Zimmer vs. Zimmer matchup on the horizon

July 25th, 2020

At some point, there will be a Zimmer vs. Zimmer matchup in 2020, at least one would believe.

Royals right-hander made his second straight Opening Day roster this season. And because the Royals open the season against Cleveland and because the Royals play the Indians eight more times after Saturday, Zimmer might at some point face his younger brother, Bradley, an outfielder for the Indians.

Kyle is 28, Bradley is 27.

“There actually hasn’t been an official Zimmer vs. Zimmer,” Kyle Zimmer said in a Zoom call Friday. “We played together in high school. We played together in college for a year. But we never actually faced each other.”

Kyle Zimmer might be a part of the Royals’ “bullpen game” on Sunday. The Royals likely will go with an opener and then turn it over to the bullpen.

Kyle and Bradley were a big help to each during baseball’s pause because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were living together during the quarantine and trained together,” Kyle said. “He was standing in on some of my bullpens. I don’t really like that now because now he’s seen it a little bit. But it was good because I needed a batter in there to get some feedback, and he needed a pitcher to see some stuff.”

No challenge
Royals manager Mike Matheny did not challenge a caught stealing call against in the first inning on Friday night, though replays appeared to show Mondesi was safe.

Matheny said Royals replay coordinator Bill Duplissea, one of the best in baseball, told him it was definitely a “no challenge.”

“I have no problem trying for a challenge that early in the game,” Matheny said. “I’m not a manager who has to hold onto challenges for later in the game. If I think it merits one, I’ll do it.”

Matheny’s first big move
Matheny made his first strategical move on Friday during the fifth inning when he pulled starter after just 65 pitches. Runners were on first and third with one out in a scoreless game.

Matheny was hoping reliever could induce a double-play grounder. Barlow got a grounder, but it bounced into left-center field for an RBI single by Oscar Mercado.

“Games aren’t necessarily won or lost in the ninth,” Matheny said. “That game was won or lost in the fifth inning.”