Singer battles Rockies, short rain delay to earn 4th win

Right-hander tosses 5 2/3 shutout innings, strikes out 7 as Royals win series finale

June 4th, 2023

KANSAS CITY -- is known to hate the rain, dating back to his days at Florida before he was the Royals' first-round Draft pick in 2018.

It’s become a running joke in the Royals' clubhouse since then, so when heavy drops started to fall as the sixth inning began Sunday afternoon, Singer was just glad it was going to be a short delay.

“I knew it would be quick, so I came in [the clubhouse], sat around, and tried to stay locked in,” Singer said.

Following a 16-minute delay, Singer was back on the mound, striking out the first batter he faced and capping a stellar outing in the Royals’ 2-0 win over the Rockies at Kauffman Stadium.

“I thought it was important for Brady to get the chance to get those guys out,” manager Matt Quatraro said about sending Singer out for the sixth after an extended break. “And his stuff looked like it merited it today.

“That’s who we think he is, that’s who he’s going to be for us. When things turn, he’s going to be a guy who goes six-seven innings for us consistently.”

Singer put together one of his best starts this season with 5 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out seven with no walks. In his search for consistency this season, Singer looked more like the pitcher he was in 2022 on Sunday, when he stunned hitters with his sinker’s movement and fooled them with his slider’s bite.

Armed with perhaps the best command of his sinker this year, Singer was then able to get the Rockies to chase on his slider -- generating nine whiffs on 23 swings on the breaking pitch (43% whiff rate).

“It was more about the breaking pitches -- the slider that we just couldn't really solve,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. "It seems like a good slider, especially off his heater. Tip your hat to him. He made some great pitches when he had to and he's gonna be good for years in the future."

Singer looked that way in 2022 with a 3.23 ERA in 27 appearances, but he’s struggled with consistency in ‘23 with a 6.45 ERA in 12 starts. The right-hander has been charged with at least five runs in six of his 12 starts this season. But in the other six starts, he’s held opponents to two runs or fewer.

In between his starts, Singer has focused on cleaning up his mechanics, knowing that when his delivery is in sync, he’ll have better command of his sinker. And Singer has been searching for the right movement profile on the pitch -- like the way it broke across the zone like it did on Sunday.

With a runner on first in the third inning, Singer threw three consecutive sinkers to Brenton Doyle -- the third of which Doyle fouled off -- to get in an 0-2 count before freezing the center fielder on a slider. Two batters later, with two outs, Ryan McMahon took a sinker and fouled two off up in the zone before swinging through a nasty slider to end the frame.

“I’ve been able to steer the sinker around and have command of it,” Singer said. “The slider being in the zone and having chase, too, I was really excited about that. ... Just the command of everything, attack the way I was doing last year, [which] helped me through a lot of games. To have that today helps a lot.”

Singer battled Colorado starter Kyle Freeland inning-for-inning until the Royals broke through with MJ Melendez’s double and Michael Massey’s RBI single in the fifth inning. Maikel Garcia hit his first career home run to lead off the eighth, knocking Freeland from the game. Garcia, who could be the Royals’ future answer at third base, crushed a changeup 414 feet to center field, but the umpires reviewed it for fan interference.

After a lengthy review, the home run was confirmed, and Garcia threw his hands up in the air and smiled widely as his teammates celebrated with him.

“I was nervous because I ran all the bases. Like, ‘Oh my God, give me my first homer please. Don’t change it,’” Garcia said.

Two runs was all the Royals needed to avoid a series sweep because the bullpen locked it down after Singer, with Taylor Clarke extending his scoreless-innings streak to 14 dating back to May 3. Aroldis Chapman pitched a scoreless eighth with two strikeouts, while Scott Barlow notched his 50th career save.

Sunday was just the fourth time in club history that Royals pitchers recorded at least 14 strikeouts without issuing a walk.

“[Singer] battled the rain delay there and finished out strong, which was huge to give us five-plus good innings,” Clarke said. “We needed every little bit of it.”