Notes: Lynch still starting; Matheny on Pujols

May 11th, 2021

Daniel Lynch will make his third career start on Thursday against the Tigers, as the Royals are confident in their top pitching prospect and his adjustments after not making it out of the first inning Saturday against the White Sox.

Lefty will start Wednesday, and Lynch will wrap up the three-game series in Detroit, manager Mike Matheny announced Tuesday. The Royals have yet to announce the rotation for when they face Chicago again this weekend.

Lynch allowed eight runs in two-thirds of an inning Saturday, throwing only 34 pitches. His normal turn would fall on Friday against the White Sox again, so that was part of the decision, as was his low pitch count. The Royals seemed to find some issues from his outing (i.e. tipping pitches) that helped explain the performance.

“He’s got great stuff,” Matheny said. “This guy’s going to pitch a long time. There are just lessons that young players learn on the fly, and this was a great learning experience for him, and one that I know he doesn’t want repeated. Some things where, ‘Hey, here’s an idea, let’s work on this,’ and now let’s jump back in there and put it in play.”

Lynch, 24, is highly regarded in the Royals' organization not only for his pitching arsenal and high ceiling, but also for his intelligence on and off the mound. After his initial confusion about what went wrong in that last start, he began working the next day to fix the problems.

“A guy with that kind of stuff, it was just one of those perfect storm things that turned and went in a tough direction to get recouped,” Matheny said. “He’s a learner. That’s just kind of his makeup. I think guys that are wired that way, it can sometimes go in a negative direction when you’re overanalyzing things. But I think he’s got a real good feel, and I watch how he’s matured over the last year in that regard. Not tinkering to tinker, but with a purpose and then having this solid foundation.”

Injury report

Catcher (concussion) and right-hander (left trapezius strain) are both on the road trip with the Royals, Matheny said, making it likely they’ll be activated some time while the club is on the road. Zimmer threw a bullpen session over the weekend and had positive reports.

Gallagher was placed on the seven-day concussion injured list after taking two foul balls to the catcher’s mask last week. His recovery is moving in a “good direction,” Matheny said.

Matheny on Pujols

Matheny had an up-close view of Albert Pujols’ first few years in the Majors as teammates on the Cardinals, and the two have become close friends over the years. Matheny, the Cards' catcher from 2000-04, watched Pujols win the NL Rookie of the Year Award in ‘01. Pujols was a three-time MVP and finished in the top 10 eight other times with St. Louis.

The future Hall of Famer was designated for assignment by the Angels in the last year of his contract last week, begging the question: Where will he end up now? Matheny didn’t have an answer, but he talked openly about the impression that Pujols made on him.

“To be able to watch firsthand, one of the greatest 10-year stretches in the game of baseball, it was an honor to be able to be there for the very first one, and to be able to watch a Hall of Fame career start,” Matheny said. “Those first 10 years especially, when he was on the other side of the state, were as impressive as any I’ve ever seen.

“My real impression is the person that I got to know, and that was usually away from the field, time spent in the offseason. This is a top-tier person, a friend and somebody that I respect -- how he went about his business, but also how he used the game and his opportunities and platform to go and help people. … It’s always a tough conversation when you’re talking about players toward the end of their career of how this exit strategy looks.”


“It’s not a secret, we’re [having] a tough week right now. We know the game is just like that. … We think we can go back to playing how we played in the first month of the season. Our energy is important. Every day bringing it to the clubhouse, the dugout, on the field.” -- infielder Hanser Alberto, on the team’s eight-game losing streak entering Tuesday