Birthday present: Royals’ Singer draws start at Wrigley

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Kansas City Royals rookie pitcher Brady Singer has found a cool place to be for his 24th birthday Tuesday night. The right-hander will be on the mound at Wrigley Field facing the Chicago Cubs.

Asked which birthday this would replace as his favorite, he replied, “All 23 of them. It’s quite a birthday present. I can’t wait to get out there and get going.”

Singer (0-0, 3.60 ERA) has made two starts for the Royals in his debut season, and he has been efficient in no-decisions against the Minnesota Twins and the Detroit Tigers. He gave up two runs in five innings in both outings, and he has struck out a total of 10 in 10 innings. His starts led to two of the three Kansas City wins this season.

“We’re excited to watch Brady (on Tuesday),” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “We know he’s prepared. He’s taken every one of these challenges and opportunities in stride.

“He’s not making too much or too little of what he needs to do. He’s very professional in how he prepares, and his stuff is obvious. It’s obvious that it’s going to play here.”

Singer, the first of four Royals first-round selections — all college pitchers — in the 2018 draft, doesn’t seem fazed about pitching in one of baseball’s iconic venues.

“It’s going to be cool (at Wrigley),” he said. “I’m very excited and looking forward to doing well. It helps me a lot that I faced them in the first spring training. I kind of have an idea of a scouting report.

“I’ve learned a lot (after two starts). There are a lot of little things you can learn in two games in the big leagues.”

The Royals will be counting on Singer to help them get on a good track following a 2-0 loss to the Cubs on Monday in which Danny Duffy became the first Kansas City starter this year to pitch six innings.

Singer will be facing a Cubs team that has started hot.

Kyle Hendricks (1-1, 4.05) will take the ball for Chicago, making his third start of the season. He tossed a three-hitter against the Brewers on Opening Day, becoming the first Cub to throw a complete-game shutout on Opening Day since Bill Bonham on April 9, 1974, vs. Philadelphia.

Hendricks wasn’t nearly as effective in his second start when he allowed six earned runs in 4 1/3 innings in a loss at Cincinnati on Wednesday.

Manager David Ross felt it may have been a case of fatigue, especially when Hendricks issued a leadoff walk to Eugenio Suarez in the fourth, followed by a two-run homer to Mike Moustakas.

“I felt like he was running out of steam that fourth inning,” Ross said. “When you get a leadoff walk from him, that’s uncharacteristic and red flags start to go up a little bit.”

Hendricks said he never felt right.

“It was just a battle from the start (Wednesday) really. It just wasn’t good,” he said. “Everything was up. I kind of got away with some pitches in the first and second inning, the first time through the order. Just rolling through my delivery. Just really didn’t do anything well. Couldn’t pitch inside effectively, so it’s just back to work.”

Hendricks will make his second career start against Kansas City. He took a no-decision on Sept. 28, 2015, despite allowing just two hits and striking out nine batters in six scoreless innings during Chicago’s 1-0, 11-inning victory at Wrigley Field.

–Field Level Media

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