Singer's sinker hit hard in loss to Mariners

May 14th, 2024

SEATTLE -- It was a different sort of challenge for on Monday at T-Mobile Park.

The right-hander came to Seattle with a 2.36 ERA and a 1.007 WHIP, with three quality starts in his first seven outings and more than two runs allowed just once, working with a simple recipe for success.

“Brady’s outings come down to commanding the fastball,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said prior to the game. “The more strikes he throws, the more early contact, the better chance he has to be in there going deeper into the game.”

On Monday, Singer had his sinker in the zone, and it led to contact -- just not the sort he wanted.

The right-hander went five innings, allowing four runs on a season-high nine hits -- all of which came between the second and the fourth -- and that was enough to send Kansas City to a 6-2 loss to Seattle.

“It was just kind of a struggle all around,” Singer said. “I couldn’t really get any of the pitches where I wanted to go all night. Just had to battle tough to get through five there. Had to compete, and pitch with what I had.”

It was the Royals’ eighth consecutive loss in Seattle, a skid that dates back to August 2021.

After a breeze of a first inning, Cal Raleigh set the tone for how the night would play out for Singer when he rapped a first-pitch slider off Vinnie Pasquantino’s glove at first base and legged out a leadoff double.

Two batters later, Luke Raley blasted a 1-1 floating sinker 432 feet out to dead center -- matching the longest home run Singer had allowed this season -- to put Seattle up 2-0.

Those two hits came off the bat at 101.8 mph and 107.3 mph, respectively. Singer would give up five more balls with exit velocities over 101 mph before he got out of the fourth inning.

“Obviously, my goal is to get out there and throw strikes early in the count and get weak contact,” Singer said. “But location was bad, and they put good swings on them.”

Much of Singer's trouble came from his sinker -- not that he wasn’t putting them in the zone, but that he was leaving them over the plate and too high. Coming into the night, Singer had allowed 13 hits on his sinker across eight starts. On Monday, he gave up six before the fifth inning and only got one whiff with it all night.

In the third, the Mariners hit three straight singles off Singer's sinker, punctuated by a 410-foot shot off the wall -- 107.4 mph exit velocity -- off Raleigh’s bat on a 1-0 count.

“I’d rather have them swinging early; I’m trying to get quick outs there and try to get deep into the ballgame,” Singer said. “But they were aggressive that second time through, and I could have made some better pitches in better locations.”

That Raleigh RBI -- which made it 3-0 -- turned out to be pivotal, because on the other side of things, the Kansas City bats struggled against George Kirby.

The Royals loaded the bases with one out on some uncharacteristic wildness from the Seattle right-hander in the first inning, but they got nothing out of it after a Michael Massey strikeout and a Nelson Velázquez groundout.

From there, Kirby retired 14 of the next 16 batters he faced, with Dairon Blanco getting thrown out attempting to steal second after logging the only hit in that span.

“Against a guy like that, when you get a chance early, you’ve got to come through,” Massey said.

Kansas City got a breath of fresh air when Seattle went to its bullpen in the eighth, with Massey hitting a double into the right-center gap that scored Bobby Witt Jr. and Vinnie Pasquantino with the help of a couple of misplays in the Seattle outfield. That cut the deficit to 4-2, but any thoughts of yet another comeback win were quickly diminished when the Mariners plated two runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning.