(Let's be honest with each other, it's been a long time since the Royals have been good. They have been playing better lately, so one of our best commenters, Hot Tub, wrote up this post to brag. Plus....it makes our job easier since it's one less post for us to do. Enjoy)
Hey there boys and girls! Don't look now, but the Kansas City Royals are doing some damage. They have won 4 of their last 5 series against American League foes. Included in those series wins are series' this past week against two of the top AL teams in the Boston Red Sox and the Detroit Tigers. The Royals collected 25 hits against the Red Sox and 40 hits against the Tigers. 40 hits in THREE games!!! Game 2 should have been another W after a 9th inning rally, but the bullpen could not hold on in extra innings. The Royals are 9-7 in July after going 15-12 in June for their first winning record for a month since 2003. KC had finished June with a 3 game sweep at Anaheim, the team with the best home record in baseball. What's even more impressive is that the Royals have been in every game since May 28th, when they were blown out by Baltimore amidst their longest losing streak of the season.
The Royals have really been hot since the recall of Billy Butler back to the majors on June 20th. Since that date, Butler is 31/83 for a .373 average with 22 RBI and the Royals are 14-10 in that stretch. The DH/OF prospect is proving that he belongs on the big squad and should be in KC to stay.
While the bats have been hot, the pitching has been much improved as well. All-Star Gil Meche and first-year Royal Brian Bannister have been going deep into games while keeping the runs down, and the bullpen has been increasingly more effective. The bullpen has been responsible for 3 of the 10 losses since June 20th, but has picked up 4 of the wins in late innings. David Riske and Joakim Soria are anchoring the pen with 2.47 and 2.34 ERAs respectively. Meche has won his last 4 decisions and the Royals have won 6 of the last 7 games he has started. It appears as if Dayton Moore's $55 million signing could be paying off more than most experts anticipated.
Rookie Alex Gordon has improved his performance significantly since early June, but has been overshadowed by the recent efforts of Butler. These two young players will be a solid core to continue to build around as the Royals look to continue to improve. Mark Teahen and David Dejesus continue their solid play, and John "Rube" Buck is vying to pass Victor Martinez for most HR by a catcher.
With Reggie Sanders fresh off the DL, look for KC to get him some more time in the field in order to prove his health so he can be shopped around before the July 31st trade deadline. First basemen Ryan Shealy and Mike Sweeney continue their stints on the DL, but have certainly not been missed lately. It would be of no surprise to me to see Sweeney shopped around as well, if his health permits, despite having limited "trade-to" teams in his contract.
Dayton Moore showed no remorse in trading away some live arms late last season (Mike MacDougal, Ambiorix Burgos, and Andrew Sisco), so it is likely that he will continue to do what is necessary to build his new arsenal of young pitching talent. Rumors are already floating around about a potential move sending Zack Greinke to the Cubs to bolster their bullpen.
With the Chicago White Sox loss to Boston today, the Royals are now tied for 4th place in the AL Central with all intentions of staying there. Can they maintain their current surge? Or will it be quickly back to permanent cellar status? We shall see soon enough.
Leave a comment