Over the offseason, the Kansas City Royals acquired Mike Minor, Carlos Santana, and Andrew Benintendi to fill crucial holes in their pitching staff and lineup. And in today’s Sunday afternoon 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox, all three played crucial roles in a game that began tediously but got rapidly crazier as the contest drew to a close: Santana hit a game-tying home run, Benintendi drove in a pair, and Minor made a nice start on the mound.
Minor began this game looking to bounce back from his first start of the year, which was a mixed bag. Though he did manage to go six innings in that start, he gave up four runs along the way. This afternoon, Minor’s start was also a mixed bag, but it was a different mixture and a different bag that the Royals would probably prefer. That’s because, while Minor only went four innings, laboring through much of it, he managed to squeeze out of his biggest jams and only gave up one run along the way.
The most problematic inning of the game for Minor was also completely self-inflicted. Minor kicked off the bottom of the second by walking Yermin Mercedes on six pitches all over the plate. He then walked Andrew Vaughn—the Cal first baseman picked one selection after Bobby Witt, Jr. in the 2019 MLB draft—on six pitches, again with apparent confusion where the strike zone was. But after striking out Zack Collins, Minor coaxed a ground ball out of Nick Madrigal but botched both the catch part and the throw part of the catch-and-throw fielding operation, thereby loading the bases. Fortunately for Minor, he struck out Danny Mendick and got a soft lineout from Leury Garcia to end the inning.