A closer look at KC Royals pitcher Daniel Lynch IV’s spot start vs. the Rangers

Daniel Lynch IV made the short trip south from Triple-A Omaha looking to impress in a spot start with the Kansas City Royals.

Lynch, who didn’t make KC’s opening day roster, had an opportunity to pitch at Kauffman Stadium again on Sunday against the Texas Rangers.

And the 27-year-old left-hander didn’t disappoint … even after a shaky first inning in which he threw 34 pitches.

“I thought, overall, I threw the ball pretty well,” Lynch said. “Obviously, the first inning got a little long. Thought I made some good pitches, just didn’t get called strikes.”

Lynch tossed five shutout innings against the Rangers. He registered six strikeouts while allowing two hits and two walks.

The Royals provided him meager run support — two runs, both compliments of Vinnie Pasquantino and Bobby Witt Jr. and lost 3-2 to Texas.

In the first inning, Lynch weathered an early storm. Rangers star Marcus Semien hit a leadoff single and Lynch walked Nathaniel Lowe and Jonah Heim to load the bases.

Lynch evaded any damage, however, by getting Rangers shortstop Josh Smith to ground out.

“You know, that happens,” Lynch said of the first inning, “To be able to go back out and clean the efficiency up a little bit, I thought it was good.”

Lynch indeed settled in. He displayed the renewed slider that was a point of emphasis in Triple-A. The pitch registered six swings and four whiffs, per Baseball Savant.

“I thought it was way better than it has been in the past,” Lynch said of his slider. “I still have some work to do with that, but I think it’s on the right track.”

Lynch said he changed his grip on the slider. It had performed more like a cutter at times, and he wanted to get it back to its original shape.

“I think it’s going to give me the best chance to locate it well and also get the movement that I want,” he said.

Lynch also had his other pitches working Sunday. The slider helped keep the Rangers’ left-handed hitters off-balance, but his fastball, sinker and changeup were also executed in the strike zone.

In total, Lynch produced 40 swings and seven whiffs in the game.

“It was awesome to see him back out there and doing his thing up there,” Royals star Bobby Witt Jr. said. “It was a lot of fun to play defense behind.”

Royals manager Matt Quatraro was pleased with Lynch’s start. He said his team must rely on its pitching depth, and Lynch fit the bill Sunday.

“We are going to need a lot of guys to get through this whole year,” Quatraro said. “Depth is really important.”

The Royals are expected to get starting pitcher Alec Marsh (right-elbow contusion) back from the 15-day injured list soon. Marsh made a rehab start with Triple-A Omaha on Sunday.

Lynch will await what’s next for him but said he didn’t feel the need to prove anything in his spot start on Sunday.

He enjoyed getting the opportunity to pitch and will take some momentum into his next outing, whenever and wherever it comes.

“It’s great to be in front of these fans and just to pitch in the big leagues,” he said. “It’s a huge privilege and a great opportunity. So, it was a lot of fun.”