The Surprise Saguaros went 3-3 last week, but fell to 1.5 games back of first place in the West Division of the Arizona Fall League. Unfortunately, they do not play first place Peoria in their final four games. The AFL Championship Game is Saturday afternoon (live on MLB Network).
The KC Royals contingent of players had a fairly good week.
In Monday’s loss, Brian Fletcher played left field and batted sixth. He went 1-for-2 with two walks (and no strikeouts). Whit Merrifield was the DH and batted 7th. He went 0-for-4 and grounded into a double play.
In Tuesday’s win, the Saguaros received solid pitching from a Royals duo. Jon Keck pitched two scoreless innings of relief. He did allow two hits but did not walk a batter. Edwin Carl followed and pitched a perfect inning of relief.
On offense, Fletcher was the DH and batted fifth. He went 1-for-5. Alex McClure played shortstop and batted ninth. He went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI.
In Wednesday’s loss, Merrifield played left field and batted second. He went 0-for-3 with two walks and a strikeout. He was caught stealing for the first time in the AFL. Calixte played shortstop and batted ninth. He went 1-for-3 with a walk, an RBI, and a stolen base. He struck out once.
Malcom Culver had a tough outing. He allowed two runs on two hits and two walks in one inning of work. He had a strikeout. He threw just 19 of his 31 pitches for strikes.
On Thursday, Justin Marks improved to 5-0 (tops in the AFL). He allowed one run on four hits over four innings of work. He struck out three. Marks threw 35 of his 55 pitches for strikes.
On offense, Fletcher played left field and batted fourth. He went 2-for-5 with two RBIs. Both RBIs came with two outs. Merrifield entered late in the game as an injury replacement for St.Louis’ Kolten Wong. He went 0-for-1 with a strikeout.
In Surprise’s win on Friday night, Fletcher went 1-for-5 with a double and an RBI as the DH. McClure went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the nine hole.
The Military Appreciation Game on Saturday was televised on MLB Network and you had a chance to watch four Royals play on TV. The Saguaros lost, 4-3. Merrifield was the only starter, as he was in left field, batting second. He went 0-for-4 with a run scored and a stolen base. He made the game’s final out.
He scored the Saguaros first run in the first inning. Merrifield hit a high chopper to short that Joe Panik couldn’t handle. I would have given it a hit because of Merrifield’s speed, but I’m not the official scorer (it went as an error).
Carl entered in relief and pitched the fifth and sixth innings. He was perfect while striking out two. He threw 23 of his 36 pitches for strikes and impressed MLB Network analyst Tom Verducci. Keck followed with an inning of relief. He allowed one hit while striking out two. He threw ten of his 19 pitches for strikes.
Calixte entered as a pinch-hitter in the 8th inning with runners at second and third base, two outs, and a 4-3 deficit. He flied out to end the inning.
Merrifield is struggling on offense, but it may be the LONG season that is finally getting to him. Meanwhile, Fletcher is starting to heat up, as his average has climbed over .200.
Here are the Royals stats through Week 5 in the AFL:
Calixte: .297 (11-for-37), HR, 5 runs scored, 2RBI, 2BB, 12K, SB
Carl: 0-1, 0.79 ERA, 9G, 11.1IP, 5H 3R (1ER), 2HR, 3BB, 7K
Culver: 0-1, 9.82 ERA, 4G, 3.2IP, 5H, 4R, 2HR, 0BB, 3K
Fletcher: .203 (13-for-64), 4 doubles, HR, 9 runs scored, 8RBIs, 14BB, 23K
Keck: 0-0, 5.79 ERA, 9G, 9.1IP, 15H 9R (6ER), 5BB, 7K
Marks: 5-0, 2.21 ERA, 6G, 20.1IP, 19H, 8R (5ER), 5BB, 16K
McClure: .216 (8-for-37), 2 doubles, 7 runs scored, 4RBIs, 2BB, 11K, 2SB, CS
Merrifield: .203 (12-for-59), double, 12 runs scored, four RBIs, 9BB, 8K, 8SB