The host Oakland Athletics will get their first look at Kansas City Royals prospect Brady Singer when the clubs meet for the second time in their four-game series on Friday night.
Starters Mike Minor of the Royals and Frankie Montas of the A’s pitched brilliantly in the series opener on Thursday, with the Royals using a pair of late three-run innings for a 6-1 victory.
Singer (3-5, 4.88 ERA) has alternated wins and losses in his past four starts, taking a hard-luck, 2-1 defeat Sunday against the Minnesota Twins in his most recent outing. The 24-year-old right-hander allowed just two runs in 5 2/3 innings while striking out seven.
Singer has made 24 starts in his two-year big-league career, but he has never appeared in a game west of Kansas City.
Singer was the 18th overall selection of the 2018 draft, a year in which Oakland held the ninth pick and opted for outfielder Kyler Murray, who went on to a career in football.
Singer will be facing a team that has been struggling on offense even while winning six of the past eight games. Oakland totaled only three hits in the Thursday loss, with the lone run coming on the club’s only extra-base hit, a home run by Jed Lowrie.
Lowrie’s blast snapped a three-game homerless streak for the A’s, who totaled just 12 hits — including just one double and one triple — in their 4-0, 5-2 two-game home sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks earlier this week.
The A’s might have won another low-hit, low-run game on Thursday if not for a catcher’s-interference call on Sean Murphy in the seventh inning of a contest Oakland led 1-0.
The roof then caved in on Montas, who gave up a softly hit double that tied the game and then a softly hit single that plated two more runs and led to the defeat.
Afterward, A’s manager Bob Melvin lamented “really bad luck.”
“Looked like maybe a kinda late swing that caught him in the glove,” he said of the critical catcher’s interference. “These things happen from time to time.
“When you don’t have a whole lot going on offensively, unlucky stuff like that can beat you.”
Melvin hopes it doesn’t happen to Cole Irvin (4-7, 3.89 ERA) in his scheduled start on Friday.
The 27-year-old left-hander has faced the Royals just once in his career, allowing one run on five hits in seven innings in his major league debut on May 12, 2019. Pitching then for the Philadelphia Phillies in an interleague game at Kansas City, Irvin held the Royals without an extra-base hit and was rewarded with his first big-league win.
Two of the guys who combined to go 0-for-7 against him in that game — Kelvin Gutierrez and Jorge Soler — played major roles in the Thursday contest. Gutierrez hit a two-run single, and Soler socked a two-run homer.
Royals manager Mike Matheny noted afterward that against a pitching-strong team like the A’s, patience is required.
“We talk about grinding at-bats,” he said, “but you also have games that you grind. You just kind of stay with it. We had to just try and stay the course until we could find that big hit.”
–Field Level Media