Royals 6, Twins 2: Behind Santiago, Road Trip Ends in Disappointment
Image courtesy of Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY SportsRoyals 6, Twins 2
Hector Santiago struggled, lasting just 3.1 innings while giving up four runs on four hits and a walk. Phil Hughes, who is likely still acclimating himself to coming out of the bullpen again, looked pretty bad too. He gave up two runs on six hits over 1.2 innings.
Those performances didn’t give the Twins much of a chance to win, but it’s not like the bats had a great day, either. The team had eight hits, two each from Miguel Sano and Eduardo Escobar, but all of them were singles. They were 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base.
Santiago pitched in relief in the Twins 15-inning loss to Tampa Bay on May 28 and hasn’t been the same since. In his ten games prior to that appearance, Santiago had a 4.07 ERA and five quality starts. Since then, he’s given up 19 earned runs over 15 innings pitched (11.40 ERA).
Santiago was never a guy who overpowered hitters with his velocity, but losing a couple ticks off a fastball isn’t going to help any pitcher. His readings have been steadily declining all season.
Hector didn’t even bother with his four-seam fastball Sunday, instead sticking primarily with his sinker. As a result, he failed to hit even 90 mph on the day.
Looking from the outside in, trying to read between the lines, it looks to me like Santiago should go back on the DL until he gets right. At the very least, he probably could’ve benefitted from a longer rehab stint than one appearance.
Trevor Hildenberger was a bright spot. He pitched two scoreless innings and struck out three batters. The 26-year-old has started his major league career with five scoreless innings.
After their terrible 7-16 April, the Royals have gone 34-24 to put them a game above .500.
Postgame With Molitor
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Twins (Adalberto Mejia) vs. Angels (Alex Meyer), 7:10 pm CT
Welp, Alex Meyer has been pretty darn good for the Angels. In 11 starts he’s got a 3.74 ERA and is averaging 10.1 K/9. On the downside, however, his WHIP is 1.41 and he’s issuing 6.0 BB/9. In five starts away from The Big A, Meyer has a 6.75 ERA.
Mejia is coming off back-to-back scoreless starts on the road. That’s given the 24-year-old lefty some odd home-road splits. He now has a 2.31 ERA on the road and 6.11 mark at Target Field. Also curious: he’s got reverse platoon splits (.864 OPS vs. LHB, .795 OPS vs. RHB).
AL Central Standings
Twins 41-40 (-3)
Kansas City 41-40 (-3)
Detroit 36-45 (-8)
Chicago 35-45 (-8.5)