Singer's gem makes Royals believe righty 'should be' an All-Star

Salvy picks up 1,500th career hit on same day as 9th All-Star selection

July 7th, 2024

DENVER -- Two out of the five starters in the Royals’ rotation are headed to the All-Star Game next week in Arlington at Globe Life Field.

A third starter in their rotation has a 2.93 ERA, good for eighth best in the American League, and his 101 1/3 innings this year rank 17th in the league.

Brady Singer wasn’t on the AL All-Star roster announced Sunday with his teammates Seth Lugo and Cole Ragans -- along with position players Bobby Witt Jr. and Salvador Perez, who picked up his 1,500th career hit -- but there is certainly a case to be made that the righty deserved a spot, especially after Sunday.

Singer shoved with seven strong innings, allowing one run on six hits with seven strikeouts. He earned his first win since May 19 against Oakland and his first road win of the year.

More importantly, it gave the Royals a much-needed victory, a 10-1 thumping of the Rockies at Coors Field to take the series finale after two frustrating losses earlier this weekend.

“That shows you what our offense can do, and I still think we can do more,” Witt said after hitting his 15th homer of the season, a three-run blast that gave the Royals a double-digit total on the scoreboard. “[Singer] was unbelievable up there, and honestly, I think he should be an All-Star as well.”

The trio of Ragans, Lugo and Singer allowed five earned runs across 20 innings this weekend at Coors Field. All three rank in the top 25 in ERA among qualified pitchers in baseball this year: Lugo is second with a 2.21 ERA, Singer is 13th with 2.93 and Ragans is 23rd with 3.28.

All three will likely pitch in the Royals’ final series before the All-Star break, exactly who you’d want on the mound for a big matchup in Boston against the team the Royals are a game behind in the AL Wild Card standings.

“The huge thing I’ve focused on in my career is staying consistent,” Singer said. “It’s something I’m really trying to do [this year] … Try to win the game, really. Whatever I can do to win the game, that's the big key. That’s what we’re trying to do here.”

Making his first start at Coors Field, Singer, a pitcher who relies heavily on the movement of his sinker, wasn’t sure how his pitches would move at altitude in the dry air. A quick first inning helped him settle down and understand what he was working with, and he didn’t allow his first hit until the third inning, in which Aaron Schunk singled to put runners on first and third with one out following a leadoff walk.

Singer struck out lefty-hitting Charlie Blackmon on a perfectly-placed sinker -- one that Singer actually called “one of the worst pitches of the day” based on metrics. It didn’t move really at all across the zone, but it landed on the inside corner of the zone for a called strike.

“With the humidity, you’d get that ball to come back a little bit, but it cut,” Singer said. “It was a weird pitch. We were laughing about it because it was so bad. But it was a good location, down at the bottom of the zone, and got him to freeze there. And it set up the strikeout with a runner on third.”

Singer ended the threat by striking out Ezequiel Tover on a slider. He got out of jams in the fourth and fifth with double plays, which helped him keep his pitch count down, finishing the seventh with 86 pitches after a run scored that inning. Manager Matt Quatraro turned it over to Angel Zerpa and Kris Bubic -- whose scoreless ninth inning was his first appearance on a big league mound since April 2023 -- for the final two innings.

“It was a tough call,” Quatraro said. “I didn’t want Brady to go back out there and then have to bring in somebody with guys on base. Certainly, there was an argument the other way, too.”

So far this season, the Royals have provided Singer with just two runs or fewer of support in 13 of his 17 starts, including each of the last seven entering Sunday.

That finally changed in start No. 18, with homers from Maikel Garcia, MJ Melendez and Witt, along with clutch RBIs from Michael Massey and Freddy Fermin.

“The starters have been amazing, and all we want to do is get the run support for them,” Melendez said. “We know that they’re going to go out there [and pitch] six-plus innings, which you don’t see a lot from teams. We want to help them get as many wins as possible, scoring runs while they’re preventing runs for us.”