Merrifield proving he belongs in Majors

Published 8:46 am Thursday, June 2, 2016

When Whit Merrifield of Advance got a hit in his Major League Baseball debut on May 18, that was a mere prelude. He has not slowed down for the Kansas City Royals.

In his first six starts, he hit .385 (10-for-26) with three doubles while starting at second, third and left field. And he has found a home in the two spot in the batting order.

On Saturday, Merrifield was apart of the greatest ninth-inning comeback in the Royals’ 48-year history. Trailing 7-1 in the ninth to the visiting Chicago White Sox, Kansas City put up seven runs to win 8-7. Merrifield had a two-run hit during the frenzy as the Royals forced a three-way tie for first in the A.L. Central.

By getting two hits, Merrifield – are you ready? – became just the third Royal rookie to post five consecutive multi-hit games. The others: Lou Piniella in 1969 and Mike Moustakas in 2011.

On Sunday, the Royals faced lefthander Chris Sale, who came in tied for first in the majors in wins (nine) and third in ERA (2.26). No big deal. In the first inning, Merrifield singled to left. He was robbed in his next two at-bats, first by a diving right fielder on a sinking liner and then by the third baseman on a ball that was headed for the left-field corner. The Royals put together another late rally to win 5-4, sweep the series and take over first place in the division.

When asked about the poise of rookies Merrifield, Brett Eibner and Cheslor Cuthbert, manager Ned Yost said: “These kids are pretty level-headed kids. They’re not real emotional guys. They don’t have a lot of highs and lows. They’re very emotionally steady. These kids aren’t overwhelmed. Merrifield, Cuthbert and Eibner, they’re not overwhelmed in this situation.”