Home News Daniel Lynch tosses quality start in Royals’ loss to Orioles 

Daniel Lynch tosses quality start in Royals’ loss to Orioles 

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BALTIMORE — Before Friday’s game, Royals starter Daniel Lynch had a shadow.

His brother, Will, was able to follow and watch Daniel get to the ballpark and begin his pregame routine, soaking up the environment of pregame bullpens and batting practice with Lynch’s teammates.

It was instrumental for Will, 20, after he finished his sophomore year as a pitcher at Samford University, and it was instrumental for Daniel, 26, to see his brother on the field and in the clubhouse with him.

Come game time, Will went to the stands at Camden Yards to sit with numerous friends and family who made the two and a half-hour trek from their hometown in Richmond, Va., while Daniel began warming up for what turned out to be a quality start despite the Royals’ 3-2 series-opening loss to the Orioles on Friday night.

“My family is one of the most important things in my life,” Daniel said. “My brother is a college baseball player, so just to have him around here and be around guys like [Salvador Perez] and [Zack] Greinke, it’s so cool for him. And honestly, [it] took my mind off the game a lot, which was good, just to be able to laugh and hang around with him. It meant so much for him to be here.”

And it meant a lot for Lynch to pitch well in front of Will and other family members, despite the loss. On a night where Lynch made a few mistakes, he still gave the Royals six innings and a quality start, allowing three runs, with four strikeouts and one walk.

“I felt like I gave us a shot, but I just have to make more pitches, and maybe I come out of that game with a chance to win,” Lynch said.

Lynch’s mistakes Friday were magnified by another lackluster offensive night. The Royals have lost seven of their last eight, scoring just 19 runs in that period.

Lynch pounded the zone, which has been a consistent theme for the lefty since he returned from the injured list at the end of May. That mindset has led to efficiency and more swing-and-miss. The Orioles whiffed seven times on 16 swings (44%) on Lynch’s changeup on Friday and seven times on 22 swings (32%) on his fastball.

“Having a little bit more conviction with [the changeup],” Lynch said. “I’m probably selling it a little better. And I think my fastball is competitive in the zone a lot more, so that puts more pressure on guys.”

There are plenty of things still to improve for Lynch, including with his fastball. He was able to elevate the heater several times Friday, leading to those whiffs, but when he missed up in the zone, the Orioles pounced.

“It’s a fine line,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “You got to get it there. … If you don’t get it there, you’re throwing it into the bat path. But if you get it above, you get the swing-and-miss.”

Lynch’s first pitch of the game was a middle-middle fastball to Austin Hays, who crushed it over the left-field wall for a homer. In the fifth, with Hays on second, Lynch missed up with his fastball to Anthony Santander, who laced it to center field for an RBI double.

“That was probably the thing I take away the most,” Lynch said. “Couple of opportunities to go up with the fastball, where I had gone prior in the at-bat, and just missed, a little bit too much plate. … I don’t think I need to be too fine. It’s just choosing the spots of where to do it. And realizing how much room I have up there.”

The Orioles notched four stolen bases off Lynch — two apiece from third baseman Gunnar Henderson and shortstop Jorge Mateo — before he was able to pick off Henderson to end the sixth inning. But Henderson’s first stolen base in the second quickly led to a run on Mateo’s single.

“It was a good opportunity for me, a good little gut check,” Lynch said. “… Those are the little things I need to improve on, for sure.”

The Royals countered with their own speed when Bobby Witt Jr. stole his 20th base of the season in the team’s 63rd game; it took him until July 24 last season to steal 20 bases. But he was left stranded on second in the fourth inning.

“I just have to keep it going,” Witt said. “Stay healthy, stay trying to get on base, stay trying to produce runs. That’s what my job is, try to help produce runs, and right now, I feel like I haven’t been doing that.”

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