Royals’ Singer, coming off stellar debut, faces Tigers

MLB Kansas City

Highly touted pitching prospect Brady Singer provided a glimpse of his vast talent during his major league debut last weekend. The Kansas City Royals right-hander will look to build off that outing at Detroit’s Comerica Park on Thursday.

Singer limited the Cleveland Indians to two runs and three hits while striking out seven over five innings on Saturday. He finished on a high note, retiring eight of the last nine batters he faced.

“I felt like I executed the right pitches at the right time,” Singer told reporters after the game. “I thought there were some (more) strikes, but that is baseball. I think I made some good pitches when I needed it.”

Singer, who turns 24 next week, logged 148 1/3 innings in the minors last season and finished with a 12-5 record and a 2.85 ERA in 26 starts. Ranked as the organization’s No. 2 prospect behind shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., Singer eventually could emerge as the rebuilding club’s ace.

For now, the Royals would just like to see another strong outing from the 6-foot-5 Singer in the finale of a four-game series.

Veteran right-hander Ivan Nova gets the start for the Tigers. In his first start with the club, Nova gave up three runs on three hits in five innings at Cincinnati on Saturday.

He has faced the Royals eight times in his career, posting a 3-2 record and 5.83 ERA. Nova, 33, signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with Detroit after a mediocre season in the Chicago White Sox’s rotation when he allowed an American League-high 225 hits.

Nova is 2-3 with a 5.70 ERA in eight career appearances, including seven starts, at Comerica Park.

Royals second baseman/outfielder Whit Merrifield will attempt to extend his hitting streak against Detroit to 17 games. He has six hits, including two homers, plus six runs and six RBIs in the series.

Detroit has overcome Merrifield’s hot hitting with a big boost from its No. 9 batter in the order. Center fielder JaCoby Jones has four extra-base hits, including two homers, in the series. He belted the go-ahead homer Wednesday in Detroit’s 5-4 victory, one night after getting beaned.

“That’s the chance you take getting in the box,” Jones said in a postgame TV interview. “It’s scary getting hit in the face, the helmet, actually. But my mentality is just go out there and compete and keep doing it.”

Jones has gone deep three times in the Tigers’ first six games, but manager Ron Gardenhire has no plans to elevate him in the batting order.

“When the 9-hole hitter is swinging good, it rolls over to the top of the order and you have multiple chances of scoring runs,” Gardenhire said. “JaCoby seems to be just putting it in the seats. But I’ve always said a 9-hole hitter is just like a 1-hole hitter.”

The Royals haven’t been able to generate any offense against Detroit’s relievers in the past two games as the teams split a pair of one-run decisions.

“We’ve just got to keep the pressure on,” Kansas City manager Mike Matheny said. “We’ve got to realize they’re bringing in their best arms in the late innings. … We’ve just got to grind through the at-bats. You need a good approach and you need a little luck.”

–Field Level Media

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