Singer's short start sinks Royals vs. Oakland

May 7th, 2023

KANSAS CITY -- Going into the 2023 season, it looked like would be the ace of the Royals pitching staff. His struggles to start the season would indicate otherwise, as he gave up five runs over four innings in a 5-4 loss to the A’s on Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium. The 26-year-old right-hander has given up at least five runs in five of his six starts in the young campaign.

It’s quite the contrast to how he ended last year, as he had a 2.84 ERA in September and he went at least six innings in four of his five September starts, resulting in three wins.

“I thought I had a good game plan going in. I wanted to establish the fastball early and just get back to my strengths,” Singer said. “I feel like the first inning is where I wanted to be and then, [I] got in a jam in the second inning and it unfolded on me there.”

It appeared a start against a struggling Oakland team could’ve been a turnaround game for the Royals' second-round Draft pick in 2015.

But that didn't happen.

After a 13-pitch first inning, it took Singer 37 pitches to escape the second inning where he walked two batters and hit another. This start comes after arguably the worst start in his career where he allowed eight runs in 2 2/3 innings to the Twins last week.

“[Today's game] was really taxing and it’s hot,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “It’s the first day we’ve had this type of heat and I was getting uncomfortable with how many pitches he had thrown, but he buckled down to get through that and made some big pitches to get through the next two innings.”

Though Singer has had a rough go in his last few outings, he is not alone in that. Kansas City has found itself fighting back from big deficits numerous times this week.

Ryan Yarbrough gave up five runs in 3 2/3 innings on Tuesday. Jordan Lyles allowed eight runs (six earned) over five innings on Thursday, and Brad Keller let seven runs (six earned) score in 4 1/3 innings on Friday.

Those outings have forced the relievers to come in earlier in games and, potentially, tax a bullpen that is in the midst of 16 games in 16 days.

“They’ve been unbelievable,” Singer said. “I wanted to try and give them a break tonight because they’ve been picking us up the last few outings, but [I] struggled to get us through four [innings] there. Like I said, I want to go deeper into the game and help them out, but they’ve been huge and really helped us out a lot.”

The offense continues to fight and keep the Royals in many of those games. They’ve averaged seven runs per game since the start of the homestand. However, they are only 1-4 in that span. They couldn’t get a big hit late in the game and left 15 runners stranded on Saturday.

“That’s true, but to leave that many guys stranded, you have to have some good at-bats to put them on base,” Quatraro said. “We put a lot of good at-bats together so there is a flip side to everything.”

Homers by Freddy Fermin and Bobby Witt Jr. in the fourth inning got the Royals back within one after trailing 5-1.

Fermin turned on an 0-1 changeup for a solo shot that went 427 feet into the left field fountains and had a 103 mph exit velocity. Witt hit a two-run homer for 434 feet to center field.

“In my plan, I was waiting for a fastball. That was a good pitch to hit and I did,” Fermin said.

The Royals will try to salvage the series Sunday as they are now tied with Oakland for the worst record in the Major Leagues at 8-26. They have lost eight consecutive series, tying a franchise record set back in 2008.

Before the start of the game, the Royals held a ceremony on the field for an integral part of their 2015 World Series title. Lorenzo Cain signed a one-day contract to retire in Kansas City.

“That was really cool,” Quatraro said. “I met him for the first time today and just to see the way that everyone interacts and cares about him. … I’m glad I got to see that.”