The Boston Red Sox and visiting Kansas City Royals will each start a pitcher on Saturday who is looking to build upon his most recent outing.
Boston left-hander Rich Hill (7-6, 4.56 ERA) will oppose Kansas City right-hander Brady Singer (8-4, 3.21) in the middle contest of a three-game series.
The Red Sox (70-74) will look to make it two wins in a row after rallying for a 2-1 win over the Royals (57-88) in the series opener on Friday.
Hill, a 42-year-old veteran in his 18th major league season, turned in a sparkling performance on Sunday, when he pitched five shutout, two-hit innings, leading Boston to a 1-0 win over the Baltimore Orioles.
It was his second scoreless appearance in a span of four starts, including his seven-inning, 11-strikeout effort on Aug. 27 against the Tampa Bay Rays. In between, he was tagged for nine runs in eight innings against the Texas Rangers and the Rays.
Hill was back on his game against the Orioles, as he struck out seven and walked three.
“Anytime you can change speeds, quick-pitch, slow-pitch, hesitate, have the ball come out of your hand any way you want it, that’s a great day,” Hill said.
Following that start, Red Sox manager Alex Cora endorsed Hill for a spot on Team USA for the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
“I talked to (Team USA manager) Mark DeRosa and said, ‘He can open, get lefties out, give you five solid innings,’ ” Cora said. “We’ll see what happens in that and I know my team is from (Puerto Rico), but it’ll be great for Rich to play in that tournament and represent the USA.”
Hill is 2-2 with a 5.76 ERA in 14 career appearances (five starts) against the Royals.
Two of Hill’s five career starts against the Royals came last season as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays. On May 25, 2021, Hill struck out a career-high 13 over eight innings of two-run ball, but he finished on the wrong end of a 2-1 result.
Like Hill, Singer is also coming off of a scoreless Sunday start. He held the Detroit Tigers to four hits and one walk while striking out six in seven innings, leading the Royals to a 4-0 win.
“I try to keep my mentality the same all the time, but with the two losses before, the mentality was a little bit better (on Sunday),” Singer said. “Going out there, trying to get deep in the game and going right at them.”
The Royals have dropped four straight since Singer shut down the Tigers, losing on Friday after being swept by the Minnesota Twins in a three-game series in Minneapolis.
On Friday, Kansas City starter Jonathan Heasley worked 6 2/3 scoreless innings and Salvador Perez drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth, but four walks in Boston’s two-run eighth inning did in the Royals.
“We didn’t have a lot of hits, but the quality of at-bats was good,” Cora said. “It was good to see (J.D. Martinez) get the (game-winning hit) and it was good to see (Rafael Devers) draw a walk in that spot. It picks everyone up.”
Another strong Singer outing would help the Royals right the ship.
Singer has worked at least seven scoreless innings on four occasions this season, a mark only matched by the Cleveland Guardians’ Triston McKenzie in the American League. One of those strong starts by Singer came against the New York Yankees on July 28.
“He thrives in situations that are tough or a little different,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “He knows we’ve lost a couple games. It’s almost like he wills it to happen. ‘I got to be good today. This team needs me.’ That’s what the good ones do, whether they have their good stuff or not.”
Singer, who has never faced the Red Sox, is 4-0 with a 2.25 ERA in his past seven starts. He hasn’t lost since Aug. 3 against the Chicago White Sox.
–Field Level Media