The Royals will not have to deal with Shohei Ohtani as a pitcher — the Los Angeles two-way star started on the mound Thursday at Texas — but they still must face his power bat
Over his past seven games, Ohtani has clubbed six homers and knocked in 12 runs while hitting .560 (14-for-25). He is hitting .426 (26-for-61) with five doubles, a triple, 10 homers, 21 RBIs and 17 runs in 16 games since May 30.
“He’s on a nice streak right now,” Angels manager Phil Nevin said. “It’s fun to watch. You can also see that he’s having a lot of fun, too.
On Wednesday at Texas, Ohtani hit a 453-foot, opposite-field, second-deck smash with an exit velocity measured at 116 mph. The distance and velocity were the highest in the Statcast era for an opposite-field home run by a left-handed hitter.
He added a 443-foot homer to center in the series finale against the Rangers on Thursday, a 5-3 Angels win in which he also threw six innings of two-run ball
“When he’s in a groove like this, he’s fun to watch,” Nevin said.
Left-hander Patrick Sandoval (3-6, 4.52 ERA) will take the mound for the Angels on Friday, opposing right-hander Brady Singer (4-5, 6.58)
Sandoval, who will face the Royals for the first time, has lost five consecutive starts, last winning on May 2. In his most recent outing, he surrendered five runs and a season-high 10 hits in five innings during a 6-2 defeat to the Seattle Mariners on Saturday
Singer has made one career start against the Angels, picking up the loss April 12, 2021. He yielded four runs (one earned) on seven hits in five innings
Most recently, Singer lost at Baltimore on Saturday when he surrendered four runs on six hits and three walks in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out four.
Singer owns the lone victory for the Royals over the past two-plus weeks: a 2-0 decision against the Colorado Rockies on June 4, when he tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings. Otherwise, Kansas City has lost 12 of 13 as the bats have gone to sleep
The offense produced has more than four runs just once during the 13-game slide, falling especially silent in close games with runners in scoring position.
In three close losses during a sweep by the Cincinnati Reds to open the week, Kansas City left 29 runners on base while hitting .118 (4-for-34) with RISP.
“We got a fair number of hits,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “We had chances to drive guys in. Lately it has not been there for us, but we’ve got to keep putting quality at-bats together. When you have a chance to score, you don’t change your approach.
Royals hitters are feeling the stress
“(The weight of losing) is definitely there,” shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. said. “It’s hard to look at the scoreboard and see that we’re in last place. It’s tough being the worst team in baseball.”
The Royals received more bad news on Wednesday, first when they learned slugging first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino would require season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder, and later when Salvador Perez left the game after being hit by a pitch on his left hand
While X-rays of the hand were negative, Perez is considered day-to-day and will be re-evaluated prior to the Friday game.
–Field Level Media
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