck out 10.

With veteran Zack Greinke on the 15-day injured list with a strained right forearm, Bubic is likely to get another chance to show that he belongs in the majors. He’ll face the Astros for the first time in his career.

Luis Garcia (3-3, 3.14 ERA) will be on the mound for the Astros. He is coming off a month in which he was 2-2 with a 2.33 ERA, but in May, he surrendered two earned runs or fewer in four of his five starts.

Garcia 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA in two starts career starts against the Royals.

–Field Level Media