A starting catcher usually sits when his team plays a day game after a night game.
Especially a seven-time All-Star such as the Kansas City Royals’ Salvador Perez.
And when the previous night’s game lasts 4 hours, 40 minutes and goes 12 innings.
However, don’t be surprised if Perez pokes his head into manager Mike Matheny’s office before the Saturday afternoon game in Seattle to lobby for a spot in the starting lineup against the Mariners.
And don’t be surprised if Matheny, himself a former catcher, writes Perez’s name on the lineup card, even if it’s as the designated hitter.
Perez hit grand slams in each of the first two games of the series, and he could become the first in baseball history to do it in three straight.
“He’s in a unique space doing what he’s able to do on both sides of the ball,” Matheny said.
The Royals, who have won nine of their past 12 games, have hit slams in three consecutive games. Whit Merrifield had one Wednesday in a 6-5, 10-inning loss at Houston.
Perez’s slam Thursday gave the Royals a one-run lead in a game they won 6-4. His homer Friday tied the game 5-5 in the fourth inning, and the score remained that way until extra innings. It was Perez’s 36th homer of the season, tying him with Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for second in the major leagues behind the Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, who has 41.
“Perez is on everything,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said.
Edward Olivares, who came on as a defensive substitute in the seventh inning, hit a two-run homer with two outs in the top of the 12th inning Friday, leading Kansas City to an 8-7 victory.
“You just never know who’s going to be the hero,” Matheny said. “He didn’t even start the game.”
Royals right-hander Josh Staumont struck out rookie Jarred Kelenic with two runners on base in the bottom of the 12th to clinch the victory. Kelenic went 0-for-6 with three strikeouts and stranded nine runners on base as his average dropped to .147.
The Royals were supposed to start right-hander Carlos Hernandez on Saturday, but he pitched 5 2/3 innings of one-hit relief in Friday’s game. Hernandez allowed only one unearned run — thanks to the Mariners getting a runner at second to open the 10th inning — and struck out six without issuing a walk.
“They really flipped the script on us,” Servais said. “He just absolutely slammed the door on us.”
The Royals will instead go with left-hander Daniel Lynch (4-3, 4.74 ERA), who has won his past two starts, allowing two runs over 12 innings. The rookie will be facing Seattle for the first time.
The Mariners are scheduled to send left-hander Tyler Anderson (6-8, 4.07) to the mound.
Anderson is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in five starts since being acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates just before the trade deadline, pitching at least five innings and allowing three or fewer runs each time out.
He didn’t get a decision Sunday in the Mariners’ 6-3, 11-inning victory at Houston after giving up two runs in 5 1/3 innings. Anderson is 0-0 with a 1.50 ERA in one previous start against Kansas City, when he tossed six innings of one-run ball on April 27.
–Field Level Media